Japan. Kyoto Saga. Arashiyama Park.

We had so many plans for Kyoto. Considered as the main ancient cultural and religious center of Japan, Kyoto turned to be so comfortable, friendly and mysterious city that we had no choice but to accept its hospitality with pleasure and extend our vacation there for five full days. This time we stayed only in hotels with a quick access to central subway stations or within cultural and historic districts. As soon as I got some ultimate guide Leaf for best gourmet restaurants in Kyoto area, we were ‘sniffing’ around to find those recommended spots for the dinner 🙂 (the details will be further). Philosopher Path – one of the great and romantic place for enjoying blooming cherry blossoms (located in Hiroshiyama area on west-north of Kyoto) that we discovered not far away from our hotel with Ryokan room (Ryokan – Japanese traditional ascetic room without furniture and beds, only tatami mats on the floor and low tiny table). There are many beautiful temples and cemeteries along the tiny water channel – the spirit of calmness and meditation washes all the worries away.

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Our gourmet tour had started in Toilo restaurant where we tried carpaccio of barracuda, omelette with asparagus and barley vodka Sochu. Great spot for warm evening with taste. And yes, their toilette welcomes you automatically opening and closing its sitting place – oh these Japanese inventions 🙂

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One of Kyoto’s finest scenic sightseeing areas is Saga/Arashiyama Park. It takes about half an hour to get there by JR train from Kyoto. Here we found countless ancient shrines, bamboo forests and beautiful gardens. Full day of exciting walks or bicycle riding. A unique place not to be missed – Chikurin no Michi (or Path of Bamboo) – verdant space for relaxation under the rustling leaves.

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This temple in Arashiyama Park is called Adashino Nembutsu-ji and was founded by a priest Kukai (Kobo daishi, 774-835) who buried the dead in this area. Since then this temple became a sacred center of learning and practicing the teaching of Amida Buddha. Many consider this place as a spiritual home of religious people in Japan. As for me, I was deeply impressed by this place, cemetery and its atmosphere, considering we came here in twilight before it was closed for visitors.

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