Arashiyama’s Bamboo Grove, Kyoto: A Traveler’s Guide

Arashiyama is a beautiful district located in western Kyoto, Japan. This scenic area is known for its natural beauty, hot springs, temples, and gardens. One of the most popular attractions in Arashiyama is the Bamboo Grove, a peaceful and serene bamboo forest that attracts millions of visitors each year. In this guide, we will explore the best outdoor activities, must-see places, and an unusual tip for travelers visiting Arashiyama’s Bamboo Grove.

Outdoor activities

In addition to its beautiful natural scenery and historic sites, Arashiyama also offers many outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. In this section, we will highlight two outdoor activities that are not to be missed when visiting the area. We will explore the Hozu River Boat Ride and the Arashiyama Monkey Park, both of which offer unique and exciting experiences.

Hiking

Hiking

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Arashiyama’s Bamboo Grove is to go for a hike. There are several hiking trails in the area that lead through the bamboo forest and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The most popular hiking trail is the Sagano Romantic Train Trail, which starts at Saga Torokko Station and ends at Arashiyama Station. This trail is about 2.5 kilometers long and takes about 45 minutes to complete. Along the way, you will see several temples, gardens, and other attractions, including the Bamboo Grove. The trail is easy to follow and suitable for all ages.

Cycling

Another great way to explore Arashiyama is to rent a bicycle and explore the area on your own. There are several rental shops in the area, and the bikes are usually equipped with a basket, so you can carry your belongings with you. The best time to go cycling is in the morning, when the air is fresh, and the crowds are small. You can cycle along the Katsura River and enjoy the stunning scenery, visit the temples and gardens, and explore the Bamboo Grove at your own pace.

Cycling

Must See Places

Arashiyama is home to many beautiful and historic temples, shrines, and gardens. In this section, we will highlight two of the must-see places in the district. We will take a closer look at the Okochi Sanso Villa and Gioji Temple, both of which offer beautiful scenery and a glimpse into the area's rich cultural history.

Tenryu-ji Temple

Tenryu-ji Temple

Tenryu-ji Temple is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto and a must-see place in Arashiyama. The temple was built in 1339 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple’s main attraction is the Sogenchi Garden, a beautiful Japanese garden with a pond, rocks, and a waterfall. The garden is designed to represent the beauty of nature and is a great place to relax and meditate.

Arashiyama Monkey Park

Arashiyama Monkey Park is a unique and fascinating place to visit in Arashiyama. The park is located on a mountain and is home to over 100 Japanese macaque monkeys. You can watch the monkeys roam around freely and even feed them from inside a cage. The park is also a great place to enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the city of Kyoto.

Arashiyama Monkey Park

Unusual Tip

Arashiyama has many hidden gems and unusual places to discover. In this section, we will share one of the most unique and interesting places to visit in the area: the Okochi Sanso Villa. We will take a closer look at the villa's history, its beautiful gardens, and the secret rooms and passages that make it a truly one-of-a-kind destination.

Okochi Sanso Villa

Okochi Sanso Villa

One of the most unusual places to visit in Arashiyama is the Okochi Sanso Villa. The villa was once the home of a famous Japanese actor, Okochi Denjiro, and is now open to the public as a museum. The villa is located on a hill and offers stunning views of the city and the mountains. The villa’s gardens are beautifully designed and feature a variety of flowers, trees, and ponds. One of the most interesting things about the villa is that it is built in the traditional Japanese style and features several secret rooms and passages.

Hidden Wonders

Both of these places offer a unique perspective on Arashiyama’s Bamboo Grove and are definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in the history of the area.

Gioji Temple

Gioji Temple is a beautiful and historic temple located in Arashiyama. The temple is known for its beautiful moss garden, which is considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan. The garden is designed to look like a small mountain valley, with a stream running through it and a small tea house nestled in the center. The temple itself is also beautiful and features several historic buildings, including a main hall and a pagoda.

Gioji Temple
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple is a unique and fascinating temple located in Arashiyama. The temple is known for its collection of over 1,200 stone statues, each with a unique expression and personality. The statues were created by local residents and visitors over a period of several decades, and each one is different from the next. The temple itself is also beautiful and features several historic buildings, including a main hall and a pagoda. The peaceful and serene atmosphere of the temple, combined with the whimsical and charming statues, make it a must-visit destination in Arashiyama.

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Accommodation Suggestions

Arashiyama offers a range of accommodation options for travelers, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts. We will take a closer look at the Guesthouse Arashiyama, Arashiyama Benkei, Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto, and Hoshinoya Kyoto.

Budget:

Guesthouse Arashiyama is a great budget-friendly option for travelers to Arashiyama. This guesthouse offers clean and comfortable dormitory-style rooms, as well as private rooms with shared bathrooms. The guesthouse is located within walking distance of many of Arashiyama’s main attractions, including the bamboo grove and Tenryu-ji Temple. There are also several restaurants and convenience stores located nearby.

Mid-range:

Arashiyama Benkei is a beautiful and luxurious ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) located in the heart of Arashiyama. The ryokan features beautiful tatami-floored rooms with traditional futon bedding, as well as private hot spring baths and a communal open-air bath. The ryokan also offers traditional Japanese cuisine, including a kaiseki (multi-course) dinner and a Japanese-style breakfast.

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Upscale:

Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto is a beautiful and upscale hotel located in Arashiyama, right on the banks of the Hozu River. The hotel features beautiful and spacious guest rooms with traditional Japanese design elements, as well as modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a beautiful on-site restaurant, a fitness center, and a traditional Japanese tea house.

Luxury:

Hoshinoya Kyoto is one of the most luxurious and beautiful resorts in Kyoto, located in Arashiyama. The resort features beautiful and spacious villas with traditional Japanese design elements, as well as modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The resort also has a beautiful on-site restaurant, a hot spring bath, a fitness center, and a traditional Japanese tea house. 

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Arashiyama is a picturesque district in western Kyoto, Japan, which offers visitors a range of activities and attractions. The district’s natural beauty, hot springs, temples, and gardens are all worth exploring. The Bamboo Grove is one of the most popular attractions in Arashiyama, attracting millions of visitors each year. There are several outdoor activities to enjoy in the area, including hiking, cycling, the Hozu River Boat Ride, and the Arashiyama Monkey Park. Tenryuji Temple and Gioji Temple are must-see places for their stunning gardens, while the Okochi Sanso Villa offers visitors a glimpse into the district’s history. Additionally, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple and the Gioji Temple offer unique and fascinating experiences. Arashiyama offers a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts, making it an ideal destination for any traveler.

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