After the rejuvenating trip to Nagano, we headed back to Ōsaka 大阪 – Japan’s second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. Dōtonbori is definitely a must-go tourist spot to see the illuminated signboards, buzzling nightlife and entertainment area. Not forgetting the Instagrammable billboard for confectionery company Glico displaying the image of a runner crossing the finishing line. It is an icon of Osaka within Japan. We had our dinner there and headed back to rest and recharge for the next day’s adventure to take the Hozugawa River Cruise from Kameoka Station to Saga Arashiyama.
Hozugawa-kudari which stands for the Hozugawa River Boat ride was an eye-opening experience and the whole trip lasted for about 1.5 hours (be sure to empty your bladders before taking this ride!). The journey spans across 16km where a group of maximum 16 riders (winter boat) could go on board. The boatmen were amazing as we were all marveled by their strength and resilience as the group of 3 took turns to row the boat. They held on to bamboo poles to guide the boat away from rocks. You could also bring along snacks and drinks on board whilst enjoying the scenery. Great way to relax and soak yourself in the fresh winter air. Along the journey, the vast greenery and rocks with many interesting names like frog rock, book rock, headgear rock and many more were seen along the way. We sailed past rapids and mysterious deep pools.
Upon arrival to the end point at the Saga Arashiyama 嵐山, we could see the famous Togetsukyo Bridge (“Moon Crossing Bridge”) – well-known, central landmark. There are many small smalls and restaurants nearby leading up to the bamboo groves. The Bamboo Groves are walking paths that makes a nice place to stroll after lunch. However, there were too many tourists and it was difficult to take a photo with no one behind. Perhaps walking all the way into the groves might grant you access to take many beautiful photographs, but we decided to head over to the Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社 instead.
It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates which leads to the sacred Mt.Inari. Along the trail, there were many fox statues. Why? They are thought to be Inari’s messengers and Inari is the Shinto god of rice. The entire trail of torii gates were donated by individuals and companies. The donor’s name and date of donation are inscribed on the back of each gate. Admission is free and it is open 24/7 should you wish to take a stroll in the majestic sea of torii gates. Though I am assuming that it might get a little creepy when it’s dark and definitely not a destination for the faint-hearted. Other than that, I would give this whole Arashiyama experience an 8/10!