If you are the first time to visit Sagano & Arashiyama, I would highly recommend one of my best routes. If you start at Kyoto station, take the JR Sagano Line, then get off at Saga-Arashiyama station. It takes approx.16min. The best season to visit here would be in the spring or fall season. You don’t need to visit all spots which I recommend. I’m sure that you would be able to enjoy hanging around there even though you are not so keen on Japanese history. Within walking distance from all spots from Saga-Arashiyama station. Make sure each location with the below map.
A. Let’s start from Saga Arashiyama station.
B. Go to Togetsukyo Bridge, which is well known. Let’s take a photo of the bridge!
C. Go to Tenryuji Temple which is one of the world Heritage Sites.
D. Go to Okochi Sanso Villa. You can see an authentic Japanese garden which is one of the best in Japan. Also, you can see and pass through bamboo groves on the way to the villa. This place is really elegant and tasteful.
E. Go to Jojakkoji Temple. This temple is known for the autumn leaves.
F. Go to Rakushisha Residence. I think you don’t need to enter the building. Just viewing it from outside would be enough.
G. Go to Nison-in Temple. If you visit here in April or November, you might want to enter the temple and take a walk in a garden. You could see beautiful sakura in early to mid-April. Also, you could see fall foliage in mid to late Nov.
H. Go to Gio-Ji Temple. The temple is very small, but I love it. The best season to visit here would be in fall. The autumn leaves are really amazing.
I. Go to Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple. There is a lot of Jizoa guardian deity of children on site. The temple has a memorial service on the 23rd and 24th of August.
J. Go to Otagi Nenbutsuji. The temple is similar to Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple. The atmosphere around here is very quiet. There would be few people.