September 27, 2015
Camera: Sony A7
Lens: Tokina Plastic Fantastic
If you're looking for a much beloved photo location then look no further. This particular spot is a favorite for many photographers and tourists. If you haven't done your research this place can be a little confusing to get to. Especially if this is your first time in Kyoto. If you want some advice, don't type 'Arashiyama Forest' into your google search. It will take you up some obscure path near a river and up a path into the mountain. Not saying that is a bad option if you're daring, but if you're looking for this particular location you can take a look at the maps below.
First of all, here's a map of Kyoto. It's a small quiet city and I always suggest getting used to your surroundings by taking an overview of the whole city. Take note of the location of the forest relative to your hotel:
Quick note here, my hotel was all the way on the other side of town near Shinomiya station. I took a rental bike around 3:00am to reach Arashiyama. It took approximately 2h 45m to reach Arashiyama minus the getting lost part. I got lost twice and followed the red path below and rewarded myself with a side adventure I wasn't really looking for. The location of Arashiyama is relatively simple if you follow the map closely.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Here are a couple of field notes before the shoot:
The beautiful part of this location is that it opens 24hours. A night shoot wouldn't be out of the question. At night there are lights that illuminate the path, but I believe in order to truly get a sense of the forest, you have to be there early morning, before the photographers, tourists, camera and TV crews gun for the best spots. I'm sure all seasons would offer a good opportunity for pictures, minus the heat in the summer.
These shots were taken around 6:30am to 7:30am. People were starting to trickle in and a couple of times, I had to let people walk by. Around 5-6 you will have the forest virtually all to yourself.
Even though this location has been photographed many times, I believe a good photographer and still find a different perspective. You make it what you want. If you feel like this content and feel like it helped you in some way feel free to leave a comment below or subscribe for more locations. I am constantly updating the site with new locations. As always best wishes on your next adventure, travel safely and continue getting up and getting out!