Located on the western side of Kyoto, Arashiyama offers a lot of activities for tourists. You can find beautiful nature and scenery such as forests and mountains. You can also find historical and cultural sites such as shrines and temples. There are a lot of other things to do in Arashiyama aside from the famous bamboo forest. Here are my top 5 things to do in Arashiyama when visiting Kyoto.
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If you are planning a trip to Japan, there are also several great Discover Japan tours available.
1. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
When I think of Arashiyama, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest would immediately come to my mind. It is one of the most popular things to do in Kyoto. It is also the most photographed place in Kyoto. If you only have time to visit one attraction, I recommend prioritizing Arashiyama Bamboo Forest over other attractions. The best part is that this attraction is free and anyone can visit this place without paying anything. Since this place is very popular to both tourists and locals, I highly recommend visiting early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowd.
2. Tenryu-Ji Temple
One of the best temples in Arashiyama is the Tenryu-Ji Temple. It is also located beside the bamboo forest. You need to pay a 500 yen (5 USD) fee to enter. Tenryu-Ji Temple is a Zen temple with the most beautiful garden in Kyoto. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage.
The garden is really beautiful especially during the spring and autumn season where you’ll see cherry blossoms and maple leaves. Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms have not bloomed yet when we visited but it is still beautiful.
The main attraction of the Zen garden is this small pond. It is a great photo spot, especially during the spring and autumn season. The pond will catch the reflection of the leaves which will make a great photo. This Zen garden is also really peaceful and perfect for anyone who wants to escape the crowds from the bamboo forest.
3. Kimono Forest
Most of the tourists only visit the bamboo forest when visiting Arashiyama before going to another attraction. But just a few blocks from the bamboo forest is an underrated and a hidden gem of Kyoto, the Kimono Forest. Only a few tourists know about this place. If you want to escape the crowd of the bamboo forest, I recommend visiting Kimono Forest. It is a unique place to visit and it is also really beautiful at night time when the kimono inside the pillars lights up.
4. Togetsukyo Bridge
The Togetsukyo Bridge is an iconic bridge in Arashiyama. Togetsukyo Bridge is also translated as the ‘Moon Crossing Bridge’. It is also best known for its magnificent and scenic view of the Katsura River. It is a 509 ft long bridge which has several shops and restaurants nearby.
5. Orgel Music Box Shop in Arashiyama
No trip to Arashiyama is complete without buying souvenirs. There are several shops selling small touristy souvenirs but I prefer buying unique souvenirs. I recommend visiting the Orgel Music Box Shop located near the Togetsukyo Bridge.
Check out what else we did in Kyoto :
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