The day we visited the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, Japan, it rained relentlessly. I had had the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove on my bucket list for years, and I’ll admit, between the wet, the crowd, and juggling keeping dry under an umbrella and snapping pictures with my DSLR, I was having a hard time immersing myself in the moment.
In search of an emptier path, L and I veered away from the pack and stumbled upon an overpass arching over two railroad lines. It felt so forgotten but familiar. Like a blurry memory or one of those hazy half-awake dreams that straddle consciousness and imagination. I watched the trains snake by underneath, relics of a once future long left in the past. After that, the distractions were irrelevant. The breath never left my chest for fear of breaking the illusion. The Grove was endless, those bamboo trees rose into infinity, and everywhere, that rain. That relentless rain.
NOTE: Japanese rail lines are operated by different carriers, so there are multiple ways to get to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by train.
Both the Keifuku Arashiyama line and Hankyu Arashiyama line stops at Arashiyama Station.
The JR San-in Line stops at the Saga-Arashiyama Station.
From Kyoto station, you can take Kyoto City bus #28 or Kyoto Buses #71-73.
From downtown Kyoto, you can take Kyoto City bus #28 or #11.
Dawn to dusk.
You can use the opening hours of adjacent Tenryu-ji Temple (8.30 am – 5.30 pm) as a rough guideline for what that means.
Grab some udon at Arashiyama Udon Ozuru (in Japanese, 嵐山うどんおずる). Inexpensive, casual, and really REALLY good.
There is a small alcove of food stands by the entrance to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove off the main street from the Arashiyama Station. One of them sells silken tofu ice cream. The consistency is slightly more pudding-like than normal ice cream, but forget comparing the two. The stuff is amazing!