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Arashiyama and Sagano 嵐山・嵯峨野

Arashiyama (嵐山, lit. "stormy mountains") lies at the very west of the Kyōto basin, some 10 kilometres from the city center. Easy to reach by train (JR, Hankyu and Randen), it is a favorite spot for many Kyoto travellers - both from within Japan and abroad.

Situated along the Katsura River 桂川, Arashiyama is home to Tenryū-ji 天龍寺, one of the six major Rinzai Zen temple complexes in Kyōto. Its garden is one of the finest examples of a wet landscape strolling garden, worth a visit throughout the seasons. At its northern exit lies the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove 嵐山竹林, a small bamboo forest which had become synonymous with Kyoto over the last decade and, as a result, is now one of Kyōto's most-visited spots for sightseeing.

Continuing north along the hillside, one ventures towards the area of Sagano 嵯峨野. Several temples and gardens, each of them worth a visit, are located along this route, including Okouchi Villa 大河内山荘, Nison-in 二尊院, Jōjakkō-ji 常寂光寺, Giō-ji 祇王寺, and, at the very northwestern end, Adashino Nenbutsu-ji 化野念仏寺 and Otagi Nenbutsu-ji おたぎ念仏寺. Although very crowded during autumn season, these temples remain rather quiet throughout the rest of the year.

In the heart of Sagano are Seiryō-ji 清凉寺, an important Buddhist temple, and Hōkyō-in 宝筐院, a garden famous for its autumn leafs. To the east, finally, the old palace temple of Daikaku-ji 大覚寺 with its pond, and the vast Hirosawa Pond 広沢池, are worth strolling around.


The Osawa Pond and Daikaku-ji in Spring.

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