Today we rented bikes to tour around Kyoto....but they weren’t just any bikes...they were electric assist bikes. Oh yes. Biking really is the coolest way to see the Shrines and Temples around Kyoto. We headed first to the outskirts of Kyoto to Tenryuji Temple and the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama. It took about an hour to get there and probably a little longer since we got a little lost at the beginning trying to get headed in the correct direction. I’ve been told by my son that I have a terrible sense of direction. I would disagree in most cases but he was right in this case. I got us going in the wrong direction at first. Andrew was the most excited to see the bamboo forest and it did not disappoint. There were crowds of people walking through the short stretch of the bamboo forest. It makes me wonder how I ever got that shot with no one in it several years ago. I think it was mostly luck with a little help from Mike who waited patiently with me for a small window of no people. It was still amazing to see all the bamboo and be in such a beautiful place.
Next we headed back to the center of Kyoto to see Shimogamo-Jinja Shrine but when we got there we couldn’t find a place to park our bikes legally so we moved onto the next shrine. They have very strict rules where you can and cannot park your bikes. Good thing is we weren’t too far out of the way for the next shrine and we got to bike along the Kamogawa river. The next stop was Ginkaku-ji Temple, also known as the silver temple. At this point we could tell we were starting to burn. Oh no...I had put sunscreen on but missed a few spots. Andrew...well he completely forgot to get his arms and they were already red. Or was it just that he didn’t listen to me when I told him to put it on 🤔We spent some time walking around the grounds and enjoyed some Katsu don and ice cream before heading to Heian-Jingu Shrine. This shrine is pretty spectacular looking. The grounds are enormous and the garden extending all the way in the back of the shrine was outstanding. We had fun walking through the gardens.
At this point Andrew was uncomfortable between the burning arms and his allergies acting up so we decided to head back to the hotel. The road we took at the beginning was SUPER crowded and the sidewalk was so narrow it was hard to get around. Eventually we turned toward the river and rode along that almost the entire way back. I dropped off Andrew at the hotel and left to go find some aloe for our burns. After getting him more comfortable I thought he would venture the 15 min bike ride to Fushimi Inari Shrine with me. Nope. He was done. I really didn’t want to miss this shrine seeing as it’s my favorite. We should’ve done it earlier in the day. I had a fun ride before sunset and made it just in time for some light. It was mostly dark when I finished. Still...it was so peaceful to walk there by myself at dusk. I came back to the hotel and Andrew was starting to fall asleep. But wait...we needed to eat dinner so I dragged my tired son over to Kyoto station to the Kitchen on the 10th floor of the Isetan Building where we had a fantastic Margarita pizza and enjoyed the amazing views of Kyoto Tower.