Sunday, February 24, 2019

Japan Travel: Kyoto: Arashiyama

N years ago, I visited Arashiyama (嵐山) at Kyoto (Japan) with my friend during cherry blossom season. N years later, I visited Arashiyama again, with my family this time.

We visited Fushimi Inari Shrine in the morning, and were distracted by the food street (read our experience in this post). It was already 2+ p.m. when we reached Arashiyama, so we had to abandoned our initial plan of taking Sagano Romantic Train.

After alighting at Saga-Arashiyama Station by Japan Rail, our first stop was the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Since it is a popular attraction, you can expect a huge crowd!

In mid-December, one of the highlights of visiting Arashiyama is to see Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro (嵐山花灯路), the area is lighted up in the evening.

If you wish to enjoy the bamboo grove with fewer people, then walk towards Nonomiya Shrine (野宮神社) in which people pray for good marriage, as well as smooth pregnancy and delivery. After the shrine, cross the railway track, and you will find the other part of bamboo grove. Do look out the rickshaws as you are walking along that stretch of road.

We were quite hungry after the walk in the bamboo grove. So we walked back to the main street, where we found small eateries selling dango, tofu and soy soft-serve.

Walking along the main street, we saw Rilakkuma Sabo りらっくま茶房 and bought a cup of hot honey lemon from the take-out counter. We actually took a queue number to go up to the cafe at the second level, however, we realised that each person must order one item. Since we were not that hungry, we left after taking some photos.

Another photo spot is Kimono Forest located outside the Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Electric Railroad) Station.

The sky was turning dark early in winter by 4+ p.m., so we didn't visit Tenryuji (天龍寺), a famous temple in the district. We quickly walked towards a popular cafe called Arabica, but the queue was super long! We had to give this a miss too!

It was 5 p.m. when we were near Togetsu-kyo (渡月橋). And at 5 p.m. sharp, the bridge was lighted up!

There were people stationed at the ends of the bridge to control the crowd who came to see Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro.

We walked across Arashiyama Park Nakanoshima Area towards Arashiyama Station (Hankyu Railway), and took train back to Osaka.

As we saw Osaka Hikari Renaissance Illumination on the day before, to be honest, Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro was not as impressive to us. 

So you may notice that I mentioned Arashiyama Station more than once! Yes, there are 4 stations under different railway operators - Japan Rail, Sagano Romantic Train (Toroko), Keifuku Electric Railroad, and Hankyu Railway.

Useful Information for Arashiyama Day Trip

Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro

Sagano Romantic Train

Tips for taking Sagano Romantic Train:

  • You may consider taking Japan Rail and alight at Umahori Station, then walk a few minutes to Torokko Kameoka Station to take Sagano Romantic Train to either Torokko Arashiyama Station or Torokko Saga Station, then explore the area that we shared in the post. 
  • Alternatively, you can take Sagano Romantic Train from Torokko Saga Station to Torokko Kameoka Station, then take a boat ride back, but the boat ride takes 2 hours.
  • During cherry blossom or autumn foliage seasons, please remember to get your ticket in advance!

Our Japan Travelogue (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara) December 2018

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