Arashiyama District is situated in western Kyoto along the Katsura River. It is recognized nationally as a historic site and known worldwide as a tranquil place of beauty. Arashiyama Japan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kyoto, with many coming to see the natural beauty in the surrounding Arashiyama bamboo forest. There are also several beautiful temples in the historic district, including the Tenryu-ji temple, one of 14 World Heritage Sites found in Kyoto. Arashiyama is a must-visit in Kyoto.

Arashiyama Monkey Park

History of Arashiyama

The area of Arashiyama dates back to the Heian period. It is thanks to Emperor Go-Saga that there are many cherry blossoms in the area, as when he retired he moved cherry blossoms from Mount Yoshino in Nara to Arashiyama. Due to the natural beauty and beautiful flora in the area, Arashiyama has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185). It continues to draw both tourists and locals to visit the cherry blossoms and autumn colors.

Things To Do in Arashiyama

Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo Bridge, its name whispering “moon crossing,” gracefully arches over the gentle Katsura River, welcoming you to the enchanting bamboo groves of Arashiyama. Walk its timeworn wooden planks, adorned with traditional railings, and feel the serene rhythm of Kyoto flow beneath your feet. Gaze upstream towards the endless hills, or catch the sun reflecting off the water, painting the bridge in a golden shimmer. Come spring, witness a cascade of cherry blossoms showering the water in pink petals, creating a fairytale-like tunnel. Autumn paints the landscape in fiery hues, transforming Togetsukyo into a blazing archway. Beyond the breathtaking scenery, the bridge whispers tales of the past. Emperor Kameyama, enchanted by a moonlit boat ride, saw the moon itself gracefully traverse the bridge, inspiring its poetic name.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (Path of Bamboo)

Ah, the Bamboo Grove, also known as the Path of Bamboo, in Arashiyama Kyoto. Imagine towering stalks of emerald-green bamboo forming a cathedral-like canopy overhead, dappled sunlight filtering through like stained glass. The rustling whisper of leaves carried on the gentle breeze, the earthy scent of the forest floor, and the calming crunch of gravel underfoot – this is the magic of the Bamboo Grove.

The Bamboo Grove offers more than just a serene walk. Rent a rickshaw and glide through the tunnel, feeling the wind in your hair and the coolness of the bamboo against your skin. Even if you’ve seen Arashiyama Bamboo Grove photos, nothing can prepare you for the experience ahead. Whether you seek tranquility, beauty, or simply a unique experience, the Bamboo Grove is a must-visit. The Bamboo Grove is easily accessible by foot or public transportation from Arashiyama Station. Just follow the signs or ask any local for directions.

Top Tips

  • The best time to visit is early in the morning or late afternoon when the crowds are smaller. Wear comfortable shoes as the path can be uneven.
  • There’s a hidden bamboo grove near Fushimi Inari Shrine, offering a quieter and more secluded experience. Look for the signs near the main shrine and follow the path into the forest.

Arashiyama Monkey Park

Nestled amidst the serene bamboo groves lies Arashiyama Monkey Park, a sanctuary for over 120 playful Japanese macaques. Observe these cheeky animals as they swing through the trees, groom each other, and playfully squabble. Get up close (but safely!) at a designated observation area, capturing their expressive faces and nimble fingers as they reach for treats through a secure feeding enclosure.

Beyond the monkeys, the park offers breathtaking views of Arashiyama’s bamboo groves and the Oi River. Hike the park’s pathways, breathing in the fresh air and soaking in the tranquility. Reaching the park is easy! A short 7-minute walk from Arashiyama Station on the Randen Line brings you to this primate paradise. Open from 9 am to 4:30 pm (check for seasonal variations), entry fees are 550 yen for adults and 250 yen for children.

Tenryū-ji Temple

Built in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji, the ruling Shogun of the time, the Tenryu-Ji Temple is today regarded as the most important temple in Arashiyama and has been established as a World Heritage Site. The temple has spiritual energy and is the head temple of Rinzai Zen, a specific faith of Japanese Buddhism. Step through the imposing gate and enter serenity.

Senso-ji Temple

Situated halfway up Mount Arashiyama, the Senso-ji Temple offers one of the rarest views of Kyoto. The temple can be accessed on foot by walking over the Togetsukyo Bridge and walking some twenty minutes up stone steps. Although the location is not as easily accessible as other temples, the view is worth the journey. The Senso-ji Temple is the perfect way to escape the city and feel remote in nature,

How To Get From Kyoto To Arashiyama

To get from Kyoto to Arashiyama, the quickest and most easily accessible route is via the JR from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama Station. On the JR Sagano line, there is a one-way route that travels to Saga-Arashiyama Station, and from the station, it is about 5-10 minutes of walking.

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