Arashiyama, meaning “Storm Mountain”, is a district tucked along the far western outskirts of Kyoto, Japan. A nationally designated historic site, Arashiyama has been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and particularly enjoyed during the cherry blossom and autumn seasons. Historically, since the Heian Period (794-1185), the district has been a place where aristocrats and nobles would indulge in decadence and nature. Arashiyama is home to a scenic bamboo forest, a number of shrines and temples, and in its heart, the Togetsukyo Bridge, “Moon Crossing Bridge”.
You can go to Arashiyama easily from downtown Kyoto and Osaka in about 35 minutes by taking the Hankyu Line but you need to transfer trains once at the Katsura Station. There are many things to do in Arashiyama including but not limited to the famous Arashiyama Bamboo grove, the Iwatayama Monkey Park, and the scenic Tenryuji Temple. If you stay in Arashiyama, you may want to ride on the scenic Sagano Romantic Train, a favorite of the locals, especially during the cherry blossom season. Photographers and rafting fans love the historic Kudari Boat ride that is ideal to view the beauty of the natural sites and the foothills.
Famous Onsen Ryokan
Besides being an area that radiates its noble history, Arashiyama is also home to a number of onsens, ryokans, hotels, guest houses, and the like, most of which are located near and around Togetsukyo Bridge. Accommodations around the area are designed to fit into anybody’s budget, from one-day travelers to guests who would like an experience reminiscent of the nobility of decades past. Visitors can take their pick between more modern ryokans and onsens to luxurious and traditional ryokans–some of which have been built centuries ago.
Situated along Katsura River, the onsen hotel Suiran shows off a beautiful landscaped Japanese garden and is an ideal location for tranquility and quiet. Guests will be able to relax in the onsen baths then enjoy a kaiseki dinner and French cuisine or explore the nearby Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the more modern accommodations, Arashiyama Benkei is a traditional Japanese ryokan located along the banks of Katsura River, the perfect walking distance from the main tourist attractions in Arashiyama, and making it a great stay for those who wish to explore the town. Some suites will include their own private onsen, but all of them with a scenic view of either the river or the property’s gardens. Visitors are also welcome to enjoy themselves in the communal baths.
Founded in 1897, Togetsu-tei features Japanese cuisine in its top-class dinner, boasting an elegant display of food preparation and then served in the classically designed guest rooms. The inn also offers hot spring baths that can be enjoyed by men and women separately. Their onsen facilities are also flexible, as they have baths that can be rented for private use.
Kadensho is a traditional Japanese inn with a classic aesthetic, providing a relaxing vibe. The onsens of the ryokan invite guests to unwind in its bath waters, both public and private. Visitors can go to nearby attractions like the Horinji Temple and the Ichitanimunakata Shrine.
For tattooed visitors, the traditional Japanese inn Hanaikada has a private onsen area for reservation. The ryokan also offers large communal baths for men and women, as well as a Japanese garden for guests to stroll through. Hanaikada is also nearby tourist attractions such as the Kinkaku-ji Temple and the Katsura Imperial Villa.
Onsen Manners and Etiquette
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