The Most Famous Bamboo Forest in Japan

Sound of swaying stalks!!

Can you imagine a place where towering green bamboo swings in the wind, colliding with each other and making murmur sounds of leaves!!

When the sun peeks through the densely packed grove, it reflects on your face with a sweet touch.

You are wandering through a forest, taking pictures of the wide trail, and recording the sound of nature.

Yes, that will be your experience when you go to the most famous bamboo forest in Japan.

If you note down places you should visit once before dying, it needs to be listed.

And the name of this place is Arashiyama Bamboo Grove or Sagano Bamboo Forest.

Today, I will give you a virtual ride through these rattling stalks, so be ready to fly through with me.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Facts & Travel Guide

Arashiyama bamboo grove is one of the special places in Japan, which attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Only a handful of countries have this type of bamboo forest, and among them, I think this one is the most spectacular.

Arashiyama bamboo forest

Now, the first question that everyone has on their mind is, where is Arashiyama Bamboo Grove? 

Well, this forest is located in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, near the base of the Storm Mountains.

It is actually two separate bamboo groves, which are between the Sagano-Saiin line train tracks and Tenryu-ji Temple grounds.

The combined length of the forest is around 500 meters and about 140 meters wide.

The address of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is 〒605-0028 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Bunkicho, 61 City House JOY Sanjo.

In the center of the eastern section near the main street, you will find a famous Shinto Shrine, Nonomiya-jinja.

And on the southern edge of the western side, you will see the lovely gardens and halls of Tenryu-ji Temple, one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Kyoto. 

Tenryu-ji temple garden area

The grove mostly consists of Moso Bamboo and has several pathways for visitors and tourists.

Okay, it seems like you are getting impatient to know about its beauty in detail.

So, I am going to describe its specialty without further delay.

Why This Bamboo Forest Is So Exceptional

Going to Sagano Bamboo Forest will make you feel like stepping into a whole other world.

Upon entering the grove, you will be surrounded by an ocean of bamboo stalks swaying in the breeze.

Bamboo forest

The sunray flecks the forest floor, fills the area with a sense of magic, and makes it look like an earthly paradise.

It’s such a peaceful natural spot that will let you experience a sensational view.

When the wind blows through the forest, it sounds like nature is singing a quiet and calming song that can satisfy your soul with a feeling of tranquility.

That’s why a few years ago, the Ministry of Environment included the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest on its list of “100 Soundscapes of Japan”, a place where you should drop by to enjoy nature’s music while escaping from the everyday noises.

Saganoo bamboo forest

Well, it is not only the most famous bamboo forest in Japan but also one of the highest photographed sights in the country.

It’s a unique and stunning location where people want to get lost to find their true selves.

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Now that you know about this forest’s beauty, I am going to let you know what things you can do here.

Things to Do in Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

There are several ways of exploring through this earthy heaven.

Let’s find out one by one together.

1. Enjoy A Rickshaw Tour on The Scenic Road

You may know that Kyoto is one of the best cities to visit in Japan because of its beautiful tourist spots and trails.

Many people come here to enjoy an authentic Japanese rickshaw tour.

So, wandering around the endless bamboo forest with this rickshaw will allow you to cherish the incredible view.

Rickshaw tour in Arashiyama bamboo forest

If you are traveling with your sweetheart, this rickshaw ride will be a perfect treat for a romantic date.

In this way, you can relax and spend quality time with your bae while exploring the beauty of the forest.

By the way, the ride will cost around 5000 to 7000 yen, depending on where you want to stop by.

Rickshaw for rent in Arashiyama

You can also have the option to visit the shrines of the Arashiyama district and the alleys in Higashiyama district with this rickshaw.

Hence, pick your sites before renting them.

In that case, the cost of the ride will increase.

2. Walk Through The Path on Foot

A walking tour inside the forest will be the best way to explore it when you want to cherish every detail and take lots of photos.

If you come in the daytime, you can capture a picture of the sun rays piercing through the stalks.

Also, you will be able to watch the forest’s green view.

walk through the trail

And coming to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove at night will allow you to walk on the illuminated trail.

Just imagine strolling in the flickering lighted path when the sensual sound of the night is guiding you. It will be an adventure of finding something ethereal!!

Arashiyama bamboo forest at night

Well, I want to help you a bit more by giving you a walking tour guide.

Although you can enter the Sagano Bamboo Grove from the main street of Arashiyama, I have always found the first section too crowded.

Thus, entering via the north exit of Tenryu-ji Temple will allow you to skip the worst crowd.

Tenryu-ji temple park

After traversing the scenic part of the Bamboo Grove, you can visit Okochi-Sanso Villa and Kameyama-Koen Park before going to the Katsura River and walking down to the main street of Arashiyama.

This walk may take around one hour if you move non-stop, but it probably requires more than two hours if you slow down to enjoy the sights.

3. Pay A Visit to The Other Renowned Attraction Nearby The Bamboo Grove

Around the Sagano Bamboo Forest, there are various other spots worthy of checking out, including the Sagano Romantic train and Iwatayama Monkey Park.

During cherry blossom, riding on the romantic train is a great way to relish the natural beauty of the Arashiyama region.

Sagano romantic railway

Besides, it also offers a spectacular view of Kyoto’s countryside, especially in spring and fall.

The trip takes approximately 25 minutes each way, and the good thing is that the station is located near the bamboo forest.

On the left side of the grove, you will find the Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark since the Heian Period.

Togetsukyo bridge

If possible, try to meet a troop of over 170 Japanese macaque monkeys in the Iwatayama Monkey Park.

Even though these monkeys are wild animals, visitors can interact with them.

Hence, don’t miss the opportunity to befriend these naughty creatures!!

Iwatayama Monkey park

Wait!! Wait!!

Do you know how to reach the forest or where to stay in Kyoto?

Maybe you don’t.

Therefore, I am presenting some essential information regarding this place now.

As I don’t want you to be lost like a puppy, that’s why I will let you know how to get there first.

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How to Get to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest?

In case you are traveling from Tokyo, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen (Japanese high-speed rail line) from Tokyo to Kyoto.

After you arrive in Kyoto, take the Sagano or San-in lines to Saga-Arashiyama Station.

Or, you can take Kyoto City Bus #28, Kyoto Bus #71, #72, #73 to Saga-Arashiyama Station.

From downtown Kyoto, ride City Bus #11 or #28, and for the train, ride the Keifuku Arashiyama Line to Arashiyama Station.

Once you get off the station, you have a few options to reach the forest.

You can either take a bus that departs from the station every few minutes or walk for 10-15 minutes to reach there.

It will be better if you use Google Maps navigation while walking from the station to the spot.

Anyway, if you are looking for extra assistance, you can also sign up for a guided tour of the area to make your traveling easier.

Entry Information & Visiting Hour

The forest is open 24 hours, 7 days, while the entry fee is free.

As Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most popular attractions in Japan, it often gets crowded during the daytime, especially in peak tourist season (fall & spring).

That’s why I recommend you visit this place early in the morning or late in the evening.

If you get lucky, you may have a better chance to enjoy the forest all by yourself during these times.

Arashiyama bamboo grove

Ohh, I forgot to say that you should avoid weekends when the locals visit the area.

As I said, there is no admission fee for entering the forest, but temples and residences within the route may require a minor payment for visiting.

Best Season to Visit This Grove

Most travelers come to see this forest during spring and summer because nature is truly breathtaking in this period.

However, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove has a stunning outlook in winter that many people miss out on.

When the summer soothes your eyes with the natural greenery, winter represents a combination of white & green.

If you come here in December, I recommend you visit the grove at night cause the trails get illuminated, and the forest looks like a magical dreamland.

Bamboo grove with lighting

This lighting festival is called Arashiyama Hanatouro illuminations that takes place only in December for around ten days, between 5 PM and 8.30 PM.

Shortly, no matter which season you choose to visit here, you will be blessed with a jaw-dropping scene.

The Climate of The Region

Kyoto’s bamboo forest has unpredictable weather with a cool climate and bright sunlight.

Here, the summers are short, hot, and mostly cloudy.

On the other hand, the winters are windy, cold, and partly cloudy.

Over the year, the temperature typically ranges from 32°F to 89°F.

The summer lasts for about two months (from June 23 to September 17), with an average high temperature above 80°F daily.

And the winter stays for around three months (from December 3 to March 18), with an average high temperature below 53°F daily.

As I have informed you about the weather of these times, now you can choose your clothes according to your visiting period.

Where to Stay in Kyoto?

Since Kyoto is an extremely famous area in Japan, there are plenty of accommodation options.

Although you can choose to stay in a modern hotel, I suggest you rest in a Ryokan.

It is a traditional Japanese inn with tatami floors and futons, which are popular among foreign tourists.

Ryokan also lets you immerse yourself in Japanese customs and culture.

What!! Are you worried about the price?

No worries, my friend, these inns have a different cost range, including affordable alternatives for travelers on a tight budget.

Moreover, if you want, you can stay in a temple such as Shunkoin Temple Guest House, where the cost starts from 4,500 Yen.

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One lovely riverside ryokan is located near the Bamboo Forest named Arashiyama Benkei, which features a hot spring and traditional Japanese cuisine.

Ryokan in Kyoto

Another inn is Hanaikada, which is closer to the Togetsukyo Bridge.

It will be convenient to stay here because it is near the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the Tenryu-Ji Temple and Sagano Romantic train.

Restaurants Around The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Food is all you need after wandering around the bamboo grove.

Don’t you?

There are a few restaurants lined on the main street of Arashiyama district that serve local specialties.

Point to be noted that some of these restaurants close shortly after sunset.

For example, Steak Otsuka is only open for lunch.

Although it’s a bit troublesome to get into this place as reservations aren’t accepted.

Hence you have to show up early to put your name on the list, but the struggle will be worth it when you taste its mouthwatering cuts of wagyu beef steaks.

Wagyu beef steak

In the evening, I recommend devouring a traditional multi-course kaiseki meal.

You can also consider going to Shoraian, a lovely mountain-side traditional restaurant, or Kyoto Kitcho, which has three Michelin stars.

Okay, as far as now, you got to know some essential facts about this bamboo forest that will help you to guide you to this place.

But aren’t you curious to know the purpose of the bamboo forest?

If yes, then the next segment is for you.

History of Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama has been a beloved location of imperial and noble villas and temples since the days of classical Japan (Heian Period).

Bamboo was a common element in the gardens of these villas.

During the Edo Period, bamboo was cultivated here for use in Japanese crafts and eating because bamboo shoots are famous ingredients in Japanese food.

bamboo shoot dry soup

However, due to economic changes in the modern era, many bamboo forests in Arashiyama were abandoned or turned into housing areas.

Despite that, the government took a step in 1967 to protect the remaining bamboo trees, which is why you can enjoy today’s fantastic grove.

Some Other Famous Bamboo Forest in Japan

Besides the Sagano Bamboo forest, there are plenty of other groves in Kyoto.

Many temples in Kyoto have them, such as Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple and Kodaiji.

Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple bamboo forest

They even illuminate the path at various times of the year.

The former capital of Kyoto, Nagaoka, has a large bamboo forest where it is grown for food and is one of the significant suppliers of bamboo stalks to market.

Also, Yahata and Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine have bamboo that became famous by Thomas Edison, who used it to make the world’s first commercially workable electric light bulbs.

Till now, I have only talked about all the bamboo parks in Kyoto.

However, what if you can’t visit Kyoto, and your tour plan is only limited to Tokyo.

Well, in such a case, you can consider going to Suzume-no Oyado Ryokuchi Park, Jidayubori Park, Higashikurumeshi Chikurin Park, Tonogayato Garden, and Roka Koshun-en Park.

Nevertheless, these bamboo parks are not as attractive as Sagano Bamboo Grove, yet they are worth visiting in Tokyo.

Anyway, we are at the edge of our writing.

Let’s wrap it up here.

Conclusion

I assume no question remains on your mind that I didn’t answer regarding the famous bamboo forest in Japan.

If you come to visit this place, I can assure that you will make some beautiful memories and capture breathtaking views.

But, I suggest you not miss the other attractive location of Kyoto as well, as it is also one of the best cities to travel in Japan.

Finally, I want to say goodbye with a Japanese proverb.

“The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists. ”