Getting lost is a great way to find nice temples

When I was travelling in Japan, I planned almost every second and I was desperate not to miss anything. However, one of our outings was more spontaneous and our exploring lead to a really nice discovery.

On August 5th 2016, we decided to go to Kyoto and hopped on the shinkansen in the hopes of seeing the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. We took a train from Kyoto station to Saga-Arashiyama, which only took 16 minutes and was free with our JR passes. We walked for a little while from the station and we found the bamboo forest.

It was beautiful to look at, but once you’ve walked through and taken a few pictures there isn’t a lot else to do. It was a lot smaller than I expected and it was packed with tourists. I got my instagram worthy shot and then we decided to look elsewhere.

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It is my belief that when you travel, you find the interesting stuff when you get lost and it’s all part of the fun (or maybe that’s just a lie to excuse my disorganisation and poor sense of direction). In this case, it was the truth. It was a beautiful sunny day and I got great scenic shots so I didn’t care about being lost.

We walked for what felt like all day at the time, but google tells me that it was only 11 minutes. It’s possible that the heat was making me very dramatic or maybe we walked in circles a few times before finding it. When we got to this place, we were lost and significantly sunburnt and I was ready to give up searching and turn the portable wifi egg back on to get some directions.

It was then that we found the entrance to a temple called Nison-in Temple. I don’t remember what drew us to this place exactly, but we purchased our entry tickets (500 yen each) and we were ready to explore. It seemed to be completely empty when we entered and we were free to look around. There were a few buildings that you couldn’t go inside due to construction work, but we walked around the multiple tombstones and gardens. There was also a very large bell that we both too a turn at ringing.

Then we reached the real challenge, this gigantic flight of stairs in front of us. We were determined to explore some more and took the challenge (I would not recommended this for asthmatics, despite being one myself). Although, my friend did make me stay at the bottom to take pictures of her before I climbed them.

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I wish I had taken more photos because it was a truly beautiful place. We ended up taking a path with more steps up a steep hill and found a clearing with a lovely view over Kyoto. I would definitely recommend visiting Nison-in Temple for a quiet, calm and serene experience with breathtaking views.

Info:

  • It’s a 10 minute walk from the JR Saga-Arashiyama station
  • The address is 27 Saganisonin-monzen-cho-jincho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8435
  • Entrance fee is 500 yen
  • I googled the place and found out the reason it’s so quiet was because it’s most popular in the Autumn time

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