Travel Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

by - Monday, May 22, 2017

Last Monday, my mom and I went to Osaka to renew our passports. Kyoto is just a couple minutes away from Osaka and a local train from Shin-Osaka would only cost ¥560 so I thought, "why not go to Kyoto?"

(Thankful to this lovely couple who unknowingly posed for me. Easily my favorite photo from Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, more of these later)

After going to Universal Studios, I asked to be left in Osaka and stayed for a night. And yes, again, I did what I always love doing, I traveled alone to KYOTO the very next morning.

Been planning this Kyoto trip since God-knows-when. I love Tokyo, I love the city, and needless to say we all do love Japan, but the very first thing that pops in my head when I think of Japan isn't anime, the busy streets of Shibuya, the high-tech gadgets, nor the quirky stuff in Harajuku. It's always been the temples, the shrines, the castles, the kimono, the daimyo, the samurai (history), the old houses --- AND ALL OF THAT IS KYOTO.

Kyoto Station. While Kyoto station is also wide and huge like Tokyo station, I find that it is easier to explore. Most of the tourist spots' train lines are in the same floor, sign boards are huge and easy to follow.

Actually, I don't know how to write this post without sounding overly Kyoto-fanatic, but I guess, I am. I was totally in my element and playing pretend local who knows her way in and out of Kyoto when obviously it was my first time.

My extremely planned itinerary consists of going to train-reachable tourist spots first. These include Fushimi Inari Taisha (which I'll blog later) and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.

From Kyoto station, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest can be reached by a 15-min local train ride through JR Sagano line. From Saga-arashiyama Station the bamboo forest is 10-15 mins walk away.

If you feel like strolling around in Kimono, there are also kimono rental shops along the way. Depending on your budget, some shops offer hair and makeup + indoor photoshoot.

The bamboo forest is open 24 hours and is free for everyone. No wonder, it was packed with tourists even on a Tuesday morning. (link)

I don't want to disappoint you so for now, you'll see photos with the wonderful view of the bamboo forest plus bearable number of photobombers aka tourists, kidding!

Above are some of my favorite shots that can pass as legit wallpapers

Bamboo up-close

Reality. Photos below will show you how crowded it was that day!

Travel Tip:
Go early in the morning or late in the evening to beat the crowd.
I heard there's a dreamy nighttime illumination that looks rather otherworldly during Winter.

Pass by the entrance (this applies to any tourist spot) and go straight to the main area.
If taking good photos (without the crowd) is one of your main goals, I highly suggest this trick. DO NOT TAKE SELFIES/PHOTOS AT THE ENTRANCE and go straight to the main area or chief destination and just take photos of the entrance later. This is highly effective if you're coming early in the morning with the other tourists,

This is a photo taken at the beginning of the bamboo walk path. Imagine, if there were 50 people who arrived at the same time as mine, 80% of those will most probably stop at the entrance to take photos. Chances are you will only have a difficult time posing for a photo there, so might as well enjoy the main area while the rest are busy at the entrance, right?

Rent a bike or ride a rickshaw for experience
The Arashiyama area isn't all about the Bamboo forest, it is also filled with shrines, temples, and even a monkey park, if you have a couple of time to spare, renting a bike will come in handy.


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