The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a picturesque, iconic sight in Kyoto, Japan. The tall stalks of bamboo reach over 50 meters into the sky.
The swaying sound of the bamboo has actually been designated as one of the top 100 soundscapes of Japan.
The path is short, only about 600 meters, and is possible to walk in about 10-15 minutes. If it’s crowded, then it can take much longer.
Tenryu-ji is a Zen temple that features a beautiful garden created in the 14th century. It retains its original appearance and is one of the best examples of a Japanese landscape garden.
If you visit Tenryu-ji Temple first, then you can enter the bamboo grove through the temple exit.
When to Go
The bamboo grove gets extremely crowded! To avoid the crowds, try to visit on a weekday early in the morning or in the evening. There is no admission fee and the area doesn’t close.
Arashiyama is famous for cherry blossoms in early April and autumn colors in late November. In December, the path is lit up in the evening.
In recent years, tourists have destroyed many stalks of bamboo by carving their names into the bamboo. In 2018, more than 100 stalks of bamboo were defaced in only a few months.
Unfortunately, all defaced bamboo has to be cut down. If the bamboo is not cut down, then it will start to rot and ruin the forest. The more bamboo that has to be cut down, the less full the bamboo forest will become.
Kyoto City officials ask that everyone help to preserve the bamboo grove, so that everyone can experience its true beauty.
How to Get There
There are three train lines that go to Arashiyama.
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, then the JR Sagano Line is the best choice. It takes about 15 minutes to travel directly from Kyoto Station to Saga Arashiyama Station. From Saga Arashiyama Station, you can walk to the bamboo grove in about 10 minutes.
From Shijo Omiya Station, take the Keifuku Randen Line (private line). It takes a little over 20 minutes, but puts you right in the middle of central Arashiyama.
From Karasuma Station, take the Hankyu Line (private line) to Katsura Station. Then, transfer to the Hankyu Arashiyama Line. It takes less than 20 minutes in total and puts you on the south side of Arashiyama, across the river.
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