Monday, January 4, 2016

Arashiyama Bamboo Groves

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Tuesday morning in Kyoto. We woke up a little early today, because we are planning to visit one of the largest flea market in Kyoto, namely  (Kobo-san) in the temple courtyard  (To-ji). The market takes place all day on the 21st of each month throughout the year. Kobo-san is a form of tribute to a Shinto priest, (Kobo Daishi), which is placed at the To-ji temple by Emperor Saga in the year 823 AD. He died on March 21, so as to commemorate haul Kobo Daishi flea market held every 21. The number of sellers who participate can reach 2,000 merchants, of course, with buyers who did not lose much.

At first I was planning to go alone to hunt for souvenirs request my mother, but when I mentioned this to friends, they also want to participate. We start the journey from the hostel at 07.00. Kyoto city was still asleep because the streets are still deserted, only a few people who looked at the road. We walk to Kyoto Station, and a new look in the morning that the massive size of the station and looks magnificent. Much larger when compared to Gambir station, Manggarai or Jakarta Kota. From Kyoto Station, we use the local train Kintetsu purpose Yamatosaidaiji the ticket ¥ 150. Toji Station is located just 0.9 km from Kyoto Station, but to save time we boarded the train. Trains were also still quiet morning and we arrived at Toji Station at 07.30.

Toji Station
Out of the Toji Station is not difficult to locate Toji, follow the road to the right after exiting the station. It will be seen  (pagoda 5 levels). On the sidewalk in front of the temple, some traders are already preparing to open stall. But unlike traders in Indonesia, they are not to sell on the road and shut pedestrian. We then entered into the temple through the main door. Inside, traders are already quite a lot, but most are still preparing their stalls. We then split up to search for "treasure" hidden in this place.

For myself there are a few items I was looking for. The first is the statue of legendary creatures Japan, the Tanuki. The original form of this creature is described as a racoon who has the ability to transfer into animal or human form. He is associated with good luck kanji can be seen in figure 8 on a bottle of wine in his hand. Other luck associations that exist in Tanuki are:
  •     A hat to protect yourself from problems and bad weather
  •     Big eyes interpreted as concern for the environment and prudent decision making
  •     Sake bottle symbolizes the high moral standards
  •     Tail big as themselves and form a counterweight to the power of success obtained
  •     Big testes symbolizes wealth
  •     Securities symbolize the nature of the trust and confidence
  •     Large stomach is associated as the courage and calmness in decision-making
  •     Friendly smile
    Tanuki statue sold in stores in the area Arashiyama, but of course the price is expensive craft. For that I am looking at the flea market. Previously, I had time to research about the price, there is a US citizen who buy it at a price of ¥ 2,500. The price I make reference when looking for Tanuki statues.

    I trace the maze of Kobo-san slowly, because items sold here are very diverse and numerous, both antique and modern, fresh goods such as vegetables to everyday tools. I could find a seller who is one of the merchandise is Tanuki statues, when I asked the price is ¥ 4,000. If the Kobo-san is located in Southeast Asia, most likely I could bargain, but in Japan the culture of fixed price is not negotiable, I think the price is too expensive, besides Tanuki statues of his condition was not too special.

    I then went around again to the backyard of the temple. Here I find a seller with lots of choice of shapes and sizes Tanuki statues. When I asked the price (in Japanese), only ¥ 3,000, with a fairly large size and good manufacturing quality. I agree with the price and buy it directly. Another item I am looking for is Norin (a kind of fabric widely used by traditional Japanese restaurant in front of the entrance) orders a friend, but in Kobo-san price is very high, about ¥ 5,000-6,000. I decided to look for somewhere else.

    When the day wore it turns more and more traders who just arrived here and opened the stall is to start selling. I had looked behind the main part of the temple and looked very long row of sellers. Kobo-san was about to begin.

    Around 08.30, I'm looking for my friends, and found them near the entrance. They say half an hour looking for me to notify its findings. Ray find a dealer one of the items we are looking for, namely a suitcase. The vendors sell a variety of bags and one of them is a former large suitcases, which is offered for ¥ 700. We had been planning to buy a single large suitcase as a souvenir for the family and our colleagues that we will combine in order to save space and baggage charges.

    The first suitcase notified by Ray told me smaller, for ¥ 500, but we see no other larger suitcase and then asking the price. Because of differences in size quite substantially with little price difference, we decided to buy big after checking the condition of the outside in, and found only slight defects in strap shirt in it. If buying new, we crush the bag for a minimum of ¥ 15,000. This suitcase into our cheapest purchase record for Japan.

    Outside Kobo-san, we got interested in a stall that sells  (Yukata), traditional Japanese summer clothes. However, because no seller after we waited a few minutes, we went back to the hostel to check-out and prepare to get around Kyoto. We re-boarded the train Kintetsu Kyoto Line to Kyoto Station.

    Check-out process is running slow, because we have to tidy up the goods, bath and then left the bag in the locker room hostel. Afterwards we had breakfast at Sukiya before starting the journey today. Because it was already noon and saw Raku-bus line very long front of Kyoto Station, I decided to reverse our route, which last visited the place which should be visited first.

    We boarded the train at JR Sagano Line ticket at ¥ 230 to Saga Arashiyama station. The station is a gateway to the former Arashiyama is a pleasure Emperor in the Heian period (794 - 1192 AD). This area is famous for charming bamboo forest. When we arrived, the weather was cloudy this morning turned into the scorching heat with temperatures around 30ยบ C.

    Saga Arashiyama Station
    Exit the station, we could see into the station to see the tourist train Sagano. This train passes through the exotic with the rural scenery of Kyoto. Tickets ¥ 600 one way and takes about 25 minutes to the final destination Kameoka Station. The scenery is most flattering when Sakura flowers bloom in spring and autumn when the leaves turn red and yellow lit which makes the contrast with the surrounding circumstances. But we decided not to ride this train and chose to walk to the Arashiyama bamboo forest.

    The road to the bamboo forest is located next to Station Arashiyama Sagano. Indeed, there are signs to it, but it is written in kanji. Because it is not sure, we follow some people who look like tourists walking towards here. This method proved to be effective, although I had knowingly and misread the map. On the way into the bamboo forest, Adi had to buy ice cream flavors  (green tea) famous for ¥ 250. We had a short break here.

    After that we immediately walked to Arashiyama bamboo forest. Many visitors also enjoy the atmosphere here. In the area of ​​Arashiyama I found a rickshaw pulled by hand. However pedicab driver is not only serves as a means of transportation, but concurrent role as a tour guide. Their ministry is also quite good, visitors are usually two people were given a blanket to warm the body. Their rates are also pretty decent, ranging from ¥ 5,000 for 30 minutes. They pedicab driver who has the official name tag as identification. Usually they 'hang out' in front of the entrance to the tourist area. In Tokyo, they number more than I've found in Arashiyama.

    Finish of Arashiyama, we immediately went to our next destination, the Temple or the famous (Kinkakuji or Golden Pavilion). From Arashiyama we boarded bus number 11. I returned the wrong reference. My goal is stop Yamagoe Nakacho continued by bus to Kinkakuji-michi stop. Bus number 11 was not Yamagoe Nakacho goal, but it stems from the bus Yamagoe Nakacho.

    How to ride the bus in Japan differ from those in Indonesia, Malaysia or even Singapore. Here, passengers up from the back door and down the front door. When the ride, passengers must take a ticket from the machine available (unless already have a subscription card). This ticket bearing the number that indicates the class of the area stop departures. Further price indicator LED above the driver will change according to the distance traveled. There is no conductor to withdraw money, there is only a driver. To pay, in addition to the driver no coin machine as a place to pay.

    So what if I do not bring any change? It is already thought of a way out. There are dime exchanger machine, simply insert ¥ 1,000 bills into the machine, and coins will come out by itself. If you want to get off, put a dime in accordance with the distance along the paper taken when rising earlier in the machine. The driver will make sure the amount of money put in accordance with the distance. No need to hurry, the driver will wait for and assist passengers until the process is complete and will not scold if we do not know how to pay for the bus here.

    In addition, another interesting thing is the Kyoto City Bus One-Day Pass, which is an electronic ticket that allowed me and my friends to ride the bus for free in Kyoto all day, at a price of ¥ 500. Tickets can be purchased at vending machines in front of the central bus stop in front of Kyoto Station. Inn in Kyoto also many who sell electronic tickets, as I do is buy the ticket at the front desk Hostel Kyoto Hana. However, there are limitations in the zone where the pass can be used. If I use a bus outside the zone, then still have to pay, as I did for the bus to stop Nishioji Oike Arashiyama.

    In Nishioji Oike stop, we continue by bus No. 205 to Kinkaku-ji Michi. Since it was in the zone, we use the Kyoto City Bus One-Day Pass. To wear it the first time, enter the pass into the payment machine, located beside the driver. Later, the machine will print the date on the back pass. Take back pass already printed that date. If time riding the bus in the zone, just show pass along with the date when the driver behind the drop. So I do not need to enter a pass into the machine again. Back to bear in mind, riding the back door and down the front door.

    In Kinkaku-ji Michi is not difficult to find the location of Kinkaku-ji Temple, a lot of directions are available, and visitors in and out of the area on foot. We followed them and not how long it has arrived at the front entrance of the temple. The price of admission to the temple Kinkaku-ji is ¥ 500. The main feature of Kinkaku-ji is the Golden Pavilion, located in the middle of a lake surrounded by Japanese-style garden. Very beautiful and looks magnificent.

    When walking in the park, I found the scenery that captivates. Some of the girls visited Kinkaku-ji using yukata and geta sandals complete, hair in a bun with flowers as a sweetener such as women's fashion Japan in ancient times. They look elegant and beautiful that makes a contrast with other visitors that modern dress. Many visitors, especially foreign tourists, were asked to take pictures with them. They are friendly and usually happy to meet the demands of the tourists. Would be difficult to find girls in Indonesia stroll by using kebaya, for example, or other Indonesian traditional clothes to the tourist attractions. Perhaps because of climatic factors and practicality of traditional Indonesian clothing also more meaningful symbolic only used at special times.

    Once satisfied at Kinkaku-ji, we move on to the next destination, ie Philosophy These ("Philosopher's Walk") down the canal between  Temple (Ginkakuji) and Temple  (Nanzenji). From Kinkaku-ji Michi stop to the Higashi-Tennocho we boarded the bus No. 204. The long journey of about 50 minutes. I had overslept many times on the bus. There's an interesting thing when I ride this bus. At an intersection, the bus turned right, but stop halfway. Once I see it, it is a traffic light shows red, and green for pedestrians to cross. The streets were fairly empty that afternoon, there were only two elementary school children were crossing the road jokes regardless of the presence of the bus. The bus driver also waited patiently for the children until at pedestrian and the light turns green before proceeding. Wow, the way here the rule of law and respects the rights of pedestrians. If in Jakarta, the impatient driver would honk both children and violated the traffic lights.

    At 3 pm, we arrived at the stop Higashi-Tennocho. We immediately walked to the canal past the Sen-Oku Hakukokan Museum. This is a museum that contains the family art collection Sumitomo, the Japanese conglomerate. If you want equated with Indonesia, similar to House of Sampoerna in Surabaya. Not far from the museum, we were on the canal side and walked toward Kyoto Ginkaku-ji temple. Actually, lots of cherry trees at the edge of the canal, but because it was at the peak of the spring, re-green foliage color, not pink like the beginning of spring. However, remains a pleasant walking leisurely afternoon, first we ran into some girl who walks by the canal using a yukata.

    30 minutes later we arrived at the entrance area of ​​Ginkaku-ji. However, we decided not to go in there, because besides having to pay extra, ¥ 500, this temple also actually 'unfinished'. Ginkaku-ji temple, famous for its silver pavilion. Unfortunately when the development process, they lack the money to coat the walls of the pavilion with silver. However, the manager retains the name of the silver pavilion. Together with the Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji temple, the silver pavilion temple Ginkaku-ji is a prime tourist spot in Kyoto. I had bought matcha ice cream here, but the price is more expensive than the ¥ 50 when Adi bought in Arashiyama area.

    At 15:40, we plan to go back to the hostel and end the trip in Kyoto. We rode Raku-bus No. 100 to the Kyoto Station. Raku-bus is a bus route in Kyoto serving routes to popular tourist destinations in Kyoto. There are three routes, namely No. 100 route Station Kyoto - Ginkaku-ji. Bus No. 101 route Kyoto Station - Kinkaku-ji, and Bus No. 102 with the aim of Kinkaku-ji - Ginkaku-ji. When on the road, Bus No. 100 past the stop Gion, famous Geisha district. My friend asked me to get off at this stop and look around this area. I immediately said yes and we were soon off at the stop in front of Yasaka-jinja, a Shinto shrine used to be called as Gion-jinja.

    Gion is located in Higashiyama area. At least there are some places of interest in the region, namely the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a Buddhist temple that is part of the Historical Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and ordained as a world cultural heritage site (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Kiyomizudera founded in the early Heian period, precisely the year 798. But the building which currently stands was built in 1633 after the restoration by the time shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu. Interestingly, not a single nail is used during the construction of this temple. Here are Temple Jishu-jinja, which is dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto, the god of love and marriage of the nation of Japan. There are also two "stone of love" apart a distance of 18 meters from each other.

    Other places of interest are Gion Corner and Pontocho, in the west area of ​​Higashiyama. In the past, many Maiko practice in this area to become a Geisha. We were just driving around in the Yasaka-jinja, then to Maruyama Park, a green open space with stunning scenery. If Sakura flowers are blooming or when the autumn, the landscape more interesting. After that we Gion Corner. My friend hoping to catch a glimpse Maiko. Unfortunately, it did not materialize. When we pass in this area, the time shows at 17:00, opening new restaurants and bars. Maybe if we wait a while longer, they will appear. As healers curiosity, many girls wearing yukata stroll in the region.

    Nearly an hour in Higashiyama. After that we decided to have dinner at the Sukiya near the hostel after Raku-ride bus No. 100 to the Kyoto Station. In this Sukiya restaurant, I again find it interesting. Saleswoman here using uniform when it works, and if she is a woman, the hair should bun and wearing a cap. 18.00 Apparently when we arrived is the time to change shifts. One female salesperson who had served during terminate its work and preparing to go home.

    For that he went into a small room next to me and my friends eat. I think he just wanted to pick up groceries less. I was surprised when it came out it has changed with the latest fashion. Shoulder-length hair dyed blonde and overlaid hat cap is the trend among young people. He was wearing a jeans jacket combined with a mini skirt with black stockings. Do not forget to maximize his performance stilleto heel shoes he wears. The salesperson that when using a uniform already look beautiful, become more interesting and attractive.

    If you do not see it working in the restaurant, abstruse for someone to know where he works. Unlike in Indonesia, usually when an employee in uniform, then that person will just chimed in uniform with a jacket when home. But not here. They leave uniform in the office and replace with the desired clothing. After this experience, I do not judge a woman only negative of the way dressed. If he is comfortable with the clothes he was wearing, I gladly honor.

    Finished eating, we shopped at Yodobashi mall, a shopping center is not far from our hostel. I bring a lot of clothes that do not plan to buy clothing. Incidentally there Uniqlo branches here. While Ray around in the store as the center Yodobashi Camera in Japan and Adi seek Puma shoes. Because parted and promised to meet again in the hostel at 20:30.

    In the allotted time, we met again. Ray buy a charger for the camera. While Adi home empty-handed, because he saves his money to shop in Tokyo. I myself, satisfied with a set of clothes. We then took the bag and suitcase that morning deposited in the locker room while saying thank you for the good service and generosity receptionist who allowed us entrust all day bag in a locker room. At 21:00, we rushed to the Kyoto Station which is also a "bus terminal" inter-city inter-prefecture in the evening. Tonight we are going to Tokyo using Willer Express bus.

    Willer Express Bus
    Willer Express bus is a cheap alternative means of transport to travel long distances between cities in Japan. Another alternative that can be used is using Shinkansen trains are quite expensive, can reach ¥ 13,000, but it only takes 2 hours. Or by plane. But if we choose the mode of transport aircraft, we must return to Kansai International Airport, then fly to Haneda Airport or Narita International Airport, before continuing by train to the city center. The options are either expensive, also take longer than the train. Both of the above alternatives also require us to pay extra for lodging one night again.

    Travel routes Kyoto - Tokyo by bus Willer Express for ¥ 4,500 per person takes 7 hours to cover a distance of 461 km, equivalent to the distance from Jakarta - Yogyakarta. Due to the excellent motorway network, travel times faster than the travel time on the island of Java. Those advantages, besides cheap also we could sleep the whole way because the bus leaves at midnight and arrived the next day. We save the cost of lodging one night.

    We are required to check in at the counter Willer Express to the west of Kyoto Station at 23:25. We were given a map and instructions when booking through the Internet. We got there at 22:00. Looks several staff Willer Express is preparing a check-in counter and some passengers began arriving waited hours of departure. This counter is actually a temporary counter made from a folding table. Staff use casual clothes and wearing a pink jacket uniform identity. By not opening the permanent booth, the company has made efficiency because they only served a few hours when the bus departure at midnight.

    As we waited for the bus counters destination Tokyo opened, I again made dumbfounded. An inter-city buses inter-prefectural entrance to the parking area of ​​Kyoto Station. Which makes me amazed is when he saw a woman driver, the conductor of a middle-aged man. Indeed, it is common in Jakarta found helmsman Transjakarta women. But I never found a woman driving the night bus inter-city inter-province in Indonesia with a male conductor. If in Indonesia crowded celebrated emancipation movement, in Japan it has long done. It's nearly midnight in Kyoto and this town will not cease to make me stunned.

    At 23.00, I do check in by showing proof of booking via the Internet. 15 minutes later, the bus Willer Express 252 goals Tokyo arrived and we soon got into after entrust suitcase in the trunk and showed our names on the manifest that is held by the driver. The interior is quite comfortable buses with seats that can be propped up and the curtains were always closed. At 23:25, the bus leaves Kyoto to Tokyo Station. I will miss Kyoto and Kansai area.