Things to do in Arashiyama (Winter)

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Arashiyama is located in the western outskirts of Kyoto. It is a touristy district and a popular area to be there during the cherry blossom and fall foliage season. During our visit in winter, we spent roughly half day here and took our time to explore a few attraction.

Read about the full itinerary: Japan Trip 2016: 5D4N Winter in Kyoto & Osaka

1. Mesmerize the beauty of Togetsukyo Bridge
Also known as “Moon Crossing Bridge”, is Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark. It was originally built during the Heian Period (794-1185) and most recently reconstructed in the 1930s. do spend some times to walk across the bridge and spend a few minutes viewing the bridge.

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2. Zen-ing in Tenryuji Temple
Another UNESCO World Heritage Sites; also ranked among Kyoto’s five great Zen temples, the largest and most impressive temple in Arashiyama.

Tenryuji was built in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji. Takauji dedicated the temple to Emperor Go-Daigo, who had just passed away. The two important historic figures used to be allies until Takauji turned against the emperor in a struggle for supremacy over Japan. By building the temple, Takauji intended to appease the former emperor’s spirits.

Do read more about it here.

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Tenryuji Temple
Opens daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm (varies according to season)
Entrance fee: ¥500

Getting there:
About 5 to 10 minutes’ walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station.

3. Walk through the greenish bamboo groove
A very scenic pathway for a walk or bicycle ride. If you wish to learn more about here, you can hire the rickhaw guided service offered by the macho man.

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4. Discover the legends in Nonomiya Shrine
Within this bamboo forest is this small shrine which was formerly known as a temporary sanctuary for princesses. It is a popular shrine amongst women where a visit to this temple will help the single ladies in matchmaking process, and safe delivery for mother-to-be. So you know what I did here right?

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5. Savour the best vegetarian meal – tofu ryori
Established since 1984, specialising in tofu cuisine. Really can’t believe a simple ingredient, tofu can make up such an amazing cuisine; from the starter till the desserts, the main element is Tofu. Must try Kyo-Ine when you are in Arashiyama. We had their Pail Tofu Skin Dish (¥1,620) and Kyoto-style Tofu Skin Starchy Dish (¥1,620) that come with a variety of course such as shimmered dish, roasted dish, pail dish, bowl dish, rice and sweets. Every course of them was very good.

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Saga Tofu Ine Main Store
616-8384 19 Saga Tenryuji Tuskurimichi-machi,
Ukyo-ward, Kyoto-city
opens daily from 11am to 6.30pm

Saga Tofu Ine North Branch
616-8384 46-2 Saga Tenryuji Tuskurimichi-machi,
Ukyo-ward, Kyoto-city
opens daily from 11am to 6.30pm

6. Shop along the Saga-Arashiyama Area Shopping Street
There is so much to see and try along this street. There are a lot of souvenirs shops selling local delicacies and crafts made of bamboo. You may shop your souvenirs here.

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3 thoughts on “Things to do in Arashiyama (Winter)”

  • Hello, Ivyaiwei. Thank you for your write-ups on your Japan trip.
    My family and I (3 adults) and my mum are planning a trip to Japan in December and, of course, Kyoto is included in our itinerary. We are interested to visit the Bamboo Grove at Arashiyama. My mum has some hip and knee problems i.e. walking too long a distance can be problematic. Photos of the Bamboo Grove (pathway and all) showed some sort of incline with steps but your write-up said that it was a scenic pathway for a walk or bicycle ride. My concerns are (1) is the pathway built with steps? (2) is the incline of the pathway steep? (3) I presume one can walk SLOWLY along the pathway but what sort of distance are we talking about – 2km? 5km? or more? Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    • Dear Francesca,

      The pathway is like flat stone/ tar walkway, with some incline steps (but not very steep). also there are some stairscases when entering the shrines.
      You can walk slowly along the pathway, the distance from one end to another is not very long. Maybe about 1km in total (i am not too sure with the precise journey in KM, so sorry about that). Hope this helps!

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