If you find yourself at Arashiyama Station, popular for its proximity to the famed Sagano Bamboo Forest, it’s quite impossible to miss the gorgeous art installation aptly called the Kimono Forest.
Composed of 600 poles clad in acrylic-wrapped kimono fabric, the Kimono Forest starts along the station platforms and extends outside, forming a photogenic trail that leads to Tenryū-ji Temple. The fabrics were traditionally dyed in the Kyo-Yūzen method unique to Kyoto, in the workshop of the Kameda-Tomi company, a kimono manufacturer established in 1919 and known for its invention of Hawaiian-style Kyo-Yūzen shirts.
Selected by world-famous interior designer Yasumichi Morita, the Kimono Forest boasts a total of 32 different patterns, from flowers to flying cranes to geometric figures. While it’s vibrant, primarily in various shades of red and pink, and purple, it’s never gaudy and retains its quaint charm throughout.
The art installation is a great photo opportunity in the daytime, but it becomes even more magical after sunset when the poles are warmly illuminated with LED. And the best thing about it may be that it’s free to view—even if you don’t get on or off trains there.
Since its major refurbishment in 2013, Arashiyama Station has gotten rid of its ticket gates so anyone can enter at any time, whether to shop or to enjoy the beautiful Kimono Forest.