- How to get to Arashiyama
- Togetsukyo Bridge
- Visit the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Groves
- Tenryuji Temple
- Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
- Toei Kyoto Studio Park
- Katsura Imperial Villa
- Don’t forget to check out our private tour!
- Where to stay in Arashiyama
If you are thinking about visiting Kyoto, Arashiyama is a must visit, as it provides a lot of tourist spots and experiences that you can’t have anywhere else in Kyoto.
Even if you are not strongly interested in typical Japanese tourist spots such as temples or shrines, you can have a great time there while surrounded by plenty of nature. In this article, we will tell you how to get there and places to visit in order to make the most of your time in Kyoto!
How to get to Arashiyama
There are two ways to get to Arashiyama area from Kyoto station.
Getting to Arashiyama by JR Line
If you have the JR Pass and you want to use JR, you can take the “JR Sanin-honsen Sagano Line” from Kyoto station. There is no need to change trains, as it goes directly to JR Saga-Arashiyama station where you can start exploring the Arashiyama area. It takes around 16 minutes and costs ¥240 per adult.
Getting to Arashiyama by JR ＋ Hankyu Line
If you prefer to take the subway, “Karasuma Line” is what you have to take first at Kyoto station! Make sure to transfer to the “Hankyu Electric Railway Kyoto-honsen” at “Shijo station”. You need to continue your journey and change trains again at “Katsura station” to “Arashiyama Line”, which is also operated by Hankyu Electric Railway. It is only a seven-minute ride before arriving at Arashiyama station. The fare is ¥430per adult.
It may sound complicated as you need to change trains. However, some people choose the second way since the terminal called “Arashiyama station” is closer to the main tourist attractions in Arashiyama area!
Togetsukyo Bridge is a 155-meter-long bridge which is built over the Katsura river. It is often referred as an iconic structure in Arashiyama area, and you can find the photos of it in almost all of Japanese travel guide books. Wood is used for some parts of the bridge, including the hand rails, and other fundamental parts such as piers are made of reinforced concrete in order to strengthen the durability. It is only a couple of minutes walk from Hankyu Railway Arashiyama station. Once you cross over the bridge, this is where you can start to explore the main sightseeing street and spots in Arashiyama.
The history of Togetsukyo Bridge dates back around 1,200 years ago, when the first one was built by a Buddhist monk. The name of the bridge is sometimes translate as “Moon Crossing Bridge”, as Emperor Emeritus Kameyama (in Heian era) described the scenery as if the moon was moving across the bridge.
The mountain standing in the back is called “Arashiyama Mountain”, and we recommend you to take some time to look for a perfect location to take photos of the bridge and the mountain altogether, before you rush to cross the bridge! From the bridge, you can take only photos of the mountain, and it looks less impressive compared to the combination of the bridge and the mountain! As the seasons change, the mountain offers different appearance with several plants such as cherry blossoms in spring and colored leaves in fall.
Visit the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Groves
This is probably what many tourists are fascinated with and draws the most visitors to Arashiyama. Arashiyama Bamboo forest is an iconic highlight in Arashiyama, which refers to a 400-meter-long narrow street surrounded by bamboos. This area was once used as a residential villa for nobilities in Heian era. If you take a close look, you will quickly realise that all the bamboos are well taken care of. They are tall and growing straight toward the sky, so you can feel the sunlight shining through the leave, which offers a peaceful atmosphere. It is also relaxing to stop and listen to the sound of all bamboos touching each other in the wind. As it easily gets packed with tourists in daytime, it is better to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds!
Tenryuji Temple is one of the most famous Zen temples in Kyoto. It was established by Ashikaga Takauji, who opened the Muromachi Shogunate, in 1339 in order to comfort the spirit of Emperor Godaigo. During Muromachi era, it was ranked first among the most major five Zen temples in Kyoto called “Kyoto Go-zan”. As the main buildings were repeatedly destroyed by fire several times in the past, most buildings that we can see today were rebuilt later during Meiji era. It is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto.
It is also widely known for the scenic garden where you can walk around while enjoying the seasonal plants throughout a year.
8.30am – 5pm
Admission fee ¥500 (garden only), ¥800 (garden and buildings), ¥500 (Dharma hall)
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
If you feel a little bit tired of historical sites, this can be a welcome change in scenery for you! Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama is a commercial park located in Mt. Iwatayama. First, you need to walk up the 120 stairs to reach the designated rest place, where approximately 120 Japanese monkeys (also called “Japanese macaque monkeys”) live in wild. They are well-tamed, but you should keep in mind that they are still wild monkeys. There are in fact several strict rules that you need to follow while you are there, mainly for safety. Remember that it is advisable to keep a considerable distance from them while enjoying watching them roaming around the area. You can also buy some food and feed them by hand from a building located on the top of the mountain. Another big bonus is the view of the whole city of Kyoto, truly breathtaking!
9am – 4pm
Admission fee ¥550
Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Toei Kyoto Studio Park (also known as “Uzumasa Eigamura”) is a unique theme park. It is accessible by train from the main Arashiyama district and it takes only 30 minutes. The park features a number of reproductions of Japanese traditional buildings, and it is sometimes used for the purpose of filming movies or dramas relevant to Japanese history. Everything looks real, and it makes you feel as if you were back in the Edo era. Before entering the park, you can dress up in Japanese traditional costumes, which includes samurai and ninja. Just walking around the park and watching people working there in a traditional outfit can be an unforgettable memory! They also provide exciting shows and performances featuring Ninja or famous anime characters.
9am – 5pm
Admission fee ¥2,400 (adult)
Katsura Imperial Villa
Katsura Imperial Villa is a villa comprising of several traditional buildings and stunning gardens which were constructed in 17 century. It was originally used as a private villa for the “Hachijo-no-miya” family who were the official members of the Imperial family. The vast gardens are recognized as a masterpiece of Japanese garden, and the whole villa complex has been preserved as it was for centuries without being destroyed. All visitors are required to apply in advance to get a permission to enter the villa.
Don’t forget to check out our private tour!
If you need some help to organize your trip to Kyoto, you should definitely check out our private tour including English guide. We’re glad to help you make your trip to Kyoto a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!
- Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @ Arashiyama
Enjoy delicious food and drinks in Arashiyama while exploring the area with our knowledgeable guide!
- Small Group Kyoto Highlight Walking Tour <West>】Also includes other world-famous spots like Kinkakuji Temple and Nijo Castle.
- Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour [Customisable]
Everything is all up to you! We help you customize the itinerary based on your interest and requests.
Where to stay in Arashiyama
- Nagi Kyoto Arashiyama
Walking distance from the main touritic area in Arashiyama, spacious rooms with comfortable atmosphere
- Suiran Kyoto
Only a couple of minutes walk to Tenryu-ji temple which is registered as UNESCO world heritage site, luxurious rooms in quiet location
Located in the central Arashiyama area, recommended to stay in a Japanese style room with the view of the garden
Each touristic spot featured above has respective characteristics, and gives you an opportunity to discover a new aspect of Kyoto which you have probably never expected before. It will surely become one of the highlights of your stay in Kyoto, and also a part of unforgettable memories in your lifetime!
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