Let’s go to One Day Trip in Arashiyama!!
Walking in a bamboo forest, visiting a moss temple, going to onsen – these experiences can be found in one place, on the same day: in Arashiyama.
Arashiyama means storm mountain, but usually it is very calm and perfect area for a one day trip from Kyoto.
Instead the real one, the storm is coming in the form of travelers: expect crowd in the famous areas like the bamboo forest and Tenryu-ji temple.
To avoid the crowd the best strategy is go earlier than others: the bamboo forest is open 0-24, so before 9am it is much more calm and serene – easier to take a nice picture without too much people on it.
Therefore we advice to get up early and enjoy the freshness of the morning in the bamboo forest!
Sagano Bamboo forest
Bamboo is the the symbol of prosperity and purity in Japan, and there are more than 1000 types of it!
Maybe you think, what can be so special about a forest, but bamboo forests look really different from a western one, and there are not so much even in Japan, therefore it is one of the most photographed sites in the world.
The forest can be a very mystical place when a gentle wind makes the forest to ‘sing’ as the bamboos are moving back and forth.
This sound is so unique, it was added to the list of one hundred ‘soundscapes of Japan’ by the Ministry of Environment.
Walking there is like taking a tour in a fantasy world, especially if a light up event is going on. In every spring and winter the bamboo grove is illuminated after sundown and it is turned into a colorful magical forest.
The event called Arashiyama Hanatouro.
Open: 0-24 hours
Tenryu-ji and other temples
Usually travelers are visiting the bamboo forest and Tenryu-ji temple, but there are much more beautiful sites to see really close to these destinations.
Tenryu-ji temple is a tricky one in terms of entering the temple: there are two tickets, one is just to the garden, other one is for the inside of the temple and the garden.
If you don’t have much time, our advice is to visit just the garden, because it is really astonishing.
If you have more time, you can have your lunch inside the temple and try out the zen temple food.
The Shigetsu restaurant can be reached through the garden and it is even featured in the Michelin guide for Osaka and Kyoto, so it may worth to reserve your seats beforehand here.
If you prefer a more serene place, a little bit outside of the touristic area, head to North and visit Gio-ji or Otagi Nenbutsuji temples. Gio-ji temple is famous for its moss garden, which means a beautifully designed, green area where your mind can relax. The air is also special here, more clean and somehow tasty. Walking more 20 minutes, you will reach a really special area, where more than 1200 stone statues are waiting. The statues inside the Otagi Nenbutsuji temple are not famous because they are old, but famous because they were carved by local people in the 1980s. Each of them are unique with different face expressions, reflecting to the many situations in our life.
Open: summer: 8:30am-5:30pm, winter: 8:30am-5:00pm
Price: garden only – 500 yen, garden and buildings 800 yen
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
To reach the monkey park, you should walk around 20 minutes up to the hill, because the park is on the top of it. It is not hard to walk (except maybe in summer, when the high humidity turns every hike into a challenge), and the panorama of the area and the experience worth it! The monkeys are free to go anywhere in the park – sometimes they get outside and going to drink to the river, so don’t be afraid if you encounter one. What is important, to not to feed them outside of the designated area, which is a cozy house on the top of the hill. Here you can buy food for the monkeys and give them directly.
Price: 550 yen
After sundown you can enjoy the ‘Kimono forest’, which is located inside the Randen Arashiyama station.
Usually travelers think on a station just from practical point of view, but in Kyoto it is worth to look around in the stations like Kyoto station (panorama floor to see Kyoto from up), Karasuma Oike station (TV-shows and anime floor) and this one too. Following the shape of the bamboo forest, around 600 pillars are facing the walkway. Each of the pillars are decorated with a unique kimono design and after sundown they turn into beautiful lanterns.
After a long day, relaxing in an onsen can be a perfect choice. Kyoto don’t have so much onsens, but luckily one of the bests are in Arashyiama. The Tenzan-no-yu onsen has an outdoor and indoor area and sauna too, usually it is not so crowded and open until 1am.
Price: 1050 yen
Enjoy Arashiyama! 🙂