With its mountains, a river, and plenty of small old town charm, Arashiyama is a Kyoto day-tripper’s paradise.
We spent the earlier part of the day exploring the Monkey Park. Then we headed back across the river in search of the famous bamboo grove.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
The bamboo grove is easily accessible from the JR Sanin Main Line. From the Randen Line, you can reach it by following a lovely river path through the Arashiyama Park. During sakura season, this walk was so lovely. The cherry blossom trees leaned their branches out along the path, boats glided gently over the river, the setting sun washed the mountains with color… what can I say? It was a peaceful, beautiful time.
Once we reached the grove, some of the peace remained, though you must understand: there are so many people! It seemed most were content to take a selfie under the towering bamboo, but others, like us, meandered through the paths, admiring the forest of grass as tall as buildings. The bamboo helped mute some sounds too, so it is possible to stray off the main path for a little while, close your eyes, and feel nature surround you.
If you can, take the Randen line back to downtown Kyoto. The walk back to the station will take you through some great neighborhoods, including a couple of temples. There are lots of places to have dinner and tea, or shop for souvenirs. And at night, the station lights up with an art installation called the Kimono Forest. It’s beautiful and definitely worth seeing!
We also found a lot of people taking advantage of the “foot bath” located at the end of the train platform. It’s a small hot water pool to dip your feet in after a long day of walking around Arashiyama. The idea is great, but we were less than enamored of the idea of dipping our tired and sweaty feet in along with everyone else’s… and it’s not a very large pool! We didn’t examine it too closely, so it might have been okay, let me know if you give it a try.
Arashiyama certainly set the stage for our first day in Kyoto. Nature, culture, and old school charm, what else can you ask for?