10 Best Things To Do In Arashiyama

Imagine a place where the lush greenery of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove sways in the gentle breeze, where the historic Togetsukyo Bridge stretches majestically across the calm waters, and the ancient walls of the Tenryu-ji Temple resonate with zen tranquility.

Welcome to Arashiyama, a corner of Kyoto that is a treasure trove of natural beauty and traditional experiences. From the scenic charms of the Sagano Scenic Railway that curves through the heart of the mountains to the adventurous Hozu River Boat Ride that showcases the wild, rolling torrents, this locale provides an escapade for your soul.

Wander amidst the mystical Kimono Forest or gaze at the playful antics of macaques at Iwatayama Monkey Park. Arashiyama is not just a place to visit; it’s a realm of experiences waiting to captivate your senses.

Key Takeaways

  • Immerse yourself in the verdant beauty of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
  • Capture the scenic harmony of nature and history at the Togetsukyo Bridge.
  • Discover the tranquility of zazen meditation within the embracing arms of Tenryu-ji Temple.
  • Embark on a picturesque sojourn aboard the Sagano Scenic Railway.
  • Feel the thrill of the currents on a memorable Hozu River Boat Ride.
  • Stroll through the stunning spectacle of colors at the Kimono Forest.
  • Interact with the friendly residents of Iwatayama Monkey Park.

Exploring the Togetsukyo Bridge

Pause your journey through Kyoto’s rich tapestry of sites at the Togetsukyo Bridge, the quintessential viewpoint that captures the essence of Arashiyama’s natural splendor.

Connecting banks with a history that whispers through its architecture, this Arashiyama iconic landmark presents an engaging blend of nature and culture. With each step on its expanse, you’re gifted with stunning panoramic scenes that frame the tranquil Katsura River against a backdrop of Mount Arashiyama.

As you stand midspan, breathing in the fresh river breeze, you can admire Kyoto’s scenic view, unfurling before you in a canvas of calm waters and towering trees. Whether you witness the soft hues of cherry blossoms, the verdant summer greenery, the brilliant tapestry of autumn leaves, or the serenity of a winter’s day, the Togetsukyo Bridge offers a picturesque experience unlike any other.

Behold the Togetsukyo Bridge, not merely as a passage over water, but as a journey between the seasons, a place where Kyoto’s history converges with its aesthetic appeal. Photographers and nature enthusiasts alike will find themselves immersed in the endless photo opportunities each visit provides.

Just a 3-minute walk from Arashiyama Station, this attraction is as accessible as it is enchanting, ensuring a lasting impression without the hindrance of an entrance fee.

Here’s a glimpse into the distinctive experiences the Togetsukyo Bridge offers throughout the seasons:

SeasonScenic Highlights
SpringCanopy of cherry blossoms casting a blush over calm waters
SummerLush greenery offering a vivid contrast against the clear blue sky
AutumnMosaic of red and gold foliage painting a lively scene
WinterCrisp air and the stark beauty of bare branches against the mountainous horizon

No matter which season you choose to visit the Togetsukyo Bridge, your experience will be singular and memorable. It is more than just a crossing; it is a symphony of nature’s artistry tied together by the elegance of Japanese tradition, a must-see for anyone exploring Kyoto’s scenic view.

Revel in the Beauty of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Stepping into the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, you find yourself enveloped within a natural cathedral of towering stalks that create an awe-inspiring canopy overhead. This Japanese natural wonder captivates visitors with its serene and otherworldly presence.

As the sunlight filters through the dense leaves, casting shadows that dance on the path beneath your feet, a sense of the ethereal descends. The bamboo seems to whisper tales of a rich history that goes back to the refined elegance of the Heian period.

The hush of the tranquil atmosphere is punctuated only by the gentle rustling of leaves and the occasional bird call – a lyrical soundtrack that accompanies your exploration.

As one of the key must-see spots in Kyoto, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove beckons you to wander and lose yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds. Popular for a morning visit or a late afternoon stroll, the grove presents its most unspoiled state during these times, allowing you to bask in the peaceful tranquility that this place has generously sustained through ages.

To help you plan your visit and make the most of this enchanting location, here’s a table with the best times to enjoy the grove and tips to enhance your experience:

Early MorningArrive before the crowds for a more solitary experience.Listen to the silence and absorb the undisturbed majesty of the bamboo.
MiddayVisit can be crowded, avoid for a tranquil atmosphere.The sun at its highest casts the most dramatic light and shadow play.
Late AfternoonPost-lunch visits tend to be less crowded.Enjoy the golden hour as the sun sets, casting a warm hue on the grove.
Seasonal NotesConsider visiting during cherry blossom season or autumn for a unique backdrop.Experience the bamboo alongside seasonal colors for exquisite photos.

Embrace the opportunity to witness the splendor of this Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – a site that remains an unmissable stop in the heart of Kyoto, promising memories that linger long after your journey through these emerald halls concludes.

Zazen Meditation at Tenryu-ji Temple

As you enter the revered grounds of Tenryu-ji Temple, a serene oasis in the midst of Kyoto, you are stepping into a space where history and calm converge. Known as Kyoto’s first Special Historical Scenic Spot and a notable Kyoto UNESCO heritage site, Tenryu-ji is an embodiment of Zen spirit.

A practice that harmonizes the mind and nature is the soulful experience of Zen meditation, especially Zazen, which is deeply rooted in the tranquil atmosphere of this sacred place.

A Serene Experience in Kyoto’s First Special Historical Scenic Spot

At Tenryu-ji, surrounded by the delicate sounds of Sogenchi Teien’s nature, you are invited to participate in Zazen meditation sessions. This Zen practice encourages you to sit, breathe, and contemplate in silence, orchestrating a symphony with the rustling of the trees and the chirping of birds. The harmonious backdrop aids in ushering you into a state of introspection and peace.

Living Zen Moments Overlooking the Sogenchi Teien

Gazing upon the Sogenchi Teien, the temple’s landscaped garden, is like observing a living Zen painting. Each element of the garden – rocks, water, and plants – is carefully designed to evoke reflection and mindfulness, much like the tenets of Zazen itself. The garden has withstood the test of time and continues to be an enigmatic part of the temple offering a unique perspective for meditators.

Your journey within the walls of Tenryu-ji, engaging in Zazen, is a unique opportunity to connect with the spiritual core of Kyoto. As you meditate, contemplate, and walk through Sogenchi Teien, your mind is bound to feel the gentle touch of enlightenment that many seekers have experienced here through the centuries.

The experience is available at various ticketing options, whether you long to explore the garden alone or in combination with the temple structures. Absorb the serenity, cherish the calmness, and carry forward the Zen meditation’s tranquility as you venture beyond the temple’s Zen confines.

Nostalgic Journey on the Sagano Romantic Train

Step back in time and embark on a journey through the picturesque heart of Kyoto’s landscape aboard the Sagano Romantic Train. On this quaint, nostalgia-evoking train ride, you’re treated to stunning Kyoto valley views as the train weaves along the banks of the Hozu River.

With both open-air cars for unobstructed viewing and enclosed cars for comfort, it’s a must-try experience for any visitor looking to capture the essence of Arashiyama.

The whistle sounds, the wheels chug along the tracks, and your adventure begins. The scenic train ride cuts through a panorama of nature’s artistry, transporting you past verdant mountains that flank the valley’s curvature.

With the wind in your hair and the rhythmic sound of the moving train, the open-air cars offer a direct embrace with Arashiyama’s natural environment. In the distance, the river flows steadily, a snake of shimmering water making its way through the throbbing heart of the valley.

Sagano Romantic Train

Your senses are invigorated as the train chugs through darkened tunnels, bursts into dazzling sunlight, and outlines the shape of the surrounding hills. Each tunnel acts as a momentary curtain, heightening the anticipation of the landscapes to unfurl on the other side.

The Sagano Romantic Train operates on a timely schedule, running trips every hour from the early morning calm at 9:00 AM until the glow of the late afternoon at 4:00 PM. Whether you’re an early riser seeking the refreshment of dawn or someone who appreciates the gentle dusk light, there is a departure time that fits your travel desires.

Furthermore, the journey on the Sagano Romantic Train is not only an immersive visual treat but also an accessible luxury, with the comfort of knowing that this attraction supports various budgets:

Fare TypeCost
Adults (12 and over)630 yen one-way
Children (6-12)320 yen one-way
Toddlers (Under 6)Free*

*Note: Fares for toddlers apply if a seat is required.

The richness of the valleys, the charm of the train, and the spirit of bygone times that the Sagano Romantic Train encapsulates make this experience an enchanting reprieve from the fast pace of modern life.

Don’t miss the chance to connect with the timeless allure of Arashiyama, and let the rhythmic journey of this picture-perfect train ride become a cherished memory of your time in Kyoto.

Thrills on the Hozu River Boat Ride

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure on the Hozu River Boat Ride, a thrilling sightseeing tour in Kyoto that promises more than just a scenic journey; it offers a heart-pounding descent alongside the rugged beauty of the river’s rocky torrents.

As your expert boatmen navigate the twists and turns of the Hozu River from Kameoka City to the Togetsukyo area, you’ll encounter the unique interplay of serene landscapes and exhilarating rapids.

This traditional flat-bottomed boat excursion is not just a means to travel; it’s a zestful exploration of Kyoto’s wilder side. Along the way, don’t forget to wave at the passengers aboard the Sagano Romantic Train as it meanders parallel to your course, adding a charming connection between two unique travel experiences within Arashiyama.

Here’s what you can expect regarding costs, ensuring your experience on the Kyoto river cruise is as smooth as the water’s calmer stretches:

Passenger TypeRegular Boarding CostAdditional Details
Adults4,100 yenInclusive of tax; boat disinfection protocols in place
Children2,700 yenInclusive of tax; thrilling yet safe for youngsters

As you glide along the vibrant valley, you’ll be absorbed by the stunning synergy of natural tranquility and spirited adventure. The Hozu River Boat Ride is ideal for those who seek the thrill of a journey less ordinary, a visceral escape from the mundane, offering memories that resonate far beyond the river’s shore.

Join the ranks of enthralled adventurers, and partake in a Kyoto river cruise that undoubtedly stands as a highlight reel-worthy episode of any travelogue. Secure your spot on the Hozu River Boat Ride and brace yourself for an excursion that’s more than just thrilling – it’s utterly transformative.

Discover Traditional Transportation with a Rickshaw Tour

Embark on an intimate journey through the scenic splendors of Kyoto’s Arashiyama—a place where the echoes of the past are intertwined with the whispers of nature. As part of your exploration, allow yourself to indulge in an authentic experience that harkens back to a time when traditional Japanese transportation was not just about travel but about the journey itself. The Arashiyama rickshaw tour offers you not only a mode of transport but an unparalleled cultural narrative.

There’s a certain charm to the rickshaw ride, a historic vehicle that has evolved into a symbol of Japanese heritage. Witnessing the area through the leisurely pace of a rickshaw allows you to immerse yourself fully in the beauty of the surrounding bamboo groves, temples, and the tranquil river flowing through the scenic sights of Arashiyama.

A Ride Through Scenic Arashiyama

Imagine yourself snugly seated in a handcrafted rickshaw as your knowledgeable ‘shafu’—the rickshaw puller—guides you through the storied streets. From the iconic allure of the Togetsukyo Bridge to the verdant stretches of the lush Bamboo Grove, each moment of the ride presents a living portrait of Arashiyama’s enchanting vistas.

Ebisuya – Arashiyama’s Home of Rickshaw Tours

Ebisuya serves as the beacon for those eager to traverse Arashiyama in old-world style. With rickshaws meticulously maintained and operated by charismatic professionals, your tour strikes the perfect balance between historical insight and the joy of discovery. Eager to cater to your curiosity, these expert guides carry with them tales and legends that add a soulful depth to the visual feast before your eyes.

Relish the personalized attention and the nuanced perspectives that come with each Ebisuya rickshaw tour, carefully tailored to enhance your understanding of this majestic town. To ensure your health and safety, rigorous precautions are observed, with every rickshaw undergoing thorough disinfection and all ‘shafu’ adorning masks throughout your journey.

For those captivated by the allure of Arashiyama and ready to steep themselves in its story, here are the details for embarking on an Ebisuya rickshaw tour:

DurationCost for One PersonCost for Two PeopleCost for Three People
12-13 minutes3,000 yen4,000 yen6,000 yen
30 minutes7,000 yen9,000 yen13,500 yen
Additional Options60 and 120 minutes tours available

Whether you are seeking a brief encounter with the town’s charms or wish to delve deeper into its cultural fabric, Ebisuya offers a range of options to suit your timeline and interests. Your rickshaw tour awaits to provide memories that will linger in your heart, long after the wheels have come to a rest.

Romantic Wishes at Nonomiya Shrine

Nestled secretly within the verdant expanse of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove lies the Nonomiya Shrine, a beacon of spirituality renowned for its power to fulfill love wishes.

As you meander through the paths that lead to this ancient site, you are enveloped by a sacred ambiance that has drawn many seeking blessings for their romantic endeavors. Famed for its mystical allure, Nonomiya Shrine represents a quintessential spiritual Arashiyama attraction for lovers and dreamers alike.

According to long-held belief, the touch of the Kameishi stone harbors divine potential, promising the fulfillment of romantic desires within the span of a year. Visitors come from far and wide to experience this centuries-old tradition, hoping to weave their own stories of love into the fabric of Nonomiya Shrine’s history.

  • Witness the heart-shaped ’ema’, wooden plaques that bear the hopes and wishes of lovestruck visitors.
  • Immerse yourself in a tradition where declarations of the heart are scribed upon wood, transforming whimsical thoughts into sacred prayers.
  • Feel the essence of the shrine’s spiritual presence as you dedicate your own ema, suspended amongst a sea of others, each a testament to the perennial search for affection and companionship.

Whether shrouded in the fresh verdure of spring, basking under the scorching summer sun, adorned with the vibrant palette of autumn, or embraced by the cool, crisp winter air, Nonomiya Shrine is an evergreen sanctuary for the language of love.

Let your heart be touched by the profound tranquility of this sacred place as you submit your yearning to the fates, hopeful of receiving the shrine’s famed blessing.

SpringResplendent with new blossomsBeginnings, perfect for new or budding relationships
SummerVerdant and fullPassionate, akin to the height of romantic fervor
AutumnRich in colorDeep and mature, as is a love that has withstood time
WinterStill and peacefulIntrospective, reflecting on the past year’s journey of the heart

Your visit to Nonomiya Shrine, enveloped amidst towering bamboo and the whispers of hopeful hearts, unfolds as a pilgrimage to cherish. Whether you come alone, with a partner, or with a friend, the shrine’s tranquil domain stands ready to embrace your deepest wishes, casting them upon the winds of destiny in the magical realm of Arashiyama.

Social Media Worthy Spots at Kimono Forest

As evening falls in Kyoto, a mesmerizing transformation takes place at Kimono Forest Arashiyama. Hundreds of fabric-covered poles, elegantly wrapped in Kyoto’s traditional Kyo-yuzen dyed cloth, light up sending ripples of colour through the night air.

This charming spot within Arashiyama Station becomes an enchanted forest, echoing with the vibrant craft of ancient Japan. Each pole resembles a tree adorned in a kimono, creating a spectacle that blends tradition with modernity, making visitors feel as though they’ve stepped into a different realm.

Kimono Forest Arashiyama

It’s a dreamland for social media enthusiasts, with each corner offering a new, Instagrammable Kyoto scene. Whether it’s the intricate patterns that each tell a story of their own, or the harmonious burst of colours that create the perfect backdrop, the Kimono Forest stands out as a profound symbol of Japan’s cultural elegance and aesthetic appeal.

And the best part? This experience doesn’t cost a dime; it’s free for all who wish to absorb the beauty and essence of Kyoto’s craftsmanship.

  • Capture the vibrant colours of Kyo-yuzen textiles after dusk, which make for the perfect Instagram shot.
  • Soak in the cultural ambiance that vividly represents Kyoto’s tradition through modern expression.
  • Witness how a traditional rail station can transform into a cultural space, creating a serene escape within the city bustle.

When in Arashiyama, visiting the Kimono Forest is an absolute must. Its alluring beauty not only creates a breath-taking visual experience but also allows you to connect with the historical threads that compose the rich tapestry of Kyoto’s past.

As you explore, let the kaleidoscope of colours and designs inspire your very own narrative, crafting a moment in time that is uniquely yours to share.

Savor Exquisite Coffee at Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama

As you amble through the serene pathways of Arashiyama, you might find yourself drawn to the aromatic allure of Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama for a truly fresh coffee experience.

Perfectly situated within the realm of cultural sites and natural splendor, and just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Togetsukyo Bridge, this café is renowned for its meticulously crafted coffee drinks that resonate with the discerning palates of coffee aficionados worldwide.

Encased within a beautifully renovated traditional Japanese residence, Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama stands as a modern sanctuary for coffee lovers. Whether you’re seeking a moment’s respite from your sightseeing activities or a sleek spot to reflect on the day’s journey, the café’s minimalistic yet inviting ambiance offers the ideal backdrop. It’s not just a place to savor a cup of java; it’s where every sip connects you with coffee growers and artisans from across the globe.

At Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama, baristas with a passion for quality elevate each cup to an art form. Choose their signature Ice Café Latte (Blend), a harmonious mix of robust flavors and creamy freshness served in an iconic cup that’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the vibrant scenery of Arashiyama.

Here, every measure is taken to ensure a safe coffee break. Strict hygiene protocols are observed, with sanitizers readily available at every turn. You can relax, knowing their conscientious staff, donning masks at all times, uphold the highest standards of cleanliness while serving up your favorite brew—an act as refreshing as the aromatic drinks they carefully pour.

  • Delight in a coffee selection that boasts a perfect balance between a delicate acidity and a smooth astringency.
  • Soak in the ambiance of a café that seamlessly integrates the ancient with the innovative.
  • Indulge in a cup of coffee as rich in history as the storied streets and lush groves of Arashiyama.

Let your senses be invigorated by the coffee culture that thrives behind the doors of Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama. In this tranquil corner of Kyoto, every coffee tells a story—of origins, of craftsmanship, and of your unforgettable moments spent under the watchful gaze of Arashiyama’s enduring beauty.

Enjoy Panoramic Mountain Views from Okochi Sanso Villa

Step into the serenity and splendor of Okochi Sanso Villa, the former estate of the renowned Japanese actor Okochi Denjiro. Situated in the scenic district of Arashiyama, the villa offers a captivating escape with its intricate Japanese gardens and the chance to admire sweeping Arashiyama panoramic views. Allow yourself to be lost in the beauty of traditional architecture, matched only by the garden’s seasonal tapestry of colors.

As you meander through the meticulously maintained paths, you’ll discover various plants that create a medley of hues, especially during the enchanting autumn months when the maples are a sight to behold, turning vibrant shades of orange and red. The garden is a reflection of the timeless elegance that defines Kyoto and the actor’s distinguished taste and love for the art of Japanese gardening.

Former Actor’s Luxurious Gardens and Matcha Experiences

The visit to Okochi Sanso Villa culminates in a ceremonial delight — a traditional matcha tea experience. Within the tranquil environs of the villa’s tea house, indulge in the delicate flavors of matcha, accompanied by traditional Japanese sweets — a ritual that complements the spirit of the estate. With your senses still tingling from the garden’s aesthetic wonders, the matcha serves as a soothing reminder of Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

Do not miss the opportunity to behold the villa for its unique position in Arashiyama, offering vistas that stretch across mountains and skies, painting scenes that have inspired artists for generations. Engage fully in this immersive experience that comes with the knowledge that the modest entrance fee contributes to the preservation of one of Kyoto’s historical gems.

SeasonGarden HighlightsTea Experience
SpringAwakening flora; cherry blossomsRefreshing matcha aligns with the new season
SummerBright greenery; azaleas in flowerCool matcha offers respite from the heat
AutumnMaples in fiery colorsWarm matcha complements the fall colors
WinterSnowy scenes; stark beautyMatcha warms in the chill of winter

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of natural beauty, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, a visit to Okochi Sanso Villa, with its storied past and breathtaking views, should be a cornerstone of your Arashiyama experience.

Artistic Exploration at Yusai-Tei Gallery

Embark on a cultural odyssey as you step into the Yusai-Tei Gallery, a sanctuary where the timeless essence of Kyoto craftsmanship is celebrated. Nestled along the picturesque banks of the Katsura River, this gallery is housed in a beautifully preserved Meiji Era building, beckoning art enthusiasts and those in search of peace alike.

Inside its historic walls, you will encounter the refined world of traditional Japanese dyeing techniques, brilliantly personified in the museum-quality silk kimonos designed by the esteemed Yusai Okuda.

As you wander through the tranquil exhibition rooms, the gallery’s famed round window frames a living tableau of seasonal changes, offering scenic riverside views that make for a profound visual experience.

The circular portal is particularly enchanting during Kyoto’s beloved momiji season when the fiery hues of autumn leaves reflect on the waters below, ensnaring your gaze and transporting you into another era of imperial elegance.

The Yusai-Tei Gallery not only showcases the intricate beauty of Kyoto’s renowned fabrics but also echoes the heartbeat of Japan’s cultural artisanship. Here, each delicate thread woven into silk tells a tale of heritage, skill, and the meticulous care of generations past.

For an admission fee of 2,000 yen, this gallery promises an immersive journey through artistic mastery and historical narrative. It’s a testament to the city’s dedication to preserving and honoring the crafts that have come to define its identity.

  • Experience the fusion of nature and art through the gallery’s unique architectural features.
  • Delve into the stories behind each kimono on display, rich depictions of Kyoto’s design heritage.
  • Feel the tranquility of the natural surroundings as you view the gallery’s serene riverside backdrop.

A visit to the Yusai-Tei Gallery is more than just an aesthetic encounter; it’s an invitation to connect with the deep roots of Kyoto’s artistic traditions. Allow your imagination to roam free among the gallery’s curated pathways and become part of the ongoing story of Kyoto’s artistic and cultural legacy.

Drift Along the Scenic Hozugawa River by Boat

Immerse yourself in the picturesque serenity of Kyoto with an enchanting Hozugawa River cruise. This traditional boating adventure is not simply a mode of transport; it is a voyage through the heart of Kyoto’s vibrant natural landscapes.

As you embark on this two-hour journey from Kameoka to Arashiyama, the rhythmic lapping of water against the boat accompanies a symphony of sights, leaving you in awe of the scenic beauty that unfolds along the banks of the Hozugawa River.

Whether cloaked in the delicate pink of spring’s cherry blossoms or adorned in the fiery reds and golds of autumn foliage, the riverside presents a stunning canvas that changes with the seasons. Available for 4,500 yen per person, the river cruise offers more than a tranquil passage—it’s an opportunity to witness the profound shifts in nature’s palette, making for a Kyoto boating adventure that resonates with the soul.

Your Hozugawa River journey is a gentle reminder of the delicate balance between culture and nature. Let the wind guide you along as you bask in the simple elegance of this timeless experience. As you lean back and absorb the majestic views, you’ll understand why the Hozugawa River cruise stands as a cherished highlight for any visitor to Kyoto, offering moments of pure tranquility amidst the grandeur of the region’s natural landscapes.

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