It was a lovely day in Arashiyama so we decided to start the day early and take a look around the place. We started around 8 am and finished at about 5pm. This is the walking route we took.
(A) Hotel Binario Arashiyama
We stayed at Hotel Binario in Arashiyama. It was very handy since it was right next to Saga-Arashiyama Station. I would give this hotel a 6/10. It was clean and basic but nothing too special. But we did like their full Japanese breakfast.
(B) Nonomiya Shrine
Ninomiya Shrine was our first stop. This was a relatively small shrine and was free to enter. This shrine is well known for the god of wisdom and health. Many women visit this shrine for its benefits (marriage etc.) and students when studying for exams. Worth a visit as you walk through the bamboo forest.
(C) Bamboo Forest
This walk through the Bamboo forest is the most famous activity for Arashiyama. Luckily we woke up early and there wasn’t many people about.
(D) Okochi Sanso Garden
At the end of the Bamboo Forest walk there is Okochi Sanso Garden. It cost 1000 yen to enter the garden which is a little pricey but we thought it was worth it. We also got some matcha green tea and Japanese sweets at their tea house which was included in the entrance fee. Here you can enjoy traditional Japanese residential architecture and gardens.
(E) Kameyama Park We walked through this park to get to Hozu River. I can’t remember much about the park but the walk by the river was nice. Apparently if you are lucky you get to see wild monkeys in the park.
(F) Yoshimura Soba Noodle House
It was a pretty warm day so it was nice to have some cold soba noodles for lunch. We went to Yoshimura Soba Noodle House. It was an open style restaurant with a view of the beautiful gardens.
(G) Tenryuji Temple – World Heritage Site After lunch we headed over into the main town area of Arashiyama. We decided to visit Tenryuji Temple. This temple was established in 1339 and is known to be one of the first Zen temples in Japan. Just like most hertiage sites in Japan, the Tenryuji buildings were repeatedly lost in fires and wars but the garden remained in its original form for centuries. We highly enjoyed this place as there was lots of see. We even got to relax on the deck facing the gardens and on the tatami floors.
(H) eX Cafe
Our last stop was eX Cafe for some afternoon tea. If you want to experience some Japanese sweets and matcha green tea with a nice view of the gardens, this is the place to go. We ordered some charcoal bamboo cakes, dango (rice flour balls) and matcha green tea. The atmosphere is fantastic and if you are lucky you might get a private room.
This was a good one day walk around Arashiyama. At the end we went back to Saga-Arashiyama Station and headed back to Kyoto Station.