Saturday, September 24, 2016

Arashiyama (嵐山) Coffee Run

I finally managed it at the 4th attempt! I ran 14.2 miles, slightly over half marathon distance, from Kyoto University 's main campus to beautiful Arashiyama (嵐山), following the Kamo River (鴨川) downstream and then up the Katsura River (桂川), for a cup of coffee at % Arabica.

GPS track log of the run

Of course, Arashiyama is actually only about 6 miles away from Kyoto University as the crow flies (westwards). And one can do that on busy city streets but the idea here is to do the run using the bike/running paths along the rivers in Kyoto. The running paths along both sides of the Kamogawa through the city center, in particular, are iconic for me:

View of the Kamogawa looking northwards from the Shijō (四条) bridge
The Katsuragawa is also quite pretty and unspoilt in places; for example, especially as it approaches Arashiyama:

Katsuragawa near Arashiyama
This part of the course is also part of the Kyotoyawatakizu (京都八幡木津) Cycling Road. (More on this route in my next post.) The Cycling Road terminates in Arashiyama at the Togetsukyō (渡月橋):

Togetsukyō (渡月橋) in Arashiyama (嵐山)
The poetically-named bridge translates as "moon crossing bridge". (Emeritus Emperor Kameyama in the 14th century is supposed to be the one who came up with the name after observing it on a full moon.)

My destination is the inconspicuous white coffee shop, named % Arabica, on the other side of the bridge.

% Arabica is the white coffee shop on the other side of the bridge
It has a world-class view in Fall and Spring, plus look at that espresso machine from Slayer
The view from % Arabica

After coming across the shop during a visit to Japan in February 2016, the germ of an idea to run here for coffee began to form in my mind. Originally, I thought the Katsuragawa simply ran down into Kyoto past the university. As the GPS tracklog indicates, I have to switch rivers from the Kamogawa first, making the distance much longer than a straight line.

(You may wonder: how did I get back? For the record I took the number 93 bus (price: 230 yen). It basically goes straight east and I got off very close to the campus.)

It's a good coffee shop. Worth the run or bike ride in my humble opinion. My cappuccino:

Since I did this in July, the heat and humidity that is omnipresent in the basin that is Kyoto kicked my butt. (See the rise in HR near the end.) On the plus side, I got to burn 2000 kcal.
Finally, here is a 3min movie of the run I made from the GPS tracklog using Google Earth Pro. It's nice to see detailed 3D buildings, even in Kyoto:

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