Arashiyama has held a special place in the hearts of Kyotoites for centuries, lured by its incredible natural scenery, amazing variety of temples and laid-back ambience. This is where Kyoto’s wealthy citizens built their villas, the city’s monks came to meditate for hours on end and where Japan’s most famous poets would lose themselves amongst the bamboo forests for inspiration.
After taking the train from Kyoto, we start by exploring Togetsukyo bridge, Kyoto’s most famous moon viewing spot, before making our way along the beautiful Oi river to a hill top Buddhist temple nestled deep in the forest with incredible views back to the city. Here we have the chance to talk with the resident monks and learn about zazen seated meditation, a form of spiritual chanting unique to Japan, while soaking up the serene atmosphere.
Walking back towards Arashiyama, we allow ample time to discover the area’s amazing food options and local craft shops. For vegetarian and vegan clients, there are a number of excellent choices including the chance to try Shojin Ryori (Japan’s sophisticated Buddhist cuisine) within the World Heritage listed Tenryuji temple grounds.
In the afternoon, we stroll through the stunning bamboo grove before taking some of the smaller backstreets to discover the area’s hidden charms. Options include Okochi Sanso, a spectacular villa and garden built by one of Japan’s silent movie stars, Rakushisha, the thatched roof retreat of a famous 17th century haiku poet, Giou-ji with it’s picturesque moss garden and the weird and wonderful carved stone faces which make up Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple.
We finish by exploring one of Japan’s best-preserved streets to learn about the area’s unique heritage and meet the resident artisans before heading back to the station via a local ‘Ashiyu’ foot bath – a great way to rest tired legs after a day of walking!
- Accommodation meet and greet
- Expert bilingual private guide
- UNESCO World Heritage sites
- Local spots and hidden gems
- Option to customise
The above price is the guide fee for up to 5 people, not per person
The price does not include transportation or temple / garden entrance fees for each guest and the guide – these are usually minimal
We will provide an accurate estimate of these fees and any customised options at the time of confirmation
Lunch is additional but we will recommend some great options to suit tastes and dietary requirements
As this is a private walking tour, we can adjust the pace and length to suit but please let us know of any mobility issues
Please note our cancellation policy under ‘FAQs’ and we ask all clients to have comprehensive travel insurance