Western Kyoto Spiritual Tour: Forest Spirits Of Bamboo And Zen

Per Person
Book this tour with

Tour Information

Key Details

  • Mobile Voucher Accepted
  • Free Cancellation
  • Duration: 3 Hrs 30 Mins
  • Language:
  • Departure Time :
    2:00 PM
  • Departure Details :
    JR Saga-Arashiyama Sta. Public Bathroom, Japan, 〒616-8373 京都市右京区Ukyo Ward, Sagatenryūji Kurumamichichō, JR嵯峨嵐山駅南側
  • Return Details :
    Arashiyama Station, Arashiyama Higashiichikawacho, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0002, Japan
  • Cancellation Policy :
    For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.


Journey to the outskirts of ancient Kyoto to admire the stunning natural beauty of the Hozu river, surrounded by lush mountains and whispering bamboo groves. Visit dazzling ancient temples and embrace the spiritual and cultural side of Japan with a lesson in Zen meditation from a resident monk followed by a traditional matcha green tea ceremony. Spiritual enlightenment is (almost) guaranteed!

Know More about this tour

Our cultural and spiritual tour of the city will begin with a walk through the cosy and tranquil residential streets of Saga Arashiyama. This quaint suburban village was originally outside of Heiankyo the name given to ancient Kyoto and functioned as a restful resort for the city's noble families.

Well cross the main street, which is brimming with colourful craft shops and mouth-watering street food stalls and make our way to the famous Bamboo Grove of Arashiyama. Often mistakenly referred to as a forest, it is in fact a grove, as bamboo is not a tree, its actually a type of grass.

As we stroll, the bamboo gently sways in the breeze, with dramatic streaks of sunlight shimmering through the tall emerald stalks, giving you a sense of slipping back in time or entering into another world.

Halfway through the bamboo grove, well reach the compact but highly detailed Nonomiya shrine. This ancient 9th-century structure was originally a sacred site for the purification and preparation of the priestesses of the Ise Grand Shrine. Today, it is a peaceful place where believers quietly ask their deities for a happier domestic life.

At the top of the grove well wander through pretty Kameyama Park before reaching the mighty Hozu river valley. Well walk along the river, enjoying its lush surroundings, passing quirky shops, restaurants and historical sites as we go.

Well stop on Togetsukyo Bridge, which literally means Moon Crossing Bridge, where we can take in pretty vistas and admire the swooping cormorant birds. During the summer months, trained cormorants are used in a method of fishing calledukai, where the birds catch the fish for the fishermen.

Next up, well stroll along the river until the end of the footpath. We then continue our way up the winding, ancient stone steps of Daihikaku Senkoji Temple. Its located on the side of a scenic mountain with panoramas of the Hozu River valley, Arashiyama area, and Kyoto City on the horizon. On clear days you can even see to the top of the five-tiered Pagoda of Ninnaji Temple, far into the distance.

Here you will have a unique opportunity to encounter Zen by engaging in authentic Zen meditation under the guidance of a resident monk. Well also partake in a traditional matcha green tea ceremony, one of the hallmarks of Zen Buddhist culture.

After your Zen experience, well leave the temple grounds and head back along the Hozu riverside to the lively main road of Arashiyama where our tour ends, outside the Randen Keifuku Arashiyama station, which is the terminus for the old tram or streetcar.

The station area provides an assortment of eating and shopping options for you to indulge in. There is also a glowing display of beautiful Kimono fabric patterns in transparent tubes, known as the Kimono forest. We also recommend the foot spa, where natural spring water can soothe your weary feet.


Local English-speaking guide

Zen meditation instruction

Matcha green tea ceremony and cup of tea

Coffee and/or Tea


Additional food and drink

Souvenirs and any additional transportation

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking

Not wheelchair accessible

Please wear modest, casual dress and comfortable walking shoes.

In case of closure of the temple the tour will not run. The booking can then either be changed to an alternative date or otherwise we will partially refund the customer.

In severe weather conditions some of the walks may be slippery in case of rain.

We can accommodate vegetarian and other dietary restrictions. Please notify us in advance if you have any dietary requests.

For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers