Togetsukyo bridge is an iconic landmark in Arashiyama and is one of the photogenic spots in Kyoto. It blends in the natural background because the balustrade is made of wood and has been there for more than 1000 years.
Togetsukyo means moon crossing bridge. It was named by one of the emperors in Kamakura era (1185-1333) who often went boating, and witnessed a moon rising above the river, then composed a poet saying the moon was crossing the bridge. It has been called Togetsukyo since then. So going there at night may not be a bad idea to feel it!
The bridge is 155 meters long and 11 meters wide. It is still stable and functional for every use.
The original bridge was made of wood and built in 700s or 800s, but now the pier is made of concrete because it has been damaged and restored many times due to floods. The recent restoration work was completed in 2018.
Togetsukyo used to be called Horinjikyo since it belonged to Horinji temple. However the way of calling it Togetsukyo became more common after the emperor composed the poet.
The entrance fee is free and you can cross over it anytime.
Togetsukyo bridge gets busier in the seasons. Autumn is one of the peak seasons as you can see the photo above, the trees turn yellow or red and it is absolutely beautiful!
In the summer, the trees are green like the photo on the top.
In the winter, the scenery could be white with snow. But it does not snow that often, so you must be lucky when you can see it in person↓
Another peak season is the spring because the cherry blossoms are in full bloom↓
How to get to Togetsukyo bridge
There are 3 train stations around the bridge.
The closest train station is Hankyu Arashiyama. However you need to transfer twice when coming from Kyoto station. The station is marked in blue on the bottom of the map below.
The most accessible station is JR Saga Arashiyama because you can get a direct train from Kyoto station. The JR station is a further station than the others, but it is only 10 min walk so this route is recommended and lined in the map.
Another station is Randen Arashiyama. Randen is a local train and the trains usually have 1 or 2 carriages so you can feel like a local when traveling with it! But you can not get a direct train from Kyoto station. You need to transfer once. It is also marked in blue in the middle of the map.
Togetsukyo Bridge to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Togetsukyo Bridge is close to another landmark in Kyoto which is Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. It is also marked up in blue in the middle of the map.
The route from the bridge to the grove is very easy. Simply go straight to north around 500 meters, turn left, and follow the path.
Travel like a local | Virtual tour of Togetsukyo Bridge
This is a video I made walking there in early morning↓
Togetsukyo Bridge in Japanese
Togetsukyo is Japanese and written like this 渡月橋