Nov. 22, 2019 UPDATE

Arashiyama from morning to night: a full day in one of Kyoto’s most famous sightseeing areas

Full day plan for Arashiyama from Togetsu-kyo and Monkey Park with vegan-friendly dinner options
Arashiyama

Arashiyama: one of the most popular sightseeing areas in Kyoto, is especially famous for its cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, but it’s a nice place to visit any time of the year. It’s easy to get to from central Kyoto, but it still feels removed from the city life; you get to see a calmer, more traditional part of Japan.


You can spend the whole day in Arashiyama, but your day needs to start early, as Arashiyama is a place where the shops and restaurants close even earlier than most of Kyoto. We recommend that you start this full-day itinerary at around 8 am, but if you don’t feel like waking up that early, just drop some temples from this itinerary. The recommended starting point for this itinerary is Hankyu Railway’s Arashiyama Station, as the walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station to Monkey Park Iwatayama is quite long.



1Monkey Park Iwatayama (7-min. walk from Hankyu Arashiyama Station + 20 min. hike)

Monkey Park Iwatayama Monkey Park Iwatayama opens up early and offers a great chance to start your morning with a nice hike up the mountain. From where you buy your ticket to enter the park, it’s still a 20-minute walk up the mountain. The view of Kyoto you see from up the mountain is great and the monkeys are cute, and you can even feed them from inside the rest house.


They also have a really long slide for kids so this place is especially nice for families.


Open

Spring and summer: 9:00 am-4:30 pm

Autumn and winter: 9:00 am-4:00 pm


Address 8 Arashiyama, Genrokuzan-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-0007
Open Hours March 15 - November 20:9am - 5pm November 21 –March 14:9am – 4pm * times may change depending on daylight hours and weather.



2Togetsu-kyo Bridge (3 min. walk from Monkey Park + 20 min. hike down)

Togetsu-kyo BridgeThis scenic bridge is something you have to cross in order to get to our next destination, but it’s not really a normal bridge: it’s made to look like the bridges of old, and even the handrails are made of real wood. On the opposite side of the bridge, you should be able to see the famous coffee stand % Arabica on the left.


Address Arashiyama, Kyoto-shi
Open Hours Does not close



3Tenryu-ji Temple (7-min. walk from Togetsu-kyo Bridge)

Tenryu-ji TempleTenryu-ji Temple is the most famous spot in Arashiyama and it’s even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple is so popular that it can get crowded: the best idea is to hit it as early as possible. So if the climb up to Monkey Park Iwatayama seems a bit too daunting or monkeys are not your thing, the best thing is to go to Tenryu-ji Temple as soon as it opens its doors for visitors. The temple and the huge garden really are worth a visit.


Open

Summer: 8:30 am-5:30 pm

Winter: 8:30 am- 5:00pm


Address 68 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga-Tenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Open Hours Summer: 8:30am - 5:30pm Winter (Oct. 21 - Mar. 20): 8:30am - 5pm



4Nonomiya Shrine (3-min. walk from Tenryu-ji north exit)

Nonomiya ShrineNonomiya Shrine is a small shrine right next to Bamboo Grove. Worth a visit if you’re thinking of getting married, no matter whether you already have a partner in mind or not. This shrine is also a place where you can pray to get pregnant and smooth delivery.

gardenThe shrine itself is small but the garden is worth a look if you happen to be close by. There is no entrance fee.


Address 1 Saganomiyacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City 616-8315
Open Hours From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The shrine can be entered until 4:30 p.m.)



5Bamboo Grove (3-min. walk from Nonomiya Shrine)

Bamboo GroveThis is maybe the most famous sightseeing spot in Arashiyama, and for a good reason: the bamboo here look exceptional as they reach for the skies. Bamboo Grove, also known as Bamboo Forest, is so popular that it can get a bit too crowded, so if you want to take pictures without other people in them, you again need to visit it early.


Address Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Open Hours Does not close



6Okochi Sanso Villa (right by the exit of Bamboo Grove)

Okochi Sanso VillaAs you exit Bamboo Grove (if you entered it from the side of Tenryu-ji and Nonomiya) you’ll see a path leading up a small mountain. This leads to Okochi Sanso Villa, one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Kyoto. The villa is usually not at all crowded, in part thanks to its 1,000 yen entrance fee (which includes a cup of matcha, a sweet, and even a postcard). It’s a quiet, sprawling garden you get to roam on your own, so you get to take your time to see it. There also get to admire tea houses and other examples of traditional Japanese architecture here.


Address 10, Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamacho, Ukyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 616-8394
Open Hours 9am - 5pm



Lunch break

Lunch break There are many nice and rather cheap udon restaurants in Arashiyama, and lately, there are even pizza and hamburger places, but Arashiyama is still most famous for its yu-dofu – boiled tofu. There’s a nice yu-dofu place in central Arashiyama called Yudofu Sagano where you can enjoy a vegetarian-friendly meal in a great setting while looking out into the beautiful garden. If however you want something meatier, the all-you-can-eat restaurant Gyatei is a nice choice too.


Yudofu Sagano is a 12-min. walk from Okochi Sanso Villa and Gyatei an 11-min. walk. These restaurants will take you further away from Gio-ji, so if you’re in a hurry, consider buying an onigiri beforehand.


Yudofu Sagano:

Open: 9:00 am-5:00 pm


Gyatei:

Open: 11:00 am-2:30 pm



7Gio-ji Temple (14-min. walk from Okochi Sanso, 25-min. walk from Yudofu Sagano)

Gio-ji Temple Gio-ji Temple is a bit of a walk from Okochi Sanso Villa, but if you’re feeling like visiting temples, on the way there are a few temples famous for autumn leaves: Jojakko-ji Temple and Nison-in Temple. So you could add them to the itinerary if you’re feeling like this itinerary doesn’t contain enough temples!


moss gardenGio-ji famous for its moss garden: after a rain, the way it glistens in the rain is something very much worth a visit. This is a small temple, more of a hermitage actually, so don’t expect big buildings, its all about the garden here. In autumn you can enjoy the moss carpet of the temple turn red with the fallen leaves.


Entrance is 300 yen, but as this is a sub-temple of Daikaku-ji, you can also get a ticket for both Daikaku-ji and Gio-ji for 600 yen here (normally 800 yen).


Open: 9 am-5 pm


Address 32 Kozakacho, Sagatoriimoto, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8435
Open Hours 9am - 5pm (Admission ends at 4:30pm)



8Daikaku-ji Temple (20-min. walk from Gio-ji)

Daikaku-ji TempleDaikaku-ji Temple is actually quite adventurous: this 1200-year-old place of worship even had a One Piece event where the whole temple was converted into a manga story in 2017. The temple has a big pond that is especially beautiful in autumn when it reflects the autumn leaves of the surrounding maple trees.


Daikaku-ji is a bit removed from other places of interest, so walking to it takes some time, but the temple should be worth it. Note that entrance to it is closed 30 minutes before the closing time.


Open: 9:00 am-5:00 pm


Address 4 Saga-Osawamachi, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 616-8411
Open Hours 9am - 5pm (must enter by 4:30pm)



9Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple (11-min. walk from Gio-ji, 20-min. walk from Daikaku-ji)

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji TempleIf you want something more light-hearted, this temple is for you. Otago Nenbutsu-ji Temple is probably the most fun temple in Kyoto, as its rakan statues are sure to make you laugh. You can find Elvis-lookalikes, a tennis player, and even statues enjoying sake with each other. The temple has not had an easy history, and was actually moved to its current place quite recently, and even the Rakan statues are rather new. Although the temple is quite far up in the north and quite a detour, it’s one of the most fun temples to visit in Kyoto – and only 300 yen! If you want to go to all the temples in this list, it’s better to visit Otagi Nenbutsu-ji before going to Daikaku-ji Temple. For most people, it’s probably enough if they go to one and not both – either Daikaku-ji or Otagi Nenbutsu-ji.


Open: 8:00 am-4:45 pm


Address 2-5, Sagatoriimoto Fukatanicho, Ukyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 616-8439
Open Hours 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Gate is closed at 4:45 p.m.)



10Dinner at PanBoo (20-min. walk from Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, 13-min. walk from Daikaku-ji)

Dinner at PanBooWhen you look for dinner options in Arashiyama, you don’t have many. Luckily PanBoo opened recently in a great spot right in front of Seiryo-ji Temple. This restaurant offers food made in accordance with the macrobiotic diet, so it’s a great spot to visit for vegetarians and vegans. However, they also have meaty dishes, so the more carnivorous can be satisfied here too. If you happen to be around PanBoo before dinner time, they also offer breakfast and lunch. Note that you need to make a reservation if you want to eat at PanBoo after 5 pm.


Open: 11 am-9:30 pm


Address 29-4 Sagashakado Monzen Minamichuin-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Open Hours 9:00 am-9:00 pm Breakfast: 9:00 am-11:00 am Lunch: 11:00 am-3:00 pm Afternoon tea: 3:00 pm-5:00 pm Dinner: 5:00 pm-9:00 pm (Reservation required)


DaizenAnother option would be Daizen, a sushi place a 10-minute walk east from the Togetsu-kyo Bridge. It’s open until 10 pm, but you have to enter it by 7:30 pm. Have their saba sushi with some sake – it’s fatty and full of flavor.


Open

Lunch: 12 noon-3 pm

Dinner: 5:30 pm-10 pm (Enter by 7:30 pm)


Address 10-3, Saga Isenokamicho, Ukyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 616-8365
Open Hours Lunch: 12 noon-3 p.m. Dinner: 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. (You have to enter the restaurant by 7:30 p.m.)



Recap


All in all, doing this itinerary requires quite a lot of stamina, so you might get temple fatigue if you go to all of these places. So if you want an easier itinerary, just pick and choose, just go to the temples that most intrigue you!

Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
Arashiyama is a place that never stops interesting me. It’s an old area full of temples, but you can also always find something new there. When writing this article, I found a new pizzeria run by Italians in Arashiyama, and cafes I hadn’t seen before, so there is always something in Arashiyama that keeps calling you back.
Related keywords
All Things To Do Temples & Shrines Japanese Gardens Scenery Sushi Tofu 1 day plan arashiyama area Recommend Spots Arashiyama & Sagano
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