Ten must-do things when visiting Arashiyama, Kyoto

Located on the western outskirts of Kyoto and tucked away at the base of the storm mountains, you will find Arashiyama. Filled with temples and shrines and of course the famous Bamboo Grooves, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular districts in Kyoto that just cannot be missed by passing travelers. While the most popular time to visit is during the cherry blossom of fall season when bursts of color take over the place, there is always something to see and do here.  Here are ten must do things when visiting Arashiyama.

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Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The Sagano Bamboo Forest is probably one of the most photographed sights in all of Japan and really should be on every traveler’s must see itinerary. The wind rustling through these sky-high stalks of bamboo creates a peaceful and serene atmosphere that makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into another world.

 

Tenryu-ji Temple

Considered as one of Kyoto’s five greatest Zen temples, Tenryu-ji Temple was declared a world heritage site in 1994. Here you will find one of the finest gardens in all of Kyoto with wonderful mountain views and direct access to the Bamboo Forest itself.

 

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Kameyama-koen Park

Located just upstream from Tōgetsu-kyō, this hilltop park is one of the best spots to go hiking in Arashiyama. Laced with a variety of different hiking trails and beautiful views, be sure to visit here during the popular cherry blossom and autumn seasons. It’s also famous for the many monkeys that seem to descend from the nearby hills.

 

Okochi-Sanso Villa

Located at the back of Arashiyama’s bamboo grooves, Okochi-Sanso Villa is known as the former villa of the famous actor Okochi Denjiro. Here you will find several different gardens and buildings together with living quarters and tea houses.

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The Kimono Forest

Located at the back of the Randen Arashiyama Train Station, you will find The Kimono Forest. This colourful art display holds close to 600 cylindrical pillars all lined with acrylic fabric that has been dyed using a traditional Kyo-Yuzen technique. As beautiful as these kimono cylinders are during the day, be sure to visit the forest at night when they light up.

 

Nison-in Temple

Known for the overhanging maple and cherry lined arcade leading to the main halls, Nison-in Temple was founded in the mid 9th century and forms a temple of the Bhuddist Tendai sect.

 

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Gioji Temple

Nestled deep in the Bamboo Forest, Gioji Temple is well known for its famous moss garden lined with maple trees. The temple entrance and main hall both have thatched roof and windows that overlook the moss-covered grotto.

 

Adashino-Nembutsu-ji Temple

Another must visit temple covered with over 8000 Buddhist stone statues that have been placed here placed in memory of those who died without kin. At the back of the temple you will find a small pathway leading to through the Bamboo Forest.

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Get a taste of old Japan

Somewhere between the Randen train station and the Bamboo Forest, you will find Arashiyama’s main street. Filled with little restaurants and quaint souvenir shops, this is the perfect place to try some traditional foods and pick local souvenirs.

 

Tenzan-no-yu Onsen

Located close by to Arashiyama and Sagano, you will find Tenzan-no-yu Onsen. This is a public bath using natural spring water. Fully equipped with an open air stone bath, carbonated bath and sauna, this onsen will form the perfect end to a busy day of exploring.

 

Over to you! Have you visited Arashiyama? What are your recommendations?

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Hi World! I'm Shal - an environmental microbiologist, writer, teacher and artist from Durban, South Africa. I've spent the last two years traveling and teaching Chemistry and English to young kids in Asia. Life of Shal was founded as a way to share travel experiences, tips and other worldly magic with you! Join me on my journey!

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