To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I first visited Arashiyama (嵐山). Obviously I'd heard about the famous bamboo forest beforehand, but apart from that? The neighbourhood and its surroundings were a total mystery to me. I was even more clueless without my phone at this point, but no matter where you are in Kyoto following the trail of tourists is usually a safe bet. So that's exactly what I did!
Just a sneak peak of the bamboo groves to come! The trees provided some much needed shade from the heat that day, thank goodness.
Before heading out to the bamboo forest I decided to check out Tenryu-ji (天龍寺), a Zen temple at the foot of the mountains. I was actually pleasantly surprised, and spent a decent amount of time there! In particular, I think I could've stared at this pond garden for hours. Something about the water with the mountains in the background made feel so relaxed, despite being far from alone in the moment.
I have no idea who it's meant to be, but this face popped up quite a few times at Tenryu-ji! It still makes me chuckle a little on the inside...
The bamboo forest was actually much smaller than I expected, and packed to the brim. It was pretty much impossible to take photos without someone getting in the way, but luckily I managed to get a nice shot of myself thanks to a kind stranger!
If you walk a little further, you'll find the popular Kimono Forest tucked away in Arashiyama Station. The patterned pillars display traditional textiles, and actually light up when it gets dark! Sadly I didn't have time to stick around for that long, though.
Aaand that was my day in Arashiyama! I kind of regretted not spending more time there, since there were a ton of shops and eateries I didn't get to explore properly. Definitely something to keep in mind for the next time I visit, though!