In July 2013 Arashiyama Station on Kyoto’s Keifuku Arashiyama line (commonly known as Randen line) was fully opened after renovation. After the makeover Arashiyama Station truly became one of the most remarkable stations in Kyoto. The most attractive feature now is the so called “Kimono Forest” decoration, consisting of textile displays dyed in the traditional Kyo-yuzen style. But what exactly is this exhibition which captures the attention of tourists during daytime and nighttime?
A forest of products dyed in traditional Kyo-yuzen style is waiting for you at Arashiyama’s entrance!
The local and colorful Randen line connects Kyoto’s center with one of the symbolic touristic destinations in the city – Arashiyama. The last stop Arashiyama Station fully reopened after renovation in July 2013. Now it has changed completely!
Despite having lots of visitors, the station decided to abolish its ticket barriers under the concept of “a small neighborhood’s local tram stop”! Thus everyone can now enter for free the entire grounds of the station. Moreover, new shops opened besides the platform so visitors can go there without riding on the train. And more people are encouraged to use the existing footbath inside the station.
But the biggest attraction of this large-scale renovation is the “Kimono Forest” decoration project developed by the interior designer Yasumichi Morita.
What is the “Kimono Forest”?
The “Kimono Forest” consists of pieces of textile dyed in the Kyo-yuzen style, covered with acrylic fiber and shaped like 2-meter tall cylindrical poles installed around the station and the railway tracks. There are over 600 of them all over the station grounds! The view is truly impressive!
The Kyo-yuzen textile used for this exhibition was created by Kamedatomi, a long-standing textile factory whose history dates back to Taisho period. Kamedatomi has also produced the brand Pagong, which combines traditional Kyo-yuzen style with aloha shirts! There are a total of 32 different textile patterns displayed which were all carefully selected by Yasumichi Morita. If you take your time to inspect them closely, you will immerse yourself in the beautiful world of Kyoto’s textile works. It feels like you’re inside a museum, even though you’re at the station!
The illuminated “Kimono lane” at nighttime
The daytime view is of course impressive, but I recommend you see the decorations at night! LED lights are incorporated into the poles and the whole place turns into a mystical light forest. Truly a “Kimono Forest”!
There is a small lane called “Kimono lane” where illuminated poles are lined up on both sides of the path. Walking between the dim lights of these objects will make you feel as if you’re travelling to another dimension! You’ll completely forget you’re inside a station! Another change after the renewal is changing the fluorescent lamps inside the station, so that the lights now complement the warm radiance of the “Kimono Forest” and create a relaxed atmosphere.
Arashiyama Station’s energy spot “Ryu no Atago” pond
At the end of the Kimono lane you will come across a small pond surrounded by the Kyo-yuzen art objects. That’s Arashiyama Station’s energy spot “Ryu no Atago”. Its name comes from Tenryuji Temple which is located nearby. The common belief is that if you pray in front of this pond with dragon decorations, your wishes will come true. And if you dip your hands into the Atago water, you will feel relaxed, refreshed and blessed with happiness.
The water springs from 50 meters below ground and comes from the underground water sources of the sacred mountain Atago. This natural spring of cold water never dries and is seen as the protector of the station and its visitors. Try dipping your hands inside the pond. The water coming from the ground will maybe fulfill your wish.
Enjoy the picture-perfect sceneries with the local retro train
There are various types of cars on the Randen Line, including some retro-style cars. When those retro cars enter the station and stand next to the shining “Kimono Forest”, the view becomes picture-perfect. All of a sudden the station turns into some movie setting or something far from the reality which exceeds the imagination of people!
When you take the train in the direction of Arashiyama at night, and when you finally enter the illuminated area after having travelled for some time in the darkness, the feeling of astonishment can’t be described with words! The original idea of the designer Yasumichi Morita was to “give a fresh air to the station while still keeping the old tradition”. He wanted to give new life to a place where lack of daylight used to mean lack of visitors. The new design of Arashiyama Station indeed embodies his concept.
The “Kimono Forest” plays an especially important role for that. The evening illumination has become a valuable touristic attraction for this station which didn’t receive much attention at nighttime. Please go and enjoy the result of this excellent designer’s idea.
Only at this unique station!
There are new benches installed for visitors to enjoy the creative new design of Arashiyama Station. You can walk along the Kimono lane like in a garden with a pond and enjoy seasonal beauties like red maple trees or blossoming sakura trees. Be sure to have a pleasant walk around.
I recommend coming during the day, then spending your time sightseeing in Arashiyama, and finally returning in the evening when it’s already dark. That’s a great way to see all faces of this station. In any case there is no other station like Arashiyama! It’s safe to say this renovated Randen line station is unique in the world.
Randen line’s Arashiyama Station, information: (075) 873-2121
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