Hidden away at the Randen Tram Station in Arashiyama is one of Kyoto’s best kept secrets. While from the outskirts, it may seem like just brightly colored cylindrical pillars, it really is so much more than that. If you’re brave enough to trek just a little bit off the beaten path and away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds, you will find the hidden Kimono Forest.
Located on Kyoto’s Keifuky Arashiyama line, the tram station holds close to 600 cylindrical pillars, all lined with acrylic fabric that has been dyed using a traditional Kyo-Yuzen technique. This technique is commonly used by locals to create the famous Yuzen kimonos that are sold in Kyoto. On display you will find a total of 32 different textile patterns.
The Kimono Forest is often missed by travelers who, upon arriving at Arashiyama tend to rush onward in the opposite direction towards the Bamboo Groves. While the beauty of the man-made forest is strikingly beautiful during the day, it is purely magical at night as each pillar lights up with LED lights somewhere between sunset and 9 pm. It really makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into another realm!
While the design of the forest itself is mesmerizing, wandering further inward will lead you to the Pond of Dragons which is named after the dragon of Tenryuji Temple.
This pond is thought to guard the station and all trips to and from here. It is also believed that if you immerse your hands in the water of the Pond of Dragons, your heart will be filled with peace and happiness.
Worth a shot, right?!