Thursday, December 1, 2022

Visiting the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto

A visit to Kyoto wouldn't be complete without seeing the amazing Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Though no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove, I tried my best to show you the palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest I know of. Located about 7 km west of downtown Kyoto, Arashiyama is one of Kyoto’s most popular sightseeing districts. The heart of the district is the this grove, a mesmerizing accumulation of thousands of tall bamboo plants. A paved walkway runs through the middle of both sections, forming the famous “Bamboo Alley,” one of Kyoto’s most photographed sights.

This post is part of a multi-part travel series from Japan.
For the other parts click here

About the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is really two separate bamboo groves, both of which are sandwiched between Tenryu-ji Temple grounds and the JR Sagano-Saiin line train tracks. The little Arashiyama train station from which you visit the grove is very cozy, features many shops and restaurants. The adjoining Arashiyama district is amazing as well. We made our way through the crowds (even though it was dusk!) and I was scared that we wouldn't have the grove to ourselves (selfish I know, but hey I don't like crowds). Besides the grove in this place you’ll find Nonomiya-jinja Shrine, a popular Shinto Shrine, while on the southern edge you’ll find the beautiful gardens and halls of Tenryu-ji Temple, one of Kyoto’s most beautiful Buddhist temples.

I was surprised to see that there weren't huge crowds in the actually grove. At the beginning of the walk there were people but as we made our way into the grove there were fewer and fewer people. It was perfect for taking photos and enjoying the surroundings. During our stay, Japan had just opened to visitors, so we were among the first people to visit as tourists. That's why I think most of these places that are usually popular with tourists weren't crowded.

The Kimono Forest Of Arashiyama 

Right at the entrance to the aforementioned Arashiyama/Randen train station, you can find a completely different forest! It's the Kimono Forest, and it's a collection of cylinder-shaped pillars framing the way to the train station. It is called a "forest" since the pillars are clustered like a forest and the kimono is displayed on each of the pillars. The Kimono Forest consists of pieces of textile displays dyed in the traditional Kyo-yuzen style. Each of the pillars are covered with acrylic fiber. There are about 600 of them all installed all over the station grounds. 

Leaving Kyoto

We loved our time in Kyoto. It is a fantastic city with so much to see and do, that you can easily spend the whole vacation here. But it was time to continue our road trip. The next destination was not too far, only a 30 minute drive with the local express train. I'm talking about Osaka!


  1. More wonderful images! I'm loving this series.

  2. So beautiful in your journey! The crowds are indeed less there

    1. We lucked out on that. Japan will be full of people come spring!

  3. What a wonderful series of images. A beautiful tour, thanks for sharing it,

  4. This bamboo forest is almost like another planet, it is so otherworldly! Is it large enough that you can get lost in it? And the Kimino forest is stunning, with all the lighted poles. So you have captured both natural and man-made forests, and in a gorgeous way!

    1. You wont get lost in it. Everything is clearly marked and there is only one road going through it.

  5. Beautiful photos. I like both the natural and the kimono "forests"



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