Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is THAT place. You know the one, even if you don’t know it by name. It is on every list of “Top places to visit in Japan” and it should most definitely be on yours!
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is located in the Arashiyama prefecture of Kyoto – about 10 minutes outside of the main Kyoto district. If you’ve made yourself familiar with Kyoto’s train system, the first part of the trip to get to Arashiyama will be easy – you need to get on the JR Sagano line to Saga-Arashiyama. From there, you follow the main street of Arashiyama towards the forest, whilst following the signs for it. Alternatively, you could hire a Rickshaw that will take you to and then into the forest.
The actual Bamboo Grove path is about 4kms long, so it’s completely optional how long you spend there and how far you wonder as well – it really depends on why you’re visiting!
Nine times out of ten, people will visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove just for the gram (and I’ll be honest, that’s what initially drew me in!) but there is so much more to see there. I loved wandering the nearby streets and sitting on the edge of the path and being present and acknowledging how rare it is to find something as pristine and untouched as this. Now, this does not mean it will be quiet when you visit – it will most likely be packed, but only in the first stretch, usually before people start to turn back – the further you wander, the less packed it will be.
Like all sights to visit, there are good times to visit and not quite so good times as well. For the Bamboo Grove, there isn’t a better season to visit as all the Bamboo protects you to a certain point – I was there when it was really humid in the sun, but when I was wandering around the paths, it was actually quite cool. So I’m not actually sure how it would go in winter, but in the warmer months, it was really nice! As for the time of day, early morning is definitely the best time as it won’t be all that busy and you’ll have more time to visit.
For now, I think the best way to convince you to visit is with photos….
Have you had the chance to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest before? What’s your favourite time of day and season to visit?