Remembering Japan is a series about my travels in Japan between 2017 September and 2018 August. During this time, I studied abroad in Osaka, and I had the opportunity to see a variety of places. I didn’t write about those experiences at the time, but now I would like to remember and share them. You can explore the entire series here: #remembering japan 🌸
Arashiyama is a district located in Kyoto, Japan, and it’s most famous for its bamboo grove that attracts thousands of tourists and Japanese people throughout the year. The most popular times to go are during the fall when the leaves turn bright orange, yellow, and red, and during the spring when the sakura bloom in gorgeous shades of soft pink.
Though I wanted to see Arashiyama during the fall when the leaves were changing colors, I didn’t have the chance. Instead, I went for the first time with my parents in March. We went right after my birthday, so we ended up going to Kyoto back-to-back days since we also went to Kyoto on my birthday to have dinner with my boyfriend at the time.
Even though it wasn’t quite time for sakura, there were some starting to bloom! So many people were taking pictures, and it really was a sight to see. Though sakura season is usually the most expensive and busiest time to visit Japan, I highly recommend it. Pictures can’t fully describe just how beautiful the trees are when you’re standing among them. 💜
It’s a bit of a walk to get to the actual bamboo grove of Arashiyama. It involves walking through a bunch of stalls selling food before arriving at a bridge that crosses a river. I wish I’d taken pictures of this, but I was so consumed in eating the ice cream I’d purchased that I didn’t bother. 😆🍦
Though food sold around famous attractions might be a little pricey, I recommend buying it and giving it a try! It’s usually not more than ¥300, though some stalls may sell dishes for a bit more. Try restaurants as well! Particularly in Kyoto, there are a lot of more traditional and delicious restaurants to enjoy at decent prices.
At night, I’ve heard that the forest is lit up and equally beautiful, though the atmosphere is slightly different. During a bright day, however, it was truly a gorgeous place to see. Though it’s fairly busy along the footpath, I don’t remember that feeling as much as I remember walking through the forest and feeling at peace. It was almost quiet.
I just remember thinking about how such a place like this could exist, and I could be in it. Arashiyama was a place I’d wanted to visit long before actually arriving in Japan, so it was really special to get a chance to finally walk through it.
After exiting the bamboo grove, we decided to visit Tenryu-ji Temple. It’s free to enter, but I spent around ¥500 on a お守り (omamori), which is a famous charm in Japan. Their uses vary, but my friend and I decided to buy one called 縁結び (enmusubi) for love and marriage. At the time we were both in relationships, but I suppose mine stopped working, ha.
Surrounding the temple are gardens that are considered some of the finest in Kyoto, so we decided to have a little photoshoot when we found a beautiful staircase built into the landscape of the garden.
My mom took the photos, and they came out great. I remember we couldn’t stop laughing because we felt ridiculous, but it was still a lot of fun. And yes — I did do all of this walking and “hiking” in heels. 👠
Technically, this day — March 14th — is known as White Day in Japan, and it’s the day that men give gifts to women (a sort of reverse Valentine’s Day, which is a day for women to give chocolates to men (and friends, if they’d like)). Though both of us had boyfriends, we decided to spend the day together and with my parents! It was a great day, and I was so glad I got to spend it with my friend and my parents. I can’t wait to go back to Arashiyama someday. 💚1