Temples and Shrines of Arashiyama

On Friday, we made our grand return to Kyoto. We lived in Kyoto for a year while I was on the JET Program. I also studied for a summer there, so it’s like a second home to us! Therefore, we really didn’t see a ton of stuff actually in the city this time around.

While studying, I went to Arashiyama and saw a lot of cool things that Teddy didn’t get to see, so we went to Arashiyama on our first day back in Kyoto.

Parts of Arashiyama are actually part of Kyoto City, while other parts are in Saga City. Arashiyama is on the western border of Kyoto, and is easily accessible via various train lines, buses, and streetcars.

Our first order of business was to visit Jizo-in, the poor man’s version of Saiho-ji. Both temples are moss temples, but Jizo-in is only 600 yen, while Saiho-ji is 3000 yen and requires that you make reservations for a guided tour. Jizo-in was founded in 1394.

Arashiyama is famous for its bamboo groves.

Jizoin bamboo

These bamboo are at Jizo-in.


A small shrine at Jizo-in.

Inari Shrine

The inside of a shrine to the goddess Inari at Jizo-in.

Tree and moss

A tree and moss at Jizo-in. The moss was really pretty right now, but if you get a chance to go to this temple in July or August, it’s even more beautiful then!

Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots are called “take no ko” (bamboo children) in Japanese.


After Jizo-in, we explored temples and shrines closer to the river. There are many beautiful wooden bridges in Arashiyama.


There are many cranes along the river.


A shot of the river in Arashiyama. I want to find pretty rivers like this in Nagoya, but I don’t think they exist. Nagoya has normal rivers like Pittsburgh or Osaka, it seems.

Dessert Moffle

This is called a moffle. Basically, it is a sandwich made between two mochi waffles. Mochi is a chewy rice cake. Inside this moffle is green tea ice cream and sweetened red beans.

Veggie Moffle

This moffle had Kyoto Vegetables, Mayonnaise and cayenne pepper powder.

This vending machine we found vended actual food! Of course, I had to try it.

Food vending machine

The machine.


I got the french fries. Pro tip: Don’t get food out of a vending machine. It is just gross. These tasted like school cafeteria fries.


I am not sure what this bird was doing, but he kept flapping his wings out like this.

Next, we went to see Tenryuji. Tenryuiji is a Zen Buddhist temple that was founded in 1339. There is a really cool dragon painted on the ceiling of the one building. It looks like the dragon’s eyes follow you no matter where you are.


Flowers near one of the gates at Tenryuji.


A crane outside of Tenryuji.


This is not the ceiling dragon – this is a much smaller replica. You are not allowed to photograph the real one. However, this gives you a basic idea of what it looks like.


A statue on the grounds of Tenryuji.


Spare roofing sitting in the garden.


A Bodhisattva as seen through an opening in a stone lantern.

There was a very beautiful garden with a lake in Tenryuji. It is called Sogen.


The lake.

Lucky frogs

Lucky frogs in the garden.


There were 3 colors of wisteria in the garden.


Teddy at the lake.


Me at the lake.


Teddy got me an amazing lens for my birthday that can zoom way in or out. So, I had a lot of fun this weekend taking pictures like this. This is moss at Tenryuji.

We also stopped at many small temples and shrines.


Some Jizo statues.


For Children’s Day (previously known as Boys’ Day), people fly carp streamers. They are called “koinobori”.

Gods of fortune

We saw these gods of fortune at Nonomiya Jinja.


The one cup on the altar made me think of “The Legend of Zelda”.

After Nonomiya Jinja, we continued on to Nison-in. Nison-in was built in the mid-800s.

Mossy lantern

A mossy stone lantern.


There was a pagoda up on the mountain in Nison-in.

Moss 2

Another close-up of the moss. I like how it looks like a mini-forest.


While walking to the next temple, we saw this little guy hanging out in the bamboo groves.

The last temple we saw in Arashiyama was Jojakuko-ji. It was originally built in 1561.

Dry garden

Teddy looking out over the dry garden at Jojakuko-ji.

Screen paintings

Japanese paintings on sliding doors.

Ringing the bell

At some temples, you can ring the giant bells! So we did.


Jojakuko-ji also had a large graveyard. This is an old grave marker.

Well, that’s all for Arashiyama! Stay tuned for the rest of my exciting Kyoto-related posts!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barb Lange
    May 07, 2013 @ 14:21:39

    Lovely gardens! No thanks! to the bean and ice cream sandwich 🙂


  2. Marie Elder
    May 07, 2013 @ 20:35:03

    You guys look good…….really miss you……Bandit has decided that I can’t get out of my chair unless it suits him…..what a cat!!! Thanks for the compact. So sweet of you to think of me. Keep smiling.


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