Path through bamboo forest

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Top choice

The thick green bamboo stalks seem to continue endlessly in every direction and there’s a strange quality to the light at this famous bamboo grove, which has become one of Kyoto's must-visit sights. It's most atmospheric on the approach to Ōkōchi Sansō villa and you’ll be unable to resist trying to take a few photos, but you might be disappointed with the results: photos just can’t capture the magic of the place.

The grove runs from outside the north gate of Tenryū-ji to just below Ōkōchi Sansō, on the western edge of Kyoto. There is no entrance fee to enter. Visit early in the morning or on a week day to avoid crowds.


Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Ōkōchi Sansō

0.08 MILES

This is the lavish estate of Ōkōchi Denjirō, an actor famous for his samurai films. The sprawling gardens may well be the most lovely in all of Kyoto,…

2. Kameyama-kōen

0.11 MILES

Just upstream from Tōgetsu-kyō and behind Tenryū-ji, this park is a nice place to escape the crowds of Arashiyama. It’s laced with trails, one of which…

3. Tenryū-ji North Gate

0.13 MILES

By exiting Tenryū-ji via this gate and taking a quick left, you'll find yourself almost immediately in the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

4. Tenryū-ji

0.14 MILES

A major temple of the Rinzai school, Tenryū-ji has one of the most attractive gardens in all of Kyoto, particularly during the spring cherry-blossom and…

5. Nonomiya-jinja

0.19 MILES

This small shrine is where imperial princesses were sent for purification before serving at the Ise shrine. It features in the famous Japanese novel The…

6. Jōjakkō-ji

0.26 MILES

This temple is perched on top of a mossy knoll and is famed for its brilliant maple trees, which turn a lovely crimson red in November, and its thatched…

7. Rakushisha

0.27 MILES

Formerly the building here was the hut of Mukai Kyorai, the best-known disciple of the illustrious haiku poet Bashō. You can wander the small garden where…

8. Nison-in

0.38 MILES

This is a popular spot with maple-leaf watchers. Originally built in the 9th century by Emperor Saga, the temple houses two important Kamakura-era Buddha…