Arashiyama, Kyoto is well know for its beautiful cherry blossom, bamboo forest and autumnal tints of “momiji” maple leaves. Many tourists visits the main street and the surrounding temples, but I want to share a special route not many knows about, especially tourists. I have taken this route couple times, but never once did I encounter more than 5 people so its very secluded.
Now, I want to emphasize that this hike route does not officially exist (altho its not illegal) but considered off route so please try at your own risk. There are chances of encountering animals like snake, boar, bees so if you plan on going, plan well and take measurements like first aid kits, bug repellent and treatment knowledge in case of injuries.
Here’s how to get there: Instead of going to Arashiyama Station, go to Torokko Kameoka Station via JR San-In Line. Here’s a sample schedule as of 10/10 2018.
Be aware that train schedule changes every so often and sometimes depending on the season so always plan&check ahead.
I have highlighted the hiking route in red. There is a road, just not seen on the Google Map. Its a single track with no detour so possibility of you going off track is very low, but always stay on course.
The whole trail would take about 3-4 hours for active adults and ratio between paved and unpaved is about 3:7, hiking shoes is VERY recommended but nothing walk-able with pair of good sneakers.
Here is the important part. Once you reach the end of the road, make sure to go to your RIGHT or otherwise you will be walking into deeper area of Kyoto going nowhere. If in doubt, use your GPS map to make sure you know where you are going.
Now, you have an option of going to Arashiyama by either taking a train at JR Hodukyo Station or walk for another couple hours into the town of Arashiyama on foot. Its going to be all paved but the road is very steep in some parts but scenery is very nice. If you are physically active person, should be no problem. I do warn you that its quite a long walk back into town.
As I have stated earlier, please go at your own risk. In order to avoid as much danger as possible, I would highly recommend either spring or autumn time because bees and snakes are inactive during those seasons and much less bugs to be bothered by.
Stay safe, and have fun.