On the western side of Kyoto, 30 minutes from the main city, is the district of Arashiyama, which translated to English is “Storm Mountain”. The area is a nationally designated Historic Site and Monument and has been a popular tourist attraction since around the year 800, where nobles would travel to Arashiyama to enjoy the natural beauty that the area exudes. These days, Arashiyama is well known for its bamboo forest, its monkey park and the various facilities in the area, of which we’ll discuss in this article.

Traversing the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a sight to behold. While at the entrance near Tenryu-ji Temple the bamboo isn’t very special, as you travel further down the walking path, you’re engulfed by the bamboo on both sides, creating a naturally made bamboo blockage from the sun.

The best time to visit is in the early morning just as the sun comes up, not only will you get the forest to yourself, but the photos of the early morning sun peaking through the bamboo shoots are magical.

You can access the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest via the main street in Arashiyama. If you’re coming from central Kyoto, you can take the Sagano Line from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station and walk the ten minutes up the main street to the forest, you shouldn’t miss it!

Spot information

  • Spot name: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
  • Street address: Tabuchimacho, Sagaogurayama, Ukyo-ky, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu 616-8394
  • Access: A 15-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station

Watch the Snow Monkeys in Arashiyama Monkey Park

As featured on the popular Japanese anime, “K-ON!”, the Arashiyama Monkey Park, also known as the “Iwatayama Monkey Park” is a must visit place in Kyoto to monkey around in. The park boosts a troop of over 170 adorable Japanese macaque monkeys, also known as “snow monkeys” which, while wild, can be hand fed with food bought at the store inside the park.

You should be careful though, the monkeys will surround you and you won’t be able to decide which one to feed as they’re all so cute. The trek to the Monkey Park is up a steep hill with stunning views overlooking Kyoto.

To get there, you must do either a 5-minute walk from Hankyu Arashiyama Station or a 15-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station on the JR line. The entrance fee to the park is 550 yen for adults and 250 yen for children. Operating Hours are from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in winter and at 5:00 pm in summer.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
  • Street address: 16 Nakao Shimomachi, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 616-0004
  • Access: A 15-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station

Stay in Luxury at Arashiyama Benkei

The best hotel to stay at in Arashiyama is the Arashiyama Benkei, situated on the banks of the Oi River. The Hotel offers up different plans depending on what you want from the hotel, these include meal plans, with food being brought to your room at breakfast and dinner, and plans including use of the on-site onsen.

You can also access the onsen for 150 yen per use outside of the plan if you’re a guest of the hotel. Being right in the heart of Arashiyama, the Arashiyama Benkei is the perfect place to stay.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Arashiyama Benkei Hotel
  • Street address: 34 Sagatenryuji Susukinobaba-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8385
  • Access: A 15-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station or a 5-minute walk from Hankyu Arashiyama Station

Discover Arashiyama Ryokan

There are plenty of Arashiyama ryokan in the heart of the city to stay at. For the more extravagant, you can stay at Togetsu-tei which offer Japanese style rooms and have an on-site public bath for guests.

For the more budget traveler option to Arashiyama, you can stay at the Oyama Guesthouse Kyoto, which offer reasonably priced rooms with various amenities available to rent. There are places for every traveler to stay at in Arashiyama.

Dip Yourself in an Arashiyama Onsen

Being a mountainous region, there are a bunch of Arashiyama onsen around to dip your toes into after a long day of walking around the Monkey Park or Bamboo Forest. Hanaikada offers up views of Togetsukyo Bridge, the Oi River, and Mount Atago from its onsen, for a steep price, but offers packages with rooms and traditional dining experiences.

Tenzan-no-yu, while not offering views, offers Kyoto’s first “sodium and calcium chloride spring”. The price is a lot more affordable but is a bit further away from central Arashiyama.

Which Arashiyama Station do I use?

If you’re planning to traveling to Arashiyama, you need to know which Arashiyama Station to get off at. If you’re coming into the district from Kyoto Station on the JR lines, then your best bet is to take the San-In Line into Arashiyama via the Saga-Arashiyama Station. From there you can either take the trolley one stop to Arashiyama Station or walk to your destination.

If you’d like to limit the amount of walking when you get into Arashiyama, then the Hankyu Line is the way to go. From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Kyoto Metro Line to Shijo Station, transfer to Karasuma Station on the Hankyu Kyoto line, get off Katsura Station and transfer within the station to the Hankyu Arashiyama Line and take it all the way to your destination.

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