To start off our Kyoto tour, we decided to go to the furthest stop on our itinerary. We set off towards Arashiyama with three sites in mind – the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, Tenryuji Temple, and the Bamboo Grove.
We wanted to see this bridge since it is Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark and with the mountains as its background, we were hoping to see some fall foliage. Unfortunately, when we visited it was still early in October. The season and leaves haven’t completely changed but we still enjoyed our visit as we took time near the riverside park enjoying the view of the mountains and the strong currents of the river.
The Togetsu-kyo Bridge has a venerable history of 1,000 years. It is believed to have been first built in 836 when the priest Dosho (a disciple of Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism) was conducting construction repair work along the Oi River.
The name Togetsu means “Crossing Moon” and is said to have been given by Retired Emperor Kameyama, as he observed the moon crossing the sky from east to west.
In 2005, the Arashiyama Preservation Society Hydro-Power Station was built along the river. Water from the Katsura River is used to generate electricity for the footlights illuminating the bridge as the sun sets.
I know, I know, it’s just a bridge but when I was making our itinerary for this trip, I really wanted to see everything. I also wanted to know more about the Japanese culture and one thing I’ve realized is small things like this are so important to them. I think that’s why they have so many gardens and parks. It’s to take time and appreciate your surroundings. Don’t trust my word for it since these are just my personal thoughts. If anyone is more familiar with Japanese culture and would like to educate me, please do. 🙂