Sitting on Kyoto’s western outskirts, Arashiyama has been enchanting visitors since the Heian Period in 794. With its picturesque woodland setting, stunning landmarks and vivid cherry blossom trees, it’s a wonderful place to experience the tranquillity of the Japanese countryside. For most visitors, wandering through the towering bamboo groves is an Arashiyama rite of passage.
A stroll across the iconic Togetsukyo “Moon Crossing” Bridge is a fantastic way to admire Arashiyama, with a myriad of shops, restaurants and teahouses lining the river. For an alternate perspective, hiring a pleasure boat and paddling around the serene Hozu River is a one-way ticket to relaxation. Venture further afield, and northern Arashiyama gives way to wooded mountains dotted with ancient temples like Adashino Nenbutsuji. This area is known as Sagano, with lots of visitors choosing to hire a bicycle and peddle their way through its rural villages, fields and temples.
From Kyoto, the fastest way to access Arashiyama is via the JR Sagano Line. The journey takes 15-minutes and avoids the traffic that is often encountered when travelling by bus or taxi. From Saga-Arashiyama Station, the village centre is a short 5-minute walk.
With its scenic and cultural allure, Arashiyama has been attracting holidaymakers for centuries. Today, it’s a nationally designated Historic Site and official Place of Scenic Beauty. It also plays a keynote role in Kyoto’s world famous sake and miso industries, with the sacred Matsunoo-taisha shrine coveted by local companies for its sacred spring waters. Manufacturers believe that the spring’s alleged restorative properties bless each and every product.