The bamboo grove of Arashayama is an image I’ve seen posted online numerous times and finally it was our chance to see it. Sadly everyone else had the same idea…it was heaving and totally impossible to take a photo without anyone else in it. The bamboo forest wasn’t as vast as I expected, just a 10 minute walk and we’d seen the whole thing, but it was very beautiful and I loved how tall and thick the shoots were towering above us.
Afterwards we took a stroll around the town and along the blossom lined river. It was a lovely area full of locals enjoying Hanami; basically admiring the blossoms and a brilliant excuse for a good old piss up and picnic beneath the falling petals.
Later on we went across town to Inari for the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The main attraction here is the thousands of torii gates leading to the top of the mountain. It was amazing to see these orange gates (more like arches) in person. Apparently individuals or companies can donate new gates starting at around £2500 and up to £6500! I loved how they changed colour as the sun shone through the gaps and the gates curved left and right. Some areas the gates were so close together that almost no sun entered and it was like a red tunnel. It was extremely busy again and took a lot of waiting and patience to get a photo without anyone in it, but it was possible. We didn’t make it all the way up to the summit as poor Craig still had a dodgy belly and lacked energy.