Lying to the west – approximately 20 to 30-minutes from Kyoto Station by train or bus – Arashiyama attracts plenty of visitors, especially in spring and autumn when it is blessed with some of Kyoto’s best cherry blossom and autumn colours. Among the multiple attractions in the area, Togetsukyo Bridge is the most recognisable – along with the Arashiyama Sagano Bamboo Grove. Spanning the Katsura River, a bridge has stood in-place since at least 836. The current bridge was built in 1934 and measures 155 metres in length and is often used as a setting for period films and television shows, commercials and hugely popular photography spot through all seasons but especially in autumn and winter.
Though the foundations and supports of the bridge are made of reinforced concrete. the top of the bridge including parapets are made of wood and as such, the overall structure retains a beautiful and historic character. The name ‘Togetsu’ translates as ‘moon crossing’ and relates to a story from the Kamakura Period (1185–1333) in which the Emperor had thought the moon appearing to be crossing the bridge as it moved across the night sky – a worthwhile destination for anyone head to the Tenryu-ji Temple – pictured above left – or Arashiyama Sagano Bamboo Grove – pictured above middle and only 10 minutes walk from the bridge. For accommodation listings in this area, see our ‘Kyoto: Arashiyama Station Area’ hotel page.