In anything-is-possible Las Vegas, a beach in the desert is par for the course: Your kids may never want to leave the wave pool at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
Courtesy of MGM Resorts International
The Circus Circus Hotel Resort isn’t fancy, but for families with young kids, its water park can’t be beat.
Courtesy of MGM Resorts International
You’ll find more than just card sharks in Vegas: Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium features 15 species of sharks among its many marine animals.
Photo by Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock
Save money on that family fare to Venice: Get in a gondola ride on the man-made canals of the Venetian Las Vegas instead.
Photo by Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock
In Vegas, it’s go big or go home, and that translates to attractions for the kids, too.
Photo by Coral von Zumwalt
At Maxie’s diner, pancakes come piled with kid-friendly toppings like cotton candy and Fruity Pebbles.
Courtesy of Maxie’s at the Linq Promenade
At 550 feet tall, Vegas’s High Roller is the tallest observation wheel in North America—and a huge hit with kids.
Courtesy of High Roller at the Linq Promenade
In western Kyoto, there is a very large forest of bamboo. As you can see in the photo, the shoots grow very tall, making those who stroll by look quite small. I’m sure there are times when this road is crowded, but when we were there, people were few and far between. My only regret was not understanding that this forest would be the only one we saw. I wish I had taken more photos. Bamboo grows extremely fast, which is why it is the fastest renewable plant product that I know. It is not a tree, it is a grass. Some forests have grown to 20 to 30 feet in a growing season of four months. Just Google Arashiyama bamboo forest and you will see more photos and more data about this location and how to get there. The walk through this forest was most peaceful.
Explore Outside Arashiyama
Arashiyama is well known in Kyoto as the place of the bamboo forest. However, don’t be fooled -- the forest is only one, short pathway, which is pretty crowded with people. While the bamboo is lovely, getting to the forest and exploring around it was my favorite part. We rented bikes from a place across from our hostel in Kyoto and rode all the way there; about a 45 minute ride. It was scenic and easy, and you can ride up to the river which runs around the forest. People are boating or kayaking, or taking some of of the park pathways that go along the edge. It’s a great way to make more of Arashiyama, which may disappoint otherwise if you don’t know what to expect.
Statues in the Shrines
In a few of the shrines we visited in Kyoto, you could find small carved faces and people in the rocks around the shrine. At this shrine in Arashiyama, there were hundreds of little rock people everywhere. The expressions on each fave or so detailed and seem to tell stories oftje past. This was very cool to admire.
Bamboo in Arashiyama
Here we saw a mini bamboo forrest! It was not nearly as touristy as the larger bamboo forrest nearby, but allowed us a similar experience. Very cool to walk through the bamboo groves!
The Bamboo Forest
No matter how many tourists are sharing the short path with you, the bamboo spread a cloak of calm quiet threaded with bird-song.
The Bamboo Grove
Just outside of the Tenryu-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan lies this spectacular pathway. Getting there just after sunrise it is still quiet minus the knocking of the bamboo in the wind. I found it to be very peaceful. I will change my profile photo to a sulfide I took there later to give you a more accurate perspective. Right now I’m staring at my second Statue of Liberty in Japan. Double freedom!
Riding a ricksaw in Kyoto
Arashiyama is a district located just outside of Kyoto. This area is more rural and less touristy. This great rickshaw driver gave us a ride around. He plays American style football so this is part of his training. In the immense heat he never tired. When I asked what he ate to keep up with this rigorous job he replied “not much”. He was so polite, funny, and happy!
Sidetrip to Arashiyama
The Arashiyama District is an easy train ride from Kyoto Station. The main street is kinda touristy but should not be overlooked if for no other reason than the availability of green tea, black sesame and yuba tofu soft serve ice cream cones. A pleasant walk or bike ride through the district will leads to multiple shrines, the Kameyama-koen monkey park, and the river where you can rent a boat and do some rowing. Don’t miss the tranquilic bamboo grove. Walking through the towering green stalks is slightly surreal.
Arashiyama Bamboo Groves
The Arashiyama Bamboo Groves was a location at the top of my bucket list as a photographer. Arashiyama is a big park area that sits on the outskirts of Kyoto. To be honest, the bamboo garden has only a couple of halls and though I was astonished by the beauty and the peaceful surroundings, I could see how some might be disappointed by the lack of bamboo halls when surrounded by other visitors. I suggest getting there just after sunrise to enjoy it by oneself. The park area is split by an amazing river, I recommend exploring both sides, as there are amazing views everywhere you look.
Handmade Ceramics Shop in Arashiyama
At the end of our tour of Kyoto, our guide, Terrin, brought us to a couple local, less known shops with handmade goods. This shop that sold handmade ceramics was my favorite. The shop owner makes new items daily, and no piece is the same, so there is always something new and different on display. The ceramics he creates are all beautiful and one of a kind!
Explore Beyond the Grove
Unless you’re up at sunrise, be prepared for crowds in Arashiyama, especially at the Bamboo Forest--but know that there are still bastions of tranquility in the area around the grove. Find them at the observation points with sweeping river vistas (marked by frequent maps), and in the gardens of Tenryu-Ji, a Zen temple near the bamboo grove grounds and totally worth the extra entry fee for the slice of peace it provides.
Matcha Ice Cream
Please, I beg of you! Try the Matcha Ice Cream (and the Chestnut Ice Cream)! Oishi!
The Bamboo Forest in Kyoto
We stumbled on this massive bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto. This exact road had been my desktop wallpaper for years, and then I was standing in it. Incredible.
Finding a Geisha
Bumping into a geisha in the bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto was one of the highlights of my life. She was so polite and told us “welcome to Japan” in Japanese and posed for photos.
The Otherworldy Place
This forest right by Kyoto that you can reach via all of the public transportation options (bus, metro etc.) is one dreamy place that I believe has no other pair in the World.