The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan
The bamboo forest in Arashiyama was prettay prettaaaaay high up on our 'We Don't Have a Must-See List But If We Did Then This Place Would Definitely Be On It' list and we knew that the best chance we'd have would be first thing. We arrived at the bamboo-lined path in Western Kyoto at around 6am and we weren't the only ones there but only saw a handful of people before the sun rose properly. The familiar view of the bamboo avenue is only quite short in reality and we moved through it quicker than we expected, but it was beautiful nonetheless.
This guy ^^^ jumped off his scooter to get his shot of the sun reaching through the trees and we loved his dedication to the medium.
After achieving our 'His'n'Hers Bamboo Forest Commemorative Photos' we continued through to explore the maze of streets and alleyways that make up the Arashiyama district. There are temples dotted all over but as we were far too early for any of them to be open we chose to wander and enjoy the emptiness and tranquil mood with just the sun and the occasional cat as our companion.
Below: Magnus being super-keen as he waits for the gates of the Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple to be opened...
Finding refreshment in the form of hot chocolate (great) and (pretty bad to be fair but at least it was hot!) coffee from the vending machines and a Matcha ice cream or two we managed to spend about 5 hours just milling around and retraced our steps (this time through the crowds) back to the station.
We'd absolutely definitely recommend seeing Arashiyama in the quieter hours because you can really appreciate it for what it is - although of course it's really important to be responsible and respective of those that live there. That rule applies all over the world of course!