Arashiyama, one of my favourite places in Japan. In fact, I have been there 2 times in a year but different season – Winter ふゆ and autumn あき.
Autumn is all about chasing autumn leaves, rushing from one place to another place and catch them before the leaves kissing good bye to the mother – the trees. This autumn trip, it was more or less the same as my previous trip in winter, I skipped some places of attraction, but also added some inside.
Read about the full itinerary: Japan Trip 2016: 10D9N Autumn in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara & Arima
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. Every season has its beautiful sight. It was rather empty during the winter time but autumn like this one was filled with green and red and yellow colours. We spent some times walking across the bridge and checking out the splendid view from the bridge.
2. Sip up a cup of smooth % Arabica Coffee
Located just a short distance away from Togetsukyo Bridge. % Arabica is now expanded to various part of the world such as Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuwait and etc. The atmosphere is bright and stylish, and the roasting is done in-house at the back of the shop. Not to mention, that smooth, creamy and fragrant cuppa to go along with the scenic view in front of the shop. 幸せ. I do believe the milk in Japan does an amazing trick to the coffee too.
3. Walk through the greenish bamboo groove
A very scenic pathway for a walk or bicycle ride. Fascinate over the macho and strong bamboo here.
4. Discover the legends in Nonomiya Shrine
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.
5. Savour the best vegetarian meal – tofu ryori
I was back to this restaurant again! Since there were 6 of us, we had a few more of their choices available. From starter to desserts, all are made of Tofu, the main element. We had their Pail Tofu Skin Dish (¥1,620), Kyoto-style Tofu Skin Starchy Dish (¥1,620), Soy Milk Obanzai Dish (¥ 1,980) and Saga Dish (¥ 1,980) that come with a variety of course such as shimmered dish, roasted dish, pail dish, bowl dish, rice and sweets. The sweets are the homemade Kuro-Hon-Warabi, a specialty of Arashiyama made by traditional method of kneading domestically-produced bracken-root starch in heated pot. Every course of them was very good. I loved my order of Soy Milk Obanzai. The star of this set was the banzai pot consisted of homemade tofu, homemade tofu skin, filhos and Kyoto vegetables, served with the hot piping soy milk and miso soup. A true tummy warmer after the long walk early in the morning.
Saga Tofu Ine Main Store
616-8384 19 Saga Tenryuji Tuskurimichi-machi,
opens daily from 11am to 6.30pm
Saga Tofu Ine North Branch
616-8384 46-2 Saga Tenryuji Tuskurimichi-machi,
opens daily from 11am to 6.30pm
6. Chasing the autumn leaves in Jojakko-Ji Temple 常寂光寺
The Nichiren Buddhism Temple established in 1596 by priest Nisshin. It is known as a great spot of Koyo (autumn leaves) and considered as one of the best in Kyoto. There is a very steep stairway leading you from Nio-mon to the main hall. There are maple trees and moss at the side of the paths and stairs that lead you to the temple grounds.
Opens daily from 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: ¥ 400
About 15 minutes’ walk from bamboo groove / Arashiyama Torokko Station
7. Ride on the Sagano Romantic Train
And enjoy the scenic view of Hozugawa Ravine that legs couldn’t reach. The one way journey takes about 25 mins. The whole journey was covered with orange, red, yellow and slight green. It was an amazing journey and definitely worth paying for. TIPS: purchase your ticket once you reach the airport at the Kansai Airport Information Centre or the JR Ticket Office. The tickets are sold out very fast during the peak season (spring and autumn). Do note that the train is not functioning during winter (January to February).
The Sagano Train has 5 coaches. There are 4 coaches covered with windows while the 5th coach is not. The 5th coach known as The Legendary Coach and it is always the most popular one. If you love to be seated at the open-air area for perfect breeze experience and photo taking (photo perfect because no blocking from the windows), you can choose to ride on Car No. 5. Bear in mind, sitting in coach no.5 is not a joke during winter time as it can be super cold as the train moves. No advance ticket can be made and you may only purchase the ticket for coach no.5 on the departure day itself.
We hopped on the train at the main station – Saga Torokko Station (near JR Saga- Arashiyama Station) and get off at Kameoka Torokko Station. Then we walked about 10 mins to JR Umahori Station and took the JR back to JR Kyoto Station.
In another way, you can actually take the train from Kameoka Torokko Station (10 mins walk from JR Umahori) to Saga Torokko Station or Arashiyama Torokko Station (which is towards Arashiyama).
8. Stroll along the Saga-Arashiyama Area Shopping Street
you may get some unique souvenirs here.
9. Slurp up ice cream at during the cold weather
And that ice cream is forever not gonna melt!
Of course, there are a lot other attractions over here such as Tenryuji Temple, Daikakuji Temple, Nisonin Temple and etc. When time is limited, choose wisely on where to visit 🙂