Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest in Kyoto

Exploring Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest in Kyoto

Arashiyama is an area on the west edge of Kyoto that’s great for a day trip. You can explore the scenery, visit a bamboo forest, go to a monkey park, and of course visit shrines and temples!

Togetsukyo: Moon Crossing Bridge

I’d seen so many pictures of the river at Arashiyama and the famous moon crossing bridge. But it didn’t prepare me for what it was like to actually be there. As I said in the video, the scenery is so much wider and larger than it looks in pictures, and so much more impressive.

It was peaceful and relaxing walking by the river, and fun to get lost exploring the forest trails! The view from the observation deck is stunning and looks like another country entirely.

There’s also a monkey park you can visit. We didn’t go, but it’s a popular attraction, and is up the mountain on the opposite side of the river from the station. You can also go on a scenic train ride along the river – we didn’t do this but it sounds good, with great views. Its also a good area for cycling, which we had planned to do but it was due to rain that day so we stayed on foot. There are lots of bike rental stores, including one near the station.

Moon Crossing Bridge in Kyoto

At the Moon Crossing Bridge

Bamboo Forest

One of the most famous sights in Arashiyama is the bamboo forest. It’s probably the most well-known bamboo forest in Japan, and it was certainly beautiful. It’s free to walk through and if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth seeing.

However, if you’re also going to Tokyo, I much preferred the bamboo garden in Kamakura. It’s much smaller but has a more intimate atmosphere, and you can walk right between the bamboo on stepping stones! It’s at Hokokuji Temple, and you can visit on a day trip from Tokyo. You can see what it’s like in my video.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The bamboo forest in Arashiyama

How to Get to Arashiyama

From Kyoto Station, take JR Sagano line (aka JR Sanin line) to Saga-Arashiyama. It takes about 15 minutes and if you have JR Pass the trip is free!

We paired Arashiyama with a visit to Kinkakuji, the golden temple, which is one of the main sights in Kyoto. We got there on a tram called the Keifuku Electric Railway (aka Randen), from Arashiyama Station to Kitano Hakubaicho. You need to change at Katabiranotsuji Station, which is easy as there are only two lines on the tramway. It takes about 20 minutes (currently 210 yen) and you can use your Suica or other IC card. After that it’s a mile walk, or you can take the bus. See more of the tram (the station is really cute!) and Kinkakuji in my next video!

More Japan Videos

If you haven’t seen them already, there are loads more Japan videos on Cakes with Faces’ YouTube channel. I want my videos to be as helpful as possible, so I’ll also be writing blog posts like this to help you if you’re planning a trip.

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Tenryu Ji Temple, Arashiyama

Tenryu Ji Temple (and the kanji I was trying to read in the video!)