Arashiyama: My Heaven on Earth

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Not only was the Bamboo Grove a place one can only describe as a fairytale but the mountains and the temples of Arashiyama undoubtedly outshines everything I have seen so far in Kyoto.

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That does not mean to say that what is in Kyoto is not beautiful but even the most beautiful temples or shrines that glorify this magnificent city could not compare to that of the architecture of Arashiyama.

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Even the air is filled with magic there. 

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I decided that after a few groups of my peers had ventured out there and told me all about the wonders that lay in it’s hills and rivers that I would go myself and explore it’s hidden roads and sacred passages. 

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No amount of description or anticipation could have readied me for this next destination. It was already blistering hot and it hadn’t even hit noon but I was ambitious and was determined to see as much of this district as I could have possibly managed. And I did. 

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I started off at the foot of Tenryuji Temple, actively avoiding the crowds of tourist being cattled around and stuck to my own private tour. I realise that I may have gone the wrong way round but it turned out in my favour in the end as after walking through this absolutely breath-taking temple I happened across a sign pointing towards the Bamboo Grove! And within minutes I found myself under the safe protection of the tall bamboo and their leaves shading me from the blinding sun. It was suddenly so cool around me and every breathe was intoxicated by the perfumes of the shoots and the grass around them. 

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I felt like a tiny little ant in tall, tall grass.

It was fantastic. 

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The path then turned off to face Daikakuji Temple: the mother of all temples. It was completely perfect. There was a humming of peace throughout the temple walls and every corner I turned there was another astonishing painting on the walls, and temples within temples scattered around the grounds and before I knew it I was standing in front of the most incredible pond spilling over with Lotus flowers and their leaves. 

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I could do nothing but sit there in awe. The gentle, warm breeze washed over me and I was entranced. 

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If ever someone could describe Heaven, this would be the image in my mind.

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Better yet, I was nowhere near completing my expedition of Arashiyama. In fact soon I was rowing a boat on the river side and basking under the sun with my toes dipped in the cool water. I even climbed to the top of one very steep mountain (or maybe it was a hill and it felt like a mountain to my puny legs…) and got to feed these adorable and fascinating monkeys. At this point I can happily say that I had never been more happy than to stare out to the distance and embrace all that I have done so far and all that I could see in front of me at this mountain top. 

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I am so lucky is all I could conjure up in my mind and I wasn’t wrong. I am so lucky. I love it here and I will be so sad to go when the time comes. 

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