Japan | Kyoto | Arashiyama

Arashiyama – The Perfect One Day Self Walking Tour – Otagi Nenbutsuji to Togetsukyo Bridge

Arashiyama | Kyoto

– The Perfect One Day Self Walking Tour –

Otagi Nenbutsuji to Togetsukyo Bridge

Walking along the ancient Atago Kaido road to Arashiyama is like stepping back in time. While most tourists only want to flock to the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, starting your journey at the Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple offers a more immersive experience. As you stroll down the ancient road, you can enjoy the serene beauty of the Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, the tranquil Jōjakkōji Temple, the stunning Okochi Sanso Garden, and the magnificent Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. If you start in the morning, you can take your time and soak in all the sights. By the time you reach the Arashiyama Village and Togetsukyo Bridge, you’ll have experienced a side of Japan that many miss. This was our approach, and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our two-week trip to Japan.

Full Journey Map | Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple to Togetsukyo Bridge

#1 | Visit Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple

We timed the start of our Atago Kaido Road to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest journey to when Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple opens for the day – at 9 am (at other times during the year, they open at 8 am). After a short visit to this interesting temple, we began our walking journey along Ancient Atago Kaido Road, (which runs in front of Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple). Just exit to your right when leaving the temple.

The Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, is known for its 1200 unique Rakan statues, each representing Buddha’s disciples. Originally built in 770, the temple was relocated and rebuilt multiple times due to natural disasters. From 1981 to 1991, visitors were invited to carve their own statues, resulting in a diverse collection with humorous and unique expressions.

Atago Kaido Road in Front of Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple

#2 | Begin Walking Tour | Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple to Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple

We experience a variety of sights along Atago Kaido Road – beautiful moss-covered stone walls, small local shops, and restaurants, Japanese thatched roofs, small spiritual/Buddhist shrines, residential homes, homestays, and many beautiful trees and flowers. It was so peaceful and quiet.

Moss Covered Stone Walls at the Beginning of our Atago Kaido Road Journey

Walking Map | Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple to Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple

#3 | Visit Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple

Adashino Nenbutsuji is a special Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. It’s in a quiet area called Sagano. The temple is famous because it has more than 8,000 statues! These statues are there to remember people who died and didn’t have families or were too poor to have a proper burial.

The temple started a long time ago, around the 8th century. A monk named Kukai founded it. Every year, in the last week of August, they have a special ceremony. They light thousands of candles to honor the spirits of those who have passed away.

The temple is also surrounded by beautiful nature. You can see lovely colors from the plants and trees, and there’s even a bamboo forest nearby. It’s a peaceful and interesting place to visit

8,000+ Statues at Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple

#4 | Walk to Jōjakkōji Temple

For the next section along Atago Kaido Road – we experience more small local shops, restaurants, residential homes, and homestays. As we went further south (towards Jōjakkōji Temple Temple), we started noticing more and more people.

Walking to Jōjakkōji Temple on Atago Kaido Road

Walking Map | Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple to Jōjakkōji Temple

#5 | Visit Jōjakkōji Temple

Jōjakkōji Temple is a beautiful temple in Kyoto, Japan. It was established at the end of the 16th century. The temple is located on the side of a mountain called Mt. Kokura1. It’s famous for its stunning autumn leaves.

The temple has a main hall and a pagoda, both of which have beautiful Buddhist images. The pagoda is an Important Cultural Property and offers a fantastic view of Kyoto. The temple is usually quiet and surrounded by greenery, making it a great place to relax

Entrance to Jōjakkōji Temple

#6 | Walk to Okochi Sanso Garden

After leaving Jōjakkōji Temple (heading toward Okochi Sanso Garden and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest) we encountered a beautiful section that was lined with residential houses. After this (on the right) we passed by a large pond full of lotus plants – of course, with it being February, they were not blooming. Then we started seeing lots of giant bamboo towering overhead, so we knew we were getting closer to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.

Walking to Jōjakkōji Temple on Atago Kaido Road

Walking Map | Jōjakkōji Temple to Okochi Sanso Garden

#8 | Visit Okochi Sanso Garden

Okochi Sanso Garden is a beautiful and peaceful garden in Arashiyama, Kyoto. It was once the home of a famous Japanese actor named Okochi Denjiro. The garden is known for its stunning views and tranquil atmosphere. It’s made up of a villa and a Japanese garden that covers about 20,000 square meters. You can see lovely ponds, waterfalls, and streams, and the garden changes with the seasons. It’s especially beautiful when the cherry trees are blossoming or during fall when the leaves change color. Although you can’t go inside the villa, you can enjoy matcha tea outside or in a special room surrounded by trees and bamboo. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for a quiet and beautiful spot in Kyoto.

Okochi Sanso Garden

#9 | Visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, also known as Sagano Bamboo Forest, is a beautiful natural forest of bamboo located in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan. It’s one of the most photographed places in Kyoto. The forest is filled with tall bamboo trees, and walking through it feels like you’re in a green tunnel. The light that filters through the bamboo makes the place look magical.

The forest is open all day and night, and it’s free to enter. There are shops nearby that sell goods made from bamboo. Besides the bamboo forest, you can also visit the Iwatayama Monkey Park, where you can see over 120 Japanese macaque monkeys.

So, if you’re in Kyoto, don’t miss the chance to visit this amazing place. It’s a great spot to connect with nature and experience the beauty of Japan

Entrance to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Location Map | Okochi Sanso Garden & Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Okochi Sanso Garden and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest are easy to find as they both are located next to each other.

#10 | Walking Map | Walk to Nonomiya Shrine

From Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, it is an easy walk to Nonomiya Shrine (located on the left).

#11 | Visit Nonomiya Shrine

Nonomiya Shrine, also known as the Shrine in the Country, is a small Shinto shrine located in the Arashiyama district on the west side of Kyoto, Japan. It’s near the famous bamboo forest. The shrine has a long history and was founded as a place for imperial princesses to purify themselves before serving at the Ise Shrine.

The shrine is known for its unique black torii gate, which is made to look like unstripped timber. This style of gate is a reminder of the oldest style of Shinto torii gates. The shrine is surrounded by a beautiful bamboo forest and has a lovely little garden filled with moss.

Nonomiya Shrine is famous for helping women. Many women visit the shrine to pray for finding love, having children, and safe childbirth. The shrine also sells marriage talismans. It’s a quaint stop along the Sagano walking path that takes visitors through the gorgeous bamboo forest.

Entrance to Nonomiya Shrine

#12 | Walk through Arashiyama Village to Togetsukyo Bridge

This last section of today’s walking tour along Atago Kaido Road completes today’s journey through the district of Arashiyama. After leaving Nonomiya Shrine, you will walk through the busy touristy area of Arashiyama Village and finish up at Togetsukyo Bridge.

Walking Map | Arashiyama Village to Togetsukyo Bridge

How do you know if you are walking the right way after leaving Nonomiya Shrine? Just follow the crowd – we found that almost everyone was going towards Togetsukyo Bridge to leave Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.

#13 | Arashiyama Village

Walk through Busy Touristy Area of Arashiyama Village

#14 | Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo Bridge

#15 | End Walking Tour

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