Arashiyama (or, 50 shades of red)

windows background arashiyama

Japan Diaries 8: 嵐山 | Arashiyama

Ever since reading Tricia Gosingtian’s Arashiyama travel diaries back in 2014, visiting Arashiyama was at the top of my bucket list. I didn’t expect to cross it off the next year, but I am eternally grateful that I did.

((Arashiyama is a town west of Kyoto city, and is one of the greatest places for kouyou (autumn foliage) viewing.))


First stop was Tenryu-ji, the most important of Arashiyama’s 5 zen temples. Whilst it was originally built in the 1300s, due to various fires and wars, the current structure had only been built during the Meiji period (mid 1800s-early 1900s)


The garden, however, remains the original design.

There blue skies and little wind, meaning the pond was transformed into a looking glass, spreading red and orange hues from land to water.

4_k y branch

< 3


back at it again with enchanted forest vibes. when sunlight hits moss, it really does have a mystical, magical effect.


Walking through the gardens of Tenryu-ji leads strait to the bamboo forest!


For a while, there were no people within my vicinity. No people. No noise. Just the sound of bamboo leaves, brushing against each other as they swayed in the gentle breeze. Almost like white noise, it gave the feeling of a zen sort of serene peace.

7_bambooforeststAnd then the moment explodes into a dissonant symphony ‘omgg’ ‘sugeeeee’ etc. as tour groups and schoolkids flood into the forest.


baked sweet potato cart at the end!

9_hair shrine10_pls no bald

On the way to our next stop, we took a slight detour into Mikami shrine, i.e. a shrine for hair. The above card says ‘no going bald’ x 3 lolol.


Sometimes it feels like Arashiyama was built around autumn… even the drain grills say so.

12_artistically placed leaf

Next up was Jojakko-ji (just a short walk away). It was a long climb up to the actual temple, but stairs were lined with maples so at least my lack of fitness was suffering in a beautiful environment lol.

DSC0649711_city view

The view after the climb.

more kouyoukoyou a fkouyou a f II

Turns out admiring the kouyou is quite energy draining, and there were some restuarants and shops on the street outside the temple grounds, so we took a brief break from nature.


Tempura udon~

DSC06504 Cute souvenir shops ^_^


Our final stop was Seiryo-ji, which was constructed in the 1st century as a replica of Qingliang-shan in China. If you look carefully, the details are different from the most Japanese designs.


The weather began to cloud up at the point and drizzle at this point so I gave up on photos


From there, we walked back to Hankyu-Arashiyama station (which involved passing through the JR Arashiyama station pictured above).

It was a long but very satisfying day~~


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