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Arashiyama Bamboo Forest: Complete Guide to Kyoto's Iconic Area for First-Timers

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest: Complete Guide to Kyoto's Iconic Area for First-Timers

Date published: 5 August 2020
Last updated: 18 October 2020

The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto is a popular attraction known for its spectacular scenery. With gentle breezes rustling the leaves as they blow through the bamboo, it's a great place to escape the heat of summer while taking gorgeous photos as memories of your travels.

You'll also want to visit the nearby Togetsukyo Bridge at the center of Arashiyama, where you can check the tourist map and enjoy an annual light-up event called Arashiyama Hanatoro.

Table of Contents
  1. Getting to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
  2. Ride a Rickshaw through Arashiyama Bamboo Forest!
  3. Enjoy A Stroll in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Wearing a Kimono!
  4. Enjoy the Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Nighttime Light-up in December!
  5. Walking Around Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest
  6. There are also a variety of Arashiyama tours you can try!

Getting to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Getting to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Entrance to the Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is very close to Randen Arashiyama Station and JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. From Randen Arashiyama Station, walk in the opposite direction of Togetsukyo Bridge for about 5 minutes. From JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, walk towards the Randen Arashiyama Station for about 15 minutes.

Getting to Arashiyama Station/JR Saga-Arashiyama Station:
・From the Hankyu Omiya Station or Karasuma Station Area: ride the Randen Line from its first stop, Shijo-Omiya Station, to last stop Arashiyama Station (approx. 21 min, 220 yen, one-way)
・From JR Kyoto Station: ride the JR Sanin Main Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station (approx. 27 min, 240 yen, one-way)
・From JR Osaka Station: ride the JR Tokaido Line New Rapid Train to Kyoto Station; transfer to JR Sanin Main Line and ride to Saga-Arashiyama Station (approx. 1 hr 4 min, 990 yen, one-way)
・From JR Kansai Airport Station: ride the JR Kansai Rapid Service to Osaka Station; transfer to JR Tokaido Line New Rapid Train and ride to Kyoto Station; transfer again to JR Sanin Main Line and ride to Saga-Arashiyama Station (approx. 2 hr 15 min, 2200 yen, one-way)

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Togetsukyo Bridge make up the central part of Arashiyama. Enjoy a stroll along the 400-meter-long promenade through the tall, lush bamboo trees.

The towering bamboo trees cover the sky, and are green all year round, creating a refreshing yet breathtaking scene that you can see in any season.

Ride a Rickshaw through Arashiyama Bamboo Forest!

Ride a Rickshaw through Arashiyama Bamboo Forest!

The rickshaw is a popular transportation method unique to Japan and great for sightseeing. You can even enjoy a ride around the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in one of these retro carts!

Today we will take a 30-minute rickshaw tour. Tours cost 7,000 yen for one person, 9,000 for two, and 13,500 for three (tax included).

Within that time, the driver can either take you around to see the sights or take you to a specific destination. Today we decided to see the quiet backstreets and the path through the Bamboo Forest.

We began around Togetsukyo Bridge. A rickshaw driver, also known as a 'shafu,' must be very strong and well-trained in order to pull the cart!

Our shafu was also a professional Arashiyama tour guide. He explained all about the areas we passed as he pulled the cart. "I can't say I'm very good with foreign languages, but I'll do my best as your guide! We get many foreign customers," explains today's guide, Mr. Sato.

Arashiyama Rakan - Statues of the Disciples of Buddha
Popular cafe 'Bread, Espresso, and Arashiyama Garden'

Once you enter the back alley, the atmosphere becomes very quiet. Arashiyama may seem lively at first, but there are many peaceful places like this, too.

During the ride, the guide will also introduce you to the many shops and famous attractions in the area. It's exciting to see what other places you can go to after the rickshaw ride is over!

We finally arrive at the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest path! The rickshaw path is slightly more narrow than the regular footpath. Here you feel even more engulfed by the bamboo trees. It's as if you have entered a completely different world!

We passed in front of Nonomiya Shrine, located along the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest path. The shrine has a rich and harmonious atmosphere, with its wooden torii gate and the surrounding bamboo.

Enjoy the fun and bumpy ride as the rickshaw passes over the tracks of the Torokko Train!

You can also ask for a wonderful photo of yourself on the rickshaw, with the beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest as the backdrop. Just ask the shafu!

As the ride continues, you will arrive in a rather simple-looking place with a traditional Japanese atmosphere.
Here, only the sky, earth, and trees exist, with no sign of technology in sight. It feels as if you have stepped back in time, into a place from the past, you probably would not have found without the help of a rickshaw.

This area is located right behind Tenryuji Temple. Be sure to check out that attraction as well!

You can make a reservation by phone or online (http://ebisuya.com/en/), or simply approach one of the shafu around Togetsukyo Bridge and Nonomiya Shrine. For an unforgettable sightseeing experience, a rickshaw tour is not to be missed!

*As a countermeasure against coronavirus, rickshaw carts are thoroughly disinfected inside and out, and all shafu are required to wear a mask.

  • EBISUYA
    EBISUYA
    • Address 3-24 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 (Ebisuya Rickshaw Office)
    • Phone Number 075-864-4444
    • Hours: 9:30AM until sunset
      Open Daily
      Prices:
      ・One area (12-13 min): 3,000 yen for 1 person; 4,000 yen for 2 people; 6,000 yen for 3 people
      ・30 min tour: 7,000 yen for 1 person; 9,000 yen for 2 people; 13,500 yen for 3 people
      ・60 min & 120 min tours also available

Enjoy A Stroll in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Wearing a Kimono!

Enjoy A Stroll in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Wearing a Kimono!

If you have time, you may also want to rent a kimono to wear for a stroll through the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. A kimono is the perfect outfit for the occasion, with a Japanese flair that perfectly matches the scenery. Kimono rental shops are all over Arashiyama, so you should be able to find one rather quickly.

Enjoy the Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Nighttime Light-up in December!

Enjoy the Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Nighttime Light-up in December!
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest - Photo courtesy of Kyoto-Hanatoro Promotion Council
Akari to Hana no Michi (Light and Blossoms Pathway) - Photo courtesy of Kyoto-Hanatoro Promotion Council

Every December, there is a light-up event called Arashiyama Hanatoro that uses the natural scenery and history of Saga and Arashiyama's Bamboo Forest and waterfront. The streets are decorated with warm lights and shadows cast by the 'roji-andon,' a kind of outdoor lantern.

There are also many ikebana (flower arrangement) works on display, illuminated to create an even more captivating atmosphere.

Togetsukyo Bridge Illumination - Photo courtesy of Kyoto-Hanatoro Promotion Council

The Togetsukyo Bridge, the foot of Arashiyama, and the waterfront are also magnificently illuminated, creating a completely different vibe from that of the daytime.

  • ARASHIYAMA HANATOURO
    嵐山花灯路
    • Address Saganakanoshimacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-838 (Togetsukyo Bridge)
    • Phone: 075-212-8173 (Weekdays 10:00AM-6:00PM)
      Event Period: Early to mid-December
      Free entry

Walking Around Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest

Walking Around Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest

This map shows the entire Arashiyama area.

To see the Togetsukyo Bridge and Bamboo Forest in the center, and any of the shrines and temples nearby, we recommend taking a rickshaw or using a rental cycle for convenience.

There are also many restaurants and souvenir shops along the way, and cafes for a quick break. Take a trip around Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest, and enjoy Kyoto's beautiful natural scenery.

There are also a variety of Arashiyama tours you can try!

Make your trip extra memorable by booking one of these recommended tours on our partner site, Voyagin!

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.

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