Located in the west part of Kyoto, the Sagano and Arashiyama area is one of the best places to experience the scenic beauty of Japanese nature combined with various traditional shrines.
During the seasons of cherry blossoms (the beginning of April) and autumn foliage (beginning of December), the Sagano-Arashiyama area is pretty crowded with many Japanese and overseas tourists, and it is sometimes even difficult to walk !
If you come in summer, you will really be able to have 'Japanese Experience' with perfect tranquility.
There are so many things to see in the Sagano-Arashiyama area, so it would be nice to take one-day excursion to thoroughly enjoy the area.
If you start your trip at Kyoto station, take the JR line to Saga Arashiyama station to get the Romantic Train (Torokko) that goes to Kameoka (25 min) along the Hozugawa River. The train has 5 cars and one of them is a 'fully open' (no windows) car from which you could enjoy a panoramic view.
The tram runs the whole length of 7.3 km for about 25 min. You can enjoy beautiful autumn leaves on the mountains and a view of the valley through a big window.
Price: Adult 600 yen, Child 300 yen
Operation schedule: March 1st - December 29th, No operation on Wednesdays (except for March 20th & 27th, April 3rd & 10th, May 1st, October 23th & 30th, all Wednesdays of November and August in 2013)
*Please check the website for information about access, routes and the timetable.
<<Hozugawa-kudari (The Hozu River Boat Ride)>>
An exciting two-hour boat ride going down the Hozugawa River.
Price: Adult 3,900 yen, Child 2,500 yen
Operation schedule: Open 365 days (Operation can be cancelled due to bad weather)
*Please check the website about access, routes and the timetable.
From Arashiyama station (Torokko), walk along a small pond to reach Jojakkoji temple where is absolutely beautiful in summer with all the green and moss. You will really experience the pure traditional and natural Kyoto as you have dream about. If you climb at the top of the hill, you will get a view all over the area.
From the Jojakkoji temple, walk 25 min to reach Daikakuji temple. It is famous for the beautiful pond and garden majestic in all seasons and with no doubt gives you the image of what Japan was like during the Heian period. This temple was originally built as a villa for the retirement of the Emperor Saga (8th and 9th century). Therefore it looks more like a palace than a temple. If Daikakuji temple were a hotel residence, you would love to stay there for a few days to experience the spirit of Kyoto.
Leave Daikakuji temple to head down to the bamboo forest. If you look up standing the narrow pathway between bamboos, all you can see is just the greens swaying in the wind. It will bring you freshness with a sound of the leaves. If you have enough energy left for going to the 'top' of the Bamboo forest, it will be nice to stop by the Okochi-sanso villa made by Denjiro Okochi, a famous Japanese actor. Following the villa, you can either travel back along the bamboo forest to visit Tenryuji temple where is absolutely quiet and green in summer and you can enjoy the typical Japanese garden with pond against Arashiyama's mountain range, or climb to the view point of Arashiyama where you will have a great view over the Hozugawa river and mountains.
From Tenryuji temple, you can walk to Togetsukyo bridge, which is an icon of Arashiyama. You can just walk along the river and enjoy this wonderful landscape.
The Cormorant fishing, 'Ukai' in Japanese, is a unique event taking place only in summer night. Fishermen on their boat go fishing with their trained cormorants : the cormorants catch fish and bring them back to the fishermen ! Fishermen use fire over the water to give some light to the cormorants. This is really a must see event. You will be on small boats to watch this event just in front of your eyes.