12 Things to Do in Arashiyama, Kyoto Japan

Our second day in Kyoto, Japan began with a half day trip to Arashiyama & Sagano area, enjoying the beautiful scenes surrounded by tranquil (despite the crowd), silky smooth tofu and herring soba,  followed by cherry blossom festival in the late afternoon. Read on to get a guide on what to do in Arashiyama and its nearby!

1. Sagano Romantic Train Ride 嵐山嵯峨野小火車 

We reached Arashiyama from Kyoto by Sagano Romatic Train, a 25 minutes journey that brings you down to scenic view of Hozugawa River. Most beautiful during the autumn period, as the whole area will be adorned with orange, red and yellow colour of maple leaves. We were there during end of winter time, but still, amazing in its own way with freezing cold breeze. Definitely a worthwhile trip. Read more about this ride HERE

How to go Sagano Romantic Train: JR Kyoto Station -> JR Umahori Station -> Walk for 10 minutes to reach Kameoka Torroko Station
Journey: 25 minutes, 7KM
Ticket Price: 620yen per person (310 yen for child)
Best Coach: Car No.5 which you can only buy ticket on the departure day

2. Arashiyama Train Station Mini Model

It was so cold that we hide into Arashiyama station once got down from train. Walked around and take a peep on miniature size Sagano Railway model that gives a whole view of this tourist attraction.

3. Mikami Shrine 御髮神社

When we came out, the crowd had already gone so we lost track. Hahaha. Reached a junction with people going to left and some going to the right. Not too sure which side we shall head to and we turned right, as we saw a small shrine not to far away, with a nice lake beside it.

The shrine is called 御髮神社. No idea what the shrine is for that time but looking at the word 髮, Summergirl still made fun asking if this is the temple for hair. We Google a little about it later, only to know that this is really a “wishing for good hair” shrine, and is the one and only in Japan. You can pay 300yen, pray for your “hair wish” to 政之公, cut a small portion of your hair and keeps in the shrine. You can also buy combs here. Pretty unusual but interesting though. Not much information about it in English, but can have deeper search using Chinese.

Address:
10-2 Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamacho, Ukyo Ward,
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8394, Japan
Entrance: free

4. Lake beside Mikami Shrine

This is the lake we talked about. Like this lake for no reason. Probably this place has less tourists, peaceful with almost no people. We just sat there, look at the lake, and see birds flying off for like 30 minutes. Ended up being late for other tourist spots. Lol. We’ll definitely not doing such thing back in Malaysia.

5. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest 嵐山竹林步道

“See no road” after visiting Mikami Shrine so we turned back and walked down a path with high rise bamboo at both sides. Tadaa! Finally reached Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, the must-visit for everyone in Arashiyama. First time seeing so many bamboo trees in our life. Hahaha.

We have seen many pictures of this place before. When we finally stood admist these soaring high bamboo grove, word couldn’t describe our excitement. Just sadly it is very much touristy and difficult to take good photos. Group after groups of people jumping and posing around, so be patient and wait for your turn. LOL.

6. Tenryu-Ji Temple 天龍寺

Tenryu-Ji Temple, a remarkable attraction ranked as the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto. Very large temple comprises of Hatto (Dharma Hall), Zen meditation Hall, Hatto, Sogenchi Teien, Kuri, ceremonial hall, ryumontei, Seiko-kan, Hojo, Yu’un-an, just to name a few.

Opening Hours:
Summer: 8.30AM -5.30PM
Winter (21st Oct to 20th Mar): 8.30AM -5.00PM

Admission Fee:
Garden only : 500yen
Tenryu-ji Garden and Buildings: + 300yen above garden price
Special Admission to the Cloud-Dragon Painting in the Hatto (Dharma Hall): 500yen

Tickets can be purchased at:
Garden entrance, main building entrance, north gate entrance

7. Nonomiya Temple 野宮神社

8. Arashiyama Food Street

Continue walking and we reached Arashiyama food street, an area that houses plenty street food, cafes and restaurant. Like being transported back to real world. Lol. Tempted to try out one of the restaurants but ended up eating Hot Tofu (400yen) and Herring Soba (500yen) from 三忠豆腐, a stall near to main road, high recommended by many blogs. Freaking good! That tofu was so delicious! Super smooth and soft, lightly flavoured up with soy sauce. Herring Soba was even better. Soba immersed in clean and light soup, topped with a slice of herring fish. So “on point” for the cold weather. We finished up everything, drank up the soup too. Satisfying lunch.

There are many Japanese local street snack to try along the way. Heard 中村屋可樂餅 is very famous but we bought Daifuku instead because we couldn’t resist the huge, juicy looking strawberry and most importantly, the super friendly seller kept asking us to buy one. Hahahaha. Not too bad, but we believe there’s better version out there.

9. Togetsukyo Bridge 渡月橋

Togetsukyo Bridge spans across Katsura Rivers, also known as 渡月橋, or Moon Crossing Bridge. It was once an ideal place for moon viewing parties, now a place that offers amazing view of Arashiyama Mountain, especially during autumn foliage season. You can also visit Arashiyama Park but since cherry blossom wasn’t there yet during our trip, we just gave it a skip.

10. Souvenirs shopping

Continued to do some shopping in the souvenir shops opposite to Togetsukyo Bridge. Sampled few tea and bought home a packet of plum tea. Haha. There are many choices to choose from, so tea lovers can spend some time looking for Kyoto Japanese tea. We already planned on a day trip to Uji the next day, so we decided to keep our tea shopping for tomorrow.

11. Onsen Footbath at Keifuku Arashiyama Station

Tired after walking for hours? Enjoy onsen footbath which is located within Keifuku Arashiyama Station. Rest your legs before going for longer journey. The station is located on the way to Togetsukyo Bridge, on your left hand side. If you saw some colourful sticks lining up, follow the direction to reach.

Admission fee: 200yen
Opening Hours: 9AM-8PM (winter 6PM)

12. Tricyle Experience in Bamboo Path

Tricycle experience is also available for those who want to save some walking energy. We prefered walking so we didn’t ride on any.

We left Arashiyama using Keifuku Randen Tram Line. A fruitful half day trip. We skipped many nice attractions as we wanted to spare time for plum blossoms event at Kitano Tenmangu 北野天滿宮. Places like Jojakuko-ji Temple常寂光寺, 祇王寺gio-ji temple, Hogonin 寶嚴院, monkey park. The biggest regret was we didn’t realize there is one % Arabica Coffee Cafe in Arashiyama.

Our 4 hours itinerary in Arashiyama: Sagano Romantic Train 嵐山嵯峨野小火車 > Mikami Shrine御髮神社 > Arashiyama Bamboo Grove 嵐山竹林步道 >Tenryu-Ji Temple 天龍寺 >Nonomiya Shrine 野宮神社> Arashiyama Street 嵐山大街> 三忠豆腐 > Togetsukyo Bridge 渡月橋 > Onsen Footbath > Keifuku Arashiyama