Things to do in Arashiyama! Enjoy your slow travel in Kyoto

Togetsukyo Bridge is one of the main spots in Arashiyama, Kyoto. The 155-meter bridge has been popular among tourists for a long time and often used in historical films. We usually enjoy the landscape of cherry blossoms or fall leaves on Arashiyama Mountain with the bridge. But, do you know how to spend an exciting time at Togetsukyo Bridge beside seeing the beautiful scenery and taking photos with it?

Japanese Rickshaw makes a difference

Rickshaw is not only in southeastern Asia! The Japanese traditional rickshaw experience is great thanks to:

  1. The unusual observing point
  2. The professional guide
  3. The not-too-fast speed

I visited “EBISUYA Rickshaw” last winter to try out their traditional Japanese rickshaw service. EBISUYA’s location is 1-minutes’ walk from Togetsukyo Bridge, so I found it easily.

Kosei, the day’s rickshaw man, welcomed me with his rickshaw.

Rickshaw in Arashiyama, Kyoto

I chose the 1 block tour (3000-yen) which takes around 12 minutes. It may sound like it would be too cold to try the rickshaw experience in the winter, but it was not a problem. They actually have a blanket to protect their patrons from the cold wind.

What you feel first when the tour starts should be the unusual observing point. It’s higher than people’s head but not as high as London Buses. The feeling is similar to the “Eureka” moment you may have experience when you rode a bike for the first time. Anyway, the “rickshaw’s view” made me excited and the scenery change was refreshing.

Throughout the tour, I enjoyed talking with Kosei. With 25 years in this career (actually, the longest among the store’s staff), he is almost a professional guide as well. During the tour, I saw Hogon-in Temple, Restaurant Yudofu Sagano and of course, the landscape over Togetsukyo Bridge. He knew some of the best shooting points and offered to take photos of me.

Another of my favorite points about the Japanese rickshaw was its speed. It was much faster than I expected, considering a person pulling a big rickshaw with an adult man, but still slow. Buses or trains are good for moving, but not suitable for feeling the air of the city or area, right? On the rickshaw, I enjoyed seeing the scenery directly, not over a window. The rickshaw’s speed is perfect for talking, sightseeing, and taking pictures!

Professional recommendation on the best spot in Arashiyama?

I asked Kosei about his favorite spot in Arashiyama. First, I was a bit surprised to hear that he likes spring there better than the fall. Generally, Arashiyama is a popular spot for the fall leaves. He says, “I like spring the best because it shows the beginning of life.”

And he recommended Senkoji Temple for me and you, all the tourists. Senkoji Temple is located only a 20-minutes’ walk from Togetsukyo Bridge. It’s not a “famous” spot, but the “remoteness” and the view set apart from the main touristy area is worth visiting.

Why not book a Japanese rickshaw and go to Senkoji Temple when you come to Arashiyama next time?