One Day in Arashiyama Monkey Park, Plus Onsen (hotspring) + Dinner at Benkei

Came a new morning in Arashiyama, we woke up early with excitement again, ready to explore the unknown.

Outfit details as below:
// Leather Belt Vintage //

A great ‘Omurice'(omelette with fried rice) served at Yojiya Cafe, Arashiyama Branch.

After which we were ready for any adventure followed in that lovely sunny day. As high spirited as we felt, we headed across river to the monkey park at the top of the mountain. The views along the way were simply breathtaking. 

At the very top of the mountain, we found this amazing view of Kyoto, and of course, monkeys! 

They were scattered all around on the mountain, minding their own monkey businesses. Other than the occasional visits to the feeding house, they almost didn’t care much about all the other humans acting all excited and weird around. 

As we got off the mountain and back to the river, the crisp air was already starting to cool down. Feeling a little chilled and beaten by jetlag, we retrieved to an onsen(hot spring) + restaurant just nearby called Benkei.
Everything was kept rather authentic and traditional. The hot spring area had a separate male and a female pool, outdoors surrounded by the serene natural beauty of Arashiyama. Or you might choose to enjoy in the private hot spring that also came with a dinner, which was what we went for.

You have 1 hour per session in the private hot spring. I thought it was a bit short but really it wasn’t. The water needed some getting use to as you get in, and after 15 minutes soaked in there, normally anyone would need a little break just sitting naked at the side breathing in some cool autumn air to stop overheating. An hour was more than enough to make me sweat all over, and turned my whole body pink as a cooked lobster. 

After wrapping my ‘cooked’ body in the provided yukata, I was ready for dinner with some ice cold drinks. The private dinner room was decorated again, minimal and traditional, mainly with wood, and elements of nature. 

An ice cold plum wine is the best after the steaming hot session of onsen. 
The starter was sesame tofu with soy sauce and wasabi. It was sweet, light, and full of the aroma of sesame oil with in the tofu. 

Next up was tuna and red snapper sashimi, with a prawn meat ball in clear seafood soup. 

Assorted vegetable tempura.

Pan fried cod with pickled ginger shoot. 

Fried crispy meat ball in soy based soup.

And soup yet again: a tofu, mushroom and vegetable hotpot, with snapper sashimi which you just dip in the boiling soup for 1 second for the fresh sweetness. Thirsty from all the sweating earlier at the onsen, I happily finished every last drop of the dashi based soup. Both my dehydrated body and greedy mouth craved for it. 

Then last but not least, the rice, miso soup, local produced pickles and genmai tea completed the meal. More hydration was hugely welcomed. 

After the meal, the dessert was fresh fruits of the season, apple and grapes. They might not look so impressive just by themselves like that, but their quality were unbelievable. There was nothing other than the fruity sweetness in the taste, not a hint of sourness or the unpleasant taste of unripe fruit. 

Simple and beautiful.