A Travellerspoint blog

Kyoto: Lots of Monkeys and Getting Naked

Yesterday, I woke up and took the train to a different part of town then where I have been, and did a few different things. It was raining lightly out.

First of all, I went to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, where bamboo trees grows up to the sky. It was a very impressive walk, but a short one. The Lonely Planet guidebook says it is a quiet and tranquil walk, but truth be told, the walk is full of groups, particularly school groups (I guess there is school here on Sundays in Japan), so it wasn't very quiet. What was unusual was seeing people wearing Kimonos and other uniforms. The folks who dressed up had bamboo shoes, and you could hear those folks come from a long ways. The grove was also right near a busy rail line, so I could actually see the trains rushing through from the grove.


After the grove, I walked for about 1/2 an hour, and came to the entrance of the Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama. Here after paying, I walked up a long hill, and was sweating by the time I got to the top. But as I (and many others) got closer to the top, i started seeing the monkeys, which are called Japanese macaque monkeys, and they are fun to watch. Little baby monkeys got on the back of the mother, and the mothers groomed them. All of the monkeys would run off in one direction or another for who knows what reason. There was a house you could go into with bars on the outside, and you can feed the monkeys pieces of sweet potato and peanuts. I didn't. I took some pictures of the monkeys, and after a while watching them, I hiked down the hill, and saw a sign warning what not to do with the moneys-don't crouch to take a picture, don't look at them in the eye, and don't get within a few meters of them-I think i did all of the above.


After that, i went to an onsen, a Japanese hot spring and spa, which uses water from geothermally heated springs. Staying in a hostel, many, perhaps most of the people their can't go to many onsen in Japan-and that is why i wanted to go. It isn't because they are too expensive (it was $12.00 to enter), or it is reliant on looks-but tattoos are taboo is Japan-the Japanese think they are a symbol of the mafia. Being the hostels are full of 20 somethings, many have tattoos-therefore I could go when many others can't.


i entered, and was asked to take off my shoes. i put my shoes in a separate locker, and was given a key for a big locker, where i undressed and put my camera bag in (you aren't allowed to wear a bathing suit), and men and women are separated. I walked out to the different pools. The pools have everything from warm warm water to one with ice cold water. I spent time in each one (including going to the ice cold water pool twice-it felt better the second time). Only about 5 other guys were in the onsen when i was there. After going in each pool, I showered (because that was the rule I believe).

The place was unbelievably clean. It wasn't like a public swimming pool, or bath house, but more like a high-end hotel. Cleaning up, the counter had after shave and two different types of cologne in the bathroom.

After the onsen, I went to the train station across the street, where I sat and took a nap. I then walked around the little village of Sagano, which is set against the mountains, and is most scenic. I then took the train back to the Kyoto Station, and for the third night in a row, ate conveyor belt sushi.


Posted by DavidPearlman 15:47 Archived in Japan

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.