Oh how I miss Japan. Isn't it funny how you can miss somewhere even when you spent such a small amount of time there? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm reading Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Foremost Geisha by Mineko Iwasaki. It takes me back to all the streets we wandered in Kyoto, and all the fun we had at bars and restaurants in the evening - it's such a magical story.
The Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama is just beautiful. It's so peaceful and calming. I mean, if you can ignore the countless tourists and chaos all around you - which isn't really all that difficult after a while. When we visited the temperature in Kyoto was reaching nearly 35 degrees, and the shade of the bamboo was very welcoming. Adam spent some time looking at hand-painted postcards while Sara Jane and I had an impromptu photo shoot in a small bamboo grove we discovered - until we started attracting attention and had to stop because we were embarrassed.
It doesn't take long to walk through the bamboo grove so we decided to hop over to the Kinkakuji, or Golden Pavilion - just to have a look. The number of tourists there was overwhelming. We spent some time admiring at the very picturesque zen temple, had a walk around the grounds and sat under a tree in the shade for a bit before heading back to the city.
That evening we had a hilarious conversation with a taxi driver who was keen to practice his English - he seemed particularly proud of the term "world heritage site" and repeated it constantly. It was one of those surreal travel moments that seem insignificant at the time but they stick with you forever.