Posted by: soniahs | September 4, 2012

Arashiyama: a river and bamboo

On our last full day in Kyoto, we visited the Arashiyama area, which is right up against the hills on the west side of the city. It’s a very scenic area, with many historic sights and temples. We certainly didn’t visit everything- or even a majority of the interesting sights.

After taking the train to the Arashiyama station, we ate some breakfast pastries that we’d brought with us from the shop at Kyoto Station. Then we headed down to the Katsura River, and the famous Togetsukyō Bridge.

The famous Togetsukyo. (Photo: Y. Fernandez)

It’s a popular area for weddings, and we actually saw the bridge in car commercials featuring Arashiyama sights when we had a TV in our Niigata hotel room…but more on that later. The bridge is near the confluence of the Hozu & Ōi Rivers, which are both quite scenic as they cut through the hills. We walked along the river to Kameyama Park, and stopped for a bit to listen to a woman practicing the flute near the riverside.

The Hozu River. The Sagano Romantic Train runs through the gorge.

At the top of Kameyama Park, there’s an overlook with nice views of the Hozu; one can take boat trips up the river or travel on the Sagano Romantic Train. We did neither, but amused ourselves by speculating whether we’d regret not optimizing the amount of romance on our vacation.

At the top of the hill, we saw our first Japanese giant hornet! And gave it a wide berth.

They can get up to nearly 2″ long! (Photo:

One of the main sights in Arashiyama is the famous old bamboo grove.

Tall, tall bamboo. (Photo: Y. Fernandez)

Really beautiful, but cars are apparently allowed to drive on the path through it. So taxis would occasionally come through, stop at the end and disgorge passengers, and then the drivers would take a picture of the passengers. Some of the taxis had schoolkids, so it was a bit of a cop-out: taking a taxi to the required field-trip sights instead of walking. I guess this gives kids more time to shop for ice cream and Hello Kitty merchandise before catching the train back to town.

We wondered how this painter felt about the crowd of kids taking photos as he was trying to paint. (Photo: Y. Fernandez)

Our time in Arashiyama was just beginning. Next time: landscaping with moss!


  1. […] visiting the Arashiyama bamboo grove, we headed north on a scenic walk, visiting two temples along the way: Jojakko-ji (on a hill with […]

  2. […] good at ID’ing insects, but we saw a lot of flying critters in riparian areas (including the giant hornet!). I have no idea what this one is (thankfully, it was not flying): Seen near a stream in […]


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