Take a stroll or a bicycle ride through this sublime forest to experience the otherworldly tranquility created by filtered sunlight and rustling bamboo leaves.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove might be one of Kyoto’s most photographed destinations, but few photographers can truly capture the magic of this leafy oasis. Explore a network of walking trails that cut through the serene forest and escape the outside world as the pale-green bamboo stalks seem to extend endlessly on either side of your path. Weave through the towering trees and spend some time listening to the gentle sway of the stalks and the wind in the leaves.
An essential material for traditional craft, bamboo has been grown and harvested for centuries to be used in the construction of a range of items. Traditional cups, mats, baskets and boxes have been made in local workshops throughout the ages. Enter the mystical Arashiyama Bamboo Grove via the entrance that lies to the north of the Tenryu-ji Temple gate. From here, you’ll see a winding path that gently ascends the hill and cuts through the densely packed bamboo stalks.
As you wander, look up to see the tall plants towering overhead. Competing for sunlight in the shadowy forest, the bamboo almost seems to interlock in an arch above you. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is best explored on a slightly breezy day, when you can experience the forest with all your senses. Listen as the plants creak against one another in the breeze and the leaves rustle in the high canopy. You can take photographs of the tranquil grove, but the atmosphere and the gentle light in the forest is difficult to capture in pictures.
At the top of the hill, you’ll reach the end of the pathway. The entrance to the Okochi-Sanso Villa marks the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove’s border. For a fee, you can enter this villa and explore a breathtaking imperial-style garden that once belonged to the acclaimed film actor Okochi Denjiro. The Tenryu-ji Temple at the pathway’s trailhead is one of Kyoto’s landmark destinations and features a beautiful Zen temple surrounded by fine gardens.
Access the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove via Arashiyama’s main street, which is located in Kyoto’s western outskirts. It is an easy walk from Arashiyama Station. The grove is open at any time of the day for free.