In April 2017, I had a chance to visit Arashiyama (嵐山), Kyoto for the first time. I lived in Japan when I was young, but never had a chance to visit Arashiyama before. I loved the atmosphere in Arashiyama. It felt like a clean country side rather than the suburb of the busy metropolis. Although there are many tourists, you can feel the fresh air, and slower pace of life. Arashiyama has an easy access by JR Sagano line in the west side of Kyoto.
JR Saga-Arashiyama station was a cute little station with updated facilities. There were only 2 platforms, and you feel like you have reached a far-away country side compared to the hustle and bustle of Kyoto station. There was an information stand with an attendant from Taiwan who spoke Japanese, English and Chinese with native fluency. I spoke to her in both Japanese and English and I was very impressed.
The famed bamboo Grove was gorgeous to have a stroll and take beautiful pictures. The day we visited was a misty and rainy day, and it added more serene atmosphere to the whole visit. The road and the bamboo looked shiny, and I didn’t t mind little humidity at all.
After the visit to the bamboo grove, we went south on the main street of Arashiyama, and saw “Kimono forest” in Randen Arashiyama station. The station was small, and you might miss it while walking on the street. The entrance almost looked like another little souvenir/gift shop area if I wasn’t particularly looking for it. This attraction isn’t well known, and it’s tucked away in the street car station itself, but it is well worth the visit and gorgeous picture taking. My family was glad that I looked up the attraction ahead of time. This is a hidden gem that is not well known to other tourists. You should definitely visit this small attraction while in Arashiyama.
Short walk from Randen Arashiyama station was Tsurugaoka Bridge area with a wide river with the background of deep green mountains. The area is famous for cherry blossom viewing (hanami), but we visited too late in the season for that. Still, the mountains with the veil of misty cloud look majestic and mysterious.
I had very limited time to spend in Kyoto, and I was so glad that I picked Arshiyama to visit. A little misty rain did not dampen the beauty of the area. If you are going to Kyoto, I recommend visiting Arashiyama first thing in the morning before it gets crowded to take in the fresh air and to capture the beautiful and unspoiled scenery.