Sep. 06, 2023 UPDATE

Morning itinerary for Arashiyama with monkeys, temples, and burgers

Getting to Arashiyama early makes it easier for you to beat the crowds and enjoy the nature of this part of Kyoto even more

This is an Arashiyama itinerary for those who dispice crowds and who can get up early; for Arashiyama is especially beautiful in the morning, and many great places in Arashiyama open early too. Though if you only have a few days in Kyoto, and have to decide which place to go early in the morning, Fushimi Inari Shrine or Arashiyama, you have a very hard decision to make, as both of these destinations are at their prettiest in the morning.

And by the way, the main photo of this article was taken at Tenryu-ji Temple early in the morning in autumn.

Request Private & Custom tour of these spots from Sharing Kyoto local guide

Tenryu-ji Temple

Tenryu-ji TempleGetting to Arashiyama from central Kyoto is easy, just take JR to Saga-Arashiyama or Hankyu to Arashiyama Station and you’re there. From both of these stations, the starting point for travelers who are up early should probably be Tenryu-ji Temple, a temple which is usually really crowded, so it’s a good place to hit as early as possible. 

gardenTenryu-ji Temple opens its doors at 8:30 a.m., so be sure to be there early. If you visit the temple soon after it has opened for the day, you get to take your time seeing the temple buildings, which normally can be so crowded that you have to keep moving with the crowd. The garden of the temple is huge so unless it’s autumn leaves or cherry blossom season, it won’t feel that crowded, but if you’re coming during these two high seasons of Kyoto, you should definitely go early in the morning even if you just wanted to see the garden. 

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

Arashiyama Monkey Park IwatayamaSince after your visit to Tenryu-ji Temple you should still have time before lunch, you could use this time to visit the world-famous Monkey Park of Iwatayama. The monkeys are incredibly cute and playful, and you can even feed them from inside a cabin (you can only feed them the snacks sold at Monkey Park). 

monkeys Note that the monkeys live on a mountain, so you have a small hike ahead of you if you want to go see them. The walk up the mountain takes around 20 minutes, 15 if you’re fit, so it’s not too bad, but if it’s hot you may want to stock up on some sports drinks. 

The view from the top The view from the top is also great, so it’s two birds with one stone: you get to both see a great view of the city of Kyoto and cute monkeys. Just be careful of having eye contact with the monkeys as they don’t like that and you should be fine. It’s especially fun to look at the little ones playing and running around. 

After you have seen the monkeys (and made the 20-minute walk down the mountain) it’s about time for lunch. There are many nice udon and yudofu (boiled tofu) places by the main street of Arashiyama, but if you want to have something really special, you could consider trying a double cheeseburger Arashiyama-style. So walk three minutes south from Hankyu Arashiyama Station to this excellent restaurant located in the basement of a hotel. 

CROSS Burger Beer/Coffee

CROSS Burger Beer/CoffeeAt CROSS Burger Beer/Coffee you can enjoy black burgers made with the bamboo charcoal of Arashiyama. The black burgers don’t only look breathtaking; they also taste great, as they’re made using Japanese wagyu beef. Because the hamburger patties are made using high-grade wagyu, there is a nice sweetness to them. 

And since you’re visiting CROSS Burger for lunch, you have another great thing awaiting you: the price of the burger at lunch already includes a pint of beer! They even have a list of recommended beer pairings for their burgers, so remember to take a look at that too. 

veggie burgerAnd if you’re traveling with vegetarian friends (or if you’re a vegetarian), you can have their veggie burger, which tastes pretty great too. It uses tofu from a famous shop in Arashiyama and even some Kyoto-pickles in it, so it doesn’t lose one bit to its meatier companions. 

soft serveAfter you’ve had your burger and lunch-beer, it’s time to head to the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, enjoy a matcha soft serve, and keep going to the next destination. You could even consider taking the Randen tram from Arashiyama to Ninna-ji, Ryoan-ji, or Kinkaku-ji temple and enjoy your afternoon temple hopping along the Kinukake no Michi

Request Private & Custom tour of these spots from Sharing Kyoto local guide

Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
The best thing to do in Kyoto is to start early! This is also because there is not that much nightlife in Kyoto, so you can also go to sleep early enough. So it’s easy to be an early riser in Kyoto!
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All Things To Do Temples & Shrines Scenery All Kyoto Area Arashiyama & Sagano

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