From Okochi Garden, it is a short walk to the start (or is it the end?) of the bamboo forest. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, or Bamboo Grove or also known as Sagano Bamboo Forest, is a natural forest of bamboo trees. The forest consists of pathway for tourists and visitors to explore the forest and suffice to say, is one of the most photographed places in Kyoto.
You can reach the bamboo forest by bus, train or taxi. You can take the train from the Kyoto train station, a journey of around 30 minutes. It’s quick, inexpensive and the train runs throughout the day and night. Take the San-in Line from platform 31, 32 or 33 at the Kyoto Station to the JR Saga-Arashiyama station and it is a 15-25 minutes walk to the bamboo forest. Alternatively, if you are on the Sagano Romantic train, get off at Arashiyama Torokko station and it’s a couple of minutes walk away.
What we never expected in early November is the crowd to be so pack. Coupled with individuals and groups stopping to take photos and selfies, it makes walking along the pathway uninterrupted almost impossible. Your walk will always be obstructed or hindered every 30-50m or so. An icon of Kyoto we see beautiful pictures of that brought me here, diminishes and evaporated the instant we experienced what seems to be a never-ending chaos. Being an ‘avid’ photographer, I got so disgusted, I took less than 10 photographs.
The pathway through the forest is open all day and I guess, it is best to come early or late in the day to avoid the maddening crowds but this does not guarantee you’ll get the best lighting for photo. As an alternative, you may want to consider Hokokuji Bamboo forest. That’s in Yokohama, close to 500km away.