Kyoto Arashiyama area tour introduction


I re-visited Arashiyama-area in Kyoto the other day.
Arashiyama area in Kyoto is located 11 km north-west from Kyoto station.
Kyoto tour spots can be roughly divided by five those are the area of east, west, north, south and center as Kyoto down-town.
In each area above, you can find lots of historical architecture , beautiful scenery of nature and time honored atmosphere of downtown with mostly consumed local foods of Kyoto, culture such as Maiko & Kimono and various type of survenior.
Arashiyama, also known as Sagano, is one of the time-honored travel destinations located on the western outskirs of Kyoto. Offering a breathtaking panorama of serene Mt.Arashiyama, Togetsukyo, or “Moon Crossing Bridge”, is the major landmark of this scenic spot featuring wide variety of tourist attractions ranging from Tenryu-ji Temple to Iwatayama Monkey Park and spectacular bamboo groves.

  1. Tenryu-ji temple is a top-ranked among the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto which is one of the 17 World Cultual Heritage-listed monuments in Kyoto and famous for strolling-style garden. This temple was originally constructed in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji who is one of the Shogunate of Muromachi era (1336~1573).

    Hatto Hall below is the hall where important ceremonies are held.

    You can see the big picture welcoming you. This is Bodhidharma.
    Zen Buddhism was founded by Bodhidharma. It is said that he did “Zazen” for 9 years to reach enlightenment with sitting and meditating
    facing a stone wall.

    You can look at Tenryuji Sogenchi Teien (Landscape garden) while sitting on the veranda. This garden shown in below photo is a borrowed landscape garden which show you the elegant natural Japanese paintings combining with both aristocratic culture and Zen culture with incorporating Mt.Arashiyama, Mt.Kameyama and Mt.Ogurasan into the scenery.

The main important view of this pond is the third-tiered dry waterfall with no water consist of large rocks. You can see a rock between the first and the second dry waterfalls rock. According to Chines verb, a carp ascends a waterfall to become a dragon. Therefore, you can imagine the rock above might be a carp.

Houjou hall below used to be the living quarters of the chief priests. You are allowed to walk around the tatami mats rooms. The rooms are separated by Japanese walls, paper screens called “Shoji” and sliding doors called “Fusuma”.
As shown in below photos, Japanese style houses luck privacy with no key locked, however, this style can enlarge the room space available by opening and removing the sliding doors.

You can also see Japanese style room element such as alcove called “Tokonoma”as
shown below.
This alcove place is a characteristic place where hanging scrolls and flower arrangement are placed.

You can see Suiboku-ga called Indian paintings depicted on “Fusuma”as shown below. The subjects painted on these “Fusuma” are nature, animals, birds and flowers.

Bamboo forest:
This bamboo forest is one of the most impressive spots for many tourists coming to Japan.Bamboo is the symbol of vitality because it grow up very quickly. Bamboo crafts is used in the tea ceremony and flower arrangement.
After leaving Tenryuji out from one of the gate, the bamboo forest called “Chikurin” come into your eyes immediately.
This bamboo forest continue to the end of the road by aound 400 meters.
This area used to be the villa of the aristocracy in Heian era (end of 8th centyry ~ end of 12th century) and you can feel subtle and profound world even after 1000 years passed.

3. Arashiyama park road down from Bamboo forest to Togetsu-kyo bridge:





4. Togetdsu-kyo bridge:
This bridge is named “Togetsu-kyo Bridge”. It literally means “Crossing the moon”. This bridge was at first constructed by an ancient priest in around 840. By seeing this bridge, you can see various beautiful sceneries according to the change of each seasons. Mt.Arashiyama of west side of the bridge is registered as the place of scenic beauty and natural monument in Japan.You can enjoy cherry blossoms in April, fresh green in summer, graceful autumn leaves in fall and clean white snow landscape in winter. Current bridge was completed in 1934 with 155meter length and 11meter width. There are so many sceneries of this bridge found in the past many movies and TV dramas.
By going through the side of Katsura-river to east, you will see the bridge from the distance to be closer as shown below.











 5. Mt.Iwata Monkey park:
Mt.Iwata Monkey park is located near in the west side of Togetsu-kyo Bridge.
There are around 120 number of Japanese macaques living in the wild.
After you enter the entrance of the monkey park with paying admission fee, you can enjoy light trekking onto the Mt.Arashiyama mountain road for about 20 minutes with enjoying the mountain scenery and reach the top of the mountain. The Japanese macaques are characteristic of red face and behind and the height is around 50cm ~ 60cm. They are well accustomed with us and receive special foods from us with very humorous faces. From the top of the mountain, you can see overview of Kyoto city.













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Kyoto Arashiyama one day tour

                                                                                                                  By Kashima