Arashiyama: Bamboo groves and stone statues

O my it is sakura time again!! The trees are bursting with flowers! This weekend, we traveled to Arashiyama, Kyoto and Osaka to see all the famous cherryblossom spots. First stop: Arashiyama, where we actually saw a whole lot more than just sakura.

Arashiyama is a beautiful mountain area west of Kyoto, and is famous for it’s bamboo grove and collection of small mysterious temples. After a nice lunch underneath the cherry trees, we headed out to the bambooforest. Arashiyama-1

It was extremely busy, people from all over the country flocked together to admire the beauty of Arashiyama and have a picnic underneath the blossoms. Arashiyama-6Arashiyama-2Arashiyama-9

Arashiyama truly is a lovely place. Tucked away between the mountains you get views like this:Arashiyama_0

Cherryblossoms cover the mountains, a temple is hidden between the trees, small boats with supplies gently float downstream and in the distance you can hear the deep sound of a temple bell to scare away mean spirits. Arashiyama-3

The bamboo grove of Arashiyama is so impressive. The long, slender stalks wave in the wind and create a beautiful pattern. Even the smell of bamboo is amazing! If there weren’t a thousand other tourists walking around here, this would be a place to truly relax and forget all worries.

If you walk a bit north from the bamboo grove, the tourists become less and less,  and mysterious temples and shrines start to pop up.


We found this fox shrine, with a dark, deep cave behind it. No idea where the tunnel went, maybe some family grave?Arashiyama-10

We walked for about half an hour north when we stumbled across this magnificent temple. It is called the Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, and it is dedicated to Buddhas 1200 followers. Every follower has his own statue, depicting their personalities, often in a funny way.Arashiyama-22 Arashiyama-13 Arashiyama-18

What a sight! So many, colorful stone characters! Arashiyama-17 Arashiyama-16Arashiyama-11

Every single statue was different, with its own characteristics and posture. They all looked so happy and if they are constantly chatting with eachother. Arashiyama-23

A little south from this temple is another special one. Adashino Nenbutsu-ji is a temple dedicated to lost children and orphans. Its a very impressive sight, hundreds of small rocks line up in a huge garden, each of them symbolizing a child that has lost its family.Arashiyama-26

The temple ground overlook Kyoto, which lies beautifully below in the sun. Arashiyama-27

This temple also has a bamboogrove, but unlike the first one, there wasn’t a single tourist. The bambootrail leads to a secluded graveyard in the mountains, with a row of statues where you pour water over for good fortune. Arashiyama-21 Arashiyama-28

It’s these mysterious, peaceful places I love about Kyoto and its surroundings. Also, when you stray from the well trodden paths and take the effort to explore a bit outside the tourist spots, you come across things that are even more impressive and beautiful. Arashiyama-15

Next up is the sakura madness in Kyoto and Osaka. This year, we really tried to capture the atmosphere of the yearly cherry blossom celebrations!