Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a very popular tourist destination in Kyoto and by very popular I mean extremely popular. Located in the western part of Kyoto, it attracts hundreds of tourists and tour groups each day. When researching things to do and see in Kyoto, I can guarantee that the Bamboo Forest will always be included just like Fushimi Inari Taisha or Kinkaku-ji Temple.
The Bamboo Forest was high up on my bucket list and I knew if I wanted to be visiting the place, I needed to wake up bright and early to skip all the crowds.
Several pathways guide you through the forest and I encourage all of you to really take in the beauty of all the bamboo surrounding you and not just take pictures and leave. It really is a beautiful place to visit in Kyoto.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is early in the morning, ideally right after sunrise. Larger crowds and tour groups start to arrive around 8:30 am.
When I visited Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in November, I woke up shortly before 6 am in order to get there by around 7:00 am. I saw a few people here and there but it was still quite empty when I arrived. Although it drizzled a little, it was still a magnificent experience and you will only truly experience the beauty of the Bamboo Grove with no or only a few people present.
Once you have to start navigating between all the people, trying to get a nice photo of yourself as a memory, it becomes more of a challenge than an actual nice experience.
How to Get there
One way to get to the Bamboo Forest is by taking the red Randen line and getting off at Arashiyama Station. You’ll have to walk another 8-10 minutes in order to get to the entrance of the forest.
When I was visiting Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, I took the 76 bus which left right in front of my hotel and took me close to the forest. I got off at Arashiyama (Kyoto) and had to walk another 10 minutes to get to the forest.
If you take the bus, keep in mind that you need to bring the exact fare in coins or ideally top up your Icoca Card before you go.
Another way to save money, when you plan to visit a few other locations and temples, is to get a day ticket for 600 Yen at the train station. Otherwise, you will need to pay 230 Yen for every bus you take – that also includes when you switch busses (you will need to pay 460 Yen).
To read more on my trips to Japan and things to do there, follow this link.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the Bamboo Forest and maybe you also have some useful tips for future travellers. Leave them in the comment section below.