Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto

Across Japan, you’ll discover that there is an incredible mix of insanely modern and beautifully traditional. Most people generally think of big cities like Tokyo when they think of Japan. But if you’re looking for an entirely different Japanese experience, we recommend heading outside of those big cities, and exploring the more traditional side of Japan. One of our favourite places in Japan is a small town called Arashiyama. Don’t let the sound of small town scare you off from visiting. There are plenty of things to do in Arashiyama!

If you’ve been traveling around other major cities across Japan, catching trains and bumping shoulders with strangers while walking down the street – Arashiyama will be a very welcome change of pace. We only spent a couple of days in Kyoto (two day trips from Osaka), but it was definitely one of our favourite places in Japan.

We instantly felt a peaceful vibe, because everything was very quiet. There was no loud traffic or bustling nightlife. Arashiyama remains true to its traditiatonal history, and that’s an awesome thing! Not to mention the fact that it’s an absolutely beautiful town to visit, and is also where we saw our first Japanese Cherry Blossom trees!

Here are some of the things to do in Arashiyama, if you only have one day to explore Kyoto’s beautiful traditional town. Don’t forget to bring along your camera, because Arashiyama is easily one of the most photogenic places in Japan. Hopefully our Arashiyama itinerary inspires you to spend some time exploring this wonderful town.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Getting to Arashiyama

By Train From Osaka

Depending on which station in Osaka you’re traveling to Arashiyama from, you’ll need to either catch the Hankyu-Kyoto line or the Hankyu-Arashiyama line. Use Google Maps for directions before catching any train to make sure you’re definitely heading the right way. Once you leave the big cities, navigation becomes slightly more difficult.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

By Train From Tokyo

The best way to get from Tokyo to Arashiyama is by using the Shinkansen Bullet Train. You’ll need to take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Kyoto Station. From there, walk towards the Kyoto Ekimae bus stop and hop on a bus for 27 stops, until you arrive at Arashiyama Park bus stop. From here, walk 800 metres to the heart of Arashiyama. Again, use Google Maps for accurate directions and the exact trains and buses you’ll need to take.


Traveling by train is generally the best way to get around Japan. Once you head out of the major cities, though, it will become more difficult finding regular running trains. That being said, train travel is still the most convenient and reliable way of getting where you need to be.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon TravelsThings to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

Things to do in Arashiyama

The Bamboo Forest

The Bamboo Forest is one of Kyoto’s most popular and well-known attractions. If you’ve already been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ve probably already found photos of the Bamboo Forest during your research. From the moment you step foot into the gorgeous grove of bamboo, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most visited attractions in Japan.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

We knew about the Bamboo Forest months before arriving in Japan, so it was definitely at the top of our list of things to do in Arashiyama. The Bamboo Forest is pretty easy to find once you arrive in Arashiyama.


When you get to Arashiyama Station, walk across the large foot and traffic bridge connecting both sides of town, then walk up the main street. You’ll see a large group of shops along the way selling food and souvenirs, plus a ton of stores that even sell personalised chopsticks! I bought myself a pair with my name engraved in Japanese.

Cost: Free
Opening Hours: 24/7
Location: 10 minute walk from Arashiyama Station

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

There is one single path that leads through the forest, taking you through the endless amount of Bamboo trees. It’s the type of place that photos don’t really even do justice. You’ll have to add Arashiyama to your Japan itinerary and see for yourself, just how incredible the Bamboo Forest really is.

Bengal Cat Cafe

During our Japan trip research, we discovered that cat cafe’s are a thing, and incredibly popular throughout Japan. If you didn’t already know, I love cats. Russell and I adopted a kitten in May 2016, named her Hermione (yes, from Harry Potter) and I’ve been a self-confessed cat lady ever since.

Visiting a cat cafe in Arashiyama wasn’t originally on our bucket list, but while exploring the main street of Arashiyama we came across a Bengal cat cafe, and I just had to go inside. The cafe is kind of hidden away from the activity in the centre of town, but still quite easy to find.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

For 600 yen, we had 30 minutes to spend with some incredibly beautiful Bengal cats. The cafe itself is very unique, with a rainforest vibe about it. A lot of the cats were still kittens, so they were very playful and keen to run around, providing a ton of entertainment.

You’re not allowed to pick the cats or kittens up, but you can play with them until your heart is content. We left Hermione back at home in Adelaide with my family, so being able to play with a group of adorable Bengal cats made my heart very happy (and a little sad) as I missed Hermione dearly while we were gone.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels
Cost: 600 yen
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 7:30pm
Location: Approximately 15 minute walk from Arashiyama Station

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

Cherry Blossom Trees (Spring)

Shortly after arriving in Arashiyama, we made our way up a steep hill and came across a beautiful view of the entire town. This was actually our first sighting of Japanese Cherry Blossom trees, which I personally had been excited for since we started planning our trip to Japan.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels
Cherry Blossom trees are only out for a few weeks during Spring. However, if you miss out on Cherry Blossom season, Arashiyama has incredible scenery year round. Autumn (fall) is probably the best time of year to visit, because all of the beautiful mountains filled with dense trees, is transformed into a magical array of beautiful autumn colours.


Before arriving in Japan, we had been living in Alice Springs – the Australian Outback – for four months. So we were thrilled to finally see some greenery. It was a very welcome change from all of the red dust and desert dirt.

Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels Things to do in Arashiyama, Kyoto | Arashiyama Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

Compared to Japan’s bigger cities, Arashiyama is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo or Osaka. If you’re looking to spend a day or two relaxing, bust still want to explore the magic that Japan has to offer, add Arashiyama to your must-see list. It’s an incredibly beautiful traditional Japanese town, filled with history, beautiful scenery and a welcome change of page.

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Have you visited Arashiyama, Kyoto before? Did you get the chance to visit the Bamboo Forest, Bengal Cat Cafe and enjoy the incredible mountain views? Tell us in the comments below!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

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5 Comments

  1. March 7, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Ahh Japan looks so beautiful! I can’t wait to read more posts about your trip. Hope you are having a good time 🙂

  2. JIll
    March 7, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    Good start! looking forward to hearing more about Japan 🙂

  3. faramagan
    April 14, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Those cherry blossoms look beautiful and those kittens had me sold haha! We are so hoping to head to Japan next year – this post has fueled our wanderlust further!

  4. April 14, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    YEEESSSS! I am currently in Kyoto and am planning to visit Arashiyama on Monday! I will be doing all of these things! Thanks for the tip on the kitties, cant wait to snuggle all of them!

  5. April 14, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    Looks amazing. The more blogs I read about Japan the more Im pulled towards there. Its officially been added to the bucket list – maybe next march!

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