Arashiyama is so classic that when deciding the most classic sightseeing spot in Kyoto, it would have to be either Arashiyama or Kiyomizu Temple. So when heading to Arashiyama we had a formidable task ahead of us: we had to go to a villa and seven temples, and finish it all with some excellent sushi.
We started our trip from Hankyu Arashiyama Station, which is located on the south side of Arashiyama. When you head to the main part of Arashiyama from the station, you get to this beautiful bridge called the Togetsu-kyo Bridge. The bridge itself is beautiful, but it’s also a great place to have your picture taken. Just remember to get to the bridge early, as it gets crowded fast. We took this picture at around 8:50 a.m.
Arashiyama Togetsukyo Bridge
Many people have probably seen this percentage mark around Kyoto. It’s the logo of the hottest coffee shop in Kyoto right now, Arabica %. They have a shop in Arashiyama too, and luckily for us, since we got there early, it didn’t have the usual line in front of it.
This meant that we could have a cup of latte with our autumn leaves.
Some things never change, and one of them is the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. It’s beautifully verdant even during the autumn leaves season. A most stop before going to the temples.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Okochi Sanso Villa is a popular destination in Arashiyama, and for a good reason. The view you get from the top is spectacular, and the garden is beautiful no matter which season you visit.
The entrance to the garden is a bit expensive at 1,000 yen per person, but you do get a postcard, a traditional Japanese sweet, and matcha tea for it, besides of course getting to see the beautiful sprawling gardens that Denjiro Okochi had built.
Okochi Sanso Villa
Jojakko-ji Temple is a little way north from Okochi Sanso, and it’s also a very popular sightseeing spot among tourists.
Jojakko-ji Temple is most famous for its beautiful pagoda, which some rank as the most beautiful in Japan. The view you get from the top of the temple is also great, so I recommend climbing all the way up, without giving up by the pagoda.
Nison-in Temple is famous for the wide path leading up it. The name of the temple comes from it having two main deities, one for the people born to the temple, and one for those who sleep away.
The main hall of the temple looks cute with the colored flags hanging from it.
But the best part of Nison-in is of course the autumn leaves. There is not so much to see at this temple besides the leaves, so this temple should not be the main attraction in your itinerary.
One of the most beautiful traditional streets in Kyoto, the Preserved Street of Saga-Toriimoto, is just on the way to Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple. There are sake shops, kimono cleaners, and souvenir shops, but everything is traditional. There is nothing modern here!
Even this normally very quiet temple known for its hundreds, if not thousands, of small Jizo statues, is a bit busy during the autumn leaves season.
This temple is a bit higher up so the autumn leaves are of really vividly colored here.
Gio-ji Temple is famous for its beautiful moss garden, and the best time to see its autumn leaves is said to be when they’ve already fallen down. This way you get to see the moss of the garden turn into a beautiful red carpet.
And another nice thing: entrance to Gio-ji Temple only costs 300 yen per person!
Takiguchi Temple is a temple right next to Gio-ji Temple, easily recognized from the many signs saying no photography before its ticket counter. However, if you buy a ticket, you’re free to take as many pictures as you like.
Once at the temple, we were greeted by this sight. The temple was under construction. However, we got a 50 yen off ticket we can use the next time we’re going to Takiguchi. And by the way, this is the first temple we’ve found in Japan that allows you to smoke inside it.
Enrian Temple is a small temple, more of a hermitage, you can find between Gio-ji and Seiryo-ji Temple. The temple is only open once a year, during the autumn leaves season, from first of November to 7 of December.
The temple is very beautiful especially after the autumn leaves have fallen to the ground. A hidden gem not too far from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station.
Seiryo-ji Temple is a huge temple, but one that is not frequented by so many tourists. Especially if you pay the 400 yen fee at the entrance of the main hall, you get to view the main hall and the garden of the temple in peace.
If you pay the 400 yen entrance fee, you even get to walk on this cool wooden walkway. Can you spot our writer Vanessa in the picture?
After a very fully booked morning in Arashiyama, we headed for Daizen for some well-earned sushi. Daizen is famous for their mackerel sushi which is wrapped in seaweed. You take the seaweed off before eating the sushi, but the seaweed bestows its delicate umami flavors into the fish, making this sushi a must-have when in Kyoto.
Another great thing to have is their Instagram-ready “hakozushi” which features Japanese omelette, conger eel, bream, and shrimp. And it tastes just as delicious as it looks!
|Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]||STAFF DETAIL|