Bamboo, Monkeys, Bling and Booty

It's Hypnotizing...

Today was all about Bamboo, Monkeys, Bling, and as good fortune would have it, finally some Booty. I will leave you to ponder this.

When I left you all last night I was about to go out wandering Kyoto. It was an interesting experience. I have spoken a little about the juxtaposition of old and new Kyoto. It is certainly on show at night too, although the new tends to overpower the old.

Just in case you are under the impression that Kyoto is all this…

Geisha District at Night. No Geisha's to be seen 🙁

or this…

Feeling hungry?

then literally 5 minutes walk and you are here…

Now this is the Japan everyone knows!

It seems that half of Kyoto is out in downtown, eating and shopping. It wasn’t a surprise, but quite a contrast to the days vibe, at least where I have been anyway.

Gion in particular seemed to be the “entertainment” district. And by “entertainment” I do mean to put it in quotes, if you know what I mean (nudge nudge wink wink). I finally was surrounded by drunken Japanese businessmen! I didn’t have the nerve however to wander into any place, having no idea what I would be in for. NOTHING was in english, so I will leave some mysteries in tact. While going into a place like this could be cool…

Sure it's cute on the surface, but what lies underneath?

… sorry lads, not prepared to take the punt.

The rest of the night was more World Cup shenanigans with a bunch of folk from the hostel. We had a good array of nationalities last night and we were all happy to see South Africa win. Even the two French guys were resigned to the fact their team was crap.

So, to today. A low key kinda day. I had two main goals: the Arashiyama area and Kinkakuji Temple. Arashiyama is on the outskirts of Kyoto and is famed for one main thing… the bamboo forest. While in the area I visited Tenryuji Temple, which while very cool, I felt I was getting a bit templed out. So a respectful but quick wander led me to what I was after…

Wow, that's pretty green

The bamboo forest is quite spectacular. Rather than being a massive forest, it is a relatively small patch with a nice short path through. It was pretty quiet while I was there, so I got to experience some gentle swaying bamboo to myself. Quite an experience actually.

My other main focus of Arashiyama was a bit more of a hike. Literally. I only found out just before coming that Arashiyama has its very own Monkey Park. Oh, yeah. Monkeys! Iwatayama Monkey Park is at the top of the main hill overlooking Arashiyama and has about 200 wild monkeys roaming around up top. Hanging out with wild monkeys? Forget temples!

But when I say the top, I mean the top. I wasn’t quite ready for the 20 min hike up, especially in some sweltering humidity. But it was monkeys. So up I went. What made feel some pangs of excitement was this…

The First Rule of Monkey Club is...

Rules! Don’t stare at the monkeys? Ah, they are wild monkeys indeed. While they were clearly used to people, apparently they could still switch in the blink of an eye.

So on my arrival at the top, these two were waiting for me…

Welcome to Iwatayama

Now, there weren’t as many monkeys as I thought there might be. But monkeys in the wild are cool. I will have to follow Brett’s lead and go visit some serious monkey parks. What was cool about this was that you could feed the monkeys if you wanted. However feeding out in the open was a no-no, as on the whiff of food, you were likely to have a dozen monkeys tearing you apart. So it was all done from the safety of this…

I want foooooooood!

I decided not to feed them, leaving that to the kids. So on I went back down the hill to catch a train back to downtown Kyoto. My destination was one of the last temples on my list. Another one you ask? Well, this was Kinkakuji, or the golden pavillion. Can you guess why it is called that?

Now that's some serious bling

Pretty freakin’ impressive. While it was certainly an assault on the eye, I didn’t find this temple as awesome overall as some of the others I had been to. Part of the reason was no doubt this…

Everyone say "チーズ!"

This place was PACKED. It is clearly a temple for those on a limited time, maximum wow tour. It did make it a bit hard to slow down and enjoy however. But it did make you gasp then first laying eyes on it, no question.

So what is this booty I spoke of? Well, I had a bit of a walk back to the train station. Meandering along I passed a supermarket. Now, having had no luck in all kinds of convenience stores for kit kats, it was time to raid supermarkets. So in I wandered. And there they stared at me…


A bag of Aloe Yoghurt Kit Kats. A flavour I hadn’t eaten! Needless to say they were snapped up quick smart. And not having to savour each tiny morsel like the past, I tucked in to one.

Aloe Yoghurt Kit Kat mini

It was defintely Aloe and defintely Yoghut flavoured. Having had aloe drinks before they were clearly related. Had quite an aloe aftertaste too. I would defintely rate it quite highly in the taste department. Not so high in the wacky factor, but it was a start.

* Note… I will probably do some separate entries for Kit Kat reviews. Yes, I’m that serious.

I also tried another couple of supermarkets, but to no avail. I did however find this one and only in a Lawsons along the walk too…

Green Tea variation?

I think it is some kind of desert green tea thing, but can’t be sure. I haven’t eaten it yet. Since I have only found one, I might save it for a while. Can’t guarantee it will make it home though.

So that gets you all up to date. More World Cup tonight. But time to get some food. Keep your fingers crossed for more Kit Kats. Cheerio folks.


  1. Phil
    June 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Love the monkeys, that is seriously cool.

    Yes – the French soccer team are rubbish!!

  2. GlenAyako
    June 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    The elusive Yoghurt kit-kats!!! Not quite the booty that i was looking forward to.

  3. Bolden
    June 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Sweet as cracker!
    No Monobos?

    Aussies up tonight, hope you enjoy your viewing!

  4. June 25, 2010 at 1:42 am

    You finally got to taste more exotic KitKat! Yay!


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