The famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, also sometimes called the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, is located in northwestern Kyoto. Near the base of the “Storm Mountains” in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, this spectacular bamboo grove is a true sight to see, and one of the most famous forests in Japan.
Why The Bamboo Forest Is Special
Visitors describe their trip to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest as stepping into another world. Upon entering the forest, you’re surrounded by a sea of green bamboo stalks shifting in the breeze. The emerald light dapples the forest floor and infuses the area with a sense of magic and otherworldliness. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most photographed sights in Japan, and for good reason! If you’re traveling in Kyoto, it’s a unique and stunning destination like no other.
How Do I Get to the Bamboo Forest?
If you’re traveling from Tokyo, first take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to the Kyoto station. Once in Kyoto, take the JR Sagano or San-in lines to Saga-Arashiyama Station. A Japan Rail Pass makes traveling Japan by train easy and affordable!
Once you get off at Saga-Arashiyama Station, you have a couple of options to complete the final leg of the trip to the bamboo grove. You can either take a bus, which departs from the station every few minutes, or you can get there on foot after a short fifteen-minute walk.
If you’re looking for additional assistance seeing the best sights that Japan and Kyoto have to offer, you can also sign up for a guided tour of the area. These guided tours make traveling a breeze and include a custom selection of attractions, including the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
Entry to the Forest
The forest is open 24 hours a day, and entry is free. Because the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is such a popular attraction, it can get crowded during the day, especially in peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds, we recommend going early in the morning or late in the evening for a better chance of having the grove all to yourself.
Places to Stay in Kyoto
Kyoto is an extremely large and popular area of Japan, so there are plenty of options when it comes to places to stay. Ryokan, a type of traditional Japanese inn featuring traditional tatami floors and futons, are especially popular both among Japanese and foreign tourists. Ryokan are also a great way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and traditional customs. These inns are extremely diverse in terms of price, with affordable alternatives available for travelers on a tight budget. In many cases, ryokan also include dinner and breakfast featuring traditional Japanese cuisine and local specialties.
Our recommendations for where to stay in Kyoto near the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest:
- Hoshinoya Kyoto – This historic century-old property is a great way to visit Kyoto in style, with mid-range prices, charming accommodations, and beautiful scenery. There are often discounts available if you plan to stay several nights in a row.
- Arashiyama Benkei – This lovely riverside ryokan is located in Arashiyama, just a short journey away from the bamboo grove. The inn also features hot springs and traditional Japanese cuisine.
- Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo – This hotel is located near Kyoto station, making it a great choice for those looking to travel the Kyoto area by train. Royal Park Hotel features moderately-priced western-style rooms.
- Hanaikada – Near the Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama, Hanikada is a Japanese ryokan with natural hot springs and traditional accommodations. Hanaikada is conveniently located near the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, as well as other popular attractions including the Sagano Romantic Train and Tenryu-Ji Temple.
Popular Attractions and Activities
In addition to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, there are a variety of other nearby spots that are worth checking out, including the Sagano Romantic Train, Tenryu-ji Temple, Kameyama-Koen Park, and Iwatayama Monkey Park. Arashiyama and Kyoto are wonderful areas rich in natural beauty, historic sites, and unique attractions. If you’re looking to document every step of the experience, you can even rent pocket Wi-Fi to make sure that you stay connected on the go!
Sagano Romantic Train
This picturesque train ride is a great way to take in the natural beauty of the Arashiyama region. While the Sagano Romantic Train is especially popular during cherry blossom season in the spring and during peak foliage in the fall, it offers spectacular views of the Kyoto countryside all year round. The trip takes about 25 minutes each way, and the station is located conveniently near the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
The grounds of Tenryu-ji Temple are adjacent to the entrance to the bamboo grove, making this a great next stop after you finish basking in the emerald light of the forest. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, and one of the most popular attractions in Kyoto.
Kameyama-Koen Park is a beautiful hilltop park located at the end of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. The park has spectacular views, especially in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, and in the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak.
Iwatayama Monkey Park
Nearby in Arashiyama is the Iwatayama Monkey Park, a commercial park featuring a troop of over 170 Japanese macaque monkeys. While the monkeys are wild animals, visitors are able to interact with them, and may even purchase food to feed them with.