Rakusai is home to many World Heritage Sites such as Kinkakuji Temple, Ryoanji Temple and Saiho-ji Temple (see separate articles for details), which are all mentioned when talking about Kyoto. In the past, emperors and aristocrats built mountain villas in this area to enjoy hunting and leisure, and it is a quiet area with the mountains in the background. Here are some places unique to this area.

(1) Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo Bridge is a famous symbol of the Arashiyama area and attracts many tourists. The bridge spans the Katsura river and was first built nearly 1,200 years ago. It is 155 m long and 12.2 m wide,and only its parapets are now made of wood. Surrounded by mountains, it is beautiful in all seasons - cherry blossoms in spring, autumn leaves in autumn and snowy scenery in winter - and at night you can enjoy the illuminated scenery with special events for each season.

(Contact Information)
Ukyo Police Station (for filming permission on the bridge)

(2) Tenryū-ji Temple

(2) Tenryū-ji Temple

The famous World Heritage Site Tenryū-ji Temple, located just off the Togetsukyo Bridge, was built nearly 700 years ago. One of the best places to shoot is the huge “Unryuzu”, a dragon and cloud painting, on the ceiling of the Dharma Hall (where lectures are held), This dragon looks like as if he is glaring in all directions, so you feel that you are looked at by him wherever you are.
(Unfortunately the photo of this “Unryuzu” is strictly controlled, so we could not show it here.)

The second is the garden, which has been designated a special place of scenic beauty. A vast pond spreads out before you, with several islets (like small peninsulas) in it, and mountains around them. Behind it there is a real mountain, and this is a technique known as 'borrowed scenery' (use of background far scenery in the landscape).In the centre of the garden are two huge stones, on which is a waterfall made up of a number of stones, with stones resembling carp climbing up the waterfall, creating a wonderful Japanese-style garden. The space is decorated with cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in autumn, and the changes in nature make the scenery even more beautiful.

(Contact Information)
Tenryū-ji Temple
+81-75-881-1235(8:30 〜 17:00)

(3) Daikaku-ji Temple

Daikaku-ji Temple

This former imperial villa was converted into a temple some 1,200 years ago. It has a vast area of 64,000 sqm, with a number of temple buildings and the Osawa Pond, which is 1km in circumference. The temple buildings are connected by a corridor, known as the 'Murasame corridor', which for some reason has a very low ceiling. As a matter of fact,  emperors and other people of high rank often visited this place, so that even if a terrorist attacked the temple, he would not be able to raise his sword or spear because of the structure. 

In autumn, the 'Moon-watching Evening' event, which was held when the temple was an Emperor's detached palace, is revived and now anyone can enjoy the beautiful moon from the pond in a boat with a dragon or cormorant head on the bow, just as the aristocrats did back in those days.

(Contact Information)
Daikaku-ji Temple
Phone: +81-75-871-0071
Email: kikaku@daikakuji.or.jp

(4) Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple
(Photo by 663highland, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Further up the mountain from Daikaku-ji Temple is Kano Nenbutsu-ji Temple. Enter the gate after climbing the stairs, which are beautifully coloured with autumn leaves on both sides, and inside you will find countless stone pagodas and arhats (dolls made from stone). It is said that there are currently some 8,000 of them! 

A arhat at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple
(Rtype909, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The area has long been a burial ground for the dead, and it is said that people offered stone pagodas and arhats to bid eternal farewell to the dead, as aerial burials were most common in those days (in which dead bodies are left in nature without earth burial or cremation). It is said that the stone pagodas and Arhats were rearranged after the Nenbutsu-ji Temple was built 1,200 years ago to make the area more beautiful. The people laid to rest here are Muenbotoke, (or those who had no relatives), so anyone can visit and make them a prayer.

Every year in August, a thousand-light memorial service is held, where many candles are lit between the stone pagodas and arhats, and in the dim light, you can see a fantastical scene as if you are not in this world but in another.

(Contact Information)
Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple
Phone: +81-75−861−2221

(5) Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Along with Togetsu-kyo Bridge, the Bamboo Forest is a symbol of Arashiyama and is also a very famous tourist attraction. It is a 400m long promenade withe tall bamboos grow to cover the sky, and is cool even in summer, with the sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the breeze and the trunks clashing with each other.
(To film here,  permission from the Kyoto City Urban Planning Department is required)

Here's one piece of information you might like to know. The bamboo grove path near Arashiyama is famous for its many tourists, making it difficult to film. However, there is also a bamboo forest in the grounds of Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple, mentioned in (4).

Another Bamboo Forest near Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Climbing up the mountain, you will find a beautiful, if slightly short (50 m), bamboo forest pathway. It is a little-known secret place so we would like to recommend this place if you are looking for a more quiet forest.

(Contact Information)
The Kyoto City Urban Planning Department

(6) Popular activities in the Rakusai area

There are activities around Arashiyama, Rakusai that allow visitors to experience nature.

Sagano Romantic Train

Sagano Romantic Train
One is a 25-minute trolley train ride along the 7.3 km river cliff between Sagano and Kameoka called Sagano Romantic Train. The natural valleys are beautiful and at scenic points the train stops temporarily for film opportunities, especially in autumn when it seems to run through a tunnel of yellow and red leaves.

Hozugawa River Boat Ride

Hozugawa River Boat Ride
The other is Hozugawa River Boat Ride, a thrilling river cruise down the 16 km rapids of the Hozu River, which also flows from Kameoka to Arashiyama, in two hours on a Japanese style rowing boat. The view of the valley from the river is different. When the current slows down in the latter half of the tour, boats carrying Japanese sweets (dango zenzai) and food (oden) approach, which you can buy and eat.

(Contact Information)
Sagano Romantic Train: +81-75-861-7444
Hozugawa River Boat Ride: +81-771-22-5846

The Rakusai area is a village surrounded by mountains, unlike the centre of Kyoto, where you can feel the rich nature of Kyoto. If you consider filming in Kyoto, why don’t you include these places to add some natural flavours. If you need help for filming in Rakusai, Kyoto, please contact us for more information and support!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *