Arashiyama & The Oi River

When we were planning our trip to Arashiyama we had specific sights we were hoping to see – the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and the Iwatayama Monkey Park. I was absolutely not expecting the beauty of the Oi River and it’s surrounding areas.

As we exited the Bamboo Grove we walked right into the middle of the Arashiyama forest that surrounds the Oi River. I’m pretty sure we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way, because there were hardly any other people around and all of the signs were suddenly in Japanese with no English subtitles, but I have never been more thankful.

The mountains surrounding the Oi River in Arashiyama provided some of the most beautiful scenery I had ever accidentally stumbled across. The peacefulness of this place was something truly special. Coming from the bustling cities of Tokyo and Kyoto it was just so unexpected and very welcomed. We spent a lot more time in Arashiyama than we thought because of this beautiful place.

If you’re coming into Arashiyama I would definitely recommend taking a minute to take a walk along the Oi River and really enjoy the beauty of the area. Depending on what season you’re visiting in, every experience will be significantly different. We visited in summer so everything was beautifully green and lush. If you’re visiting in Spring you can expect to see the amazing cherry blossom season in full bloom. During Autumn the mountains provide a stunning variety of red, yellow and orange leaves. And in winter you can expect icy white trees from the snow. If you have some time check out Google Images to see the difference between the seasons, it’s honestly amazing and every season seems more beautiful than the last!

I was happy that we visited in summer though. Summer is my season. I love it when the trees are green and the sky is blue and everything is hot! To escape the heat we decided to take a leisurely hour long ride along the Oi River in one of the traditional wooden boats. It was the perfect end to our time in Arashiyama and one of my favourite experiences in Japan. No trip to Kyoto is complete without a trip to Arashiyama, it was honestly spectacular.

To get to Arashiyama from Kyoto Station take the JR Sagano Line to Sara-Arashiyama Station, where you can then get to central Arashiyama in a short 5 to 10 minute walk. Due to traffic and congestion taxis and buses are not recommended as they can often include heavy traffic delays.

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Emma Shaw

Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started A Make Believe World to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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