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Monday, June 18, 2012

Japan : Arashiyama Sagano Scenic Train and Bamboo Groves, Kyoto

PREVIOUS - Read HERE for Hotspot #21
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Hotspot #22 and #23 : The Romantic Train and Thousands of Bamboos

When we woke up, the Thai guy already in his non-flowery shirt. He’ll be in Kiyomizudera Temple, that was what he said. We prayed not to bump into him since Kiyomizu is listed in today’s itinerary, alongside Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Sanjusangendo, and Gion.

There were two shared bathrooms and one shared toilet outside the dorm. Luckily, we, Asian, woke up earlier than others, so there was no definition of queuing to bathe. Since we booked this hostel for two days, we left our bags in the dorm lockers. After a quick light breakfast of 2 packs of cereal each, we went down and started our journey.

The hostel reception provided us the map to bus stop, 750 meters towards a shrine located at the end of the street. Posting postcard isn't my thing, but here in Kyoto, it was quite fun to do. I posted a postcard to MasMZ since she personally requested it. Same to Fatt, who requested Hiroshima postcard for her personal collection.
P/S: Thanks to Chawana again, for the advice of getting around Kyoto via bus.

Walking along the Gion district gave a different view compared to Tokyo and Hiroshima. In Tokyo, everything was fast, informative, and helpful. In Hiroshima, everything was slow, peaceful, and friendly. But in Kyoto, it was some sort of something that was stuck in between of Tokyo and Hiroshima. Not too fast, not too slow. Not too friendly, not too ignorant. Touristy was my first impression, but I still love it.

Too early to make any conclusion, we hopped on a bus via back door, to Kyoto Station.

P/S: Thanks to Chawana again and again, for telling us that the bus entry is at the back door, while bus exit is at the front door.

On the bus, we purchased Kyoto City Bus One-day Pass with 500yen each. Once arrived, we had a quick pose in front of the Kyoto Station, before we walked into the station, and took a train ride to Saga Arashiyama Station on JR Sagano Line.
The train was completely full with teenagers in school uniform and officers in coat. We had to squeeze in, to run from these school kids who disobeyed the train policy, by talking loudly. Kore wa kyoka sa rete iru? Shinai yo!

Once arrived, we had to walk out from the JR station, and walked to the Saga Torokko Station. There, we saw an info board of map around Saga Arashiyama, IN JAPANESE!

Again, I sang “Gunakanlah bahasa kebangsaan kiiiiiita, marilah amalkan ramai-ramaiiiiii…” Hahaha!

To recap, back in Malaysia, we did discuss with Chawana of getting on this Sagano Scenic Railway a.k.a Sagano Romantic Train, since they didn’t include it in their plan. Due to that, hubby and I kept on watching the scenic train’s video that full with sakura trees along the track, over and over, to convince ourselves that it is worth to ride. Eager to know whether the video is true as it takes, we decided to try.
We then walked in, and purchased two tickets, with the price of 600yen. That was the price for one way ride, right to the final stop, Torokko Kameoka Station. Meaning, to come back to Arashiyama, we are needed to walk to the nearest JR Station, and take JR train for free. Else, another 600yen is burnt.
“Ok. The moment of truth is yet to be revealed, in one hour time.” We waited for the train to board at 9.07am.

“Eh, wanna eat first?” It was 8 in the morning. Cannot tahan already.

“There, got oba-chan (auntie) selling onigiri.” We approached her.

“Sumimasen, korewa…fish?” I looked at hubby and said “Fish apa? What is fish in Nihongo?”

“Cookbook…cookbook…” Thank god hubby asked me to copy some keywords in our Tour Cookbook! “Haa, sakana.”

“Ah…korewa…sakana?” I repeated to the lady.

“Iye. Ano…” She said no and paused. Looking for the right word, I guessed. So we paused, as well. Nganga.

“Ee…salmong! Salmong!” She confidently told us while pointing to one of the onigiri.

I looked at hubby, “Haaa…salmon la tu…”

“Ni, salmon, kudasaiiii.” Ignoring proper grammar, I showed two fingers for two pieces of salmon onigiri. We then ate in front of the classic steam coach, outside the Saga Torokko Station.

Once finished, we went back inside and got into the designated red-yellow coach and sat on assigned wooden bench, as per printed on the ticket. No one was standing. But trust me, the moment the train started to move, everyone was standing! You know why???

With emerald green river, topaz brown hill, the picturesque was nearly perfect. NEARLY! Why? Coz sapphire pink sakura trees were not fully occupied the trail. Cit!
On the move, train officers came to approach passengers for picture service (with charges). Simultaneously, the info along the 7km was broadcasted in 25 minutes of train ride journey. It directed passengers to look on the right and left of the view. Since it was a one-way ride towards Kameoka, sitting on the right side of the train was the right thing to do. But dream on, seating is auto-arranged.

Taking photos while standing in slow-pace-moving-classic-train wasn’t easy. I gave this task to hubby since he managed to get one spot near the window, behind another passenger’s seating. Meanwhile, I just continued agape.

The train, once, stopped in a very dark tunnel that showed the old signboard of Arashiyama Torokko Station.
Few minutes later, we saw people rafting on the river. We then reached Kameoka Station and disembarked. All the passengers quickly ran to the end of the train and started to snap pictures, including us. When the train boarded, everyone was waving to the train. Sporting kan? Hahaha!

I grabbed few fridge magnets from the station store, and we walked to the Umahori Station (JR station). Internet said it was only 5 minutes walk. LIAR! It was double up! (Maybe the empty field made it longer.)
With JR train, time taken to get back to Arashiyama was cut into half. Once arrived, we went back to the info board (that written in Japanese), trying our luck to find the Bamboo Groves’s location.

“I remember Chawana said, they had to walk in between small alleyways between houses. Let’s not wasting our time, I’ll ask him.” I walked to the rickshaw puller nearby. Luckily, he spoke English very well and showed us the direction. He initially invited us to ride his two-wheeled rickshaw but I rejected. No money lah. We can't even afford to rent a bicycle pun...
Though locals didn’t really know what is Bamboo Groves, more or less, they understood that I was asking for “BAMBU”. The direction became easier after I asked one urban-Japanese chick (and she spoke English quite well too), where she was helpful enough to walk us to the small alley.

“Aaaaaaa…arigato!” I thanked her once I saw lines of dried-bamboo-leave-fence, on both sides.

Since Chawana had taken lots of pictures of this hotspot, we basically got the idea on how it looked like. So we just enjoy the view of thousands of tall-straight-thin bamboos. Walking the quiet path while watching the bamboo stalks swayed gently back and forth was pretty attractive. For centuries, these bamboo have been used to manufacture baskets, boxes, mats, and other local products. "Ala macam kat M'sia takde pokok buluh." I recalled what Chawana said. Hahaha!

Suddenly, I saw maiko! “Maiko! Maiko!” I hinted hubby to take photo.
“Is she a real maiko? What is she doing here?” We looked around. Clearly, no customers to serve.

“Can’t wait to see real maiko in Gion, tonight!”

“Let’s go. We have three more places to go before chasing maiko/geisha.” Hubby smiled.

Read HERE for Travelista version.  


xplorer said...

awsomeeeeee, the best

Twilight Man said...

Waaaaahhhhh! I love your photos very much.... *slapping myself* for not visiting the scenic emerald green river and bamboo graves!

Where are you going next? I am thinking of Silk Road.

Supermeng Malaya said...

serUis lawa

Unknown said...

Hamboiiiiiiiiiiiii banyaknya nama Chawanna!!! femes kejap..hahahaha

Cantik sungai2 tu..wana cam emerald ha..time kitorg ari tu pokok2 pun togel gak, tapi siap ujan lagi..

Hmm yg bamboo tu kite je ngada2 lebih, mcm la kt msia tak de bamboo kan..kt lake garden tepen pun bersepah keh keh keh...

Biqque said...

xplorer, tx!

twilight, a reason to revisit :D for this year, danang and sydney. wow silk road! envy you!

supermeng, seKain. terima kasUh.

na, glamer uuuuu! hahaha! aah, sungai tu cun, cuma ketapi tu tak benti banyak kali. benti skali jer. cis! tu yg banyak gambar gegar. berebut tingkap lagi ngan orang. pemandangan plak sebelahhhhhh jerrrrrrr! hish!

ye, kita mmg ngada konon apa yg ada kat obersi tu gempak sgt la kan hahaha! said...



sobs~ cntiknya..subhanallah....cptlah dtg 2015 ni. HAHAHAH

Anash said...

sambil lap air liur...sambil menganga..sambil makan mee goreng depan pc...sambil ode cendol dari mamak (ok ..itu tipu), sambil menganga balik, ...sambil berangan...sambil tengok hp kot2 ada no tansri mana nak support bayar tiket ke jepun,..sambil pikir nak jual apa nak niaga...


Biqque said...

abbaz, hahahaha mengong, ko pegi nanti, aku jeleskan ko balik okeh? hahahaha!

anash, tan sri? hahaha! bleh jer tuuuuu, mana tau ada yg mendengar rintihan kan? kan? i nak gakkkkk!

ye, jepun mmg cantik. MEMANG CANTIK!

f i d a j a c o b said...

Hi biqque,

Jumpa your link kat blog danny...
Japan masa sekolah2 dulu memang always be my first country to visit. Tapi sampai la ni tak terpergi.. Hmmm... Planning to go next year... Sakura season sebab i love cherry blossom.. So romantic! hehe

BTW, sbb AA nanti akan pergi sapporo, kalau 12 days, agak2 sempat ke cover sapporo, osaka and tokyo? haha just bg opinion based on your experience la kot.. I donno... Might probably buy the JR pass tu if nak pergi sana skali.

Kekdahnya my plan would be, turun osaka balik ikot tokyo. Or turun sapporo balik ikut tokyo..

Tqq =)terpanjang plak haha

Biqque said...

fida, tx for reading :) haah, danny tu member i :D

i mmg suka japan, and lps pegi, lagi la i suka japan. and if u nak pegi sana time sakura, MEMANG i rekemen sgt sbb mmg cun! TAPI u kena betul2 tgk timing dia tau.

12 hari utk tokyo ke bawah and tokyo ke atas adalah sangat sempat (pilih salah satu side). PROVIDED u kena well-prepared, as in, dah tau mana nak pegi, train/bus dah tau mana nak turun kul bape sume, segala fees and passes dah tau. or else, buang masa kat sana sbb masa tu sangatttt la terhad dan bernilai. so nak turun mana naik mana tak kisah, asalkan iti sume dah ready.

another thing is, if u jenis travel cam kitorang, mmg bleh. i mean, travel lite. bawak satu bagpack jer sbb nak hop to one another bleh letak beg kat coin locker jer.

hope this help :) said...

@biqque - xpe..nnti aku jeleskan kau dgn taman harry potter yg baru tu..hahahahahah

f i d a j a c o b said...

Hehe.. tau2 you kawan dia. Hehe dia selalu cerita! Hehe..

I tak sure lah jenis travel light or tak, boleh kot packing light2 jah heheh

Sebab apa nak naik sapporo sbb i rasa AA sure akan bg promo punya untuk sapporo tu.. hehe.. sbb new route kan.

haih tak sabarnya.. so best tak feeling2 jalan bawah pokok sakura.. benda tu for me mmg romantic! kekekeke... sbb macam hujan... tapi hujan bunga gittew

Cawan said...

wahhh naik romantik train gitu.. ko bercium2 ke kat atas ni?!

chawanna pergi mase tu bercium bawah payung transparent jek.. gitu.. ha haaa..

seingat, ko nk repeat Korea, Japan tahun dpn kan?

Biqque said...

abbaz, aaaaaaaaa aku suka harry potter tauuuu! cis!

fidajacob, try la dulu tgk camne. aah, AA kalo new route slalu buat promo, kena grab cepat2 la. masa i pegi, tiket tak brapa murah sbb masa tu masih 3x seminggu fly ke tokyo. patu sakura plak tu.

feeling jalan bawah pokok sakura? BEST SGT! pantang nampak, nak je amik gambar. nak petik takut! tapi i ada bawak balik 3 kuntum :)

cawan, cium? hahahahaha! tak plakkkk! peluk2 masa hujan sambil berjalan dibawah payung lutsinar tu ada la hik!

repeat korea and japan? decoy jer tuuuuuuu! nak pi EU lah. oppsss! hahahahahahahaha!

Rush Murad said...

Salam. Great pics n travelogue... like it very much! :)

smoothiesices said...

nice photo!
sayang i tak sempat pegi naik Sagano train time tue..menyesal lak lepas view your photo.Sobs,rugi!
well, when i was there dah learn the lesson..walking distance la,walk 5 minutes last kena double up kan time tue..japanese walk really fast okkay.

Biqque said...

rush murad, salam...tx! hope you can get some ideas on japan :D

smoothiesices, tx :) owh really? sayang gak tu sbb mmg best. takpe la, next time maybe.

exactly, japanese jalan laju gile! and mmg nampak dkt, tapi jauhhhh sgt hahaha!

melvin said...

I love kyoto.too bad i didnt see a geisha.i was told its hard to catch one so i didnt want to waste time hanging around gion and not seeing one geisha.lucky you.

Biqque said...

melvin, i am so fascinated about them, that's y i pushed myself to get to see them :) neverming, there's always next time :D

Don't Afraid to Try said...


nak tanye...u pergi naik sagano train ni mase bulan berape? sakura masih byk lg tak mase pergi hr tu?

Biqque said...

DATT, aku pegi awal bulan april, masa tu mmg kejar sakura kat every tempat yg aku gi (aku panggil trip tu "chasing sakura"). aku mmg tgk tarikh kat japan eguide tu, kira untung la sbb setiap tempat yg aku gi sume tengah blooming :D

unlike this year, sakura kuar awal skit, ujung bln mac dah ada. so kena rajin2 la tgk expected time kat japan eguide tu :) tgk tempat, tgk date.

scattie said...

This is nice! Lucky I stumbled upon your blog.

I'm planning my first backpacking trip to Osaka on April 2014, so I'm frantically compiling info and stuff. A bit overwhelmed but excited at the same time.

Love your photos! Hopefully I can catch some awesome sakura viewing like you did!

Biqque said...

hi scattie, glad that my post helped u in compiling ur amazing backpacking! have a great one ya? go chase sakura, they are worth to appreciate! :)

Anonymous said...

nice nice. nak tanya boleh? masuk bamboo forest tu FOC ke? sebab i tak jumpa lah admission fee dia. thanks in advance. (:

Biqque said...

anon, ye free :)

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