After a horrible journey to Kyoto and no check out the next day, I wanted to hibernate and lick my wounds. I knew there were hundreds of temples, shrines and sights in Kyoto but I needed time to calm down before getting back on the horse. I didn't make it to my first attraction til 2.30pm, but I felt all the better for it.
Tenryu-Ji TempleThis was the first 'sight' I saw in Kyoto and it is without question the highlight of Japan so far. With so many temples and shrines to see, I pretty much picked at random. This one however was near the bamboo forest, something that peeked my interest.
I didn't make it to anything else that first day but that temple was simply perfect. (If you exclude the bamboo forest and dinner!)
Cost: 500 yen for the garden and 100 yen for the pleasure of sitting in the temple - it doesn't add much to the experience, but at only 100 yen?...
Station: Arashiyama Tenryuji-Mae lines 11, 28, 93
Top Tip: Exit from the North entrance to see the Bamboo Forest and this sets you in the right direction for more temples.
....Explore the sleepy, local area too!
Bamboo ForestI wish I could transport you there. It's magical. I read in lonely planet that you can try photography it but nothing can capture it quite right and they weren't kidding.
I'd love to lay between the bamboos and drift off listening to the creaking and the leaves swaying. The sounds of th bamboo is just as good as the optical illusion itself.
The path is surprisingly short, but the forest seems endless. Walk slowly and savour it. You can also see it a bit from the north entrance/exit of Tenryu-ji temple.
It's conveniently nestled in the middle of a few temples (including my favourite) and such, so make sure you go!