Arashiyama is a district located in the west suburbs of Kyoto. Formerly the promenade place of the imperial court, there is today a constant flow of tourists starting from the Togetsukyo bridge. They admire the gorgeous views of the flowering mountains during springtime and the colorful red leaves during fall. The magnificent bamboo forest brings in a green shade during all seasons.
The hinge point of Arashiyama is probably set in his famous Togetsukyo bridge which, as soon as we exit public transportation, cuts the Katsura and Hozu rivers. The legend tells that "this bridge crosses the moon" (literal translation) and Japanese people do appreciate it particularly with family or in couple, contemplating flowering cherry trees in spring or red japanese maple trees during the fall.
From there, the two main points of Arashiyama are accessible for visiting:
- the north with its renown bamboo forest and Tenryu-ji temple, the access to Torokko and the long shopping street with its numerous (and expensive) souvenirs stores and restaurants, up to Daikaku-ji and Adashino Nenbutsu-ji temples a little farther.
- and the south to have access to the walking path on Iwata, the not so high mount with its hundreds of monkeys.
Boat cruises are organized on Hozu-gawa river between March and November. In the background, the mountains stand up just as to protect the north-western part of Kyoto. Not far away, rickshaw rides are also offered to appreciate Arashiyama down on land.
It is possible to spend the night in the district in order to appreciate its typical and very pleasant atmosphere, once the end of the day has come, when most of the visitors left Arashiyama. However, this location could make the visits less convenient than from downtown and close to the main train station of Kyoto.
Arashiyama, very touristic, belongs to the much broader domain of Sagano. Just a little more in the South, Matsuo zone is home to the imperial villa Katsura and its famous moss temple.
How to get to Arashiyama
- From Kyoto station, JR Sagano line, SagaArashiyama station up north (15 minutes and 240¥ / ~US$ 2.20 or free with the JR Pass)
- From Karasuma, Hankyu line via Katsura (around 16 minutes and 220¥ / ~US$ 2.00, not available with the JR Pass)
- #93 leaving from Kinrinshako-mae (close to Ginkaku-ji)
- #11 leaving from Sanjo-Keihan (close to Gion)
- #28 going from Daikaku-ji to JR station (only stops at Tenryuji-mae)
Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 281)
Closing time depending on places
How long / when to visit
Count at least half a day, up to a full day depending on the planned visits
Pleasant during all season, ideal during ohanami and koyo
Hanatoro highlights during about ten days every mid-december
嵐山 (literally "the storm mountain")