Walking trails wind through the forest, with bamboo lining either side, their towering green stalks reaching high into the sky to create a thick canopy. Beyond the forest, one of the best ways to experience Sagano is by bicycle: there are numerous temples to explore, as well as the Heian-period Togetsu-kyo Bridge that stretches 510 feet (155 meters) over the Katsura River.
Sagano is a typical stop on guided tours of Kyoto, particularly private tours that can help you avoid the biggest crowds. Special “hidden gem” tours of the area can also steer you away from the most heavily trafficked parts, making for a far more pleasant experience.
Things to know before you go
- Home to some of Kyoto’s most recognizable sights, Sagano is a huge draw for photographers.
- There are many hotels, at various price points, in the area.
- The area’s paved paths are wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
How to get there
Located in the western part of Kyoto, Sagano is easily reached by train and road. The JR Sagano Line takes around 15 minutes from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station. Alternatively, some tours include round-trip transportation by car, bike, or rickshaw.
When to get there
The bamboo forest gets crowded with visitors from around midday, so try to arrive as early as possible. For a glimpse of Sagano’s cherry blossoms in full bloom, visit between late March and mid-April.
Sagano Romantic Train
One of the most popular ways of exploring the area is by the Sagano Romantic Train, a vintage-style scenic railway that runs from Saga Station on a 25-minute journey to the resort town of Kameoka. The train offers spectacular views as it travels through forests of bamboo and maple trees.
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- Tenryu-ji Temple
- Jojakko-ji Temple
- Togetsu-kyo Bridge
- Arashiyama Park
- Kiyotaki River
- Saiho-ji Temple
- Toei Kyoto Studio Park (Toei Uzumasa Eigamura)
- Ninna-ji Temple
- Myoshin-ji Temple
- Ryoan-ji Temple & Garden
- Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu)
- Nijo-jo Castle
- Daitoku-ji Temple
- Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
- Kyoto International Manga Museum