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Things to do in Arashiyama

 

14 UNMISSABLE THINGS TO DO IN ARASHIYAMA, KYOTO

 

Arashiyama is a beautiful area located in the western outskirts of Kyoto.

A visit to Arashiyama can be overwhelming as there is so much to see.

I have compiled a list of my top 14 unmissable things to do in Arashiyama.

But it’s not just any old list. This is the list to end all lists.

So, stop searching, here are my tips for 14 top unique things to do in Arashiyama!

 

MAP OF ARASHIYAMA

 

Following is the map that I used in Arashiyama. It will help you navigate through Arashiyama’s top attractions.

In addition, before heading out to Arashiyama, I downloaded several offline map apps of the area and they worked great.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

Read: Japan – Free Offline Map Apps with GPS Navigator for IPhone

CLICK HERE



 

Things to do in Arashiyama

 

 

Number 1

TAKE A WALK THROUGH ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO GROVE

 

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of the top sights.

You will not want to miss a stroll through the lush and peaceful bamboo forest.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
The Bamboo Grove at Arashiyama.

 

It is a beautiful place!  When there is a light wind, the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth letting in the dappled sunlight.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
Take your time and stroll through the beautiful Bamboo Grove at Arashiyama.

Things to do in Arashiyama
I could not get enough pictures of the Bamboo Grove.

 

Number 1

 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO GROVE?

 

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a very popular place!

It is almost impossible to get any pictures without tourists in them.

However, if you go early in the morning, you will avoid large crowds and be able to find some solitude in this beautiful place.

 

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
The most adorable stone statues.

 

HOW TO GET TO ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO GROVE

  • It is super easy to get to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove from JR Saga Arashiyama Station.
  • Once you exit the station, turn right and proceed towards the grove. It is no more than a 10-15 minute walk.

The nice thing about Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is that it is completely free and you can visit at any time.

 

 

Number 2

GO FOR A RICKSHAW RIDE THROUGH ARASHIYAMA

 

The rickshaw ride in Arashiyma is not cheap but it is totally worth it!

You should expect to pay around 9,000 yen for two people for 30 minutes, or 17,500 for two people for one hour ride.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
Make sure to splurge and go for a rickshaw ride through Arashiyama.

 

I recommend that you rent a rickshaw and go through the bamboo forest path first and then, go through some of famous Saga-Arashiyama’s villa landscapes.

 

Things to Do in Arashiyama
Take a rickshaw ride! It is so much fun!

 

WHERE TO FIND THE RICKSHAW RIDES?

  • Easy! They are everywhere in Arashiyama.
  • As you are strolling around Arashiyama, just hail a rickshaw.

 

 

Number 3

TAKE A WALK ACROSS TOGETSUKYO BRIDGE

 

Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark is the wooden Togetsukyo Bridge.

 

Number 3

 

WHAT IS UP WITH THE NAME OF RIVER THAT FLOWS THROUGH ARASHIYAMA?

 

Some sources claim that Togetsukyo bridge spans the Katsura River. And, some sources say that it goes over the Oi River.

So, to clarify: the river is referred as the Oi River until it reaches Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama. After it passes under Togetsukyo bridge, it is then referred to as the Katsura River.

 

 

It is believed that the bridge was first built in 836 AD, when the priest Dosho (a disciple of Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism) was conducting construction work along the Oi River.

The current Togetsukyo Bridge was completed in 1934.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
Togetsukyo bridge spans the Katsura River. And, some sources say that it goes over the Oi River.

 

Number 3

 

DID YOU KNOW THAT TOGETSUKYO BRIDGE IS CALLED THE MOON CROSSING BRIDGE?

 

Togetsukyo Bridge is also known as the Moon Crossing Bridge, after Emperor Kameyama stated that the bridge appeared to stretch to the moon.

 

 

HOW TO GET TO TOGETSUKYO BRIDGE

  • If you are arriving at JR Saga Arashiyama Station, then head south towards Togetsukyo Bridge.
  • Continue south and you will reach Togetsukyo Bridge in about 10-15 minutes.

 

 

Number 4

JOIN ARASHIYAMA CORMORANT FISHING TOUR

 

If you are visiting between July 1st  and September 23th, you should look into a cormorant fishing (ukai) tour.

It is a traditional fishing method which uses trained cormorants called ‘Umiu’ to catch fish.

The fisherman use large flaming torches to attract fish. They make cormorants dive under the water and catch the fish by swallowing them. The fish is kept in the cormorant’s throat and later on retrieved by the fishermen.

This traditional fishing method has almost disappeared, and these days, ukai is held mainly as an attraction for tourists.

 

Traditional fishing method which uses trained cormorants called ‘Umiu’ to catch fish.

Photo credit: Kentaro Ohno via Flickr

 

Notably, the cormorant fishing boats leave at 7 pm and 8 pm. If you do not want to pay for the boat, you can watch from the shore.

 

HOW TO GET TO CORMORANT FISHING BOATS

  • If you are arriving at JR Saga Arashiyama Station, then head south towards Togetsukyo Bridge.
  • Continue south and you will reach Togetsukyo Bridge in about 10-15 minutes.
  • The boats are located right next to Togetsukyo Bridge.

 

 

Number 5

ATTEND ARASHIYAMA HANATOURO ILLUMINATION FESTIVAL

 

If you are visiting Arashiyama in December, then it is a perfect timing to attend Arashiyama Hanatouro Illumination.

Notably, Kyoto’s Hanatouro Festival is held twice a year. During the month of March it is held in Higashiyama area and in December, it is scheduled in Arashiyama. By the way, Hanatouro means “ path with flower and light”.

During Hanatouro illumination Festival in Arashiyama, the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge, the Bamboo Grove, and the foothills of the surrounding mountains are all lit up. It is a visually stunning sight!

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
During Hanatouro illumination Festival in Arashiyama the foothills of the surrounding mountains are all lit up. It is a visually stunning sight!

Photo credit: prelude2000 via Flickr

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
During Hanatouro illumination Festival in Arashiyama, the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge, the Bamboo Grove are all lit up.

Photo credit: Vanessa via Flickr

 

HOW TO GET TO HANATOURO ILLUMINATION FESTIVAL

 

  • If you are arriving at JR Saga Arashiyama Station, then head south towards Togetsukyo Bridge.
  • Continue south and you will reach Togetsukyo Bridge in about 10-15 minutes.
  • You will get great views of the bridge and the mountains.
  • Then head north to the Bamboo Grove. It is no more than a 10-minute walk from the bridge and you will be rewarded with awesome views of the illuminated Bamboo Grove.

 

 

Number 6

VISIT ARASHIYAMA MONKEY PARK

 

First of all, I have to give you heads up that the hike up to Arashiyama Monkey Park is fairly strenuous. It takes about 25-30 minutes to reach the top of the mountain where Arashiyama Monkey Park is located and the hike is steep and continuously up the hill.

My recommendation is to just take your time and rest along the way. Specifically, if you are hiking during summer months, make sure to have plenty of water with you and just take it easy.

However, believe me, it is all worth it! You will rewarded with the amazing vistas of Kyoto!

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
The amazing vistas of Kyoto from Arashiyama Monkey Park.

 

If you want to feed the monkeys, you can purchase some food for them at the small shop. Then, you will need to enter a shack with wires on the windows. The monkeys will be hanging on the wires and begging for the food while the humans are on the inside.

 

Arashiyama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park hanging on the wires and begging for food.

Arashiyama Monkey Park
I did not like the idea of monkeys begging for food.

 

I am honest with you here, I really do not  like the idea of feeding the monkeys and training them to beg for food.

When I visited the Jigokudani Snow Money Park located in the Nagano Prefecture on a day trip from Tokyo, it was a far better experience.

First of all, the monkeys are free to roam and come down from the mountains during feeding times or to soak in the hot springs. Second, visitors are not allowed to feed the monkeys so that they do not beg for food but instead go around their monkey business like playing, grooming each other, or enjoying the hot springs.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

Read: 11 Essential Tips for Visiting Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani, Japan

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HOW TO GET TO ARASHIYAMA MONKEY PARK

  • First of all, from JR Saga Arashiyama Station head south towards Togetsukyo Bridge.
  • Next, cross the bridge and turn right.
  • At that point, you will see signage for Arashiyama Monkey Park.
  • All in all, it is about 15-minute walk up to this point.
  • Next, you will need to hike up to the park for about 25-30 minutes.

 

OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION COST TO ARASHIYAMA MONKEY PARK

 

You can visit Arashiyama Monkey Park any day of the week from 9 am until 5 pm (March 15th through September 30th), or until 4 pm (October 1st through March 14th).

The entrance ticket to Arashiyama Monkey Park is 550 yen for adults and 250 yen for children ages 4 to 15. Children younger than 4 can monkey-watch for free.

 

 

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Things to Do in Arashiyama

 

Things to do in Arashiyama

 

 

 

Number 7

VISIT TENRYUJI TEMPLE – A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

 

Tenryuji Temple was established in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji.

It is known that Takauji dedicated the temple to the memory of  Emperor Go-Daigo.

 

Number 7

 

WHY WAS THE TENRYUJI TEMPLE BUILT?

 

Both, shogun Ashikaga Takauji  and Emperor Go-Daigo, used to be good allies until Takauji turned against the emperor in a struggle for supremacy over Japan.

After the Emperor Go-Daigo passed away, Takauji built the temple to appease the former emperor’s spirits.

 

 

Tenryuji Temple
After the Emperor Go-Daigo passed away, Takauji built the temple to appease the former emperor’s spirits.

 

Tenryuji’s buildings were repeatedly lost in fires and wars over the centuries. Mostly, what we see today are buildings that date from the Meiji Period (1868-1912).

 

WHAT TO SEE AT THE TENRYUJI TEMPLE

 

There is a lot to see around the temple grounds. However, I think that you should visit:

  • Hatto – Dharma Hall
  • Kuri – Temple Living Quarters
  • Hojo – Abbot’s Quarters
  • Sogenchi Teien – Sogen Pond Garden

 

HATTO – DHARMA HALL

 

The Hatto – Dharma Hall was used for sermons. Nowadays, it is used for important ceremonial functions.

In 1899 the Hatto’s paneled ceiling was adorned with a large painting of a cloud dragon by the Meiji-period artist Suzuki Shonen.

In 1997 the old cloud dragon was replaced with a new cloud dragon painting by the nihonga artist Kayama Matazo

It was created to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the death of Tenryuji’s founder, Muso Soseki.

Unfortunately, the visitors are not allowed to take pictures of the famous cloud dragon painting. However, I took a picture of a sign hanging outside the Dharma Hall, so that you can get an idea of what the cloud dragon is all about.

 

Tenryuji Temple
The paining of the cloud dragon by Matazo Kayama is amazing!I recommend that you see it!

Tenryuji Temple
This effect, known in Japanese as happo-nirami – all direction gaze, symbolizes the all-seeing eyes with which the dragon protects Buddhism.

 

Needless to say, the painting of the cloud dragon by Matazo Kayama is amazing!I recommend that you see it!

It represents a massive blue-grey dragon that swirls out of the clouds and stares down at you no matter where you stand in the room.

This effect, known in Japanese as happo-nirami – all direction gaze, symbolizes the all-seeing eyes with which the dragon protects Buddhism.

 

KURI – TEMPLE LIVING QUARTERS

 

Inside the Kuri’s entrance hall is a large painting of Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who, according to Zen tradition, introduced the Zen teachings to China 1,500 years ago.

The painting was done by the late Rev. Hirata Seiko, Chief Abbot of Tenryu-ji.

 

Tenryuji Temple
The painting was done by the late Rev. Hirata Seiko, Chief Abbot of Tenryu-ji.

 

HOJO – ABBOT’S QUARTERS

 

The Hojo is made up of two sections, the Daihojo – Large Hojo and the separate Kohojo – Small Hojo, both of which are connected to the Kuri.

The Daihojo, Tenryu-ji’s largest building, has beautiful wide verandas. The ones on the back face the Sogen Pond. And, it is a perfect spot to take a short break here.

 

Tenryuji Temple
The Daihojo, Tenryu-ji’s largest building, has beautiful wide verandas.

 

In addition, it is a great place to take a look at another large cloud dragon painted on the sliding doors by the artist Wakasa Butsugai.

 

Tenryuji Temple
Another large cloud dragon painted on the sliding doors by the artist Wakasa Butsugai.

 

SOGOGENCHI TEIEN – SOGEN POND GARDEN

 

Unlike the Tenryuji’s temple buildings, Sogen Pond Garden created by the famous garden designer Muso Soseki nearly 700 years ago, survived the centuries in its original form.

Notably, it was designated by the Japanese Government as a Site of Specific Historic and Scenic Importance.

 

Sogenchi Teien – Sogen Pond Garden was designed as a ‘strolling pond garden’. It means that the the path surrounding the pond takes the visitors around the pond and allows them to appreciate the scenery from a variety of perspectives.

In addition, it employs a ‘borrowed scenery technique’ –  shakkei, which means that the surrounding scenery is incorporated into the garden.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
Sogenchi Teien – Sogen Pond Garden was designed as a ‘strolling pond garden’.

 

HOW TO GET TO TENRYUJI TEMPLE IN ARASHIYAMA

  • First of all, Tenryuji Temple is no more than a 10-minute walk from JR Saga Arashiyama Station.
  • Once you exit the station, go west.
  • After no more than a 10-minute stroll, the temple complex will be right in front of you.

 

OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION COST

 

Tenryuji Temple is open from 8:30 am till 5:30 pm and last admission is at 5 pm. However, from October 21 through March 20, the opening hours are 8:30 am till 5 pm and last admission is at 4:30 pm.

The entrance ticket to the garden is 500 yen.  If you wish to tour the garden and the Tenryuji buildings, then there is an additional charge of 300 yen. And, finally, if you want to see the painting of the Cloud Dragon, then there is a separate entrance ticket with costs an additional 500 yen.

Now, the The Dharma Hal, where the painting is located, is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays only. And, the opening hours are from 9 am till 5 pm. However, during winter months (October through March), the opening hours are 9 am till 4 pm.

 

 

Number 8

STOP BY NONOMIYA-JINJA SHRINE

 

Nonomiya-jinja Shrine is a small shrine but it has a fascinating history and it is totally worth the stop. Of all the things to do in Arashiyama, this place had a special charm for me.

The shrine was formerly known as a purification shrine for imperial princesses appointed as priestesses for Ise Grand Shrine.

Emperors often sent their unmarried daughters to serve as high priestesses at the Grand Shrine of Ise. However, before they could  acquire a status of a high priestess, they had to spend one to three years of their lives undergoing a purification process at Nonomiya-jinja Shrine.

Despite being a small shrine, Nonomiya-Jinja is considered to be very popular, especially among women. It is believed that a visit to this temple can help single women with matchmaking processes. In addition, mothers-to-be pray here for safe delivery.

However, when I visited the shrine, there were plenty of young man standing in a long line as well. It is possible that they were also looking for some help with finding their soul mate.

 

Nonomiya-jinja Shrine
When I visited the shrine, there were plenty of young man standing in a long line as well.

Nonomiya-jinja Shrine
Nonomiya-jinja Shrine is a small shrine but it has a fascinating history.

 

Nonomiya-jinja Shrine
The shrine was formerly known as a purification shrine for imperial princesses appointed as priestesses for Ise Grand Shrine.

 

HOW TO GET TO NONOMIYA-JINJA SHRINE

  • Nonomiya-jinja shrine is located right next to Tenryuji Temple.
  • So, right after you are done visiting Tenryuji Temple, continue west for no more than 5 minutes.

 

 

Number 9

TAKE A TOUR OF OKOCHI SANSO VILLA AND GARDEN

 

Of all the things to do in Arashiyama, visiting Okochi Sanso Villa and strolling through the garden is one of my favorite things to do.

Okochi Sanso Villa is a stunning residence of the former Japanese actor Okochi Denjiro.

Okochi Denjiro was born on February 5, 1898 in Iwaya-mura, Chikujo-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan as Masuo Oobe. He was an actor and writer, known for No Regrets for Our Youth (1946), Sanshiro Sugata (1943) and The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945). He died on July 19, 1962.

 

Okochi Sanso Villa and Garden
Okochi Sanso Villa is a stunning residence of the former Japanese actor Okochi Denjiro.

 

However, what really should deserve your full attention is an exquisite garden. The garden is simply manicured to perfection! It has lots of intriguing pathways and several stunning views of the mountains.

 

Okochi Sanso Villa and Garden
The garden is simply manicured to perfection! It has lots of intriguing pathways and several stunning views of the mountains.  

 

HOW TO GET TO OKOCHO SANSO VILLA AND GARDEN

  • Okocho Sanso Villa is located west of Nonomiya-jinja shrine and west Tenryuji Temple.

 

OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION COST

 

You can tour Denjiro’s mossy, manicured gardens daily from 9 am until 5 pm. The admission is 1,000 yen and includes matcha green tea and cake.

 

Okochi Sanso Villa and Garden
The admission is 1,000 yen and includes matcha green tea and cake.

 

 

Number 10

EXPLORE JOJAKKOJI TEMPLE IN ARASHIYAMA

 

Once you visit Jojakkoji Temple, you will agree that it is one of the best things to do in Arashiyama!

Jojakko-ji Temple is nestled in the slope of Mount Ogura. This Nichiren sect temple was opened in the late Momoyama period (14th century) by a monk who had used it as his retirement residence.

First of all, you enter the grounds of Jojakkoji Temple through Sanmon Gate, which is the main gate. It is built with rectangular timbers arranged in a beautiful lattice work. The gate was renovated in the late Edo period (1603-1868).

Next, you continue on to the next gate – Niomon Gate, which served originally as the south entrance to the Guest Hall.

 

Jojakk-ji Temple
First of all, you enter the grounds of Jojakkoji Temple through Sanmon Gate, which is the main gate.

Jojakk-ji Temple
Next, you continue on to the next gate – Niomon Gate, which served originally as the south entrance to the Guest Hall.

 

Finally, you will reach the Main Hall. This Main Hall was originally a Guest House of Momoyama Castle and it was moved to Jojakko-Ji temple.

I want to encourage you to continue hiking up the mountain. On your way, you will reach Tahoto Pagoda (Two-storied Pagoda).

 

Jojakk-ji Temple
Continue hiking up the mountain. On your way, you will reach Tahoto Pagoda (Two-storied Pagoda).

Jojakk-ji Temple
Tahoto Pagoda (Two-storied Pagoda).

 

At this point, you are almost at the top of the mountain. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent views of the Sagano area.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
Once you reach the top of the mountain, you will be rewarded with the most magnificent views of the Sagano area.

 

On the way down make sure to stop by the Monks’ Quarters.

 

Jojakk-ji Temple
On the way down make sure to stop by the Monks’ Quarters.

 

HOW TO GET TO JOJAKKOJI TEMPLE

  • Jojakkoji Temple is located no more than a 10-15 minute walk from the Bamboo Grove going north.
  • However, if you are heading from Okocho Sansa Villa and Garden then Jojakkoji Temple will be your next stop going north.

 

OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION COST

 

Jojakkoji Temple is open daily from 9 am till 5 pm. The admission fee is 300 yen.

 

 

Number 11

HEAD TO ADSHINO NENBUTSUJI TEMPLE IN ARASHIYAMA

 

Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple was founded in the 9th century by the monk Kodo Daishi who placed stone statues for the souls of the dead. Today the temple is home to thousand of stone statues.

There is definitely a somber, reverent atmosphere here. You can only take pictures from the distance.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
Today the temple is home to thousand of stone statues.

 

And, the added bonus is the most beautiful, quiet bamboo grove. Here, you will finally be able to stroll around all by yourself. Strangely enough, the crowds of tourists are completely unaware of this beautiful place.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
And, the added bonus is the most beautiful, quiet bamboo grove.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
Enjoy this beautiful place!

Things to do in Arashiyama
The tourists are completely unaware of this gem!

 

HOW TO GET TO ADASHINO NENBUTSUJI TEMPLE

  • First of all, from the last location, continue north.
  • You will pass Sagano Doll House Museum and shortly, you will reach Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street.
  • Once you reach Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street, turn left and walk for no more than 5-10 minutes.
  • The Temple grounds will be on your left.

 

OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION COST

 

Opening hours are form until 9 am till 4:30 pm March through November and 9 am till 3:30 pm December through February.

The entrance ticket is 500 yen.

 

 

Number 12

TAKE A STROLL ALONG SAGA TORIIMOTO PRESERVED STREET

 

Saga Toriimoto Street has been preserved in the style of the Meiji Period (1868-1912).

 

Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street
Many of the traditional machiya (townhouses) have since been converted into shops and restaurants.

 

Many of the buildings are traditional machiya (townhouses) that served as private residences but have since been converted into shops and restaurants.

 

Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street
Traditional machiya (townhouses) used to be private residences.

 

Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street
May of the residences have been converted into shops.

 

HOW TO GET TO SAGA TORIIMOTO PRESERVED STREET

  • When you exit Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple contiune east.
  • You will be strolling along Saga Torrimoto Preserved Street in about 10 minutes after you exit the temple.

 

 

Number 13

TAKE A RIDE ON SAGANO ROMANTIC TRAIN

 

Sagano Romantic Train travels from Saga Torokko Station to Kameoka Torokko Station. It is a beautiful 7 km (25 minutes ) ride along Hozukyo Ravine. You will be going through tunnels, along Hozukyo River, and through forests. The ride is fun no matter what time of the year you are visiting.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
You will be going through tunnels, along Hozukyo River, and through forests.

 

The train goes at a leisurely pace, which will allow you to take plenty of pictures.

 

Things to do in Arashiyama
The entire area is breathtaking, so have your camera ready!

 

HOW TO GET TO SAGANO ROMANTIC TRAIN STATION

  • Now, you can board the train at Saga Torokko Station, which is next to Jr Saga Arashiyama Station.
  • After the train ride, when you reach Kameoka Trokko Station, you can hop back on the return train and get back to Arashiyama, or you can walk to JR Umahori Station and catch a train back to Kyoto.

 

HOURS OF OPERATION AND ADMISSION COST

 

The train leaves every hour between 9 am and 5 pm.  However, Sagano Romantic Train does not operate on Wednesdays. In addition, it stops operating from the end of December through the end of February.

It is a good idea to purchase the train tickets in advance, since the train is very popular!

You can reserve the tickets through JR West online reservation service  starting one month prior to the train ride.

The one-way train ticket is 620 yen for and adult and 310 yen for a child (ages 6-12).

 

Number 13

 

WHERE TO SIT ON THE ROMANCE TRAIN?

 

The best car is “The Rich” Car. It is an open air car. No advanced tickets are available. Same day sales only! Make sure to go to Saga Torokko Station as soon as you arrive in Arashiyama and purchase the tickets. Or, you can exchange the tickets you bought in advance for “The Rich” Car tickets.

 

 

 

Number 14

TAKE ARASHIYAMA WALKING TOUR

 

There is so much to do in Arashiyama!

To take the stress of out planning a trip to Arashiyama and join an Arashiyama Walking Tour!

You will find out about famous Saga-Arashiyama’s villa landscapes, get an insider scoop on Arashiyama bamboo forest, visit Tenryu-Ji temple and its majestic garden once owned by aristocrats, officially recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

on top of that, finish off the tour with an authentic, exclusive Kyoto-style lunch with a special view of the Togetsukyo bridge. How cool is that!

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

Take the stress out of planning your trip to Arashiyama and join a walking tour of Arashiyama with Kyoto-style lunch put together by Magical Trip.

CLICK HERE



 

 

HOW TO GET TO ARASHIYAMA FROM KYOTO

  • There are several options of getting to Arashiyama from Kyoto.
  • First of all, you can take Kyoto Bus #72 or 73 (Bus Stop C-6) from Kyoto Station and get off at Arashiyama. The cost of the bus ticket is 230 yen.
  • Or, you can take the local JR Train from Kyoto Station to Saga Arashiyama Station. The journey time is 10-15 minutes depending on whether you get rapid train or not. The cost of the train ticket is 240 yen. However, If you have a JR Pass, then the cost of your ticket will be covered by the pass.

 

 

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Things to do in Arashiyama

Things to do in Arashiyama

 

 

 

Now, I would like to hear back from you! Have you been in Arashiyama? Would you add anything else to this list?

Are you planning a trip to Arashiyama or Kyoto? Let me know! Leave me a quick comment!

 

Planning an itinerary to Kyoto can be challenging, especially if you are traveling as a family. There is so much to do and see in Kyoto and the surrounding areas, that it is difficult to narrow down the key attractions.

To help you with the planning process, make sure to review this 3-day travel itinerary for Kyoto while traveling with kids.

 

Now, click on the image below to get inspired and find out about more places to visit in Japan!

 

 

 

 

Comments:

43 thoughts on “14 Unmissable Things to Do in Arashiyama, Kyoto


2019-09-10

I’ve just visited here! The bamboo forest was amazing! Great post 😊

    2019-09-12

    Hi Hannah!
    Thank you for your comment! I am so glad you got to visit Arashiyama. It is a great place to explore.
    Good luck in your travels!
    Anna

dansontheroad
2019-09-19

We only did Sagano Romantic Train, Bamboo Forest and Tenryu-ji while at Arashiyama. Such a serene place and I would love to climb up Jojakkoji Temple to catch the view from Mount Ogura next time!

    2019-09-25

    Hey Dan!
    Thank you for your comment! There is so much to do in Arashiyama that it is hard to get it all done in one day. Maybe you can go back and re-visit one day?

2019-10-02

Oh wow, such an exotic place! This must have been kind of a dream come true to visit this magical fairytale 🙂

And may I just say, I absolutly adore your blog, you have found a great way to tell your stories! 🙂

    2019-10-02

    Thank you, Ann! So very kind of you!

Sarah Wilson
2019-10-02

Didn’t have enough time to visit Arashiyama on my last trip to Japan. From these suggestions, I wish I had. Would love to visit the Bamboo Grove. I always do touristy stuff early too to avoid crowds.

    2019-10-02

    Well, now there is a reason for you to go back! It will be all worth it!

2019-10-02

Wow, there certainly is a lot to do here. Did you do this all in a day? Was this combined with a multi-city vacation? Thanks for sharing this detailed list. I like all the details that you took the time to share, especially the prices and the hours of operation.

    2019-10-02

    It is a list of all the possibilities worth looking into. However, I got it all done in one day. The distances are all walk-able and the sites do not take a lot of time.
    I always try to include the opening hours and the cost. It helps other travelers plan better trips. Thank you for your comment!

2019-10-02

I wish I had this guide when I visited Kyoto, I had no idea the bamboo forest was THAT CLOSE and I missed it 🙁 next time right?! great post

    2019-10-02

    Oh no! Arashiyama is great for a visit while in Kyoto. As you said, next time!

2019-10-02

Great list! There is heaps and heaps of useful information here for itinerary planning!

    2019-10-02

    Thank you so much, Melissa!

2019-10-02

All the bamboo really surprised me. It’s beautiful. And I would love to walk across the Moon Crossing Bridge!

    2019-10-02

    Sharon, the entire Arashiyama area is worth a visit. Bamboo forest is a highlight, but besides the forest, there is so much to do!

2019-10-02

That bamboo forest would be worth getting up early for. Bet it was fabulous to wander around. I’d love to take my watercolors and try and capture it.

    2019-10-02

    It must be done early in the morning. Otherwise, it gets very crowded. It really is one of those unmissable places!

2019-10-02

Never had the willing of visiting Kyoto but, it looks so romantic.
Thanks for the post 🙂

    2019-10-03

    Thank you for your comment, Agnese! Kyoto is a great place to explore. There is so much, it will keep you busy for days. And, don’t miss Arashiyama!

Kakush Muhavi
2019-10-03

The rickshaws look quiet interesting. I wonder how long the tour takes. I love the bamboo forest too, I would not mind going there on a walking trail.

    2019-10-03

    The rickshaw ride can be 30-minute affair or you can go for longer rides. They are fun, but expensive.

2019-10-03

I went to Japan many years ago but didn’t make it here, and never heard about it before now. Wow, this looks beautiful.I was in Kyoto though and managed to get through that hole in the giant wood column which apparently was good… 😉

    2019-10-03

    Hey Heather!
    Would it be possible that you are referring to Nara? And if so, wow, I am impressed!

      2019-10-03

      Yes ! I went to Kyoto and Nara. There’s a wooden Buddha and I remember crawling through this small hole to see if I’d find love our something like that lol!

        2019-10-03

        Ha ha ha! You are amazing! I was not brave enough to crawl through this narrow opening. I saw a couple of people get stuck in it. It is part of the experience and I hope it brought you some luck.

          2019-10-03

          Lol thanks! It was years ago. I’d probably get stuck in it now but yes I am sure it brought me luck and made someone laugh that day. Or I hope so because really you have to be a bit crazy to crawl through that thing! 🤣🤪

          2019-10-03

          Crazy in a good way! and, it is what we will remember down the road!

          2019-10-03

          That’s so true!

nancywill2017
2019-10-03

I spent an entire summer in Japan during college. My biggest regret is not making it to Kyoto. Someday I’ll go back. It looks so amazing!

    2019-10-03

    Oh, lucky you! That must have been an awesome experience. And, as you said – Kyoto next time!

      2019-10-03

      You will love it! I spent numerous hours feeding them and taking their pictures, instead of exploring Nara.

2019-10-03

Those bamboo forests look amazing, my mum used to have a small bamboo plant in the garden and it sounded amazing rustling in the wind, I bet this sounds phenominal. What a peaceful place it looks.

    2019-10-03

    Hey Becki! Thank you for your comment! I loved Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest. It is a serene place and when the sun and a little wind hits the grove, it really becomes magical.

2019-10-03

You are absolutely spot on with Arashiyama. Brought back many happy memories of my stay in Japan. Great tips.

2019-11-04

Very well presented post. Loved it. Japan has always been on our list. Saving your post for future reference.

    2019-11-05

    Thank you, Sana, for your comment!

Kakush Muhavi
2019-11-07

Great and detailed post. Japan is truly a hidden gem.

    2019-11-11

    Thank you!

Aim Patrick
2020-05-17

I was there in April 2017, only knew about the bamboo grove, which I loved and the monkey park, which I declined to visit. Thanks for all the info. Next trip to Japan in 2021.

    2020-05-18

    Great! I am glad you found it useful. Good luck with your next trip to Japan!

2020-05-19

Hi Anna, this is Anna too. Great read and this piece is so informative.
Our family has also caught the travel bug and can’t wait for the lock down to be over.

    2020-05-20

    Hello Anna!
    Thank you so much. I am glad you found it useful.
    I know! I can’t wait to start exploring again.

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