Plus Some Unfortunate News
11.16.2012 - 11.16.2012
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. In the last few days I developed what we think is tendonitis in both of my lower legs. Our landlord sent over a great acupuncturist (she makes house calls!), but this is the kind of condition that only rest can cure. So my walking will really be limited for the rest of our trip and we have had to curtail many of our best laid plans.
We were able to go out to Arashiyama, however, with the help of a Good Samaritan. What, you are thinking, is a Good Samaritan? The Good Samaritan Club is a group of Kyoto college and university students who volunteer as English speaking tour guides! All you have to do is sign up for one and pay his or her transportation/entrance fee/food costs.
Our first Good Samaritan (we are scheduled to have a second one on Monday) was Yuki, a freshman from Osaka who commutes 2 hours everyday to go to college in Kyoto. His ultimate goal is to become a firefighter. Despite his protests to the contrary, Yuki spoke quite good English and helped us take the train including a transfer out to Arashiyama. He also made us reservations at Shigetsu, the temple restaurant at Tenryu Ji.
Arashiyama is on the outskirts of Kyoto. Among other things, it is famous for Togetsu Kyo, an historic bridge often seen in samurai movies. Yuki explained that Togetsu refers to something like walking across the bridge in the moonlight.
The bridge crosses the Katsura River. It was a beautiful day, and the river was being used for fishing and boating, mainly by poling since the river was apparently really shallow. Yuki said the fisherman was fishing for ayu. The fall colors were amazing.
Arashiyama is also famous for its bamboo forest. Even though the forest was filled with tourists (we were there on a Friday, so there would certainly be even more people there the next day), it was still eerily beautiful.