For Nicky’s birthday, I made plans to take her to Arashiyama, the first station for the Sagano Romantic Train, a tram railway that takes riders through the Hozu Gorge.
Today, we went to Arashiyama to celebrate Nicky’s 25th birthday. I had been wanting to take her on the Romantic Train before we had even come to Japan, so I was really excited. I was pretty proud of myself for finding it, since the streets were unmarked and it was a good thirty minute ride by bicycle from home. I had to use the river as my location gauge at one point.
When we got up that morning, I promised Nicky that, if she found something cute that she wanted for her birthday on the way, I would buy it for her. We had been tossing around the idea of getting a fennec fox while in Japan, but over the last few days, we discovered that there are no more active breeders in the country so had to give up. Nicky jokingly asked me if I would buy her a fox if we happened across one. On the way to Arashiyama, we actually found a pet store. Deciding to step in after seeing a chipmunk doing somersaults in the window, we weren’t expecting to find anything really special, but right inside, staring at us from his cage, was the most fox-like dog I had ever seen.
After staring at this dog for almost twenty minutes, the shopkeeper started to tell us about him in Japanese. Apparently, he is a Shiba-inu, one of the ancient breeds of Japan. Even though he is a purebred, his nose is slightly longer and his legs are slightly taller than what is normal for the dog. He is also pretty skinny, but we think it’s because he doesn’t get fed much there. On September 30th, he will be turning a year old. The price tag for this dog was a hefty $500, but the shopkeeper promised to give us a 40% discount, so it was really hard to say no. .....so we didn’t! We will be picking him up tomorrow!
After the excitement of the new dog, I was looking forward to taking the train. The train station was pretty cool~ it had a whole bunch of train engine models and other ancient forms of transport. The train ride itself is absolutely gorgeous. 25 minutes of running along the gorge, tunnels and nature. The announcer was pretty loud on the trip out [which made Nicky and I wonder what Japan’s definition of ‘romantic’ is], but it was really quiet on the way back. I had so much fun, but it is certainly better expressed with pictures [which can be found in my gallery]. The final station leaves you in a farming area with views of the mountains and river, and Nicky and I greatly enjoyed the 40 minutes we spent waiting for the next train, since there was no one else in the station, and the station itself was quite beautiful.
On the ride back, the announcer was much more quiet, and the couple who had bought the other two seats to our booth were walking around taking pictures, so it felt much more romantic than the train ride down. I definitely want to go back in November, when the maples are all red, the pictures they had of Autumn are stunning.
We went home afterwards, since we need to dog-proof the house, but it was still super fun! I highly recommend this train ride to anyone. Not only is it beautiful, it’s really cheap! $6 each way!