Western Kyoto: Forest Spirits of Bamboo and Zen

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • COVID-19protected
  • Countryside and village visits
  • Cultural, religious and historic sites
  • Meditation
See Itinerary
  • duration 3.5 hours
  • tour type Group
  • age requirement 6+ yrs
  • max group size 12
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts/Ends Kyoto, Japan
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marvel at the magnificent panorama of the Kyoto and Sagano valleys from an ancient mountaintop temple
  • Get instructed in the art of Zen meditation with a real Buddhist monk
  • Participate in a timehonoured green tea ceremony in a Zen temple
  • Wander through an ancient, towering bamboo grove
The Western Kyoto: Forest Spirits of Bamboo and Zen tour starts and ends in Kyoto. The Western Kyoto: Forest Spirits of Bamboo and Zen is a countryside and village visits tour that takes 3.5 hours.

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! 
CUSTOMER REVIEWS ABOUT URBAN ADVENTURES
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Based on 802 reviews
Ms. Erin's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Ms. Erin
  • On Aug 17 2016
“We had an amazing time on our Amsterdam Food by Foot tour - we got to try some of the most amazing local food (hello those french fries in a cone!), and our guide was a local who was super knowledgeable about Amsterdam's history. The highlight was a boat ride on the canals - would definitely go back & tour again.”
Mr. John's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Mr. John
  • On May 21 2016
“excellent and informative guide, learn't lots about Singapore”
Mr. Graham's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Mr. Graham
  • On Aug 28 2016
“Mekong delta trip - overall, great. However, one thing to note - it was disappointing to notice how much rubbish was in the water/ mangroves as we went up the small pier to the coconut candy cottage industry. Quite possibly not even of their own making, but washed up on their 'patch'. It's very off putting, wanting tourists to support things like this, but seeing the local folk not even take any pride in presenting their own environment well. Wouldn't take much to work on that. Quang was a great guide.”
ITINERARY

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. 

We’ll 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, it’s 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, we’ll 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 we’ll wander through pretty Kameyama Park before reaching the mighty Hozu river valley. We’ll walk along the river, enjoying its lush surroundings, passing quirky shops, restaurants and historical sites as we go. 

We’ll 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 called ukai, where the birds catch the fish for the fishermen.

Next up, we’ll 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. It’s 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. We’ll also partake in a traditional matcha green tea ceremony, one of the hallmarks of Zen Buddhist culture. 

After your Zen experience, we’ll 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. Don’t forget to ask your guide for further recommendations on what else to see and do during your stay in Kyoto.  

WHAT'S INCLUDED
Guide
  • Local English-speaking guide
Others
  • Zen meditation instruction
  • Matcha green tea ceremony and cup of tea
WHAT'S EXCLUDED
  • Additional food and drink
  • souvenirs and any additional transportation
Why Book with Bookmundi
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GOOD TO KNOW
CANCELLATION

Cancellation for this Western Kyoto: Forest Spirits of Bamboo and Zen tour is free up to 48 hours before the chosen start date - full refund will be given. If cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the chosen start date, no refund applies.

Payment

For any tour departures within 21 April 2021, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 21 April 2021, a deposit of 100% is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 0 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

Western Kyoto: Forest Spirits of Bamboo and Zen tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Western Kyoto: Forest Spirits of Bamboo and Zen tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

Meeting start point :

JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, in front of the ticket gates.

Meeting end point :

Randen Keifuku Arashiyama Station.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

This trip incorporates the following COVID-19 measures:

  • This tour follows established guidelines that are in line with the World Travel and Tourism Council’s ‘Safe Travels’ framework against COVID-19.
  • This tour follows the local government(s) recommendations for gatherings and group sizes.
  • Wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitizing is highly encouraged on this tour. Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected.
NEED HELP OR HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THIS TOUR?
If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.
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