Ultimate Guide to Arashiyama and Sagano

The popular areas of Arashiyama and Sagano which beautifully bring together nature and historic landmarks are recommended for an enjoyable walk through the town. Starting from Togetsu-kyo Bridge, take a tour of the famous spots including a monkey park, World Heritage-worthy ancient temples and smaller shrines and temples. Wear comfortable shoes since this will be an all-day course.

Day 1

Tenryu-ji Temple
0:00 AM
Tenryu-ji Temple
At the World Heritage site, the Zen temple of Tenryu-ji, you can see the 700-year-old garden and the profound architecture. On the ceiling of the Lecture Hall, you can also view the powerful painting of Unryu-zu (Usually open to the public on weekends and holidays but there are periods during the spring and autumn when special openings of the Unryu-zu are available daily. Please refer to the official website for the latest information on those special days.).  If there is still time, walk over from the North Gate of Tenryu-ji for 3 minutes to reach Nonomiya Shrine. The shrine has been mentioned in one of the masterpieces of Japanese classical literature, “The Tale of Genji”, and is known for being constructed over a holy site. The temple is worshiped for good fortune in matchmaking and children.
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JR Kyoto Station
8:30 AM
JR Kyoto Station
At Kyoto Station, not only Shinkansen bullet trains but other trains, airport buses, express buses and local buses all come and go here. Tourist information can be obtained on the 2nd-floor tourist information center. There are various ways to reach Arashiyama from Kyoto Station but one easy way is taking the JR Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station because there are no transfers required.
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Togetsu-kyo Bridge
9:20 AM
Togetsu-kyo Bridge
Head from JR Saga-Arashiayama Station to Togetsu-kyo Bridge which is known to be the best place in Arashiyama to take a photo. After taking in the scenery, cross the bridge to go to Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama.
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Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
10:00 AM
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
At Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama, adorable Japanese macaques thrive in a natural setting. From here, you can get a superb commanding view of the city of Kyoto. Please be aware that to reach the monkey park, you will have to go up a hill.
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Keifuku Electric Railroad Co. Arashiyama Station
11:00 AM
Keifuku Electric Railroad Co. Arashiyama Station
Head for the area surrounding Arashiyama Station which is popular for the Kimono Forest of pole lamps of Kyoto printed silk and a footbath. There are also many restaurants around the station. An early lunch is suggested in preparation for the tour of the temples from the afternoon.
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Chikurin-no-Komichi
13:00 PM
Chikurin-no-Komichi
A landscape symbolizing the Sagano area that was first opened up over a thousand years ago as a villa site for the noble class. You can enjoy a comfortable stroll as you hear the sound of bamboo leaves rustling against each other. Walk through the bamboo forest from Nonomiya Shrine to reach Okochi Sanso.
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Okochi Sanso (Mountain Villa)
13:20 PM
Okochi Sanso (Mountain Villa)
Okochi Sanso is the former villa for the period film actor Denjiro Okochi who was active in the early part of the 20th century. You can view the splendid garden that changes throughout the four seasons with the environment of Arashiyama in the background. Matcha tea is served so that you can take a break while admiring the garden.
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Jojakko-ji Temple
14:20 PM
Jojakko-ji Temple
An ancient temple that was built at the beginning of the 17th century with a pagoda that soars up to 12m. Go up the stone steps to reach the temple grounds built on the side of the mountain. Another highlight is the view of Kyoto from the grounds.
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Nison-in Temple
15:00 PM
Nison-in Temple
The majestic main gate was moved from Fushimi Castle to Nison-in Temple. The temple is famous as a site for the fall colors after late November, and once you get past the gate, “The Tunnel of Autumn Leaves” is a famous sight that goes off into the distance.
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Giou-ji Temple
15:40 PM
Giou-ji Temple
This is a very popular temple with women as a place where tragic love occurred. Although it is a small temple, take a walk through the modest grounds with the plain thatched-roof hut and garden which is covered in soft moss. In the bamboo forest garden, there is a rest area and a shop where you can enjoy a set of matcha tea and Japanese confections. It’s recommended that you take a rest here after touring the temples.
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Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple
16:20 PM
Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple
Located deep in Sagano, visit this temple that was built on an ancient funeral site. There is the amazing sight of countless stone Buddhist images placed on the Saiin-no-Kawara (Riverbank of the Western Temple). The bamboo forest leading up to the temple is also very popular for its mysterious scenery. The walk from Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station takes 30 minutes.
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JR Kyoto Station
8:30 AM
JR Kyoto Station
At Kyoto Station, not only Shinkansen bullet trains but other trains, airport buses, express buses and local buses all come and go here. Tourist information can be obtained on the 2nd-floor tourist information center. There are various ways to reach Arashiyama from Kyoto Station but one easy way is taking the JR Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station because there are no transfers required.
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