After the ferry ride, we walked to the nearby Miyajimaguchi Train Station and just took the next train to Hiroshima. It seemed like every train from there going eastward goes to Hiroshima, so it wasn’t a problem. We had seen the train connections online and knew that you can go with a Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka and change there for a JR Special Rapid Train to Kyoto. The train ride was fine and included in our JR Rail Pass, and it also took less than two hours from Hiroshima to Shin-Osaka and about 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto. We had a lot of waiting time at the stations though. We finally arrived at the huge and modern train station in Kyoto. I was still feeling groggy, and my blistered feet which developed into wounds were almost unbearable. Thanks to the ever-reliable plaster that I bought from Germany. It surely made my life a lot easier. We did not have to walk long until we got to our hotel, the APA Hotel Kyoto-Eki Horikawa-Dori. Guess what, we couldn’t check in yet even if we asked for early check-in a few times (in all hotels in Japan) before this journey. I’ve already resigned to my fate of not being able to shower before 16:00 p.m.
We had booked a room for four nights and hoped it would be enough time for Kyoto. That turned out to be not enough. Kyoto was the former capital of imperial Japan. It definitely has so many attractions that you need much more time to explore. Our first priority was the Arashiyama Area. We walked back to the train station and first bought a 2-day-ticket for local transportation (bus and subway) at the shop just in front of the train station, which we would need the next day. We still had the 7-day-Rail Pass and used it to take a train to Saga Arashiyama Station, which took about 15 minutes. From the station, we walked to the Togetsukyo Bridge and soon realised that it was quite busy. The bridge across the river was beautiful, and we were in the mood for the Monkey Park Iwatayama and therefore crossed the bridge and walked to the right, along the river, where you can already see the sign to the entrance.
We were hoping to see wild monkeys in Miyajima, the day before on Mount Misen, but there weren’t any in sight. So this time we were sure to see some, but first, we had to walk up a mountain, because the Monkey Park is pretty much on top of it. Actually, you have to go up some stairs, come to a shrine, where also the entrance is, then some more stairs leading up to the hiking trail onto the platform on top where most of the apes are because they are fed there. I was getting the flu and felt a bit weak, so I wasn’t that amused when I realised how much walking is involved. Still, the view was great, and we finally saw monkeys!
From the beautiful garden of the temple, we could continue to the attraction, we were most excited for, the Bamboo Grove. It was pretty spectacular with the huge bamboo trees all around us.