If I could redo my trip to Kyoto, I would have spent two days exploring Arashiyama instead of just one. It is a really gorgeous area with a surprising number of things to do! Here is my list of the top 5 things to do in Arashiyama!
1. Bamboo Grove
This was the main reason we came to Arashiyama. There is a beautiful bamboo grove you can walk through (along a path). To be honest, there were a ton of people and the path was a lot shorter than I thought it would be but it was still a cool site to see and made for some great pics. It’s pretty neat to look up and see bamboo everywhere.
2. Temple Visiting
Arashiyama has some gorgeous temples. Just by walking around a bit you will run into various temples to visit. Ried and I went to one with a really cool moss garden and walked past a ton of other ones. We stopped by one that became my absolute favorite though, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji. Here you find 1200 statues that represent the disciples of Buddha. They are really cute little statues and they are everywhere! It’s a really fun temple to visit!
3. Walk Around!
Something Ried and I couldn’t get over was how beautiful Arashiyama is. The streets are well kept, there are lots of gardens, and lots of more traditional looking Japanese houses. If you enjoy just strolling, it’s a great residential area with lots to look at! Grab a beverage from one of the many vending machines hanging around and take a slower pace to just enjoy being in Japan.
4. Take a River Boat
This is actually something Ried and I didn’t do, but totally wish we had! You are able to take a river cruise down the Hozugawa River. It looks like it can take a couple of hours, but I really wish we had made the time for it. This area is really scenic and it would have been nice to just sit back and float down the river!
5. See Snow Monkeys
When planning the trip, I figured since we were seeing snow monkeys at Jigokudani we wouldn’t need to see them again in Arashiyama. Well was I ever wrong! Ried and I kind of fell in love with the little guys as they are so fun to watch! We decided to hit up Iwatayama Monkey Park so we could see even more of the cute Japanese Macaques. This monkey park is a lot more commercialized then Jigokudani (you can buy food to feed the monkeys in a specific area, there is an employee who plays loud music and feeds the monkeys every so often so you can watch them play, etc.) so it definitely has a different feel. Jigokudani is much more relaxed and feels removed from civilization to some extent. Iwatayama was busy and lively. Both are really enjoyable and guarantee you lots of time to watch monkeys! It is a bit of a steep hike up to the park but it’s only 20 minutes. We worked up a sweat but once you get near the top you start to see monkeys and its pretty fun!
I hope you find this list useful and make the trip to Arashiyama when you head to Kyoto! It’s a beautiful area with lots to see!