Togetsukyo (渡月橋), is a wood built bridge over the Oi river and one of Kyoto’s iconic landmarks located in the Arashiyama district.
First built almost 1200 years ago, Togetsukyo has come a timeless icon in poetry and ukiyo-e painting. The characters used translate as moon crossing bridge, or more freely translated as bridge over the moon. The name was given to the bridge by Emperor Kameyama who saw a radiant moon shine its light over the river, as a result it appeared as if the moon was crossing over the entire bridge.
Today Togetsukyo is a popular spot and often visited together with a visit to the Arashiyama district. The forested mountain backdrop together with the flowing river make for an enjoyable atmosphere. Offering many other attractions in the area, Togetsukyo is easy to fit in on any visit to Arashiyama.
Walking and exploring around Togetsukyo
There is plenty to see, do and experience around the bridge area. Try a matcha ice cream, visit a traditional tea house, visit the riverside park or go on a traditional boat ride over the rider.
Here are our top recommendations:
Follow the river trail: The trail on the side of Arashiyama mountain follows the river upstream from Togetsukyo and is one of the quieter and most scenic parts of the area. Follow the trail long enough, and you'll reach Daihikaku Senkoji Temple with a spectacular all-round view.
Kaneyama park: one of the nicest parts in the area, the park is a shelter for local monkeys and on a lucky day you may just encounter them. The park is a great spot for cherry blossom viewing and going for a picnic. The park is also connected to the famous Arashiyama bamboo grove.
Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama: Located directly on one corner of the bridge this coffee house brews some of the best coffee in Kyoto. Often coffee in Japan does not fit the more western way of making coffee, however you won't be dissapointed here.
Hōrin-ji: located at the southern side of the bridge this temple complex is located on a hill overlooking the Sagano area. The temple often hosts small festivals and is dedicated to the deity of electricity and thunder.
How to access Togetsukyo
Getting to Togetsukyo is fairly easy, from Kyoto station take the JR Sagano line and get out at Saga-Arashiyama station, from here it is about 10 minutes on foot. The train is fully covered by the JR Pass.
Alternatively, bus line 28 departs from Kyoto station and stops at Arashiyama-Tenryuji-mae bus stop. This bus is included in the Kyoto day bus pass, but not the JR Pass.