The best thing I love about Arashiyama is that you can visit many scenic attractions all in one go. After breathing in the majestic view of the mountains at Togetsukyo Bridge, we walked all the way to Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It’s right across the Keifuku Arashiyama Station so it’s easy to spot.
Tenryu-ji Temple is the head temple of the Rinzai Zen sect of Buddhism in Japan.Built in 1339 by a ruling shogun, the temple buildings have been repeatedly destroyed and lost in fires and during the war periods over a number of centuries but the beautiful Sogenchi Garden inside the compound survived it all.
My emotions weren’t really prepared for the sprawling beauty of Sogenchi Garden in all of its autumn glory so I found myself catching my breath. It was beautiful! I wanted to stay there forever because I was so in love with all the colors that surrounded us.
I had to take a video just to remind myself of this awesome moment.
According to Japan:Official Guide (www.jnto.go.jp), there are fantastic aesthetic reasons on the way the Sogenchi Garden was laid out. Read on:
“The Tenryu-ji Temple Garden is said to have been built by the founder of the temple, Muso Soseki. The garden is arranged so that visitors can enjoy the changing scenery while walking around the Sogenchi Pond in its center. The scenery of two hills – Kame-yama and Arashi-yama – both of which are located outside the garden, form part of the composition. This technique of making use of the surrounding landscape in garden design is known as shakkei. Stonework on a hill at the back of the pond symbolizes a mountain stream cascading into the pond. There are also stones symbolizing carp. This idea stems from a traditional Chinese fable in which a carp swims up a waterfall to become the more superior dragon. Among the gardens designed by master gardener Muso Soseki, this garden is believed to be the least changed and is considered one of the most exquisite of all Japanese gardens.”
The entrance fee is only 500 yen. You only need to add 100 yen to access the buildings.
After that, we decided to exit Tenryu-ji and we moved on to our next destination: The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest! 😀
I don’t get why I was so fascinated with the bamboo grove. It’s not like we don’t have bamboo in the Philippines. 😛 I guess it just looks more dramatic and captivating when I see it here in Arashiyama. It was cold but then it was also breezy when we were walking inside the bamboo forest. Don’t worry about admission fees, the bamboo forest is a scenery you could enjoy for free. 🙂
Right past the bamboo forest is a trail that leads to Okochi Sanso Villa. Okochi Sanso Villa is the previous home of Japanese film actor Denjiro Okochi. According to the story, Okochi built the villa so he could have a sanctuary, a respite from his hectic life. I feel this combination of envy and gratefulness for Okochi because the place is truly serene and quiet. I enjoyed the autumn breeze all over the place and the magnificent view of Kyoto.
It was so worth it that I did not mind the 1,000 yen admission fee. It came with free hot matcha tea and a Japanese sweet treat anyway. 🙂
It was quite an experience! I would probably revisit Arashiyama for the nth time and during autumn once more. It’s my kind of happy place. 🙂