It always takes me a few days to get into a groove with the conversion rate. In Korea, 7,000 won is about $7. But 7,000 yen is about $70! But three days in, I have a better idea of what I am actually paying.
We woke up at a better time today which meant we had a better schedule. Our first destination was Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama. We had to take three different trains to get there, but it was so worth it! The third train was a single electronic trolley car that went through the countryside. It reminded me of a Studio Ghibli movie.
We arrived at Arashiyama and walked down a street of cute little shops that I decided I needed to check out on the way back. There was a great pedestrian bridge that led to a mountain and I was thrilled. This was the side of Japan I had been dying to see last Christmas. Traditional houses, boats, countryside.
We followed the signs to the monkey park where it said to park bikes and strollers. Then we walked up some steps to a shrine and were a little confused. The entrance to the monkey park was off to the left. Adults pay 1,100 yen (like $11) but 3 year olds and under are free.
The sign said it was a twenty minutes hike to the monkey park. It was mostly uphill and some of the path was paved. It wasn’t dangerous, but Clarissa definitely didn’t walk the entire trail. I was impressed though because she walked at least half of it. On this hike, we decided that we do need to bite the bullet and buy an ergo or something because I know I want to do the Great Wall of China next year and we can’t bring a stroller there either. It would have made the trip easier to wear Clarissa on my back.
But it was so worth it when we got to the top! There were a few monkeys hanging out. Then we went inside a cabin that has cages on the windows. You can pay 100 yen (about $1) for a small bag of peanuts, apples, or bananas to feed the monkeys.
Clarissa had a great time! We ended up doing all three different foods. Clarissa was able to feed 4 different monkeys, including a baby monkey.
Since it is on top of a mountain, you can look out and see most of Kyoto from up there.
After our hike, we went back in to town for some shopping. I found some fun placemats with a cat that looks like Mittens. We had awesome sushi for lunch. We had ice cream too. Clarissa and I chose vanilla, but Tim went with green tea.
We took a few trains to Yassaka Jinja Shrine. Along the street, we bought a small geisha doll for Clarissa and a magnet for me. We also found Kanji (Japanese) signature stamps for all three of our names.
The shrine was clean and not super crowded but not spectacular. It was also not very stroller friendly. There were several sets of steps and no ramps.
Tim was more excited to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine because of the many gates it has. This shrine was massive and has gates that go all the way up the mountain. It had a few ramps for the bottom buildings but there was not a place to park the stroller to go up the mountain to see all of the gates. Clarissa loved the wolf statues though.
It was supposed to rain so we headed to the new Aeon mall which is right across from Kyoto station. We ate yummy Indian curry and Naan for dinner. Then Clarissa and I went to check out the Steam Locomotive Cafe which had Thomas and some other Japanese model trains set up. They sold drinks and hamburgers as well as train merchandise. Tim visited a few electronics stores but wasn’t impressed.
Tonight was the first time we made it back early enough to catch the hotel shuttle home. It was packed! But it is nice to have Clarissa in bed before 10 for a change. I think we will have a more cooperative girl tomorrow. Hopefully the weather man is wrong and it won’t rain the entire day.