Arashiyama is situated in western Kyoto, situated along the Katsura River – and is ecognized nationally as a historic site and known worldwide as a tranquil and serene place of beauty. Arashiyama is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kyoto, many who have come to see the natural beauty in the surrounding bamboo forest, or the many temples found in the historic district, including the Tenryu-ji temple, one of 14 World Heritage Sites found within Kyoto. Arashiyama is a must-visit in Kyoto.
Unlike most shrines, which feature more iconic, lacquered vermilion torii gates, Nonomiya Shrine has a somewhat unusual black torii gate referred to as a kuroki torii. Made to resemble unstripped timber, this style of gate harkens back to the oldest style of Shinto torii that would have been erected in the past. Surrounding the shrine is the same sort of brushwood fencing (koshibagaki) that can be found along the paths through the bamboo forest, a rustic touch that adds a bit of charm. Both these scenic details are mentioned in The Tale of Genji when the main character, Prince Genji, arrives at Nonomiya Shrine.
Though the precincts as well as shrine buildings are small, Nonomiya Shrine has a lovely little garden to the right of the main hall that is brimming with a lush carpet of moss. A tiny bridge spans the dip between two small “hills” on the ground, making it appear almost as if the garden is a larger landscape represented in miniature.
Alongside the garden are two sub-shrines marked with lanterns and vermilion torii gates. One is dedicated to Atago, a deity associated with a nearby mountain who is believed to deal with matters relating to fire and victory. Another enshrines deities such as Benzaiten, a goddess of luck and the arts, and Inari, a deity associated with business and agricultural success. Nonomiya Shrine specifically enshrines Shirafuku Inari Daimyōjin, who is said to additionally have the power to bless couples with children and easy labor. An altar to another lucky god, Daikokuten, can be found to the left of the main hall and is marked with masks.
To the left of the Daikokuten shrine you will find a large, peculiarly shaped stone. This stone is called the Kame Ishi (Turtle Rock), or, alternatively, the Kami Ishi (Divine Rock). It is said that if you rub this stone and pray over it, your wish will be granted within a year.
Shrine for Women
Nonomiya Shrine has a reputation for helping and interceding on behalf of women, and many parishioners are women who want to find love or wish for children and a safe childbirth. Many of the omamori on sale at the shrine reflect the theme of women’s happiness, and you can find a variety of amulets available at the shrine office. Enmusubi amulets for a good relationship, kosazuke for conception of a child, anzan for an easy birth, and more can be found in various colors and designs. Some prefer ema votive tablets on which you can write your wish before hanging it up on the precincts.
Places to Stay in Kyoto
Our recommendations for where to stay in Kyoto near the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest:
- Hoshinoya Kyoto – This historic century-old property is a great way to visit Kyoto in style, with mid-range prices, charming accommodations, and beautiful scenery. There are often discounts available if you plan to stay several nights in a row.
- Arashiyama Benkei – This lovely riverside ryokan is located in Arashiyama, just a short journey away from the bamboo grove. The inn also features hot springs and traditional Japanese cuisine.
- Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo – This hotel is located near Kyoto station, making it a great choice for those looking to travel the Kyoto area by train. Royal Park Hotel features moderately-priced western-style rooms.
- Hanaikada – Near the Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama, Hanikada is a Japanese ryokan with natural hot springs and traditional accommodations. Hanaikada is conveniently located near the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, as well as other popular attractions including the Sagano Romantic Train and Tenryu-Ji Temple.
Kyoto Arashiyama has been written about in songs since ancient times,
And many aristocrats set up holiday homes in this area. It is now designated as a “place of scenic beauty: Arashiyama.”
Spring cherry blossoms beautifully decorate the Togetsukyo Bridge.
The history of cherry blossoms at Arashiyama dates back many centuries, and it is said that Emperor Go-Saga transplanted cherry blossoms from Yoshino Mountain in Nara, over 700 years ago, and we can now see about 1,500 cherry blossoms.
At the time of flowering, the mountain is dyed pink in cherry blossoms, and Togetsukyo bridge is decorated beautifully with spring cherry blossoms. Even after the cherry blossoms have reached full bloom, we see the beauty of the dancing falling flower petals, and then Arashiyama greets visitors with a covering of fresh green.
Feel the beauty of nature and the tradition of Japan.
The green of the bamboo forest grows brilliant and is dazzlingly colored.
In the evening, summer scenes of Arashiyama cormorant fishing. You can still see the traditional fishing method using cormorants and fishing fire, from boats floating on the Oi River that flows through Arashiyama.
Please enjoy watching the leisurely Yakatabune boats and the skilled handling of the reins by the cormorant fishermen, and experience a night unlike everyday life.
You can enjoy the beauty of nature and the summer of Arashiyama where you can feel the tradition of Japan.
The stunning scenery dazzling with red will make you forget time.
Kyoto in the autumn is beautifully colored with autumn leaves.
Among the many places for viewing autumnal leaves in Kyoto, Arashiyama is the most popular site.
Many people forget time when they see the scenery of a masterpiece where the whole mountain of Arashiyama is dyed red.
You can not only enjoy the red autumn colors in the day, but the mountains are also lit up at night, transforming them into a fantastic scenery. Please enjoy this scenery only seen in autumn.
Beauty that is reminiscent of an ink painting.
In the snow season, the whole of Arashiyama is wrapped in a white world.
There is beauty reminiscent of a Chinese ink painting in the scenes of the quietly flowing Oi River and Togetsukyo Bridge, and the monochrome mountains covered in white.
In snow-dusted Arashiyama, you can feel an atmosphere unlike everyday life.
The Main Arashiyama / Sagano, Kyoto Sighteseeings
Togetsukyo Bridge is one of a symbol of Arashiyama and Kyoto, Japan. In the early period of “Heian” era, the emperor “Kameyama” have mentioned “it resembles the crossing of a bearless moon,” and it came to be called “Togetsukyo” the meaning of bridge of crossing to the moon.
【Only 5 minitue walk from Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei (⇒ GoogleMap)】
Hozugawa River cruise / boat ride to Arashiyama
There is an abyss, a torrent, and a valley of the Hozu River that flows through the four seasons. It is a 16-km, two-hour boat ride from Kameoka to Arashiyama, Kyoto with the great nature sceneries of Japan.
【Take the Sagano Romantic Train from the station next to the JR Saga Arashiyama Staion to the Kameoka Romantic Train / Torokko Station, and the shuttle buses from Kameoka Torokko Station transfer passengers to the boat departure point, arrival point is just few minutes walk from Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei（⇒ GoogleMap）】
Arashiyama / Sagano Bamboo Forest / Grove
Over 400m long bamboo Arashiyama / Sagano Bamboo Forest / Grove that leads from Nonomiya Shrine to Tenryuji temple and Okochi Sanso Garden. The lush bamboo grows high enough to cover the sky, and the leaking sun creates a amazing spaces. It is a one of the most, best and top popular sightseeing site of Kyoto and all over Japan, and also the stereotype image of Japan itself.
【Only 11 minitue walk from Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei （⇒ GoogleMap）】
Tenryuji Temple was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 as a cultural property of the ancient city of Kyoto, Japan. The pond spring garden with a view of Kameyama and Arashiyama has various expressions every season of Kyoto, Japan.
【Only 9 minitue walk from Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei （⇒ GoogleMap）】
Kyoto Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
A vast wild monkey park overlooking Kyoto city, located on Mt. Iwata, a ridge of Kyoto Arashiyama. It is a place where you can feel and experience great nature of Japan including over 130 wild Japanese monkeys, birds, insects and plants. Superb View of Kyoto City is one of the highlight of this place.
【Only 15 minitue walk from Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei （⇒ GoogleMap）】
Sagano Romantic Train / Sagano Scenic Railway （Sagano Torokko）
Sagano Romantic Train / Sagano Scenic Railway （Sagano Torokko）is a trolley train that connects 7.3km from Kameoka along the Hozugawa Valley from Kyoto Arashiyama Sagano area in about 25 minutes. You can meet and feel the seasons, such as autumn leaves, spring cherry blossoms, summer fresh greens, and winter snow scenes. It is one of the popular activity of Arashyiyama Kyoto, Japan.
【Only 13 minitue walk from Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei to the Sagano Romantic Train / Sagano Scenic Railway （Sagano Torokko）station that is next to JR Saga Arashiyama Staion （⇒ GoogleMap）】
Come and see the nature and history of Arashiyama and Sagano
Arashiyama / Sagano area is one of the most famous scenic sightseeing spots in Kyoto, Japan.
There are many famous and ancient monuments, special scenic spots, historical sites and important cultural properties, temples, shrines and so on.
You can fully enjoy taking a walk in the atmosphere representing Kyoto, Japan, which is also designated as a historical preservation area,
therefore the atmosphere and some of townscapes are unchenged from old times like at least few hundread years
Arashiyama / Sagano Bamboo Forest / Bamboo Grove is famous as a representative image of Japan and Kyoto both in Japan and overseas,
“Togetsukyo Bridge” is a trademark of Arashiyama, Kyoto and “Hozugawa River Cruise/Boat ride which ends at
Oi River overlooking Togetsukyo Bridge only few minutes walk from Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei.
“Sagano Romantic Train / Sagano Scenic Railway （Sagano Torokko）”
that connects the sightseeing and scenic viewing route to the starting point of Hozugawa River descent.
“Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama” on the opposite bank of Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei,
“Cultural Property of Ancient Kyoto” registered as a World Heritage Site Tenryuji Temple,
heading from Togetsukyo to Tenryuji Temple and the bamboo grove, Arashiyama Hondori is full of Kyoto gourmet,
Kyoto and Arashiyama limited souvenirs, cafes and restaurants such as Arabica Coffee Arahiyama,
Unagiya Hirokawa the Japanese eel restaurant, Pizzeria Lugara, Saga Tofu Ine, Arashiyama Kijurou, Arashiyama Steak Otsuka and much more.
From Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei to Togetsukyo Bridge, on the riverside street,
there are famous Japanese restaurants in Kyoto and all over Japan such as Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama Main Store Arashiyama Kumahiko are connected,
giving you a different feel from the lively main street.
In addition, the platform of Arashiyama Onsen, a main access point to Arashiyama on the main street,
has an Arashiyama Onsen station footbath that can be used by anyone for free.
It is a spot where you can easily feel the quality of the hotsprings of Arashiyama Onsen, which is a weak alkaline simple but great natural hot spring.
There are also many cultural power spots in Arashiyama and Sagano area such as “Nonomiya Shrine”,
Hogonin Temple, Horinji temple, Arashiyama main area, bamboo forest / grove, and at the foot of Atagoyama /
Mt. Atago which gathers one of the greates and best religious mountain in Kyoto,
there are many unchanges cultural spots like Nison-in Temple, Gioji Temple, Adashino nenbutsuji temple, Jikishi-an and more.
Daikakuji temple is a representative famous temple of northern Arashiyama / Sagano area called “Kita-Saga”.
Daikakuji Temple have Osawa lake / pond which is known as the oldest artificial pnd in Japan.
Alongside Osawa Pond, “Hirosawa ike Pond”, which has been the theme of many “waka” the Japanese poems since ancient times.
It also has been a popular spot for watching the moon.
Arashiyama / Sagano area of Kyoto, Japan and the sourroundings of Arashiyama Onsen Arashiyama Benkei are wrapped
in the culture and eternal essence of Japan and Kyoto, there are unique landscapes and history that can be spent for many days, many times in any seasons.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
View photos (1)
The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most popular attractions in Kyoto and is made up of numerous trails for visitors to enjoy. For the best photos, make sure to get here early in the morning as it gets crowded very quickly.
It's not just the beauty of the bamboo that attracts people. The Arashiyama bamboo forest is one of the 100 most beautiful soundscapes in Japan, which are designated by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. The sound of the rustling bamboo swaying in the wind is almost meditative.
If you walk along the main street of Arashiyama, you will also pass Tenryuji Temple, one of the most beautiful Zen temples in Kyoto. According to Japanese tradition, bamboo is a symbol of strength. Therefore, it often happens that a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine has a small bamboo grove on its premises to ward off evil.
Walking Around Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest
This map shows the entire Arashiyama area.
To see the Togetsukyo Bridge and Bamboo Forest in the center, and any of the shrines and temples nearby, we recommend taking a rickshaw or using a rental cycle for convenience.
There are also many restaurants and souvenir shops along the way, and cafes for a quick break. Take a trip around Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest, and enjoy Kyoto's beautiful natural scenery.
Arashiyama is the second-most important sightseeing district in Kyoto. It’s filled with temples and shrines, but the star attraction is the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
Arashiyama Area Description:
Arashiyama is in the far west of Kyoto, tucked along the base of the Arashiyama Mountains (meaning “Storm Mountains”). It’s a fair distance from the center of Kyoto: whether you go by train, bus, bicycle or taxi, you’re generally looking at about a 30-minute trip. Still, it’s worth it for the number of great sights here.
Important Note: Don’t Be Put Off By The Crowds
The main street of Arashiyama, along with the famed Togetsu-kyo Bridge, which form the heart of Arashiyama, is nothing but a tourist circus. But, don’t despair. As quickly as you can, walk upriver to Kameyama-koen Park, or into Tenryu-ji Temple and on into the Bamboo Grove. If you’d like to get away from the crowds and still see the highlights, check out our Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Walking Tour, which outlines the best route to follow.
Things To Do And See In Arashiyama
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world
Tenryu-ji Temple is the headline attraction in Arashiyama, a sprawling Zen temple with one of the finest gardens in Kyoto and wonderful mountain views
Escape the crowds and (if you’re lucky) mingle with the monkeys at Arashiyama’s lovely hilltop park, Kameyama-koen Park
Okochi-Sanso Villa is one of the top sights in Kyoto. It rivals any of the city’s imperial properties, and you don’t need reservations to enter
Nison-in Temple is a lovely Tendai sect Buddhist temple that is best known for its lovely maple- and cherry-lined arcade leading to the main halls
This quaint hermit’s cottage was once the home of one of haiku master Matsuo Basho’s disciples. It’s a good palate cleanser between the area temples
Jojakko-ji Temple is a quaint temple on the main Arashiyama tourist route that offers a chance to escape the crowds that plague the rest of the area
Tiny Gio-ji Temple is one of the most scenic spots in Arashiyama. The thatched-roof main hall overlooking a moss-covered grotto is a magical sight
A touching temple at the top of the Arashiyama sightseeing district, you’ll find 8000 Buddhist statues here placed in memory of those who died without kin
One of the best ways to explore the Arashiyama area is by renting a boat and rowing around the lovely lower Hozu-gawa area, especially when the cherry blossoms are out
Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa is regarded as the pinnacle of Japanese architecture and garden design
Tenzan-no-yu Onsen is a huge bath and spa complex on the west side of Kyoto. It’s one of the few onsen in Kyoto and it’s well worth the trek across town to relax here
Check Hotel Availability
Hotels in Arashiyama
- See more Arashiyama hotels on Booking.com or Agoda.com along with a useful location map
A serene riverside refuge accessible by boat upstream from Arashiyama, Hoshinoya Kyoto is arguably Kyoto’s most interesting place to stay
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
This new luxury hotel is in a stunning location in Arashiyama, within easy walking distance of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Tenryu-ji Temple
Hotel Arashiyama Benkei Arashiyama
Arashiyama Benkei is the finest riverside ryokan in Arashiyama. Read More
Suiran Garden Terrace Suite “Gyokuto” © Starwood
Suiran is a luxury hotel in a stunning location near Tenryu-ji Temple. Read More
Ryokan in Arashiyama
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
One of the finest riverside ryokan in Arashiyama, this traditional spot is a great place for those who want to be based in Arashiyama
Private Walking Tour: Arashiyama
Explore the stunning Kyoto district of Arashiyama, including the breathtaking Bamboo Grove, on this guided private walk.
(Four hours duration. Price: 25,000 Yen)
More Details About The Tour
Best time to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Arashiyama is a popular tourist spot, so it’s usually very crowded and you often have to line up at the attractions. The busiest times are usually in the afternoon, weekends, or holidays.
The peak tourist season in Arashiyama is in early April and November each year, corresponding to the cherry blossoms blooming season and autumn.
For a great photoshoot at the Kyoto bamboo forest, you should arrive here early in the morning. There’re fewer visitors and the weather is also comfortable.
Although the forest is also quite empty in the late afternoon, there would not be enough light for your photos.
Other Things You Can Enjoy By the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama
The bamboo forest might be Arashiyama&rsquos most talked about attraction but as stated earlier, there are a lot of other things to be found here. The other attractions found here aren&rsquot just secondary attractions because they are just as beautiful as the Sagano Bamboo Forest. Take the Togetsukyo Bridge, for example. This bridge is Arashiyama&rsquos most iconic landmark and this has been there since the Heian Period.
Like most historic landmarks in Japan, this too was damaged due to the wars and it was reconstructed in the 1930&rsquos. This landmark is sought out for because of a combination of things that make it a premier place to see when in Japan. It is surrounded by a forested mountainside as it stands over the river. Also visible from this bridge is the riverside park that has dozens of cherry trees on it so come the season of this blooming, this place is definitely a place to bring your cameras to.
Another prime attraction here can be found at the back of the bamboo groves and this the former villa of Okochi Denjiro, who was a famous actor of Japan. It is called the Okochi Sanso Villa and it is quite rare to see a villa of an actor treated as a tourist attraction. Though, considering that this place has several gardens and buildings that were very well preserved, it is understandable why it gets the treatment it does. This villa is open all days of the week from 9 AM to 5 PM but there is an admission fee of 1000 yen. It is quite pricey but the admission fee does include matcha green tea and a snack for the guest.
The Monkey Park Iwatayama is another unique attraction to be found around this area. As its name suggests, this place is a sanctuary to over a hundred monkeys of different species. It is located in the mountains of Arashiyama and you would have to hike uphill for a bit to reach this park but rest assured that your efforts on that uphill hike will be well worth it once you see what the monkey park is like and the view that it has to offer.
There are many more attractions and tourists activities to be found here and done here. To name some, there are the Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple. Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street, and the Daikakuji Temple. As for the activities, you can do here, there are the Hozu River Boat Tour, Saga Scenic Railway, and the Cormorant Fishing. All these activities are unique to this area so don&rsquot hesitate to spend on these experiences.
Overall, it is pretty apparent that Japan has been able to utilize their nature to promote their country and to preserve the nature as well. They have even been able to build other establishments around their bamboo groves to provide more services to those who wish to enjoy these attractive locations. Aside from the attractions found in the bamboo groves, the bamboo groves themselves are generally free to the public. This leaves you with only one task and that is to make sure that your camera is fully charged when you hit up these beautiful and hypnotizing bamboo groves.
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Featuring both fresh, fun discoveries as well as little-known treasures to help you see Japan through new eyes.