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Japan: Kyoto (Randen Arashiyama station: Kimono Forest)

Many tourists flock to Kyoto to experience its countless temples and shrines. After all, having served as the capital of Japan for over one thousand years, there is quite a bit of history and culture to draw both tourists and native Japanese to this beautiful city. But located on the western outskirts of Kyoto is another area worth seeing called Arashiyama.

Arashiyama whose literal translation is Storm Mountain is home to numerous temples and shrines but its star attraction is the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Walking down the central path through the forest is rather awe inspiring and other worldly. One feels a sense of inner peace while standing amidst these towering bamboo giants, sheltered from all that is wrong in this world.

Drawing inspiration from the forest, artist Yasumichi Morita of GLAMOROUS Co. designed the Arashiyama Station on Kyoto’s Keifuku Arashiyama Line (commonly called the Randen Line) to invite visitors to the Arashiyama area to not only enjoy the beautiful scenery of its bamboo forest but also to marvel at the Kimono Forest created on the grounds of the station.

The Randen Line’s Kimono Forest consists of 600 poles, each 6.5 feet high, wrapped with Kyoto Yuzen kimono fabrics. The poles are illuminated by LED lights at night and provide a completely different atmosphere compared to the daytime display. The textiles were designed by Kyoto’s Kamedatomi, a textile factory dating back to the Taisho period. There are 32 different patterns on display, each carefully selected by the artist himself.

The renovation of the station was completed in July of 2013 and the ticket barriers were removed allowing everyone to be able to enter the station and marvel at its Kimono Forest and patronize the new shops. At the end of Kimono Lane, you will find a small fountain and the station’s so-called power spot, the Ryu no Atago. The water springs from 160 feet below ground and its source is said to be none other than the sacred Mount Atago. People come to this area to pray and to dip their hands in the cold water, which is believed to relax and restore.

So the next time you are in Kyoto, take a side trip to Arashiyama to experience the Bamboo Forest and the Kimono Forest for yourself. It is a remarkable experience that should not be missed.

You can access the Arashiyama Station via the Keifukuku Arashiyama Line from Omiya Station in central Kyoto. The travel time is approximately 20 minutes.

 

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