Kyoto west

1200 years ago, Kyoto was Japan's capital and aristocracy developped during the Heian era. During that time, this high social class built somptuous residencies and villas, transforming Kyoto into a very distinguished and elegant city. Many of them were fond of Arashiyama, reasonnably distanced from the city, that offered a quiet environment with the serenity of surrounding nature and the rythm of Katsuragawa river sounds crossing Hozukyo gorge. A lot of temples were constructed then. Nowadays, you can still enjoy this peaceful heaven and relax at one of the local café, before shopping for a little souvenir. Unlike its name (literally "the mountain of tempest"), Arashiyama is a wonderful place to enjoy the changing colors of landscapes through the passing seasons and visit gorgeous temples.

- Nonomiya-jinja shrine

The Nonomiya sanctuary is a small historical shintoist temple: women of the noble family would come to puriy themselves before becoming a Shinto maiden at Ise grand shrine.
In the entrance of the shrine, there is a black torii gate in the very ancient style and a beautiful mossy garden and the Kameishi (turtle shaped rock). Entering the garden will grant one of your wish.
In the Tale of Genji (literary work from the 9th century), there is a description of this shrine which made it famous as a match-making point.


- The path into the bamboo grove

This bamboo grove is a famous touristic place and often mentioned in the television, in many magazines and guidebooks. It is a small charming path of 200m.

The bamboos are very high and they even cover the sky. Sunlights through the bamboos are very beautiful whether if it is a fine or a cloudy day. 
Every year in December, the bamboo forest is put in illumination and you can see the fantastic and mysterious beauty at night time.

- Tenryu-ji temple

Among the five big temples of Kyoto, the Tenryuji is classified as the highest temple of Zen.
Back in time when the shogun and the emperor fighted and splitted Japan in two, the shogun built this temple for appeasing the spirit of the emperor when he would win. 
Because of consecutive fires, most of the buildings are gone. But for its historic value and its importance, it was classified as World Heritage. 
The garden of Soseki Muso, first chief priest and famous architect of gardens as well as the Sogenchi pound where you will see a beautiful nature reflecting are the must-see-spots for your Arashiyama visit.



- Togetsukyo Bridge (Moon crossing bridge)

In the west side of Kyoto, on the Katsuragawa river, the Togetsukyo bridge is often mentioned in the guidebook as a symbol of Arashiyama.
In Japanese, it is written as "Moon crossing bridge", because of the poem the emperor wrote when he was enjoying boating and saw the full moon crossing the bridge over the starry sky.
This bridge has been built for the first time in 1200 years ago, and it collapsed every time under flood, and restored many times.
The bridge today is a restored version of 1934, and it still perfectly matches with the landscape of Arashiyama.

- Iwatayama, monkey park

When you cross over the Togetsukyo bridge, there is a shrine and also the entrance of the park. After the ticket counter, going up the stairs and mountain path for 15-20 minutes, you will find the park on the top of the mountain.
There are around 120 wild monkeys are feeded and you can see them free in the nature. They are tame and do not attack you. 
In the resting place, you can buy their food by 100yen, and you can geed them over the net.
As this park is located in the top of the mountain, so that you can enjoy also the amasing panoramic view of Kyoto.


- Arashiyama "Yakatabune"

The boating in Arashiyama was an aristocratique hobby since 1200 years. You can enjoy the view from the roofed boat rowed by boatperson.
The natural view of each season of Arashiyama that you see from the boat will be magnificent.
You can charter a boat for 2 persons.

- The Hozugawa River Cruise in Kyoto

You see the difference in each season of a year, the countryside around Kyoto is beautiful. The old capital of Japan, Kyoto remains the ancient beauty of the country and you can enjoy this nature on the Hozu river in Arashiyama district, where used to popular among aristocrats.

Kameoka, the place where the cruise starts, was a small farming village whose goods were transported to Kyoto. While sailing on the river Hozu, we take the same path as the old boatmen of the time, who transported wood for construction of some very famous temples of the former capital (794-1868) and the Osaka castle. You will have the impression of traveling back in time, sailing on the waters of the river next to the special sightseing train Sagano Torokko. It passes through an alley full of cherry blossoms in early spring. But each season makes the nature spectacular in this valley, especially during the Koyo, the autumn leaves. You will be aboard a traditional wooden boat guided by a boatman with a pole to guide and the boat goes through some rapids thrillingly. The rest of the route is quite calm and allows you to admire the beauty of the mountains surreunded. In summer, the water of the river is crystal clear and the light adds extra attraction.

Arashiyama station and the Tram Randen(Keifuku electric railway, Arashiyama line)
You will see Kyo-Yuzen in the station of Arashiyama, the method of this has the history of more than 300 years.
You will see 600 pillars of Kyo-Yuzen (the methode of dyeing technique for kimono invented 300 years ago) designed by a worldwide reputated  international interior decorater, Yasumichi Morita.
In the night time, the illumination is very fantastic.


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