Aug. 30, 2021 UPDATE
Ultimate Arashiyama guide for beginners
Part 4

Tranquility of the temples; a pilgrimage into nature

When talking of the shrines and temples of Arashiyama, I’m pretty sure that the World Heritage Site of Tenryu-ji Temple and the small shrine by the Bamboo Grove are what first pop into your mind. But there are many other temples in Arashiyama, and many of these are located in scenic spots. Going to these temples, I’m sure you will begin to understand why the court nobles of old loved Arashiyama.

After you go past the Bamboo Grove, you get to the area known as Sagano where you can find many interesting temples. And the best part? They are not crowded, but serene places where you get to calm down.
Jojakko-ji Temple
Jojakko-ji Temple
After you go through the Bamboo Grove and head north, you will find Jojakko-ji Temple halfway up Mt. Ogurayama. This temple is close to the Bamboo Grove but it is still a tranquil respite from the busy main street of Arashiyama.
The temple is well known for its Tahoto Pagoda, and from the pagoda, you get a really nice view of Kyoto City. The pagoda is especially beautiful in autumn when it is surrounded by vermilion leaves.
Gio-ji Temple
Gio-ji Temple
If you still have stamina and time, Gio-ji Temple is also a nice place to go to in Sagano. It is a bit far away, but it is not that well known, so there won’t be that many tourists. The temple is all covered in moss, and this green temple is an especially popular destination among the temple aficionados of Japan.
green moss
One of the best things about this temple is that it is not only surrounded by green moss but that the temperature is also cooler here. The hermit style building of the temple is simple and looks like what temple buildings in Japan originally used to look like. In autumn you get to see the autumn leaves fall down and form a carpet on the moss.
Daikaku-ji Temple
Daikaku-ji Temple
Daikaku-ji Temple is a 20-minute walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, and the temple was originally built as a detached palace for Emperor Saga. Because of the relations of the temple with the Imperial Family, many of the buildings and gardens of the temple retain their imperial style to this day, and the temple, on the whole, feels very elegant.
The temple grounds are vast and there is a lot to see like the Shinden Emperor’s Residence and Osawa pond, where in autumn you can join in the moon festival Kangetsu no Yube. This temple is a bit far from the Bamboo Grove and the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, but this temple is still one of the most famous temples in Arashiyama.
Hogon-in Temple
Hogon-in Temple
This sub-temple of Tenryu-ji is famous for its stroll garden Shishiku no Niwa, meaning “Buddha giving a sermon” and also for the beautiful green moss and the many flowers planted in the temple garden. The temple is only open to the public twice a year, in spring and autumn, when their garden is at its prettiest.
autumn leaves
In spring you get to see the green leaves, and in autumn the autumn leaves. During the autumn leaves season in Kyoto Tenryu-ji Temple can get really crowded, but Hogon-in Temple just by it is a place where you can enjoy even the autumn leaves in peace.
In parts three and four you got to know about the more serene parts of Arashiyama like the great scenery and temples. In parts one and two you got to see a model itinerary for Arashiyama, and I’m going to leave choosing up to you.

No matter where you go in Arashiyama I’m sure you are going to have fun! Especially during the autumn leaves season, really many people go to Arashiyama, so I recommend you try to decide where you want to go there before going!

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