Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

March 16, 2012

Hirakata to Arashiyama

Filed under: Japan — Tags: , — admin @ 8:44 am

66 Kilometer Bike Ride.

Here is Takuto and Toyo at the river in front of the Togetsu Bridge at the end of our marathon 33 kilometer bike ride to Arashiyama against a howling head wind. We started off at Hirakata which is west of Osaka.

Takuto and Toyo in front of the river at Arashiyama

We left our bikes on the other side of the river and walked into the town of Arashiyama over the Togetsu Bridge. Togetsu means “moon crossing” – this bridge was named by Emperor Kameyama because of the resemblance to that phenomenon.

Jinrikisha, “rickshaw” in English

Arashiyama has been a popular tourist destination for more than a thousand years, noted for its natural beauty, mainly cherry blossoms and fall colours. There are quite a few Zen temples in the area and I think one of them has been designated as a world heritage site.

bamboo thicket
Bamboo thicket

The bamboo forests around Arashiyama are some of the most beautiful in Japan. The sound of the wind in this bamboo forest has been voted as one of “one hundred must-be-preserved sounds of Japan” by the Japanese government.

bamboo forest
Sagano Bamboo Forest

We had a buffet style dinner (Kyoto “Obanzai”) at one of the restaurants where we could eat all we wanted for an hour. I had about 3 dishes and tried nearly everything that was put out. I did not like any of the slimy dishes but loved the wasabi vegetables, french onion with mayonnaise, tempura, deep fried fish and pork. The dessert of custard and cream was absolutely delicious. After our feed we went for a walk around the town and saw the Jyojyakkouji temple and the Rakushisya Residence which is a thatched hut that belonged to the 17th century haiku poet Mukai Kyorai. Mukai was a student of Basho Matsuo, one of Japan’s greatest poets.

Togetsu Bridge
Togetsu Bridge

Back over the bridge we went and back on our bikes, stopping at Sewaritei, in the Kyoto district, riding along the Yodo river. After another 33 kilometers we found ourselves back at Hirakata. At least the wind was at our backs on the return journey so it was much easier.

Hirakata Bridge
Takuto and Toyo at the Hirakata Bridge

Thanks to Takuto and Toyo for being such wonderful companions on this bike ride. Thanks especially for Takuto who pushed me along with “ganbatte”, which means “suck it up, princess!”. 🙂

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