Kyoto: Arashiyama

Arashiyama (‘Storm Mountain’) is a district on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Just 15 – 20 minutes by train Kyoto, Arashiyama district is famous for its scenic beauty. I took the JR train from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station. I start my day in the early morning and dedicate the entire day at Arashiyama.

Sagano Romantic Train

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There are 2 ways to explore Arashimaya District; by scenic train or foot. I choose the latter option. However, the Sagano Scenic Railway is a nice 25-minute scenic ride if you have the luxury of time and money. You can board the Sagano Romantic train at Saga Torokko station, adjacent to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. Seats are limited and advanced booking is recommended.

Sagano Romantic Train
Purchase and board the train at Saga Torokko station.
¥620 per trip. Refer to website.

Kimono Forest

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Many visitors will look forward to see the Bamboo Forest but the Kimono Forest is worth to check it out. I decided to make my first stop here. It features cylindrical-shaped pillars of kimono textiles stand in rows like a forest winding its way through an enchanted dreamland. There are about 600 pillars of artworks personally picked by the artist, Yasumichi Morita. The kimono uses traditional Kyo-Yuzen technique, a style of dyeing and printing used to create the brilliantly coloured Yuzen Kimono in Kyoto.

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The “Pond of the Dragon” serves as the guardian of Randen Arashiyama Station to ensure that everyone has a safe journey. In the evening, the Kimono Forest will transformed into a magical wonderland when the forest is illuminated with LED lights.

Kimono Forest
Located near Randen Arashiyama Station.
Open daily. Free Admission.

Togetsukyō Bridge

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Just few minutes by foot from either the Keifuku line or Hankyū line Arashiyama station, this 155m Togetsukyō Bridge is a well known landmark in Arashiyama. The name of the bridge, Togetsu  means “Moon crossing”. The bridge takes its name from Emperor Kameyama, during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). He went on a boat on the river under a full moon and noted that the moon looked like crossing the bridge.

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A small dam was built to generate electricity for the foot light illuminating the bridge during the evening.

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The bridge looks stunning on all season but spring and fall draw large crowds.

Arashimaya

Back to the olden days when the rickshaws go back and forth the road. The price of the rickshaw ride depends on the route will cost between ¥5000 to ¥7000.

Togetsukyō Bridge
Located near Arashiyama Station.
Open daily. Free Admission.

Tenryu-ji

Tenryu-ji Temple

Tenryu-ji is a UNESCO world heritage site. A sprawling Zen temple with one of the finest gardens in Kyoto. It was built in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji. A separate ticket required for visiting the temple and garden.

Tenryu-ji Garden

One of the best shakkei (borrowed scenery) in Japan.

Sogen Garden

The beautiful landscape garden and Sōgen Pond.

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The orange portrait is Bodhidharma (Daruma Daishi in Japanese), the 5th century Indian monk said to have transmitted the Zen teachings from India to China.

Sogen Garden

I chanced upon this wishing pond. One can throw a coin and aim to land on the frog’s head for good luck.

Sogen Garden

Making my way uphill, escape from the crowd.

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The hillside pathways is perfect for leisure walks and photo opportunities. If you exit the temple using the north gate and it will lead you right into the heart of Sagano Bamboo Forest.

Tenryu-ji
Garden: Open daily 8.30am to 5.30pm. Admission ¥500
Temple: Open daily 8.30am to 5.15pm. Admission ¥300

Sagano Bamboo Forest

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The Sagano Bamboo Forest or known as Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, is one of the world’s most beautiful groves. As soon as I set foot on this enchanting bamboo forest, it feels like I am entering into another world. It was supposed to be a peaceful setting but the throng of people made me think otherwise. It makes sense to visit the bamboo forest in the early morning.

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The green bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth, seems endlessly in every direction.

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 Looking up at the sky.

Sagano Bamboo Forest
Open daily. Free Admission.

Ōkōchi Sansō

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At the other end of the Bamboo Forest trail sits Ōkōchi Sansō, the former home of late silent film star Denjiro Okochi. This place is a gem to escape from the crowds at Sagano Bamboo Forest but there will be an admission fee which includes a Japanese snack and a cup of hot matcha tea.

Okochi-Sanso Villa

The villa is one of the finest examples of traditional Japanese residential architecture.

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A peaceful setting indeed.

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Beautiful Japanese garden landscape.

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Great viewpoint of the town.

Okochi-Sanso Villa

Slurping on my matcha tea at the teahouse.

Ōkōchi Sansō
Located near Arashiyama Station.
Open daily 9AM to 5PM. Admission Fee ¥1000.

Nonomiya Shrine

Nonomiya Shrine

During the old days. the shrine was formerly known as a temporary sanctuary for princesses. It said that the shrine help single women with matchmaking process and also ease of child delivery for pregnant mothers.

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Visitors hung their wishes.

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God of good fortune.

Nonomiya Shrine
Located near Sagano Bamboo Forest.
Open daily 6AM to 5PM. Free Admission.
Attractions in Kyoto | lonelytravelog.com

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