Arashiyama is a district located in the western suburbs of Kyoto. Initially a place of stroll for the imperial court, today tourists flock to it from the Togetsukyo bridge. They admire the views between its flowery mountains in spring and red-coloured mountains in autumn. The magnificent bamboo grove adds a touch of green to it in all seasons.
Arashiyama's key point is probably its famous Togetsukyo bridge which, as soon as it exits public transport, cuts through the Katsura and Hozu rivers. Legend has it that this "bridge crosses the moon" (literal translation) and the Japanese appreciate it especially as a couple or family, to contemplate the cherry blossoms in spring or the red maple leaves in autumn.
From there, the two hot spots of Arashiyama are accessible to visitors:
the north with the famous bamboo grove and Tenryu-ji temple, access to Torokko and the long shopping street that distributes its (expensive) souvenir shops and restaurants, to the Daikaku-ji and Adashino Nenbutsu-ji temples above;
and the south to access in particular the walk on Iwata, the low mountain with hundreds of macaques.
Boat cruises are organized on Hozu-gawa between March and November. At the bottom, the mountains rise up as if to protect Kyoto's northwestern flank. Nearby, rickshaw rides are also available to enjoy Arashiyama on land.
It is possible to stay in the area to enjoy its typical and very pleasant atmosphere once the late afternoon is over, when most of the visitors have left. However, this location will make escapades less convenient than from the city centre, close to Kyoto main station.
Arashiyama, very touristic, belongs to the much larger domain of Sagano. Just to the south, the Matsuo area is home to the imperial villa Katsura and the famous temple of mosses.