KYOTO PART 1: ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO FOREST
I absolutely love exploring different parts of Japan. Discovering the diverse vibes, rhythm, food, people, scenery. Every city/area is different. Like a box of chocolates, you can’t help but want to take a bite of them all. This time, we happily indulged in a little slice of Kyoto. Since we were staying in Osaka, our plan was to take a half hour train ride and enjoy a day trip to Japan’s beautiful and serene Imperial Capital.
There is a sense of tranquility and peace when walking around Kyoto. You immediately feel a stark difference to Tokyo’s buzzing, non-stop futuristic vibe. After all, it is home to 2,000 temples, shrines, zen gardens and picturesque views. The chances of you spotting a beautiful (legit) Geisha strolling around is pretty big. This was Elizabeth’s first visit, my second and Patricia’s third visit. Since we only had one day of exploring, we decided to first tick off one of the most popular sites in Kyoto off our list – Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. During my previous visit here for work, the opportunity to explore this iconic grove passed me by. There was no way I was going to let that happen again.
We got off the Saga Arashiyama Station, JR Sagano Line and walked 10 minutes to the main street of Arashiyama and into the entrance of the forest. As we walked towards the entrance, we passed the Tenryu-ji Temple, which we chose to pass since we were short on time! If you do have time, give it a go. Walking through the sprawling grove took our breaths away. The pictures don’t do it justice. It was a lovely sunny day, rays of light were coming in through the tall bamboo stems, a light breeze softly swaying them back and forth. And when you looked up, it was another serene sight all together. For centuries, the bamboo has been used to produce various products, such as baskets, boxes, cups, and mats at local workshops. Beautiful and practical!
All in all, a MUST visit when in Kyoto. It was absolutely stunning.
- Try visiting as early as possible. If you want to avoid the crowd entirely, after sunrise at 6 am we hear is a good time. It was around 12:30 pm when we visited and yes, it was swarming with tourists!
- As the forest is quite narrow, make sure to bring a wide angle lens for taking the best pictures. I know that if I had brought my fixed lens on this trip, it would have been ridiculously difficult to capture the depth and span of the forest.
- There are many street shops/cafes that sell matcha ice-cream. This is one of Kyoto’s specialty and btw is compulsory to try (I’m obsessed with matcha). Enjoy one after coming out of the forest and not right before you enter it (like we did). That way you won’t be distracted by the melting ice cream running down your hands or where to throw away the tissues and rubbish (no trash bins to be found inside) when walking through the forest + afterwards you can enjoy it in peace!
English address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku
Japanese address: 右京区嵐山
Opening hours: 24hrs
Free of Charge