Kyoto is well known in Japan for being a historical and picturesque place, as many travel articles you read encourage you to visit.
Arashiyama is located in western Kyoto and it is everything you want from Japan: it’s breathtakingly beautiful and the tranquility is gladly welcomed if you have just spent a few days in bustling Tokyo or Osaka.
Probably the main attraction of Arashiyama is Iwatayama Monkey Park, which is located on Mt. Arashiyama . The climb to the park itself isn’t the easiest, especially when the powerful Japanese summer heat is suffocating you, but the view and the experience at the top is worth the slog. Random electric fans are strategically placed along the inclining pathway to provide some relief—just don’t forget to take water.
The park itself is a quirky little place, inhabited by hundreds of macaque monkeys who are on a mission to eat. Snacks for the monkeys can be purchased from an attendant, but feeding them is only allowed through a metal fence.
Even if adorable little monkeys aren’t your thing, then the gorgeous scenery and the panoramic view is still worth the mini-hike!
The second biggest attraction of Arashiyama is the bamboo forest. A google search will bring up unspoiled images of gorgeous greenery and thousands of shooting stalks—unfortunately, that isn’t the reality. Like most tourist attractions, I personally found the bamboo forest overrun with people and I didn’t find the whole experience that interesting. But, as I was already in the area, I don’t regret checking it out.
Whilst strolling around Arashiyama it is impossible not to notice the winding banks of the Hozugawa Kudari river. A trip down the river on one of the various types of boats tour groups offer looks quite appealing, but expensive. Due to the fact I am a poor backpacker, I didn’t splash the cash, however If I returned I would make sure I had enough money to experience the entrancing opportunity. I did find walking along the river banks quite enjoyable and relaxing!
I think it is worth noting that aside from these 3 main attractions, Arashiyama is crammed with local shops, restaurants and coffee shops, that are worth checking out!