Ancient temples and shrines, sublime cuisine, manicured gardens, colourful geishas and living history in spades – Kyoto is traditional Japan at its best.
Travel bucket list idea:
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Kyoto, Kansai, Japan|
Walking through the towering bamboo grove of Arashiyama (aka Sagano Bamboo Forest) can be an almost meditative experience. The emerald canopy beautifully filters shafts of light. Leaves rustle and stalks creak. Even when selfie sticks are swaying in tandem with the bamboo, it’s otherworldly.
With the grove’s walkway being just 500 metres long, it’s also brief. To get more from the trip, stop by Tenryu-ji Temple for its gorgeous, landscaped garden and then check out the opulent Okochi Sanso Villa. Built by a silent movie star, it features traditional architecture, garden teahouses and sweeping views over the city.
Before leaving, check out the Kimono Forest art installation at Randen Arashiyama Station – it mimics the bamboo grove with hundreds of kimono fabric-filled tubes that look especially good when lit up at night.
Getting there & doing it
To get there from Kyoto Station, take a 20-minute trip on the JR Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station, from where it’s a 10-minute walk or short hop on a bus to the grove. It’s easy on foot, but rental bikes are another option for getting around.
Arashiyama is one of Kyoto’s main sightseeing areas, and although the bamboo grove itself doesn’t take more than an hour, give yourself at least half a day to explore Arashiyama.
When to do it
The grove is open 24 hours, seven days a week, but like many of Kyoto’s most famous attractions it can heave with tourists. Get there by around 9am and you’ll avoid the worst of the crowds.
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