The first time I visited Arashiyama was on a half day tour with Viator.I can really recommend them if it’s your first time visiting Japan. I have actually used them for other site seeing tours in other countries so are definitely worth checking out.
We were given a brief tour of some of the most popular places in Arashiyama. The bamboo groves and Tenryuji Temple,also the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge.
It was actually a half day morning tour so instead of getting the bus back to Kyoto I decided to stay and go and see my friends mother who had a Kimono shop in the area. (see Kimono experience) I would recommend staying here the rest of the day to wander around the lovely gift shops.
Arashiyama is particularly popular at key seasons like cherry blossom and autumn. I have been lucky enough to visit here at both those times.
Arashiyama is on the outskirts of Kyoto and doesn’t take long by train. I got the train from Nijo on the Sanin Main Line to Saga Arashiyama and it took about 10 mins. The second time I visited I especially wanted to go to the Kimono Forest both in the day and night time.
Situated in Arashiyama station the Kimono Forest is made up of over 600 two meter tall cylinders each having beautiful fabric inside . It was created by a textile factory Kamedatori and is a must to see especially when the LED lights illuminate them in side each cylinder at night.
It is said if you make a wish here it will come true, also if you dip your hands in the spring water here which comes from the 50 meter underground spring of Mt Atago you will be blessed with happiness.
There are many other activities to enjoy like the Saga Scenic railway which runs along the House River. There are also Hozu river boat tours. There are many more temples and shrines near by like the mountain side Jojakkoji Temple and Daikakuji Temple. Why not visit the Monkey Park, the entrance for this is just south of the Togetsukyo bridge.