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A step back in time: exploring the Arashiyama Bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan

A step back in time: exploring the Arashiyama Bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan

The Arashiyama Bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan has been one of the most popular tourist attractions ever since it was made accessible to the public during the late Edo period.

Things to know before you go
The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a popular tourist attraction and offers some of the most picturesque views of Kyoto. The bamboo grove is located on the slopes of Mt. Hiei and is approximately 1.5km long.

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How to get there
Arashiyama is a quaint town located on the outskirts of Kyoto. It’s best known for its bamboo grove which can be easily reached by taking the train from central Kyoto to Saga-Arashiyama station. From there you’ll walk along a beautiful path through bamboo and forest until you reach Togetsukyo Bridge.

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What it looks like
The bamboo forest is located in western Kyoto. The path consists of a narrow alleyway with tall green walls on either side. The sound of crunching leaves and the occasional bike bell echo throughout the forest. There are many people walking through, but they are all traveling at a leisurely pace. Once you leave the bamboo grove, you are in an open field that looks out over most of Arashiyama.

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Cultural considerations
Kyoto is a city on the island of Honshu, Japan. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of its most famous sights and attractions. It was originally a bamboo grove that was planted during the Muromachi period (1338-1573). In 1920, it became protected by law as an important historical site.

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History of the area
Nestled on the slopes of the mountain range known as Higashiyama, at an altitude of 850 meters above sea level and with a population of around 70 thousand inhabitants, lies Arashiyama. The name is derived from two Japanese words – Ara meaning bamboo and Shima meaning island. The village thrived on account of its fertile soil and proximity to Lake Biwa making it a good place to live for samurai families who served under Lord Nobunaga.

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Tips on what you can do while there
(and tips on where else to visit while you’re in Kyoto)
The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a beautiful site to see and should be high on your list of places to visit. The walkways through the bamboo are lined with lanterns that light your way and make for a romantic evening stroll. Keep an eye out for monkeys swinging from tree branches overhead! Bring some snacks to share if you want to feed them some bananas or other treats. Nearby attractions include the Tenryu-ji Temple and the Hozu River where you can enjoy scenic views and watch people fish or boat.

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