Japan 110 – Arashiyama (嵐山), The Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道), Tenryuji (天龍寺)

Arashiyama (嵐山) is the scenic mountain area just outskirt of Kyoto city. We took the fastest access from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama is provided by the JR Sagano Line (also known as JR Sanin Line) which cost ¥240 one way 15 minutes ride to Saga-Arashiyama Station. From Saga-Arashiyama Station, central Arashiyama can be reached within 5-10 minute walk. We then walked to the famous Togetsukyo Bridge (literally meant “Moon Crossing Bridge”) which is Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark. It was originally built during the Heian Period (794-1185) and most recently reconstructed in the 1930s. The best time to visit is of course the cherry blossom season in March/April every year but since we were there in May, we didn’t get to see any of the lovely cherry blossoms which usually filled along the river around the bridge.  

Entrance to Tenryuji Temple
Traditional trishaw
The Togetsukyo Bridge
Mountain as backdrop of The Togetsukyo Bridge

Morning snack after all the walking

Next stop, we went to the Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道) for a sightseeing train experience that runs along the Hozugawa River between Arashiyama and Kameoka. This old schooled trains wind their way through the mountains at a relatively slow pace, taking about 25 minutes to make the 7 kilometer journey. We got a fantastic view of the mountain scenery as the train traveled from Arashiyama through the forested ravine and into rural Kameoka. We took the return train tickets that cost  ¥1200 and it was totally worth it. Just check out my pictures below and tell me if you disagree with it…

Queue to buy the tickets

After the sightseeing train ride, we were back in Arashiyama and wandered into nearby village before we headed to the iconic Bamboo Groves Forrest. It was a tranquil experience walking in the Bamboo Groves that formed a magnificent picture of the nature’s wonders. Although it was crowded with people fighting for the best spot to take the perfect picture, this was still one of the highlights in Arashiyama… 

Cute Japanese couple
After that we went to the Tenryuji (天龍寺) which cost ¥500 per entrance ticket. This Zen temple is a World Heritage Site founded in 1339. It has a beautiful landscape garden which feature a central pond surrounded by rocks, pine trees and the mountain. Some of the flowers in the Temple were mind-blowing splendid and I was in awe. There was also a dragon in the cloud painting which was also the symbol of the temple. We were pretty exhausted by the time we got into the temple so we just did a quick walk around before we went to hunt for lunch…

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Mind-blowing pretty flowers

The Dragon in the Sky

Tenryuji Temple Opening Hours: 8:30 to 17:30 (until 17:00 from late October to late March)

Arashiyama Wikitravel link: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kyoto/Arashiyama

For my other posts on Japan, please click here.

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