Set against rolling mountains, Arashiyama greets the world with a different look every season. Outside of spring and fall, when the crowds descend on Arashiyama's blossoming landscape, you can tour the area at your leisure. Cycling around Arashiyama is a great way to soften the sting of the lingering summer heat.
(About 6.5 hours)
As the sweltering Kansai summer gives way to autumn, grab a bicycle and whisk through the lush fields and autumn leaves, calming rivers and gentle breezes. There are many temples and shrines scattered around Arashiyama. Visiting each one by bicycle is the most convenient way to see them. Bicycles are good for the environment and let you enjoy nature, shop-lined streets, and Kyoto's ancient houses of prayer.
Daikaku-ji Temple was originally a home to Emperor Saga. In the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), retired emperors would become priests at this temple. The temple was known as "Saga-gosho" and was deeply respected as a residence for former emperors. Osawa Pond, in the east, is all that remains of the imperial villa (Saga-rikyu). It is said that the Emperor modeled Osawa Pond after "Doteiko" Lake in China. The area is famous for cherry blossoms in the spring and lunar viewing in the fall.
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (No admission after 16:30)
Address: 4 Osawa-cho Saga Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City
Access: A short walk from city bus stop Daikaku-ji
Closed: Open year round
Fee: 500 yen (for 600 yen you can buy a joint ticket to see nearby Gio-ji Temple)
Rakushisha, "Hut of Fallen Persimmons," is a famous landmark built by the great Edo-period (1603-1868) reciter of haiku, Mukai Kyorai (1651-1704). The house takes its name from an occasion when local merchants agreed to buy seeds from the persimmon trees that surrounded the hut. During the night, a great typhoon swept through the forest and scattered all the seeds. On the grounds is a special mail box where you can slip in your own haikus. To see ripe persimmons on the trees, visit between October and November.
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (January and February, 10:00 - 16:00)
Address: 20 Hinomyoujin-cho Saga Ogurayama Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City
Access: 10-min walk from City Bus Stop Saga shogakko-mae
15-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station on the JR Sagano Line
Closed: Dec 31 and Jan 1
Fee: 200 yen, Elementary School Students: free
This Zen temple is registered as a World Heritage Site. The ceiling paintings including the must-see Unryu-zu (painting of a dragon in the clouds) are open for public viewing on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 10 am to 3:30 pm. During special exhibition periods in spring and autumn, it is opened every day. Tenryu-ji Temple is also home to the famous Sogenchi Garden. From there, walk down from the hills of Kyoto (Bokyo-no Oka) toward the western section of Kyoto to see scores of breath-taking sights.
Hours: 8:30 - 17:30 (October 21 to March 20, until 17:00)
Address: 68 Saga-tenryuji, Susukino Baba-cho Saga Tenryu-ji Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City
Access: A short walk from Arashiyama Station on the Randen Arashiyama Line
10-minute walk from JR Saga-arashiyama Station on the JR Sagano Line
1-minute walk from Kyoto Bus Stop Keifuku Arashiyama-eki-mae or City Bus Stop Arashiyama
Closed: Open year round
Fee: Garden and pond: Adults: 500 yen
Children (including Junior High School Students) 300 yen
Under Elementary School Students: free
Temple halls: 100 yen in addition to above price.
Ceiling paintings of Unryu-zu: 500 yen