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Arashiyama is the second largest tourist destination in Kyoto. Foreigners and locals flock here to enjoy many attractions, including its famed bamboo grove, several idyllic tea houses, and placid temples. Arashiyama is particularly popular with photographers, as the architecture and natural areas are exceptional.
One of the best ways to tour the area is on a bicycle. Bicycle rentals are usually available near the train stations and are reasonably priced. For example, Hankyu Rent-a-cycle, located just across the street from Hankyu Arashiyama Station, offers a two-hour bicycle rental for 500 yen and four hour rentals for just 700 yen.
One of the first sites you’ll likely see in Arashyama is the Togetsukyo Bridge, which is also known as the”Moon Crossing Bridge.” It is one of Arashiyama's most iconic landmarks. It is called the “Moon Crossing Bridge” because the Emperor Kameyama noted that the bridge “stretched all the way to the moon.” The bridge was built during the Heian Period (794-1195 AD). It is surrounded by dozens of cherry trees, and sits against a backdrop of forested mountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to photograph this landmark while the cherry trees are in bloom and the mountain forests are green with spring foliage.
The largest and most structurally impressive temple in Arashiyama is Tenryu-ji. Founded in 1339 , the temple is one of Kyoto's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tenryu-ji is noted for its Zen garden, which dates back to the fourteenth century. Interestingly enough, the garden is designed so that the surrounding scenery of the hills is a part of the composition of the garden, and the Sogenchi pond reflects a mirror image of the trees and large cut rocks on the periphery of the space.
A visit to Arashiyama isn’t complete without a tranquil walk through the famous Bamboo Grove, which you’ll find just outside the North Gate of the Tenryu-ji temple. The impressive grove is over 500 meters long. Summer visitors especially appreciate spending time in the grove, as the lush trees offer a cool reprieve from the typical hot and humid Kyoto summer weather.
A morning of sightseeing will definitely build up a visitor’s appetite. Luckily Arashiyama offers a range of interesting and delicious local fare. Stop for lunch at the charming and picturesque Yoshida-ya, which is a teishoku-ya that offers delicious traditional dishes such as nishin-soba (1000 yen) or the udouhu-set (1300 yen). For an over the top, once in a lifetime experience, head to the Michelin starred Kitcho Arashiyama, one of the world’s most famous kaiseki restaurants. Kaiseki is a haute cuisine approach to meal presentation. Kaiseki is a multi-course meal consisting of seasonal, local ingredients presented in 14-15 courses, ranging from fish to vegetables, to meats and dessert. A visit to Kitcho Arashiyama is a pricey but unforgettable experience.
No matter how you spend your visit, you’ll be sure to find that Arashiyama offers unique sites, both natural and architectural, and a visit will give you an insight into the rich culture of Kyoto.
Yoshida Ya address: 20-24 Tsukurimichi-chō, Saga Tenryū-ji, Ukyō-ku
Kitcho Arashiyama: 58 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga Tenryuji, Ukyo-ku
from JR YAMASHINA make the trip on the Kyoto City Subway Tozai Line and get off at KARASUMAOIKE station, then transfer to the Kyoto City Subway Karasuma Line and take the train to SHIJO. From there you should walk 2 minutes to the KARASUMA station and take the Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. Exp. Ride this train to KATSURA and transfer to the Hankyu Arashiyama Line and get off at your destination, ARASHIYAMA(HANKYU) Despite all the transfers, this journey only takes 39 minutes and will cost you ¥510.
TEMMA and OGIMACHI(OSAKA)
The JR Osaka Loop Line (Outer loop) line from TEMMA is the best starting point, then transfer at OSAKA where you will walk approximately 8 minutes in the station to the UMEDA station, where you’ll ride the Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. Exp. to KATSURA . Transfer again here to the Hankyu Arashiyama Line for the 8 minute journey to ARASHIYAMA (HANKYU.) It will take about 59 minutes with 2 transfers at a cost of approximately 520 yen.
NARA and KINTETSUNARA
Take a train to KYOTO then transfer to a Kyoto City Subway Karasuma Line train to SHIJO. From there walk 4 minutes to the KARASUMA station and take the Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. to ARASHIYAMA(HANKYU) . It will take about 71 minutes at a cost of approximately ¥1560.
Walk through the station for 14 minutes to the KINTETSUNARA station, and take the Kintetsu Kyoto Line Exp. to TAKEDA(KYOTO.) From there you should take the Kyoto City Subway Karasuma Line to SHIJO. From there you should walk 2 minutes to the KARASUMA station and take the Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. Exp. Ride this train to KATSURA and transfer to the Hankyu Arashiyama Line and get off at your destination, ARASHIYAMA(HANKYU) The trip takes 96 minutes with 3 transfers at a cost of ¥1100.
Take the Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line to UMEDA (SUBWAY) . Walk 6 minutes from UMEDA (SUBWAY) to the UMEDA (HANKYU) station, and take the Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. Exp. Line Exp. Ride this train to KATSURA and transfer to the Hankyu Arashiyama Line and get off at your destination, ARASHIYAMA(HANKYU). The journey takes 76 minutes with 2 transfer at a cost of ¥680.
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