Hop on the train from Kyoto to Kameoka. From Kameoka station it's a 5-10min walk to the boats, just follow signs. Sign up and pay when entering the building and you're named will be called out when it's your turn to board. There's a kiosk in the wainting room selling snacks and sodas. Boats leave frequently and when I went it's was a busy day but still waiting time wasn't more then 30min.
Boats are poled along Hozu River and the trip takes about 2 hours and give you plenty of time to explore Arashiyama afterwords. Its just a more interesting way of getting there, sliding down waterfalls and gliding past a green mountainious scenery and turtles sunbathing on rocks...
A highlight is when the boat makes a break when it has reached halfway and a kiosk-boat appears from nowhere and sell snacks and icecold drinks! (See pic).
Boats depart daily between 9:00 and 15:30 (between 10:00 and 14:30 from December to mid March). Cost: 3900 Yen per person.
Apart from its temples, Arashiyama is also famous for its extensive grove of bamboo, which lies just to the north of Tenryū-ji Temple. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries.
Many visitors to Kyoto come here simply to see this grove, and it can get busy on the main path, as we found. I have seen pictures showing an empty path winding through the tall stems of bamboo, but if such a path exists, we didn’t find it, and I actually found the bamboo within the gardens of Tenryū-ji to have more atmosphere. But here it was fun to share the walk with lots of excited Japanese visitors, many of the girls in kimono, though we had to be quick at times to jump out of the path of the rickshaws that hurtled past, carrying more of these visitors!
Nevertheless it was quiet enough in places for us to be able to enjoy listening to the strange sounds the bamboo made whenever a breeze blew through the grove (it must be amazing on a windy day). But most of all I loved photographing the bamboo and trying to do justice to its subtle tones and geometric shapes.
Near the grove we also stumbled upon a small shrine, Nonomiya, which was a pleasure to visit.
To me, Arashiyama is a lovely outdoor park, perfect for all seasons. I was told that autumn was the best time to visit as the trees put on quite a show dressed in their wonderful display of colours. We were early yet again, but we were still impressed by its freshness and serenity.
Here's a glimpse of how we spent a day here. Most of the details are in the travelogue as it's too much to fit here :
- visit Tenruji Temple
- walk through the bamboo grove
- took the Sagano Romantic train to Kameoka
- experience the spectacular boat ride down Hozu River
The picturesque Hozu River (Hozugawa) flows through Arashiyama. The Hozu was in the past used to transport logs for the construction of many of Kyoto’s temples, and for Osaka’s castle. During the Edo Period it also carried grain, firewood and other cargo, but trains and road haulage made river transport obsolete, and operations ceased after several hundred years of use. Today its boats are purely a tourist attraction. This is a popular place for a boat trip on the white water (not, despite some descriptions I’ve seen, proper “white water rafting”), but when we were in Kyoto the water was too low for these trips to be running – something to be aware of if you’re hoping to do such a trip.
But we did get to see a little of the river from its banks in Arashiyama. There were quite a few cormorants, and we spotted a lone fisherman (photos two and three) apparently making his way home. We did wait a while hoping that he would cast his traditional net but it seemed fishing was over for the morning and we waited in vain.
So we soon left and headed over to the main temple we had come here to see, Tenryuji.
Arashiyama is a romantic day trip, with a park, and a river to row boats on. But, you cannot miss the monkeys! You have to climb a small hill to get to the monkeys, but it's well worth it, and, if lots of little kids can do it, so can you! The monkeys are free range, and it's the visitors who go inside a hut with fencing so they can feed the monkeys with penuts. They are just fascinating to watch, with their distinct & quirky personalities, and their intelligent eyes. The monkeys do tend to have an obsession with grooming each other though! Careful not to stare at the monkeys in the eyes, or they feel challenged and may show aggression! You will get some awesome photo closeups and chances to take funny monkey photos. Check out mine in my Travelogues!
There's an observation platform as well, where you can look out over Kyoto city.
The opening hours are everyday between 9:00am and 4:30pm.
For a change of pace from the many temples in Kyoto we found it great to take 1/2 a day in Arashiyama (North West Kyoto). A short walk from the Saga-Arashiyama JR Station is an area of bamboo forest that you can wander through. It was very peaceful when we were there and was great to see the towering bamboo.
Arashiyama is a pleasant district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. Its landmark is the wooden (now partially concrete) Togetsukyo Bridge with forested Mount Arashiyama as backdrop.
There are many things to see and do in the Arashiyama area. Tenryuji, a leading Zen temple, shops, cafes and restaurants are found in the district's busy center around Togetsukyo Bridge and Keifuku Arashiyama Station.
North of the central area, there are bamboo groves and a residential district with several small temples, scattered along the base of the wooded mountains.
Arashiyama is best explored on foot or by rental bicycle. If you don't feel up to it, you could hire a rickshaw but it will set you back a hefty Y8000 for a half hour ride for two!
I took a train from Shijo-Omiya to Arashiyama. At first we did not even plan to go to Arashiyama. It just that we stay in Shijo-Omiya and i notice this cute train and wonder where it go to. I look at the train map and saw that the last station is Arashiyama and the ticket price is not expensive. So we go back to the hotel and did some reading in VT.
When we reach the station, we were so surprise. Is this Arashiyama-the place is so diffrence than the city. Since we did not have any guide or map when we arrived we decide to just follow the obachan to which ever direction they go. Then we saw the river, the boat and everything. This place is so peaceful and beautiful. And a lot of place to eat.
I plan to go there again on my next trip to Kyoto *_^
Arashiyama is a great place to spend a beautiful day. There are plenty of food vendors ("yatai") so there's no need to eat at any restaurants. It's located right next to Katsura River and has excellent views of the mountains.
Taking a walk in the park, you'll run into a bamboo forest that's dark and eerie, but strangely beautiful. You can also take the Toroko "Romantic" Train which winds its way through a wonderful gorge.
Have some yakiimo (baked sweet potato) while you're there!
I think the people who lives here are the luckiest! If you love nature, this place is a must-see! I would not forget how the place smells in spring time...
From Arashiyama, I walked around 20 minutes going to the Bamboo Garden. It was hard to find the right route as the signs there are not in English and people barely speak English. Anyway, these kind Japanese men and women help me using sign language to finally find my way to the Bamboo Forest. Even though I got lost, I enjoyed walking around the residential area. The smell of the place is really different, it smells like pine trees and flowers, it is so refreshing!
I passed over a nice temple (which I forgot the name, sorry!)
Since it is spring time, what can you expect to see but flowers! Everywhere!
I am lucky that there are only less than 10 tourist exploring this beauty considering it’s late already (8 am), I am also lucky that these tourist, usually solo traveler like me from Singapore and Korea are nice enough to take picture of me too!
The one kilometer walk is not tiresome especially if you are surrounded by fresh smelling bamboo.
After few minutes of walking, I ended up in Tenryu-ji Temple. Pay 500 yen for the entrance.
This western area of Kyoto is beautiful. Tranquil, peaceful, calm. The scenery amazing & breathtaking.
You can see the famous Togetsu-kyo Bridge, Nison-in Temple, Monkey Park, Tehryuji Temple, & some interesting museums & souvenir shops.
Once you arrive in Arashiyama, everyone just walks from place to place. Clean air, nice people, lots to see. You can take a bus or rent a bicycle if you want but I think walking is best. Wear comfortable shoes when you come here!
Arashiyama encompasses much of Western Kyoto. Although there are many worthwhile temples in the area (covered in separate tips), there is also a lot you can see for free!
One of the famous attractions in the area is the bamboo forest. It is fairly large and is great to meander through. Within the forest is Nonomiya Shrine, which was once where shrine maidens (miko) were trained prior to going to Ise Shrine, the holiest of all Shinto shrines.
The Togetsukyo Bridge is another famous landmark in Arashiyama. The Hozu River, over which the bridge is built, is also worth seeing. If you cross the bridge (towards Monkey Park) and walk along the river in the direction of Daihikaku Temple, the river transforms into a beautiful array of greens and blues. There are boat tours available.
There are also a few interesting monuments. In Nakanoshima Park (the island that the bridge goes through), there is a stone monument for Peace between China and Japan. Slightly removed from the main part of Arashiyama is the monument to the Chinese poet Zhou Enlai who wrote poems about Arashiyama.
Above all else, Arashiyama is famous for its mountainside covered in cherry trees. It is gorgeous in the spring when the trees are in bloom and in the autumn when the leaves are changing!