Arashiyama - 1 day itinerary from Kyoto
Arashiyama, meaning Storm mountain, is a lovely daytrip from Kyoto. It is only a 30 minutes west of Kyoto and offers you some lovely and famous sites of Kyoto. Most famous in Arashiyama and therefore shouldn't be missed are the Togetsukyo Bridge (moon crossing bridge) and the Bamboo Forest.
In this itinerary I will give you an idea of what to do during a day in Arashiyama and give you some hidden gems which are missed by the big crowds.
How to get to Arashiyama
First up, how do you get there. You can take the JR Sagano (sometimes called Sanin) line to Saga-Aashiyama station from Kyoto which costs 240 yen 1-way and takes you 15 minutes to get there. You can also take the Sagano Line to Kameoka Station from Kyoto which takes 20-30 minutes and costs 410 yen. (You will read later on why I give you this second option).
1. Go to Kameoka Station and take the Scenic Train in Arashiyama back to Torokko Saga Station (in Arashiyama) or go back to Arashiyama by Hozu River Boat Tour. These are two lovely ways of seeing Arashiyama's beauty.
2. Visit the Kimono Forest at Arashiyama Station. (15 minutes)
3. Visit the Togetsukyo Bridge (15-30 minutes)
4. Visit Tenryuji Temple (1 hour) OR Visit the Arashiyama Monkey Park (2 hours)
5. Take a stroll through the Bamboo Grooves. - Turn left at Okochi Sanso and visit Arashiyama park (30 minutes)
If you only want to visit Arashiyama for half a day, this is a good place to stop the itinerary. If you want to make it a full day you can continue the itinerary...
6. Visit the Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street (45 minutes)
7. Visit Otagi Nenbutsuji and Adashino Nenbutsuji (1.5 hours - do not forget to visit the more secluded Bamboo forest at this temple)
8. Return to Central Arashiyama
9. Visit Kimono Forest one more time after dark to get a magical feeling!
Scenic Train / Hozu River Boat Tour
Scenic Train opening hours: 9:00-16:00 - closed wednesdays and dec 30-feb 28. Fee: 620 yen. Time: 25 minutes
Hozu River Boat tour: 9:00-15:30 - Closed dec 29-january 4. Fee: 4100 yen. Time: 2 hours
These pillars decorated in Kimono Fabric are close to the JR Arashiyama Station. This place will leave you in awe. The higlight of the display is the small pond called: Ryu no Atago-ike, which welcomes visitors. At night the poles and the pond light up, giving it a magical feeling
Located in the Arashiyama mountains, the monkey park can be found south of the Togetsukyo Bridge. Beware: You will have to hike up the hill to the central monkey area. This will take you about 15 minutes. If you like monkeys, this is definitely a place for you. However, if you are not a big fan of monkeys or are running short on time I recommend skipping this site.
Tenryuji Temple & Bamboo Forest
Even though you can enter the bamboo forest for free without having to enter Tenryuji temple, it is strongly recommended to visit Tenryuji temple before the Bamboo forest. The gardens of Tenryuji are beautifyl and are definitely worth a visit.
The bamboo forest itself is a peaceful place, but I recommend you visit this early in the morning or late in the afternoon, since it can get very crowded during the day and will decrease the level of tranquility.
Adashino Nenbutsuji & Otagi Nenbutsuji
By continueing the itinerary you can walk towards these two sacred grounds, which are located a 40 minute walk from central Arashiyama. By walking past the historic streets and the Arashiyama park, this hike gets a lot more pleasant.
The Adashino Temple features hundreds of stone statues on the temple grounds and are an impressive sight to see. At the temple grounds there is also another more secluded Bamboo Forest, where you can take better pictures, because the crowds are gone.
10 minutes further you will find the Otagi Nenbutsuji which features over 1200 stone statures, each with a different facial expression. If you are in the area I recommend visiting this place as well!
And there you go, all that is left is to return to Central Arashiyama, do a little shopping, seeing the Arashiyama sights by night if you wish and return to Kyoto safely. This itinerary has been done by myself and I must say I didn't feel rushed at all! I hope you guys are inspired by this amazing little gem just outside Kyoto!
If you have any questions, please ask! :D