Kyoto Guide: Sightseeing × Vegan Food | Arashiyama Area

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

This guide is about the Arashiyama Area in the West of Kyoto, near the mountains. As the sightseeing spots and cafés/restaurants there are pretty close to each other, it is possible to visit many of these places in a one-day trip! The area is especially beautiful in autumn as the forests on the mountains look absolutely stunning. In spring there are cherry blossoms, but even in summer I recommend checking out Arashiyama as it is lovely there. There are also some great vegan food options, including traditional food.



How to get to Arashiyama

Train Stations: JR Saga Arashiyama (San-in Line), Arashiyama Randen

Bus: Kyoto City Bus no. 28

Kyoto Bus 72, 73, 76, 77, 83, 86



Sightseeing


Tenryu-ji Temple


Tenryu-ji is a Rinzai sect zen buddhist temple in Arashiyama, in the west of Kyoto. It was established in 1339 by the shogun Ashikaga Takauji (1305-1358) with the Zen master Muso Soseki (1275-1351) as founding abbot. Soseki was also a famous garden designer and constructed Tenryu-ji's garden, which is still in its original form.Furthermore, Tenryu-ji was built to ease then spirit of the former Emperor Go-Daigo (1288-1339).


The temple got destructed by eight major fires. After reconstructions Tenryu-ji got a form close to how it is now after 1934.


Check out this blogpost for more detailed information:

https://www.summernightdream.com/post/temple-food-at-tenryuji-eng




Opening Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (entry until 16:50) No closing days

Admission: 500 yen (an extra 300 yen for entrance into the temple buildings)

Address: Japan, 〒616-8385 Kyoto, Ukyo Ward, Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, 68

Map

Official Website: http://www.tenryuji.com/en/



Bamboo Forest Grove


You can get there by foot within only 10 min from Saga Arashiyama Station. Tenryu-ji Temple and Kameyama Park are very close-by as well.


This is one of Kyotos most famous places and a must-visit in my opinion! Entering the magical bamboo forest almost feels like being teleported in another world. It’s also a good place to escape the summer heat.




Admission: none

Opening Times: daily, 24h



Togetsu-kyo (Rising Moon Bridge)


Togetsu-Kyo is a 155m long bridge over the beautiful Katsura River and was first built in 836. However, the current bridge was finished in 1934. From it you have a stunning view over the beautiful river, therefore it is a popular photo spot even for Japanese tourists. And it has been used for shooting historical movies!



The name "Togetsu" (Rising Moon Bridge) comes from a tale about the emperor Kameyama during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Whilst on a boat party during full moon, he thought that the moon looked like it was crossing the bridge.


You can find many souvenir shops, character shops and food stalls near it. If you cross the bridge, you can check out the Iwatayam Monkey Park (see information down below). And if you can’t get enough from the magical river atmosphere, I recommend taking a boat ride!




Admission: -

Opening Hours: 24h



Yakata-Bune Boat Ride on Hozu River


I absolutely loved this magical boat tour on Hozu river! I did it in summer, but the staff recommended autumn season as the forest on the surrounding mountains tinted into stunning autumn colors is a must-see! The forest includes cherry trees as well, so spring would be wonderful, too. But even in summer it was sooo beautiful! I enjoyed the mild breeze while listening to the staff teaching interesting historical facts as well as information about the area. Surrounded by nature, it was really relaxing.



And my personal highlight: there is a ship selling foods and drinks, kind of like a kiosk! It will get close to your ship and ask of you need anything. How cool is that?! They have different snacks like crisps and even freshly grilled dango.



All in all the tour takes about 1h which in my opinion went by really fast. As it is not too long, it is easy to incorporate it into ones sightseeing schedule. It was such an amazing and relaxing experience, perfect after spending the whole day sightseeing!


Reservation via call is recommended (Tel.: (075)861-0302)




Duration: about 1h

Prices: 1-2 people 3700 yen (total), every extra person costs an additional 1200¥. Children are 600¥.

Map

Website: https://arashiyama-yakatabune.com/home/contents

Tel.: (075)861-0302



Iwatayama Monkey Park


One of my personal favourites in Arashiyama! Iwatayama Monkey Park is located near Togetsu-kyo, a short hike up on Iwatayama mountain. It is home to Japanese macaque monkeys who walk around at the top completely freely! Some even sleep right next to you on the ground which I found adorable.



It is possible to buy snacks for them. However, I recommend not to take your own food to the park as they might steal it. Also, even though they are used to humans and seemed very friendly to me, they are still wild animals. Therefore there are some rules that must be followed:

  • Don’t stare the monkeys in the eye nor touch them.

  • Don’t feed them outdoors.

  • Don’t take close-up pictures of the monkeys - stay at least two meters away.

  • Don’t crouch while taking pictures.

All in all, I think it's an awesome experience to get so close to the monkeys and there seem to be taken care of very well. There are caretakers who look after the monkeys and provide food, so I believe that they have a good life there. Especially as they are not kept in cages but rather can go to wherever they want.


Opening Hours: summer 9:00-16:30, winter 9:00-16:00

Admission: 550¥

Address: Japan, 〒616-0004 Kyoto, Nishikyo Ward, Arashiyama Nakaoshitacho, 61

Map



Kameyama Park


A lovely park easily accessible from the bamboo forest or Katsura river.

It's not visited by tourists as much as other parts of Arashiyama but totally worth a stroll, especially during spring and autumn. I also recommend it as a resting spot when you're powered out from sightseeing.

Apparently in autumn it is possible to sometimes see monkeys who came down from the mountains. How awesome is that?!



Address: Japan, 〒616-8386 Kyoto, Ukyo Ward, Sagakamenoocho, 6

Map https://goo.gl/maps/P6tYep2BvySroMEq5



Sagano Scenic Railway

photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torokko_Arashiyama_Station

Also called Sagano Torokko. This old fashioned train is particularly popular in autumn, as it is possible to see the gorgeous autumn colors of the huge forest along the route. Sagano Scenic Railway is a sightseeing train line which runs along the Hozugawa River between Arashiyama and Kameoka. As it runs in slower pace, it is possible to enjoy the stunning view throughly. The tour takes around 25min.


In order to get back to Arashiyama, you can either take the same train back, catch a JR train from Umahori Station, or get on a river cruise.


! Trains do not operate in winter from December 31 to the end of February.


Reservation required! Reservate online here:

https://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/en/josyaken.php



Fee (regular, one-way): adults: 630¥, children 320¥ (children under 6 are free)