Japan

Kyoto: Arashiyama and the Tenryuji Temple

Arashiyama is a district on the western outskirts of Kyoto and it really is worth a visit. We took a train from the central Kyoto station to get there and in just three short stops we arrived in Arashiyama, which is known for its bridge, several temples and a famous bamboo groves.

First, we walked from the train station through a few touristy streets with shops and restaurants until we reached the Togetsukyo Bridge and walked across it. We went to the other side, where there were pleasure boats available for rent on the river. From this side, Arashiyama looks like a small village, nice and quiet. But actually it is quite lively, lots of tourists travel there to visit the various temples and shrines.

Arashiyama

Our second stop was the Tenryuji temple, which is registered as a world heritage site. Tenryuji was built in 1339 and its buildings were repeatedly lost in fires and wars over the centuries. Most of the current halls date from the relatively recent Meiji Period (1868-1912). However, the buildings are not the main attraction, is the garden itself which is really beautiful.

Tenryuji Temple in Arashiyama 1

Unlike the temple buildings, Tenryuji’s garden survived the centuries in its original form. Created by a famous garden designer the garden features a central pond surrounded by rocks, pine trees and the forested mountains.

Tenryuji Temple in Arashiyama 2

It has quite a few cherry trees, which were in blossom when we visited. This was really nice to see, especially as most of the other plants were still barren without any leaves.

Tenryuji Temple in Arashiyama 3

Useful info:

  • Tenryuji is a few minutes walk from the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, which is connected with Kyoto Station by train
  • The temple is open from 8:30 to 17:30 everyday. The garden entrance is 500 yen, and it costs an extra 100 yen for entrance into the temple buildings
  • If you exit at the North end, you can enter straight into the bamboo grove
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