HOME Kansai Kyoto Arashiyama, Uzumasa Top 15 Things To Do In Arashiyama, Kyoto: Bucket List for First-Time Visitors!
Top 15 Things To Do In Arashiyama, Kyoto: Bucket List for First-Time Visitors!

Top 15 Things To Do In Arashiyama, Kyoto: Bucket List for First-Time Visitors!

Date published: 6 August 2020
Last updated: 18 October 2020

There are so many things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto's popular tourist area. From snapping selfies on the Togetsukyo Bridge stretching over the Oi River, exploring the footpaths immersed in the lush Bamboo Forest, and riding the Sagano Romantic Train, here are 15 fun things to do in Arashiyama that you won't want to miss!

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Togetsukyo Bridge: Snap a Selfie on the Iconic Bridge!
  2. 2. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest: Rejuvenate Yourself in the Famous Grove
  3. 3. Tenryuji: Experience Zazen in a Beautiful Garden
  4. 4. Sagano Romantic Train: Ride through the Beautiful Valleys
  5. 5. Hozugawa River Kudari: Enjoy the Thrilling Torrent
  6. 6. Go Sightseeing By Rickshaw
  7. 7. Nonomiya Shrine: Make A Wish for a Happy Love Life!
  8. 8. Kimono Forest: Take Great Photos for Social Media!
  9. 9. Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama: Enjoy A Delicious Cup of Coffee
  10. 10. Yojiya Cafe: Eat Japanese Sweets & Shop for Souvenirs
  11. 11. Yudofu Takemura: Try Local Yudofu, One of Kyoto's Famous Foods
  12. 12. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama: Get a Close-up View of Japanese Macaques
  13. 13. Daikakuji Temple: A Spectacular View of Japan's Oldest Garden Pond
  14. 14. Jojakkoji Temple: Maple Trees and Beautiful Autumn Leaves
  15. 15. Arashiyu: A Relaxing Foot Bath Right Out of a Fairytale
  16. So many things to do in Arashiyama!

1. Togetsukyo Bridge: Snap a Selfie on the Iconic Bridge!

1. Togetsukyo Bridge: Snap a Selfie on the Iconic Bridge!

The Togetsukyo Bridge is the number one tourist attraction in Arashiyama, and a symbol of the area's beauty.

Despite being made of concrete, the wooden balustrade fits in perfectly with the surrounding natural landscape, and the beautiful scenery of the sky, unobstructed by buildings. The Togetsukyo Bridge was clearly designed in harmony with the nature of Arashiyama. It's the perfect spot for photos, too!

There are different landscapes to enjoy in every season: delightful cherry blossoms in the spring, lush greenery in the summer, brilliant foliage in the fall, and the chilling beauty of winter.

  • Togetsukyo Bridge
    渡月橋
    • Address Saganakanoshimacho, Ukyo, Kyoto City, Kyoto 616-8383
    • Free entry

2. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest: Rejuvenate Yourself in the Famous Grove

2. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest: Rejuvenate Yourself in the Famous Grove

Just like the Togetsukyo Bridge, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest footpath is one of Arashiyama's signature scenic spots. Towering bamboo trees stretch all the way up to the sky. The forest is nice and lush throughout all seasons. It's a great, shady oasis offering a cool relief from the hot sun in the summer. Take a deep breath of fresh, clean air, and rejuvenate yourself from the inside out.

3. Tenryuji: Experience Zazen in a Beautiful Garden

3. Tenryuji: Experience Zazen in a Beautiful Garden

Arashiyama is packed with shrines and temples that harmoniously blend into nature. Tenryuji is particularly famous for its beautiful garden, Sogenchi Teien. Sogenchi Teien was designated as Japan's first Special Historical Scenic Spot, and when you see each season's unique scenery, you'll know why!

Sit under the eaves of Ohojo, Tenryuji's largest building, and experience zazen as you look out over the garden. Listen to the buzzing from the trees, the chirping of the birds, the voices of other visitors, and the gentle blowing of the breeze. Let time stop for a moment as you relax in nature.

Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer available at entrances and exits; area is well ventilated.

4. Sagano Romantic Train: Ride through the Beautiful Valleys

4. Sagano Romantic Train: Ride through the Beautiful Valleys

The Sagano Romantic Train (also called the Sagano Torokko Train) is a sightseeing train that runs through Arashiyama, taking you through the valleys along the Hozu River. The train has cars with both glass-less window seats and regular passenger seats. So pick your favorite, and enjoy the passing scenery of the river, the mountains, and the 8 tunnels along the way.

The Sagano Romantic Train runs once every hour from 9:00AM to 4:00PM (and occasional temporary trains at other times). Enjoy the passing views of Arashiyama's nature as you ride in this swaying retro train.

■Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer available at entrances and exits of station building and ticket gates; trains are well ventilated; crew members required to wear masks.

  • Sagano Romantic Train
    嵯峨野トロッコ列車
    • Address Kurumamichicho Sagatenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8373 (Saga Torokko Station)
    • Phone: 075-861-7444 (8:40AM-4:40PM) *Automated voice response
      Hours: 8:35AM until last train
      Closed: Wednesdays (Open for spring break/August/autumn foliage viewing)
      Price: (One-way, all seats): Adults (12+): 630 yen, Children (6-12): 320 yen *320 yen if seating is needed for children 5 & under)

5. Hozugawa River Kudari: Enjoy the Thrilling Torrent

5. Hozugawa River Kudari: Enjoy the Thrilling Torrent

The Hozugawa River runs from central Kyoto to Arashiyama. You can enjoy the Hozugawa River Cruise, a sightseeing tour of the river by boat, from upstream Kameoka City down to the Togetsukyo area. It's a thrilling descent through the rocky river on a small boat operated by boatmen, and an experience you'll never forget. If you see the Sagano Romantic Train passing along the way, don't forget to wave at the passengers! They will surely be waving right back!

Measures against coronavirus: Boats are thoroughly disinfected.

  • Hozugawa Kudari
    保津川下り
    • Address 2-Shimonakajima, Hozucho, Kameoka-shi, Kyoto 621-0005
    • Phone Number 0771-22-5846
    • Hours: 9:00AM-3:30PM (May vary seasonally. Reservations required. See website for details: https://www.hozugawakudari.jp/en)
      Price: Regular Boarding: Adult: 4100 yen; 4 years/elementary school students: 2700 yen (both prices include tax)
      *Other services offered include private rental boats, heated tatami boats in winter, and more)
      Closed: 12/29-1/4; closed the 1st of every month from February-September for safety inspection)

6. Go Sightseeing By Rickshaw

6. Go Sightseeing By Rickshaw

Arashiyama still retains its old-fashioned scenery. If you really want to enjoy this authentic, old-fashioned atmosphere, why not ride a rickshaw? Rickshaws have been used as transportation since long ago. Find a rickshaw at Ebisuya, the home of rickshaw tours in Arashiyama.

Riding a rickshaw through the scenic sights of Arashiyama, such as the Togetsukyo Bridge and the Bamboo Forest, is the perfect way to unwind from your travels. Reservations can be made by phone or online (http://ebisuya.com/en/). Or simply approach any of the rickshaw drivers (called 'shafu') that you see standing around Togetsukyo Bridge - they will surely be happy to oblige!

Measures against coronavirus: Carts are thoroughly disinfected; all staff required to wear masks.

  • EBISUYA
    えびす屋
    • Address 3-24 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 (Ebisuya Rickshaw Office)
    • Phone Number 075-864-4444
    • Hours: 9:30AM-sunset *Varies by season
      Price: One area (12-13 minutes): 1 person: 3,000 yen; 2 people: 4,000 yen; 3 people: 6,000 yen
      30 min tour: 1 person: 7,000 yen; 2 people: 9,000 yen; 3 people: 13,500 yen
      60 and 120 min tours also available. All prices include tax.
      Open Daily

7. Nonomiya Shrine: Make A Wish for a Happy Love Life!

7. Nonomiya Shrine: Make A Wish for a Happy Love Life!

Nonomiya Shrine is located through a small path hidden in the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. It has a very sacred atmosphere and is visited by many worshipers and people praying for all sorts of wishes.

It is believed that if you make a wish while touching the Kameishi stone, said to be a stone of the gods, it will come true within a year!

The 'ema,' or wooden wishing plaques, at Nonomiya Shrine are shaped like little hearts! Write out your wishes for a happy love with the person you care about, and dedicate it at the ema-kakesho, the wall where you hang them for your wish to come true. You can choose to take the ema home with you if you like, but beware: if you don't dedicate your wish, it might not come true!

8. Kimono Forest: Take Great Photos for Social Media!

8. Kimono Forest: Take Great Photos for Social Media!
Lesley Photograph / Shutterstock.com

Kimono Forest is one of the most popular spots to visit in Arashiyama, especially for some great social media snaps! It is a part of Arashiyama Station. There are many poles covered in Kyo-yuzen, or cloth dyed using the traditional Kyoto technique. They look like trees wearing kimonos! Hence the name, Kimono Forest. The unique, brilliant colors of the Kyo-yuzen patterns are exactly what make it the perfect backdrop for your next Instagram photo!

Each pole is lit up at night, creating a magical atmosphere. If you have the time, try visiting both during the day for some great photos, and night for the light-up! Light-up begins in the late afternoon and lasts until 9:00PM (some areas until 11:00PM) (varies by season).

  • Kimono Forest
    キモノ・フォレスト
    • Address 35-28 Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8384
    • Phone Number 075-873-2121
    • Free entry

9. Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama: Enjoy A Delicious Cup of Coffee

9. Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama: Enjoy A Delicious Cup of Coffee

When all those things to do in Arashiyama are starting to tire you out, recharge with some refreshing drinks at Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama, a cafe located on the north side of Togetsukyo Bridge. The stylish building has been renovated from an old-fashioned Japanese home.

Using carefully-selected coffee beans from all over the world, they have created a mellow drink with a perfect balance of acidity and astringency. The Ice Cafe Latte (Blend) is their most popular item (550 yen, tax included), with a delicious milky and mellow flavor, and served in a cute logo-decorated cup. It's the perfect light drink to enjoy as you continue your stroll around Arashiyama.

Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer available at entrances and exits; area is well ventilated. Staff required to wear masks when serving customers.

  • ARABICA KYOTO ARASHIYAMA
    アラビカ京都 嵐山
    • Address 3-47 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385
    • Phone Number 075-748-0057
    • Hours: 8:00AM-6:00PM
      Closed: Irregular days

10. Yojiya Cafe: Eat Japanese Sweets & Shop for Souvenirs

10. Yojiya Cafe: Eat Japanese Sweets & Shop for Souvenirs

There are many nice cafes in Arashiyama where you can sit back and relax. Yojiya Cafe is produced by Yojiya, a famous company known for its traditional ink-blotting paper. The cafe is super popular for its Japanese interior design, featuring an atrium and a garden.

Front: Matcha Parfait, Back: Kinako Parfait (both 1,200 yen, tax included)

The Japanese parfait is decorated with a cute drawing of the Yojiya face. You almost don't want to ruin it with your spoon! The Matcha Parfait includes ice cream and matcha jelly made with high-quality gyokuro green tea. The Kinako Parfait is sweet and mellow, with kinako ice cream and brown sugar jelly.

Zipper Case (420 yen, tax included)
Masking Tape (400 yen, tax included)

Next door is the cafe's specialty goods shop, where you can find original goods as well as the perfect Kyoto souvenirs. After satisfying your sweet tooth, why not do some souvenir shopping?

Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer available at entrances and exits; area is well ventilated; wide-spaced seating.

  • YOJIYA CAFE Sagano-Arashiyama
    よーじやカフェ 嵯峨野嵐山店
    • Address 2-13 Sagatenryuji Tateishicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8375
    • Phone Number 075-865-2213
    • Hours: 10:00AM-6:00PM (L.O. 5:30PM) *Varies by season
      Open Daily

11. Yudofu Takemura: Try Local Yudofu, One of Kyoto's Famous Foods

11. Yudofu Takemura: Try Local Yudofu, One of Kyoto's Famous Foods

Yudofu is a local Arashiyama specialty, a dish of tofu gently simmered in a kombu broth. Yudofu Takemura is a shop that specializes in this dish, serving up a delicious yudofu course meal!

Matsu Course (6 items), 2,600 yen (tax not included)

The Matsu Course includes yudofu, plus 6 other dishes: hassun (a dish of seasonal ingredients), hirousu (fried tofu), sesame tofu, vegetable tempura, soup, rice, and pickled vegetables. The yudofu is smooth and soft, and dressed with soy sauce and from freshly-shaved bonito flakes. Enjoy these delicious, healthy flavors of Japan!

Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer available at entrances and exits; area is well ventilated; wide-spaced seating.

  • Yudofu Takemura
    湯どうふ 竹むら
    • Address 48-7 Sagatenryuji Kitatsukurimichicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8374
    • Phone Number 075-861-1483
    • Hours: 11:00AM-8:00PM (L.O. 7:00PM)
      Closed: Thursdays *Temporary openings spring/autumn (Closed for summer vacation)

12. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama: Get a Close-up View of Japanese Macaques

12. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama: Get a Close-up View of Japanese Macaques

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama is located on a mountain that is home to about 120 wild Japanese macaques. Once you climb the 120-step staircase at the entrance, the path becomes a gentle uphill hiking course. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the summit, where you can see the Japanese macaques.

You can feed the monkeys from inside the rest area. Watch from inside the building as the monkeys roam free outside - it feels like a reverse zoo! You can also gaze down at the amazing panoramic view of Kyoto from atop the mountain. It's a great place to take a break!

The entrance is located about 20m down the river on the south side of Togetsukyo Bridge.

Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer is available as well as disinfectant sheets to use on the door knobs. Staff required to wear masks; masks required at the summit.

13. Daikakuji Temple: A Spectacular View of Japan's Oldest Garden Pond

13. Daikakuji Temple: A Spectacular View of Japan's Oldest Garden Pond

Daikakuji Temple is home to the oldest pond in Japan, Osawa-no-Ike. The temple grounds are divided in two, the Temple Area and the Osaka-no-Ike Area. There are many amazing views here, such as the forest springs (a garden with a wooded area and a miniature lake) that stretches 1km around, and the seasonally-changing natural landscape reflected on the water's surface. The temple area also has many interesting sights, such as the Murasame-no-roka Corridor, a zig-zag shaped corridor often compared to lightning.

Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer available at entrances and exits; spaces are properly ventilated.

14. Jojakkoji Temple: Maple Trees and Beautiful Autumn Leaves

14. Jojakkoji Temple: Maple Trees and Beautiful Autumn Leaves

Jojakkoji Temple is located on the hillside of Mount Ogura, featured in Hyakunin Isshu, an anthology of 100 carefully-selected Japanese poems by 100 poets. It is very famous for its vibrant autumn colors. Take in the rich, healing atmosphere of the mountains and nature as you walk around the temples.

The beautiful colors of the autumn are stunning, however the green maple trees during the summer months are also quite amazing. Surround yourself in nature, and enjoy the solace.

Measures against coronavirus: Sanitizer available at entrances and exits; spaces are properly ventilated.

15. Arashiyu: A Relaxing Foot Bath Right Out of a Fairytale

15. Arashiyu: A Relaxing Foot Bath Right Out of a Fairytale

The foot bath at the Arashiyu Arashiyama Main Store is a popular way to relieve your tired body after all that walking. Even if you soak only your feet in a hot tub of water, you will soon feel the warmth spread through your whole body as if you were melting right into the bath. There is also a foot massage that uses bamboo to make you feel even more relaxed!

The most popular course is the Miyabi Course. Seasonal flowers float on the heated water's surface in the tub. It feels like something out of a fairy tale! The 30-minute course includes a 15-minute foot bath and a 15-minute foot massage, as well as drinks and sweets, for 4,400 yen (tax included). Foot baths containing green tea extract or matcha are also available. Select your favorite and soak your stress away!

Measures against coronavirus: Shorter business hours, from 12:00PM-6:00PM, weekends/holidays only. Staff required to wear masks and maintain social distance when working. Shop thoroughly disinfected with alcohol. Reservations required.

  • Arashiyu Arashiyama
    嵐湯 嵐山本店
    • Address 35-40 Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8384
    • Phone Number 075-406-0010
    • Hours: 11:00AM-7:00PM (Last order, 6:30PM) *As a measure against coronavirus, currently open from 12:00PM-6:00PM)
      Open Daily *Currently only open weekends & holidays as a coronavirus measure

So many things to do in Arashiyama!

Arashiyama is a wonderful place in Kyoto, rich in nature and full of old-fashioned scenery. There are charming shrines everywhere you go, giving you plenty to explore over the course of a few days. Take a trip to Arashiyama, and get ready to experience all kinds of foods and attractions!

Written by WestPlan

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Search