Arashiyama is the second-most important sightseeing district in Kyoto. It’s filled with temples and shrines, but the star attraction is the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
Arashiyama Area Description:
Arashiyama is in the far west of Kyoto, tucked along the base of the Arashiyama Mountains (meaning “Storm Mountains”). It’s a fair distance from the center of Kyoto: whether you go by train, bus, bicycle or taxi, you’re generally looking at about a 30-minute trip. Still, it’s worth it for the number of great sights here.
The main street of Arashiyama, along with the famed Togetsu-kyo Bridge, which form the heart of Arashiyama, is nothing but a tourist circus. But, don’t despair. As quickly as you can, walk upriver to Kameyama-koen Park, or into Tenryu-ji Temple and on into the Bamboo Grove. If you’d like to get away from the crowds and still see the highlights, check out our Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Walking Tour, which outlines the best route to follow.
Things To Do And See In Arashiyama
- Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world
- Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple is the headline attraction in Arashiyama, a sprawling Zen temple with one of the finest gardens in Kyoto and wonderful mountain views
- Kameyama-koen Park
Escape the crowds and (if you’re lucky) mingle with the monkeys at Arashiyama’s lovely hilltop park, Kameyama-koen Park
- Okochi-Sanso Villa
Okochi-Sanso Villa is one of the top sights in Kyoto. It rivals any of the city’s imperial properties, and you don’t need reservations to enter
- Nison-in Temple
Nison-in Temple is a lovely Tendai sect Buddhist temple that is best known for its lovely maple- and cherry-lined arcade leading to the main halls
- Rakushisha Poet’s Hut
This quaint hermit’s cottage was once the home of one of haiku master Matsuo Basho’s disciples. It’s a good palate cleanser between the area temples
- Jojako-ji Temple
Jojakko-ji Temple is a quaint temple on the main Arashiyama tourist route that offers a chance to escape the crowds that plague the rest of the area
- Gio-ji Temple
Tiny Gio-ji Temple is one of the most scenic spots in Arashiyama. The thatched-roof main hall overlooking a moss-covered grotto is a magical sight
- Adashino-Nembutsu-ji Temple
A touching temple at the top of the Arashiyama sightseeing district, you’ll find 8000 Buddhist statues here placed in memory of those who died without kin
- Arashiyama Boat Rental
One of the best ways to explore the Arashiyama area is by renting a boat and rowing around the lovely lower Hozu-gawa area, especially when the cherry blossoms are out
- Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa
Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa is regarded as the pinnacle of Japanese architecture and garden design
- Tenzan-no-yu Onsen
Tenzan-no-yu Onsen is a huge bath and spa complex on the west side of Kyoto. It’s one of the few onsen in Kyoto and it’s well worth the trek across town to relax here
Hotels in Arashiyama
- Hoshinoya Kyoto
A serene riverside refuge accessible by boat upstream from Arashiyama, Hoshinoya Kyoto is arguably Kyoto’s most interesting place to stay
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
This new luxury hotel is in a stunning location in Arashiyama, within easy walking distance of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Tenryu-ji Temple
- See more Arashiyama hotels on Booking.com or Agoda.com along with a useful location map
Ryokan in Arashiyama
- Arashiyama Benkei
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
One of the finest riverside ryokan in Arashiyama, this traditional spot is a great place for those who want to be based in Arashiyama
Explore the stunning Kyoto district of Arashiyama, including the breathtaking Bamboo Grove, on this guided private walk.
(Four hours duration. Price: 25,000 Yen)
More Details About The Tour
Places to Eat in Arashiyama
Komichi is the best restaurant/cafe on the tourist route in Arashiyama for a light meal or a hot or cold drink
- % Arabica Arashiyama
If you need a pick-me-up while exploring Arashiyama, head to this stylish and airy coffee shop on the banks of the Hozu-gawa River
They simply do not make restaurants more attractive than this old teahouse near Atago Torii in Arashiyama. It’s a teahouse that doubles as a proper restaurant
- Yudofu Sagano
Yodofu Sagano is a great place to try that great Arashiyama Buddhist specialty: yudo (chunks of tofu simmered in broth)
Inside the grounds of Tenryu-ji Temple, Shigetsu is a great place to try traditional Japanese Buddhist cuisines, also known as shojin-ryori
- Arashiyama Yoshimura
The view is the real draw at this simple riverside noodle and rice restaurant on the edge of the Arashiyama tourist district
- Le Bouchon Tournesol
If you’re looking for a light meal or some sandwiches and pastries for a picnic in Arashiyama, this cool little French-inspired bakery/restaurant near JR Saga-Arashiyama is a great choice
- Unagi Hirokawa
Unagi Hirokawa is an excellent Michelin-starred grilled eel specialist located on the main street of Arashiyama. But be warned: Book ahead or wait hours in the queue.
Getting to Arashiyama
- By JR Train from Kyoto Station: Take the JR Sagano/San-in Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station and walk for about 10 minutes.
- By bus from Kyoto Station: Take Kyoto City Bus # 28 and get off at Arashiyama-Tenryuji-mae (about 30 minutes).
- By Hankyu Line (from Osaka etc): Take any train from Kawaramachi, Karasuma, Omiya or Saiin stations, and get off at Katsura Station and then take the Hankyu Arashiyama Line to Arashiyama Station.
- By taxi: A taxi from downtown will take about 25 minutes and cost Y2000.
- By subway from Kyoto Station: Take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and change to the Tozai Subway line heading west. Get off at the last stop, Uzumasa-Tenjingawa and change to the Randen Street tram to Keifuku Arashiyama Station.
- By bicycle: Cycle all the way west on Marutamachi-dori.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)