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The Scenic Arashiyama & Nijo Castle

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Love at first sight. That’s how I describe the scenic Arashiyama. When we were preparing for the trip to Kyoto, photos of attractions in Arashiyama were the first ones to draw my attention. True enough, on day two of our Kyoto trip, my wife and I were fascinated with the beauty of this little district on the western outskirts of Kyoto.

Stepping out from the train, we were greeted with this refreshing morning view.


*** Click here to re-cap all #KyotoAkuDAtang stories. ***

Only after we came out from the train station that I realised that we boarded a wrong train and ended up at Hankyu Arashiyama Station instead of the normal Arashiyama Station. Quite confusing with 4 different train stations in Arashiyama itself!

As per day 1, our plan was not to cover as many attractions as possible, but to just take it easy and enjoy what Arashiyama has to offer. Therefore taking a wrong train turned out to be a positive thing as we discovered yet another park where we enjoyed a nice morning walk.


The bridge towards Nakanoshima Park. Crystal clear water.


See that little “island” there? That’s Nakanoshima Park. South of it is the train station that we arrived at instead of the ones further north that most visitors use.


Right next to the park is the landmark of Arashiyama, the Togetsukyo Bridge.

The Togetsukyo Bridge (lit. “Moon Crossing Bridge”) …. was originally built during the Heian Period (794-1185) and most recently reconstructed in the 1930s. The bridge looks particularly attractive in combination with the forested mountainside in the background. — Japan-Guide.com


Trees will turn red in mid to end November. We were there during the first week so only a couple of “autumn trees” can be spotted.


From the bridge, we walked about 20 minutes to reach the famous Sagano Bamboo Forest. Note: 3 minutes means 3 minutes x 2 (Malaysian speed!) hehe


From main road to smaller path leading towards the Bamboo Grove and few temples and shrines.


No, this is not Bamboo yet.



One of the sights that are frequently used to portray Kyoto on brochures and travel magazines


Tips: walk further up to avoid heavy crowd and be careful not to bump into one of these trishaws.



As we had a mid-morning slot on the Sagano Scenic train ride, we had to skip the temples and shrines and backtrack towards the scenic train station.
A lot of shops selling local products that would make good souvenirs. We noticed (a bit too late) that in Osaka/Kyoto when you see something interesting, just buy it or you will regret later.


Saga Train Station. All aboard the Romantic Train!


We bought the tickets a day before in JR office in Kyoto Station which was a brilliant move as those walking in had to queue for quite some time and can only ride the train in the afternoon.
The Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道, also known as the Sagano Romantic Train or Sagano Torokko) is a sightseeing train line that runs along the Hozugawa River between Arashiyama and Kameoka. Its charming, old fashioned trains wind their way through the mountains at a relatively slow pace, taking about 25 minutes to make the seven kilometer journey and giving passengers a pleasant view of the scenery as they travel from Arashiyama through the forested ravine and into rural Kameoka. Originally part of the JR Sanin Line before it was replaced by a faster, straighter route in 1989, the scenic railway route was preserved and outfitted with nostalgic trains featuring wooden benches. — Japan-Guide.com


Train master at work.


The awesome view of Hozugawa River.



My only complaint is that the difficulty to move in the cabin. It was really crowded and everyone (including me lah!) will have their cameras up blocking your view! 🙂


Still it was a nice 7km 25minutes ride and worth the ticket price. Going back to Arashiyama from Kameoka is easy and much faster with the JR train. Look who we met near the train station in Kameoka, a Japanese cowboy yo!


A quick lunch after non-stop sightseeing. Some nice seafood tempura and sashimi!

It was a nice half day spent at Arashiyama. I would strongly advice anyone visiting Kyoto to at least spend a full day here as there are just so many things to see and do.
We went back to Central Kyoto and before catching a train to Osaka, we made a quick stop at Nijo Castle.


Nijo Castle (二条城, Nijōjō) was built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). His grandson Iemitsu completed the castle’s palace buildings 23 years later and further expanded the castle by adding a five story castle keep.
After the Tokugawa Shogunate fell in 1867, Nijo Castle was used as an imperial palace for a while before being donated to the city and opened up to the public as a historic site. Its palace buildings are arguably the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan’s feudal era, and the castle was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. — Japan-Guide.com

Ninomaru Palace served as the residence and office of the shogun during his visits to Kyoto.


Impressive interior tour of the palace but strictly no photography allowed.

Ninomaru Garden.



I love Kyoto. Really meets my expectation and Alhamdulillah we got to see quite a number of places despite being there for only 2 days 1 night. Our adventure continues in Osaka….

(to be continued)

Azuan Zahdi

Malaysia's first aviation blogger. AzuanZahdi.com started in 2006 and has been my little online space where I document my travel and aviation stories. Opinions on AzuanZahdi.com are my own and not the views of any organizations I am attached or affiliated to.


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