Arashiyama (literally, "Stormy Mountain"), is a scenic district on the western outskirts of the Japanese city of Kyoto famous for its numerous Buddhist temples and its stunning fall foliage.
Visitors to Arashiyama typically arrive via one of four railways which all have stations near the gorgeous Togetsukyō bridge traversing the Ōi River. Passing over the bridge, Mount Arashiyama can be seen across the river to the west. It almost seems that this mountain is covered with nothing else but maple trees and cherry trees, because in spring the entire mountain turns pink with cherry blossoms, and from mid to late November this entire mountain turns red and orange with maple leaves.
Visitors then typically walk along the bamboo path through a mystical bamboo forest right out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or House of Flying Daggers. The path leads to several famous Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, most notably Tenryuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as the main headquarters of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, one of the five famous gozan Zen temples of Kyoto. Another notable temple along this route is the Adashino Nenbutsuji, famous for its thousands of statues of the Buddha unearthed from ancient graves and its spectacular candle-lighting ceremony in late August.
Walking back through the main street of the town, visitors can buy all sorts of tchotchkes and tasty snacks, particularly the famous local dish called yudōfu, which is freshly boiled tofu topped with green onions, fresh ginger, and fish flakes. They can also visit another famous Buddhist temple, Seiryoji, which is known for its ancient statue of an 11-headed Kannon.
Other options for exploring Arashiyama include taking a boatride in a large, gondola-like craft down the river to get a closer look at the foliage, or crossing the river and climbing halfway up Mount Arashiyama to feed macaque monkeys at the Iwatayama Monkey Park.
To get to Arashiyama, take the Hankyu railway to Arashiyama station, the Keifuku railway to Arashiyama, or the JR Sagano Line to Saga Arashiyama.