Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Place guide

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Kyoto

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The picturesque district lies on the western outskirts of Kyoto, tucked along the base of the Arashiyama Mountains.

About

Of all places to visit in Kyoto, Arashiyama is the lushest. The picturesque district lies on the western outskirts of Kyoto, tucked along the base of the Arashiyama Mountains. When Kyoto was still the nation’s capital, it was already a popular destination for nobles, who would journey here to enjoy its natural scenic beauty. 

This area gets crowded during the cherry blossom season and for the fall foliage in autumn. As it is just a 30-minute train ride from downtown, you can easily turn it into one of your day trips from Kyoto.

See: Arashiyama Food & Temples Tour (Kyoto) – Half Day

Arashiyama is most famous for its Bamboo Forest, which emanates a feeling of tranquillity felt by those who pass through it – especially when the light peeks through the soaring stalks during dawn or dusk. You can access the grove from the north gate of the Tenryū-ji Temple, which will lead you along a narrow path that goes uphill through patches of towering bamboo.

The Tenryū-ji Temple is home to a 14th-century Zen garden and is a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The landscaping employs a method called shakkei, which borrows from the scenery of surrounding mountains to lend a sense of depth. 

Many visitors come here to see a large painting of a golden dragon on the ceiling of the temple. Some interactive activities are available for guests to participate in, such as zen meditation or calligraphy.

Get around

You can discover Arashiyama on foot, but bicycles are available within walking distance of Hankyu Arashiyama Station and even in the forest. You can also take a rickshaw ride, where you can recline comfortably inside while being toured by rickshaw guides through the districts, as in the old days. 

See: Ebisuya: KYOTO Arashiyama Rickshaw Experience

Get there

  • Taxi from downtown: JPY 2,000
  • By JR Train from Kyoto Station: Take the JR Sagano line to Arashiyama Station. JPY 240

Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku; Opening hours 7AM–5PM daily.

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