An early morning stroll is a sure way to start a new day fresh and relaxed. The reason I travel is to detach myself from stresses of daily life. I like to meditate and just focus on my environment, feel the spirit of nature and just let go of conflicting thoughts raging in my mind.
At eight in the morning, there were few people walking at the bamboo grove. Indeed, the combination of the sprawling rows of bamboo and gentle breeze of the wind gives one a true sense of tranquillity.
Aside from the bamboo grove, there are many sights to see and things to do in Arashiyama. Here are some of the highlights of my visit.
1.) Otagi Nenbutsu-ji
A hidden gem at Kyoto, see the whimsical 1200 stone statues of rakan, the devoted disciples of Buddhism, wherein each statue display a different facial expression. Check out a bit of its history at my previous post.
Directions: Take “Kyoto Bus” # 64, 74, 84 and 94 bound for “Kiyotaki” and get off at “Otagidera-mae”.
Stops are located at Hankyu Arashiyama Station, Kyoto Sanjo Sta., JR Kyoto Sta. and from a bus stop called “No no Miya” near Saga-Arashiyama Station’s south exit.
2.) Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple & Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street
After visiting Otagi, I walked down to Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street to look for my next temple. It took me approximately 10 minutes to reach Adashino Nenbutsuji by walking. Traditional houses dating back to Meiji Period line up the preserved street of Saga-Toriimoto.
Adashino Nenbutsuji is located at the end of the Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street. There are hundreds of Buddhist statues found in the temple where it is said that the souls of the dead are housed in these stone statues. There is also a bamboo grove found at the temple, a beautiful path where you can also enjoy the sights of swaying bamboo stalks without the crowds.
On way back, I got too carried away with walking that I fail to realize that I was heading the wrong direction.
Directions: As you exit Otagi Nenbutsuji, walk down the path leading towards Saga-Toriimoto. You will see the street shortly and will get to Adashino Nenbutsuji in 10 minutes.
3.)A picnic near the banks of Katsura river
Enjoy a view of Togetsukyō bridge and a delicious meal at the same time. Back in the centre, I bought dangos and just sat down near the bank of the river. It was quite enjoyable to eat dango while also admiring the sakura blossoms.
Note: Please throw your trash in the proper bin. It was quite disappointing to see some trash being left behind.
Directions: There is an easy access to the bridge from each of the train station. I reckon there were signs that point to the direction of the bridge.
4.) Kimono Forest
Aside from the bamboo groves, there is another forest one should not miss in Arashiyama. It is located in Randen tram station on Kyoto’s Keifuku Arashiyama line. The “forest” consists of cylindrical pillars wherein each features bright, colourful kimono pattern. You will find hundreds of them installed all over the station grounds.
The Kimono Forest is a perfect way to end the day in Arashiyama. In the daylight, you can see the details of the kimono patterns as you walk along the beautiful lane while it is illuminated in golden lights during evenings. It actually looks like a romantic spot at night.
How to get to Arashiyama:
Bus: Kyoto City bus #28 or Kyoto Bus #71, #72, #73
Train: Get on JR Sagano Line and travel to Saga Arashiyama Station.
You can also take Kyoto City Bus #11 at Shijo Kawaramachi) or take the Keifuku Arashiyama Line from Shijo Omiya Station