Are you planning to visit Arashiyama with your baby and young children?
Here are my advice and recommendations for where to go and how to get there!
I will split this up into a few posts in the members section, as I will separate all the locations so I can write about each place in more detail:)
This post will be an overall introduction and what I did to ensure we had a fabulous time!
We caught the train to Arashiyama from Kyoto. It was just about 15min from Kyoto Station to “Saga Arashiyama” Station, however it was SUPER crowded with tourists! We caught the train at about 11am, but we could still squeeze in with my stroller and luggage so it wasn’t too difficult.
Just be aware that you may need to wait for the next train if you can’t get on immediately with a stroller. It is probably best to try to be the first people to get on the train, so you can ensure you can get on with a stroller.
I highly recommend to stay in a hotel in Arashiyama (rather than trying to go there and back in one day from Kyoto). The reason is that Arashiyama is a busy tourist town, so you will be able to enjoy it MUCH more (especially with a baby/kids in tow) if you take it slow and stay overnight.
This will give you more time to explore the town in the early morning and enjoy it! We stayed at the “Japaning Hotel Liv Ranrokaku” and it was absolutely beautiful. See my post here for the details!
3. Bamboo Forest:
The other reason I recommend to stay in Arashiyama in a hotel overnight is because you can go to the bamboo grove early in the morning before it gets crowded!
I recommend going there at about 7am (or earlier) to take photos. It was wonderful and I want to go back there again! See my post here for the details!
4. Cherry Blossoms:
We unfortunately were too early for the cherry blossoms in Arashiyama! The blossoms were still in flower buds.
It will be absolutely stunning (all the mountains and along the river will be pink) so I definitely want to go back again and see this next year. It is hard to predict when the cherry blossoms will bloom, but I hope you can see them! You can definitely enjoy strolling around with your children and looking at the cherry blossoms.
5. Monkey park:
I will post about the Monkey Park separately, but just a note that I don’t think I would have been able to walk up the mountain when my kids were smaller (it is steep and you can’t take your stroller).
My kids are now 7 and 4 years old, so they could walk up and down by themselves without me having to carry them. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend hiking up the mountain (it takes 20min up the steep cliff to walk up!!) if you have a baby or toddler.
Also, I don’t think I would have felt comfortable to go there when my kids were babies, because I was worried about getting sick from the monkeys! I was constantly reminding my kids to wash their hands! ha.
I will write about this in a separate post as well, but just wanted to mention it here that I did find it tough to walk up the mountain. It is completely up to you and how you feel about hiking up mountains, but just wanted to let you know that I found it quite challenging!
- 11:30am – caught train from Kyoto Station to Saga Arashiyama Station (15min)
- 12:00 – had lunch in Marche bread shop cafe (child-friendly with toys. Was fantastic!)
- 1:00pm – check-in our hotel. They let us check in early (the check in time was 3pm, but they let us check in at 1pm! So sweet of them and highly appreciated because my kids were tired and in desperate need of a daytime nap!)
- 3:00pm – kids woke up from daytime nap, played in room and went to onsen for bath
- 5:00pm – Dinner (note that the restaurants in Arashiyama close early at 6pm, so make sure you have dinner before then!)
- 6:00pm – ice-cream by the river and stroller back to hotel
- 5:30am – my kids woke up early with the sunrise
- 6:00am – had milk and fresh bread that I bought at the bread shop the day before
- 6:30am – walked to the famous Bamboo Grove! Was amazing. Highly recommend to take your stroller with you, as it is stroller-friendly and handy to take with you in case your kids get tired from walking. After the bamboo grove, there is a lovely hill with cherry blossom trees and winds around down to the river. Extremely picturesque and your kids will love running around in the nature!
- 8:00am – Breakfast at Yoda Cafe
- 9:00am – Rest at hotel
- 10:00am – Check out from hotel and walked up to the Monkey Park
- 11:00am – Went back to our hotel to pick up our stroller and luggage, and walked back to Saga Arashiyama Station
- 12:00noon – train back to Kyoto Station
I hope these tips for Arashiyama help you for planning your trip to Kyoto. As I mentioned, I will post about the locations in more detail, but just wanted to write down some overall notes. We stayed in Kyoto for 5 nights, and 1 night was in Arashiyama. This was perfect!