Once I was done with my tour of Daikakuji Temple I took a bus back down to the main part of Arashiyama and got off at Togetsukyo Bridge. This bridge over Katsura River was first built around the year 836 a short distance upriver from the current bridge, which dates to 1934. It is said the bridge’s name, which translates to “Moon Crossing Bridge”, came from the Emperor Kameyama who once saw the moon rising above the river and appearing to cross the bridge. During the springtime the area around Togetsukyo Bridge is a popular spot for viewing cherry blossom trees and in the autumn crowds are drawn here as the forests near the bridge burst into canvas of red and yellow leaves.
Directly west of the bridge are walking paths on either side of the river, as well as rowboat rentals. Even though it was getting late into the day there were still a lot of people out in the water.
I next hiked up to a scenic overlook that gave me a view of the river as it snakes up into the mountains. As the sun got lower the shadows crept steadily higher up the nearby mountains.
Before leaving the area I hiked down to Arashiyama’s famous bamboo grove for one last visit. It was much busier down there than it had been when I first arrived in the morning but I was still able to enjoy walking through the grove in spite of the crowds and the noise. On my way towards the east end of the bamboo grove I made a quick detour into Nonomiya Shrine. This little shrine used to be where princesses would stay to purify themselves before they became priestesses at the Ise Shrine (which is about 100 km southeast of Kyoto) and today it is said that praying at this shrine provides blessings for marriage.
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