Arashiyama: Sagano Torokko, Tenryu-ji Temple

I must say: dragging my family from airport to train station to bus terminal to bus stop to Airbnb to train station and further through the streets of Arashiyama was a logistical nightmare. But as soon as we scrambled aboard the Sagano Romantic Train with a good 20 seconds left to spare, my ill-contained ire flew to the winds much like most of our hard cash.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures from outside the train before it started moving due to innate Japanese punctuality combined with the Filipino lack thereof.

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We took the pleasent, old fashioned ‘torokko’ along the scenic Sagano railway running alongside the Hozugawa River. It moved at a relatively slow pace, as its purpose is really to have its passengers appreciate the seasonal views. From our starting point at Torokko Saga Station it took us less than thirty minutes to reach the end of the line at Torokko Kameoka Station.

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This beautiful bridge really reminds me of stereotypical anime stills. I half expected to see Japanese students – nay, cartoons – riding their charming bikes with ringing bells atop it on their way to school.

dsc_0016dsc_0022This scene was definitely my favorite thing about the whole train ride. I thought it would make for a good picture when I noticed the next car was filled with Japanese middle-schoolers. I was hoping none of would look up, catch me taking their photo and think me a creep. To my surprise, some of the girls on one side of the car began jumping up and shrieking- they weren’t trying to report me. I believe there was an insect of some sort on a chair. And I thought my previous all-girls school classmates were skittish.

I watched, dumbfounded as an attractive male teacher walked over to check on them, smiled, appeared to catch something the offender and promptly toss it out the window. And as he did so, I swear the girls swooned. Anime culture is not an exaggeration. This shit actually happens.

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Oh the milky white scenery is to-die for.

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From Kameoka there were three ways to return to Arashiyama. The first being to get back on the Sagano Torokko’s return trip (and pay double, god forbid). One could also take a Hozugawa River raft downstream. However we weren’t feeling up to the adventure so we ended up taking the JR train back.

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“Bake-danuki” or Japanese monster raccoon dogs.

These darling tanuki figurines were there to greet us at the end of the line. I looked it up later on; these are the “bake-danuki”. They’re the mythicized versions of ordinary tanuki and are said to bring economic good fortune as idols. For some reason beyond me, along the line people decided that the bake-danuki needed to be portrayed possesing unreasonably sizable scrotums in order to grant said luck. No really, google it.

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The quiet Japanese countryside draws you in. It felt like coming home.

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I think this may be a shrine to honor the dead. I’m not entirely certain- I thought those were usually found indoors.

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I have no idea what’s going on here but I love it.
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Welcome to Tenryuji Temple.

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Not sure where this babbling brook was trickling down from; it looked to be a hut of some sort. The area didn’t seem accessible. I gather it could be for the caretakers of the shrine.

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Channeling my inner Chihaya ala Chihayafuru. Really wishing for karuta cards in this shot.

We had to take off our shoes within the Temple itself. It’s taboo to step on tatami with shoes steeped in the ‘impurity’ of the outside world.

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I scared the little soft-shelled turtle away because I was too excited when he showed up.

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Just taking it all it. I haven’t had enough of this place, even now. Guess this means I’m definitely heading back.

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GetBlued hoodie | H&M skirt | Stradivarius sneakers | From Spain shoulder bag

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