Arashiyama Itinerary: The Perfect Arashiyama Day Trip

Arashiyama Itinerary: The Perfect Arashiyama Day Trip

Arashiyama is a beautiful town neatly tucked away on the western outskirts of Kyoto. This scenic little town boasts ancient temples, sublime gardens and peaceful river rides. Follow my compact Arashiyama itinerary to find the best things to do in Arashiyama. Throughout this guide, you’ll also get handy tips to help you plan the perfect Arashiyama day trip.

Any trip to Japan would not be complete without visiting the beautiful mountain town of Arashiyama. Found on the western outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama is home to some of Japan’s most iconic sights – from the famed Bamboo Grove to one of the top 5 temples in all of Kyoto. With spectacular views and gorgeous gardens, it’s easy to see why this area is a National Heritage Site and renowned as a Place of Scenic Beauty.

Arashiyama is an excellent add-on to your day trips from Kyoto list, as well as any Japan itinerary. Whether you’re only spending a few days in the western region or planning a 2 week Japan itinerary, visiting Arashiyama on a day trip is highly encouraged.

Arashiyama is a beautiful town with plenty to keep you busy on a 1 day Arashiyama itinerary.
Exploring the nooks and crannies is a highlight on any Arashiyama itinerary.

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1 Day Arashiyama Itinerary – Quick Overview

Before we dive right into what to do in Arashiyama, here’s a quick look at what’s covered in this Arashiyama itinerary:

  • Cross Togetsukyo Bridge 
  • Take a boat ride on the Hozu River
  • Wander through the Bamboo Grove
  • Explore the largest temple, Tenryuji

In a rush? Pin these Arashiyama itinerary for later.

Arashiyama, Japan // Find the best things to do in this compact Arashiyama itinerary for 1 day. From exploring ancient temples and taking a romantic boat ride to strolling through the iconic Arashiyama bamboo grove and more!  #arashiyama #arashiyamadaytrip #kyotodaytrip #Japan

Arashiyama Itinerary: Best Things to do in Arashiyama

There’s so much to do in Japan’s Kansai region – from wandering the streets of Kyoto and visiting Osaka’s top attractions. Beyond the bustling cities, however, there’s plenty to keep you busy too. Arashiyama is one of Japan’s most revered tourist attractions and a huge must on a Japan trip. 

In this guide, I’ll cover the best things to do on a Arashiyama day trip. You’ll have a chance to see all of Arashiyama’s best bits in as little as 1 day! Wander through the famous Bamboo Grove, explore the gorgeous temples or perhaps even take a relaxing boat ride!  Whatever you choose to do, there’s plenty to do on a 1 day Arashiyama itinerary.

If it’s your first visit to Japan, make sure to also read these Japan travel tips and this guide on the best places to visit in Japan during fall.

Ready to dive into Arashiyama’s top attractions on a 1 day in Arashiyama itinerary? Let’s go! 

Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo Bridge is a must on any Arashiyama itinerary.

The Togetsukyo Bridge was initially built during the Heian Period (794-1185) and is one of the town’s most famous landmarks. It is a symbol of blessing to young Japanese children, and more interestingly, the river changes names on either side of the bridge. On the west of the bridge, the river is called the Hozu River, while it’s called the Katsura River on the east.east.

Apart from taking a gentle stroll over the bridge, it’s also the perfect place to take some photos of the river and mountains as a backdrop. The bridge is only 155m long, so it’s easily walked in a few minutes.

Pro Tip

If you are traveling to Arashiyama by bus, the closest stop to the Togetsukyo Bridge is the Arashiyama Park bus stop.
Arashiyama, Japan // Find the best things to do in this compact Arashiyama itinerary for 1 day. From exploring ancient temples and taking a romantic boat ride to strolling through the iconic Arashiyama bamboo grove and more!  #arashiyama #arashiyamadaytrip #kyotodaytrip #Japan

Hozu River

Any day trip to Arashiyama wouldn’t be complete without exploring the gorgeous natural scenery. And, one of the best ways to do this is by boat. Luckily, there are a few options to choose from, especially if you are visiting Japan on a shoestring.

The first option is to rent a small boat or kayak and paddle along the main Hozugawa river area by yourself. Some local boats provide short boat rides along the river too. Simply go to one of the many stalls that line the river to organise the above.

But, if you want to get a real feel of what the Hozu river has to offer, take a short train trip to the neighboring city of Kameoka. From here you can board a Hozugawa Kudari boat ride. It’s one of the most famous river routes in Japan and dates back to 400 years. For more details on Hozugawa River Cruises, visit their website, here.

Taking a boat cruise on the Hozu river is a popular activity in the area.
Relaxing boat rides on Hozu river is a must on any Arashiyama itinerary.

Pro Tip

This ride between Kameoka and Arashiyama takes about 2 hours, so if you are on a tight schedule, be sure to keep this in mind.

Also read: What to do on a Nara One Day Itinerary

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Arashiyama's most famous tourist attraction is the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

Arashiyama’s most iconic attraction is undoubtedly the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. The walking path cuts through swaying bamboo forests and offers countless amazing photo ops.

If you’re traveling Kyoto with kids, the bamboo grove is a great add-on to your Arashiyama day trip itinerary, as there is no entrance fee.

Pro Tip

The Bamboo Forest is very popular among locals and tourists alike – especially if you are traveling during peak seasons, like spring or autumn. Therefore, it’s best to time your visit here. To skip the crowds and tour groups, I recommend visiting here either in the early morning or late afternoon.

Tenryuji Temple

Arashiyama, Japan // Find the best things to do in this compact Arashiyama itinerary for 1 day. From exploring ancient temples and taking a romantic boat ride to strolling through the iconic Arashiyama bamboo grove and more!  #arashiyama #arashiyamadaytrip #kyotodaytrip #Japan

Tenryuji is the largest temple in Arashiyama and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple was founded in 1339 and is ranked as one of Kyoto’s top 5 Zen temples. And it’s easy to see why. Apart from the impressive temple, the gardens and numerous walking paths are beyond spectacular.

Work on spending at least 2 hours here, as the gardens are sublime. Be sure to also duck into the temple before making your way along the little winding paths through the gardens. If you’d like to take a breather or just admire the natural scenery, there are many resting stops along the way.

Operating hours: 8:30 – 17:30 (Oct – Mar: 8:30 – 17:00)

Entrance fee: ¥500

Tenruyji Temple is an obligatory stop and one of the most popular things to do in Arashiyama.
Strolling through lush gardens

How to get to Arashiyama

You can easily reach Arashiyama by train or bus from Kyoto Station. But if you are pressed for time, or not comfortable using public transport, you might want to consider taking a half-day tour to Arashiyama.

The fastest way to reach Arashiyama, however, is by train. Take the JR Sagano/ San-in Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station. If you haven’t purchased a JR Pass, prices start at ¥240 (single journey) and the ride takes about 45 minutes from Kyoto. Prices do however differ per train, so be sure to keep an eye out for this. 

Alternatively, you could also reach Arashiyama by bus from Kyoto Station. Simply take Kyoto City Bus #28 and get off at the Arashiyama-Tenryuji-mae stop. The bus ride takes about 1 hour and costs ¥230 for a single journey.

Have you visited Arashiyama yet? What travel tips do you have for fellow travellers planning an Arashiyama itinerary? Let us know in the comments below.

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Yellow autumn leaves in Japan

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Arashiyama, Japan // #arashiyama is one of the most popular #daytrips from #kyoto. And for good reason. Explore temples, take a ride on the #hozuriver and wander through the iconic #bamboogrove. Find out what to do on your Arashiyama day trip here in this guide. Plus #traveltips you need to make the most of your day trip from Kyoto. #japan #kyotodaytrip #travel #travelplanning #itinerary

16 thoughts on “Arashiyama Itinerary: The Perfect Arashiyama Day Trip”

  • Japan’s Arashiyama Bamboo Groove is so lovely. I would love to walk alone so I’d be going very early in the morning when I visit. And to think the entrance fee is FREE makes me hunger for a visit.

  • Looks like you visited at a perfect time! We were in Kyoto this last winter but didn’t make it to Arashiyama because we were short of time. Fall is my favorite season so we’ll have to try to get back that way then!

  • Wow! The colors are stunning! I love how Japanese, as modern in technology as they are, still retains the beauty of their nature, and preserving trees like these! You took wonderful photos.

    • Thanks Jen! When I think of Japan I think of AI’s, neon lights and technology…and of course, sushi! Haha! But, how they preserve their historical sites and nature is truly astonishing.

  • The colours are absolutely amazing. Japan has been on my bucket list for ages, I hope to cross it off next year. The bamboo grove is magical, I would spend hours wandering around, admiring the beauty of it. You visited Japan at a perfect time, love all the pictures.

  • Wow! Now, after seeing all of it I regret not booking my trip to Japan for longer than just 3 days in Tokyo! I have heard so many good stuff about Kyoto recently! Your photos are fabulous! I wish I could be there for fall season!

  • I fell in love with China when the colors were changing… and Japan looks as amazing or better! Thank you for sharing and making me lean towards Japan for our next trip across the Pacific!

  • OMG. I’m a sucker for autumnal colours and these are just bloomin’ divine. I adore them, the colours of the leaves, I could really imagine walking through them feeling totally at peace. What a pretty place to visit!

  • The autumn in Japan looks more impressive than the pink season, I think I’d prefer to go then after seeing your photos, it’s probably quieter too. The Togetsukyo Bridge is impressive as is the age of it, I love when there are historic buildings / bridges to see especially when they are over 1000 years old.

    • I would love to visit Japan during cherry blossom season, but I’ve heard it is jam-packed then! Autumn is extremely popular too, but I guess, it all comes down to timing! Thanks for stopping by, James.

  • I totally love these colorful vibrant pictures. I have never been to a part of the world to witness such beautiful foliage colors in person. But through your pictures I could experience something very close.

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