Travel Around Japan (Day #4) : Exploring Arashiyama, Kyoto

*I wrote this post in two languages. Scroll down after the English version if you want to read this post in Bahasa Indonesia .* 

It was the fourth day and it was time for exploring Arashiyama. Arashiyama district was my favorite place in Kyoto. The beautiful view of green hills, clear river, and unique landscape fascinated me. There were famous spots in there; Togetsukyo Bridge, Bamboo Groves, Hozugawa River, shrines and temples, and many more. This time I would tell you my experience in exploring Kyoto. 

Our first list was visiting Saga Scenic Railway or also known as Saga Romantic Railway. Saga Scenic Railway was a scenic  train route which was located between Saga Arashiyama and Kameoka. Saga Scenic Railway tour had its own station, Torokko Arashiyama Station, which was laid just next to JR Saga Arashiyama Station. On the opposite, if we were from Kameoka, so our departing point would start from Torokko Kameoka Station (which was about 500 meters from JR Umahori Station). The scenic train would depart every one hour. Here’s the schedule (if you depart from Torokko Arashiyama Station) :  09.07, 10.07, 11.07, until the last schedule 16.07). One way ticket was valued at JPY 620. 

Penampakan Kereta Saga Scenic Railway

Me and my husband chose Torokko Arashiyama Station as our departing point. A breathtaking view started to come when the train finally departed. The route was laid next to the river banks. Somehow the train went through tunnels and bridges. From the train, we could see Hozu River and beautiful green trees at the hills. We could find trees with red or yellow leaves too, just like the autumn season. Just because it was spring season, there were so many Sakura trees along the journey. Besides spring season, autumn season is considered as the good time too to enjoy Arashiyama view form Saga Scenic Railway. 

When we arrived at Torokko Kameoka Station, there were three ways to go back to Arashiyama : (1)  through Saga Scenic Railway; (2) through the nearest JR station, JR Umahori; (3) throught Hozugawa River by traditional boat. I chose the third option, went back to Arashiyama through Hozu River. Just in front of Torokko Kameoka Station, there was bus parking spot which would take you to Hozu River Boat Terminal. The bus would depart every one hour (09.35, 10.35, 11.35, 12.35, 13.35, 14.35, and 15.35). One way ticket would be priced at JPY 310. You’d better pay them with exact amount because as I assumed they didn’t have changes.

You should pay JPY 4.200 to board into the boat. It’s quite pricey, but you would get satisfied later. Hozu River Boat’s route went through big rocks and big waves too. Uniquely, this boat didn’t use machine as their power source. As replacement, four gentlemen paddled in harmony to move the boat. The view along the journey couldn’t be described, very beautiful. Somehow we got nervous when the boat moved so fast through big waves wihout hitting big rocks. 

View from Hozu River Boat

The journey by boat took about 1,5 hours. It was 02.00 pm and we hadn’t eaten yet. Surprisingly in the middle of the journey, there was “food boat” approached out boat. Our boat stopped for a while to give chance to passangers to buy something from the “food boat”. Finally we arrived at the boat pier which was very near from Togetsukyo Brigde (I didn’t know it before). We were excited to take some pictures with the brigde as our picture background. 
 

Togetsukyo Bridge
  
Arashiyama Hilss and Hozu River
 

Rigth after we captured the view around Togetsukyo Bridge, we looked for something to eat. Fortunately, there was an udon restaurant near the neighborhood. Me and my husband orderes Beef Curry Udon and Tamago Miso Udon. Then it was time to go to Bamboo Groves. That place was actually a 700-meters-path which were full of bamboo trees at the both sides. We felt relaxed when we walked through the bamboo path, but sometimes we felt it was spooky too because we saw some graveyards around that path. 

Bamboo Groves
 

There were some attractions in the Arashiyama District, but just because we were extremely tired we went back to our hotel. JR Arashiyama was not far from Bamboo Groves. You would see many signs to lead you there.  

Arashiyama Neighborhood
  
Bamboo Groves ‘ Sign
 

Hari keempat saatnya mengeksplor Arashiyama. Distrik Arashiyama merupakan tempat favorit saya di Kyoto. Keindahan alam perbukitan yang serba hijau, sungai yang bersih, dan tata kota yang unik membuat saya terpukau.Ada beberapa tempat terkenal di Arashiyama. Di antaranya Togetsukyo Bridge, Bamboo Groves, kuil-kuil di Arashiyama, dan banyak lagi. Kali ini saya ingin bercerita tentang rute petualangan saya di Arashiyama.

Tempat wisata pertama yang saya kunjungi adalah Saga Scenic Railway atau sering juga disebut Saga Romantic Railway. Saga Scenic Railway adalah rute kereta wisata sepanjang 7 km yang membentang dari Saga Arashiyama ke Kameoka. Kita bisa memilih memulai perjalanan dari Saga Arashiyama atau dari Kameoka. Saga Scenic Railway memiliki stasiun sendiri yang letaknya tidak jauh dari JR Station. Bila kita berangkat dari Saga Arashiyama, maka kita tinggal menuju stasiun Torokko Arashiyama Station (persis di sebelah JR Saga Arashiyama Station). Bila kita berangkat dari Kameoka, maka departing point – dimulai dari Torokko Kameoka Station (dekat dengan JR Umahori Station). Kereta Saga Scenic berangkat tiap satu jam (jadwal di Torokko Arashiyama Station adalah 09.07, 10.07, 11.07, 12.07, dan seterusnya hingga terakhir sebelum pukul 16.00). Harga tiketnya JPY 62o one way.

Saya sendiri memilih berangkat dari Torokko Arashiyama Station. A breathtaking view started to come when the train finally departed. Jalur kereta itu bersisian dengan sungai, terkadang membelah bukit, dan melewati jembatan. Dari kereta kita bisa melihat Hozu River dan perbukitan yang serba hijau. Terkadang ada pula pohon berwarna kuning dan merah. Kebetulan karena saya pergi saat spring season, maka masih banyak bunga Sakura bermekaran. Oh iya, selain spring season, autumn season juga musim yang bagus untuk menikmati pemandangan di Saga Scenic Railway.

Saat tiba di Torokko Kameoka Station, ada tiga cara untuk bisa kembali ke area Arashiyama. Pertama, melalui kembali rute Saga Scenic Railway. Kedua, menuju stasiun terdekat yakni JR Umahori. Ketiga, dengan menggunakan Hozu River Boat.Saya memilih yang ketiga, yakni melalui Hozu River dengan menggunakan boat. Setelah keluar dari Torokko Kameoka Station, kita akan menjumpai spot parkir bus yang menuju Hozu River Boat Terminal. Bus akan berangkat satu jam sekali (09.53, 10.35, 11.35, 12.35, 13.35, 14.35, dan 15.35). Harga sekali naik adalah JPY 310. Siapkan uang pas ya. 

Siapkan kocek sebesar JPY 4.200 ya untuk ikut tur melalui Hozu River Boat. Agak mahal memang, tapi semuanya terbayar puas kok. Jalur Hozu River Boat melalui sungai berbatu-batu besar dan arusnya cukup deras. Namun uniknya, boat ini tidak menggunakan tenaga mesin sama sekali, tetapi menggunakan tenaga empat orang manusia. Pemandangan sepanjang sungai sulit digambarkan dengan kata-kata, sungguh sangat indah. Terkadang adrenalin kita sedikit terpacu saat and boat meluncur turun di arus yang deras atau saat harus melewati bebatuan tanpa menabrak. 

Perjalanan menggunakan boat memakan waktu 1,5 jam. Kebetulan sudah lewat jam 14.00 dan kami belum makan siang sehingga lapar sekali. Tak disangka di tengah perjalanan boat, ada boat lainnya mendekat yang ternyata adalah penjual makanan. Boat yang kami tumpangi pun berhenti untuk memberikan kesempatan kepada penumpang untuk makan. Kami pun tiba di boat pier yang ternyata terletak sangat dekat dengan Togetsukyo Bridge yang terkenal itu. Langsung saja kami foto-foto di tempat jembatan Togetsukyo.

Setelah puas berfoto di Togetsukyo Bridge, kami pun segera mencari makan siang di daerah situ. Tenang, ada banyak kedai makan yang sangat menggugah selera. Saya dan suami memesan Beef Curry Udon dan Tamago Miso Udon. Saatnya menuju Bamboo Groves. Tempat itu sebenarnya merupakan jalan sepanjang 700 meter yang kanan-kirinya ditanami bambu-bambu. Suasanya asri, namun menurut saya tetap ada kesan spooky karena ada beberapa spot pemakaman di sana.

Selain tempat-tempat yang saya kunjungi tadi, masih banyak tempat wisata lainnya. Namun karena badan rasanya sudah terlalu lelah, maka kami pun beranjak pulang. JR Saga Arashiyama berada tak jauh dari Bamboo Groves. 

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