Copyright Sascha Athos Proietti

ARASHIYAMA & surroundings . . .

ARASHIYAMA & surroundings . . .

My experience, my feeling, my soul, through my eyes and my photos

The bamboo forest

(September 2018 / October 2019)

My travel equipement for this trip:

Bodies : Leica Q1   / Leica Q2  / Leica MP-240  / Fujifilm X100F + TCL & WCL  

Lenses : 50mm Noctilux M f/0.95  / 35mm Summicron M Asph 6bit /  Trielmar (WATE) 16.18.21 F/4 / 135mm Telyt asph 3,4

The Arashiyama bamboo forest is one of the most visited Japanese sites, No photograph can excite as when you are at the center of this splendid path; it is located in the Sagano area in the west of the city of Kyoto.
Reaching it is very easy wherever you are in the city, the area is served by three train and tram stations, JR Saga-Arashiyama, Hankyu Arashiyama and Keifuku Arashiyama.

Furthermore, my choice for the outward journey, Even if a little longer is that of the Bus; not many tourists opt for this option considering that the journey lasts approximately 40 minutes in normal traffic conditions, you will have to take the Kyoto City Bus line n. 28 from Kyoto Central Station and get off at Arashiyama-Tenryuji-mae stop.

How to
General trasnportations
Bus n°28
The path
Lady in Kymono along the path

The amazing threes

About Arashiyama :

It is called Bamboo Forest, or Arashiyama Bamboo Grove or Sagano Bamboo Forest (which according to some means “mountain of the storm” ). It is a natural bamboo forest in Kyoto. The forest is mainly composed of Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) and is composed of numerous paths for tourists and visitors where you can come across splendid private, well-kept, meticulous ZEN gardens with very interesting temples inside them. The forest is considered Japan’s Heritage and until 2015 there was an entrance ticket. The actual route can last a few minutes, do not expect hours of walking, on the contrary … It is very touristic (maybe too much sometimes) … (LOL) and I recommend going very early in the morning or visiting it for a whole day to go back towards sunset where people who cross the path according to the season tend to decrease so that they can breathe better the incredible atmosphere and take better and less “tourist” photos. The real famous path is very narrow compared to the gigantic forest that can be admired and winds for a few hundred meters through the old forest bathed in green light.

People along the path
A standing girl for a selfie

Green breath
The first turn

My favorite spot to photograph was the end of the main path, that is the real beginning of the Ogura mountain, where it divides the route to other places within the forest. Waiting for the last lights of the day were a “sweet wait” (photographically speaking) and while waiting for something that would happen I get relaxed taking long exposure photos with my Mini-Tripod ( CULLMANN 50010 ) to remove as much as possible the last people left who walked along the path . and after that . . .

My best shot of the day

Okochi Sanso Garden:

From this junction you can easily reach the Okochi Sanso Garden (it has an entrance fee of about $ 15, including a stop in the thea-house where I tried one of the best green teas in all of Japan).

Okochi Sanso Garden is a private villa of the samurai movie star Okochi Denjiro. Fortunately, the cost of the entrance rejects the hordes of tourists present in the first part of the route and means that you are immersed in a masterpiece of the architecture of the Kyoto gardens.
The paths are very narrow to climb the mountain and visit most of the actor’s villa, the garden that extends over the panorama of Kyoto, Arashyiama and the Hozu-Gawa gorge alone is worth the ticket price and the time of relaxation that transmits this place, totally immersed in the wooded nature of Mount Ogura

Entrance of the Tea House
The entrance of the first garden

Its gardens are among the most beautiful in Kyoto and the breathtaking views make it a wonderful experience.

Inside the garden
Inside the garden
The narrow path
Garden architecture
Selfie Time! 🙂

The Residence itself is also very beautiful in all his nature, you can breath the spirit of this place along all the park and in the meanwhile purify the spirit

First residence

Another little house

Once reaching the top, there are few small houses where you can photograph inside and after that, finally, the incredible view of Kyoto from above

The Hozu-Gawa gorge
The top, the view of Kyoto City
Inside a small house

At the end of the wonderful journey, finally it can ‘access to the area reserved for the tasting of green tea (matcha) with included a very good trick to always Matcha taste. The people are very friendly and willing to explain a bit ‘of the process of this typical Japanese taste

Matcha tea and trick
Welcome !!

Monkey Park Iwatayama:

The park is located at the top of a hill and is accessed on foot along an uphill path. There are many monkeys ( about 200 ) and they are free. If you want to feed them, you can enter a small house where you can buy food (bananas, peanuts, etc.). Food must be given by staying inside the house while the monkeys remain outside. the place is very beautiful as it is surrounded by nature and at the end of the path, on the top, you can see many local monkeys, free and independent, finding food among tourists and playing with each other. The place is not very touristy and with a little patience you can carve out your own space; beware of the monkeys as many tend to approach and if you have photographic equipment in hand, driven by curiosity, they could snatch them from you;) The view at the end of Tokyo from above is enchanting and very relaxing. recommended, but the path is very steep and it takes about 30 minutes on foot to reach the summit.

Right before the entrance of the Park
The top of the park
The Arashiyama area
Not a bad place to relax . . .
Mommy and cube


In the surroundings of Arashiyama it is full of tourist places where you can eat, I recommend on full days where you must visit as much as possible enjoying the moments, to avoid those restaurants from the tourist menu, instead, take anything from snack-and-go in some 7-eleven or similar (there are 4 along all Arashiyama) and enjoy the multitudes of places of peace in the area. The times of Jojakko-Ji, Nison-In, noteworthy for their maples, the beautiful park that houses Tenryuji Temple, full of well-kept plants; walk among the various paths beyond the entrance of the Okochi Sanso Garden and lose yourself among the dozens of properties where you will be invited to enter (with a small cost) and to visit the private homes and their small Zen gardens, sometimes someone will also offer you tea green (matcha) and sake, obviously ACCEPTED! :). in the southern part beyond the main street you can find the main station of Saga and the Kimono Forest, the route is worth seeing up close the collection inside the pipes and many, many more beautiful attractions, just walk and get lost around this magic place!!

Tenryuji Temple

Tenryuji Temple, the most famous temple in the neighborhood, was born after the death of Emperor Go-Daigo in 1939, putting an end to a tumultuous era, the temple of the celestial dragon was founded as the first Zen seminary in Kyoto. The designer highlights the garden which is today the real attraction of the place. Focus with a pond in the middle with mountains in the background, beautiful particularly in November where the leaves of the maples turn red.

Jojakkoji Temple, is a Buddhist theme, lying on a moss-covered knoll, it is famous for its magnificent maples that acquire an enchanting crimson smell in November and for the straw-roofed Nio-Mon door. This thatched roof Deva Gate is the oldest object in the temple. The famous Buddhist image maker Unkei created the Nio-mon-zo image here, it is said to help heal leg afflictions. The Myoken -do near the main hall sanctions the Myoken deity which is a symbol of the Big Dipper and Polaris. On the ground there is a 12m high pagoda which was erected in 1620 and was designated as an important cultural asset.

What about lunch my dear love?

Around the area, it is full of places to eat or simply stop for a snack, from typical rice cakes to ice creams, from vendor machines to tourist restaurants, From Matcha’s tricks and syrup smoothies to bubble-tea, in short, it is full of tastings for every pocket and palate, Simply decide what your food will be for the day and enjoy meeting local couples

Kimono Forest is a collection of gorgeous cylinder-shaped pillars framing the lane way to Randen tram station on Kyoto’s Keifuku Arashiyama line, which was installed as part of the renovation in 2013. Around 600 pillars make up the so called “Kimono Forest”, creating a breathtaking and dramatic entrance to the station, which is sadly too often missed by travellers to Arashiyama.

Kimono Forest Path


It is recommended to plan only a few things before facing the relaxing day in Arashiyama, as it will be relaxing only if you get lost in the surroundings of the bamboo forest escaping from the hordes of tourists who crowd this enchanting place daily. Very early morning is my advice to start the day in Arashiyama as it is a very vast area full of places (even hidden) to visit, to make yours, to get lost spiritually and photographically. In this regard, I recommend a wide-angle lens, a tropicalized camera body (it rains often and you will not want to miss the magical forest in the rain, right?) And a good 50mm to capture the Zen gardens in its details, playing with the shots. A good travel or portable tripod will help you magically leave most of the people on the main path and will relax you with some natural scenery. Do not miss the Okochi Sanso Garden and the walk along the river on the slopes of the mountain. Enjoy the journey, the day, then return at sunset to the same place in the morning and you will see the diversity that the play of light creates through the leaves of the trees in the woods. The primary rule of the day in Arashiyama is GET LOST! … and have fun 😉 !!!

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