Travel / Tourism Spots in Kyoto Area

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha
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    4.5
    24494 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Fushimi-ku Fukakusa Yabunouchi cho 68
    This shrine in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City, is the head of all Inari Shrines in Japan, which total to around 30,000 shrines. The shrine is particularly famous for its vermillion lacquered Torii gate tunnels, as well as to parishioners visiting the god for business, harvest, and fortune. Many of the buildings on the grounds are also painted with brilliant vermillion lacquer including the front shrine, main shrine, and tower gate, which has been designated an Important Cultural Properties of Japan. The torii gate corridor, said to consist of several thousand to 10,000 torii gates, twists and turns making it quite the spectacle. Beyond that is the rear shrine as well as the entrance to Mt. Inari-san which is dotted with countless small burial mounds. It is one of the most famous spots in the Kansai region to visit for the annual New Year Shrine Visit and draws huge numbers of visitors every year.

    Many shrines in Asia, we noticed, are difficult to get to. This glorious temple as well is for fit and fine to climb. We tell you, only the fit may climb.

  • Nijojo Castle
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    4.5
    6976 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto City Kyoto City Nakagyo-ku Nijyotoru Horikawa Western Nishi Nijo Castle Town 541
    This fortification was built in 1603 to lodge Tokugawa Ieyasu when he travelled to the capital after his victory at the Battle of Sekigahara. Later, the site was significantly renovated by the third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, resulting in its present form. In addition to the entire grounds being a nationally designated Historic Site, the site is dotted with numerous historically valuable structures and beautiful sights, including the Ninomaru Palace, the outer citadel palace (a National Treasure), Honmaru Palace, the inner citadel palace (an Important Cultural Property), and Ninomaru Garden, the outer citadel palace garden (a Special Place of Scenic Beauty).

    The palace was not open due to the New Year holidays but the garden was open. Most of the buildings were being renovated anyways so we wouldn’t have been able to go inside. It would be worth visiting...

  • Kyoto Imperial Palace
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    4.0
    2433 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kamigyou-ku Kyoutogyoen
    The Kyoto Imperial Palace is located in the northern side of the Kyoto Imperial Gardens. The palace is surrounded by a roofed mud wall and channel of clear running water 250 meters long east to west and 450 meters long north to south. The current palace was rebuilt in 1855 and includes such facilities as six gates scattered around all four sides, the old palace’s state chamber where successive generations of emperors were enthroned, and a hall of state built in the Imperial residence style located in the center of the compound where the Imperial throne is placed. The small old palace, built in the traditional shoin-zukuri style, is located on the north side of the compound, and from here visitors can view an elegant garden with a large pond. Once, viewing the Kyoto Imperial Palace required an application to be made beforehand, but today no such reservation is required and the palace may be viewed freely by anyone year round (note that a bagger inspection will be performed prior to allowing visitors entry).

    Japans Imperial Familys offical Residence until 1868, when they moved to Tokyo. Kyoto, up until that point, was The Capital and that is why it is still very much a low-rise City, with lots of...

  • Tenryu-ji Temple
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    4.5
    1957 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagatenryujisusukinobabachou 68
    The head temple of Rinzai Tenryuji Buddhsim. The temple is one of the foremost sightseeing locations in the Saga Arashiyama area. The temple was founded in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji to memorialize Emperor Go-Daigo. The temple was founded as the first of the five Kyoto Gozan premier temples and the spacious grounds encompassed over 150 sub-temples, but these were all lost in a series of later fires. The various temple buildings standing today were reconstructed in the Meiji period; the abbot’s chamber enshrines a seated figure of Gautama Buddha created in the Fujiwara period. The temple’s circular garden, built around a central pond, is a designated Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty and makes use of Mt. Arashiyama and Mt. Kameyama in the background. The garden looks the same as it did approximately 700 years ago when it was first created by Muso Kokushi.

    The walkway to the entrance of the temple runs through the highly famous, spectacular Arashiyama bamboo groves. It is the most popular, major attraction in the Arashiyama area. You can take the...

  • Byodoin
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    4.5
    1628 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Ujishi Uji Renge 116
    A Buddhist temple located in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture that was founded in 1052 when Fujiwara no Michinaga, the father of Fujiwara no Yorimichi, turned a villa he had inherited into a temple. Due to the pessimism of the time which believed the world was coming to an end, Pure Land Buddhism grew in popularity, and the temple’s hall was designed to recreate the Western Paradise, a key aspect of the faith. The luxurious hall enshrines a seated figure of Amitabha created by the Buddhist sculptor Jocho. Most of the original temple excluding the main hall, Kannon hall, and bell tower were destroyed by fire. In the Byodoin Museum Hoshokan, however, visitors can view a Chinese Phoenix depicted on the ceiling and temple bell (National Treasures) as well as 26 of the 52 floating bodhisattva figures suspended from the ceiling of the main hall.

    Easy access from either train stations. Well kept buildings and facilities. Need to pay extra ¥300 to go inside the main hall. The museum was nice but not many explanations in English. This temple is...

  • Tofuku-ji Temple
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    4.5
    1808 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Honmachi 15-778
    Construction of this large temple was begun in 1236 by the regent Kujo Michiie, who wanted to enshrine Kyoto’s largest monastery. The construction ultimately took 19 years to complete. The temple’s spacious grounds are home to such highlights as Japan’s oldest main temple gate (a designated National Treasure), and a toilet constructed in the Zen style as well as a temple nave decorated with a painting of a dragon on its ceiling (both Important Cultural Properties). Four gardens are distributed to the east, west, north, and south sides of the grounds, and each offers charming but different scenery. The northern garden in particular, with its checkerboard of moss and stones, is a must-see.

    wandered here through the sennyu-ji temple, a beautiful area. maple trees just starting to turn colors. we were visiting beloved kyoto for our third and most likely last time. lucky to be able to...

  • Rokuon-ji Temple (Kinkaku-ji Temple)
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    4.5
    28 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kita-ku Kinkakujichou 1
    This temple began when third generation shogun of the Muromachi shogunate Ashikaga Yoshimitsu inherited the Saionji family's mountain villa and called the villa “Kitayamadono.” After his death it was changed into a Zen temple named “Rokuonji.” The reliquary hall is a three-story building shining beautifully in gold and looks pretty reflected in the Kyokoike (mirror pond). This brilliant architecture was a symbol of Kitayama culture but burned down in a 1950 fire, then was rebuilt in 1955. In 1994 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    It was nice to sit quietly and have a bowl of matcha tea and a sweet while finishing our visit at kinkaku-ji. It wasnt busy at all despite the huge crowds at the temple and the tea was lovely.

  • Eikando Zenrin-ji
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    4.5
    1700 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Eikandouchou 48
    The head temple of Nishiyama Zenrinji Pure Land Sect of Buddhism, located in Eikando Town, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was erected by Shinsho, a disciple of the famed priest Kukai, in 853 to serve as a Pure Land Sect dojo. Thereafter, a man named Eikan joined the priesthood and began engaging in philanthropic works while spreading Pure Land Buddhism and encouraging people to pray to Amitabha. Accordingly, the name “Eikando” is derived from his name. The temple is famous for its standing figure of Amitabha, which is looking back over its shoulder. An exhibit of the temple’s treasure house is held in November. The temple has also been famous for its autumn foliage since ancient times.

    A must do along the Philosophers Path - which only takes about 1 hour to walk, from the Silver Pavilion to Zenso-ji - this includes stopping at all 4 temples.

  • To-ji Temple (Kyo-o-gokoku-ji Temple)
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    4.5
    1618 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Minami-ku Kujouchou 1
    This Buddhist temple is the only remaining structure built during the days of the ancient capital of Heian-kyo (the former name of the city of Kyoto) and officially named Kyo-o gokoku-ji Temple. The temple was registered as a World Heritage site in 1994. The temple’s numerous National Treasures are worthy of note, such as its Kondo Hall (Main Hall), Daishido Hall (Miei House), and five tier pagoda, which is 55 meters (187 feet) tall and is the tallest wooden structure in Japan. Some of the temple’s many other historic and cultural assets include the southern gate and lecture hall, both registered as Important Cultural Properties.

    Amazing historic site, has statues that were burned centuries ago but survived. Many local people go for spiritual reasons. Also a massive local market was happening the day we went, like a yard or...

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
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    4.0
    32 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Kiyomizu 1-294
    A famous Buddhist temple located in Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The temple is said to have been started when the priest Enchin enshrined a thousand-armed statue of Kannon above the Otowa Waterfall in 778. The main temple nave enshrines a standing figure of an eleven-faced Kannon and is built in the elegant Shinden-zukuri style. The Kiyomizu Stage jutting out over the Cliffside offers a sweeping view of the streets of Kyoto and blooming cherry trees, verdant plant life, or autumn foliage depending on the season, making it a popular photo spot. The three channeled Otowa Waterfall is said to provide benefits such as long life and people line up to drink its waters. Bustling with students on a school excursion as well as tourists both domestic and international, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist sites.

    Its a steep walk going up the Kiyomizu dera main stage so make sure to have lots of energy. But the view is extremely picturesque especially when it snows

  • Kodai-ji Zen Temple
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    4.5
    1489 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Kodaiji Shimogawara-machi 526
    This temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City was founded in 1606 to pray for Toyotomi Hideyoshi's happiness in the next life by his wife, Nene. Along with a mausoleum for the both of them, you can also visit the front gate of former Fushimi castle, the Kasatei teahouse, the Shiguretei teahouse, the Kaisando hall which holds favorite mementos of the two, and the Mizukidai pavilion (all of which are Important Cultural Properties of Japan). The fine gold lacquer work on the Buddha dais and miniature shrine within the mausoleum are masterpieces of Momoyama-period artwork and known as Kodai-ji Temple Makie. The garden on site surrounding a small pond is not to be missed and has been nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty as well as a Historic Site. It is lit up during the sakura cherry blossom season in spring, at night in summer, during the gorgeous foliage season in fall, and on New Year's Eve.

    this temple is located in a beautiful part of Higashiyama Ward. It sits atop a slight hill. Kodai-ji is a jewel of Momoyama Period architecture. Getting there: Kodaiji is located in the Higashiyama...

  • Heian Jingu Shrine
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    4.0
    1222 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Okazakinishitennouchou
    A Shinto shrine located in Sakyo Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture which was erected in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of the ancient capital of Heian-Kyo. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei. The main shrine building is a 5/8th scale replica of the Heian-Kyo government reception hall used during the time of Emperor Kammu. The shrine’s solemn vermillion lacquered buildings roofed with green glazed tiles and the white gravel covering the grounds are a spectacle to behold. The surrounding Japanese garden is strolling garden built around a central pond which is divided into four separate sections filled with splendid flowering plants and trees appropriate to the four seasons. The shrine is also famous for its weeping cherry trees in spring.

    I have visited many times and brought many friends. The garden behind the temple is one of my favorite places in Kyoto. The signature stepping stones across the pond is particularly intriguing...

  • Shimogamo-jinja Shrine
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    4.5
    1027 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Shimogamoizumigawachou 59
    Formally titled the Kamomioya Shrine, this historic Shinto shrine is one of Kyoto’s oldest. The entire grounds of the shrine are registered as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” World Heritage listing. Dedicated to the guardian deity of Kyoto as well as the guardian deity of woman’s duties, since ancient times the shrine has been seen as providing divine aid in receiving guidance, achieving victory, and starting new projects. The grounds are also dotted with women-oriented shrines and sites, such as the Aioi-sha, a shrine dedicated to luck in marriage, and Kawai Shrine, a guardian shrine for women.

    We walked from Kawaramachi to Shimojima Jinja. It was busy because it was New Years Day so everyone was buying amulets and fortunes. At this shrine, you can pay your respects to your zodiac sign...

  • Kenninji Temple
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    4.5
    991 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Yamato Daicho Route Shijo Shimo Le Komatsu Town
    A Rinzai Sect Buddhist temple located in Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture and the oldest Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Erected thanks to funds donated by the Shogun Minamoto no Yoriie in 1202, the temple was founded by the priest Eisai and was modeled after Song China’s holy Mt. Bozhang. The temple is famous for its Image of Raijin and Fujin, a National Treasure created by famed painter Tawaraya Sotatsu, as well as its numerous other sliding screen paintings and treasures designated Important Cultural Properties. The temple is also well known for the beauty of its Japanese gardens, including a dry landscape garden containing a delicate arrangement of white sand, moss, and boulders. The imperial envoy gate contains arrow marks and is built with a gabled roof. The abbot’s chamber, moved here from the Ankoku-ji Temple in old Aki Province, and the Image of Paired Dragons, 108 tatami mats in size and painted on ceiling of the lecture hall in 2002, are both must-sees.

    This temple, supposed to be one of the oldest in Kyoto, turned out to be more than I expected. It has a beautiful karesansui garden with a gate on background and a famous hall with quite recently...

  • Shoren-in Temple
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    4.5
    766 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Awataguchisanjoubouchou 69-1
    Together with the Sanzen-in Temple and Myoho-in Temple, the Shoren-in Temple is a Tendai Buddhist temple. Because it served as a temporary Imperial palace in the Edo period, it is also called the “Old Kurita Imperial Palace.” This highly formal temple is deeply tied to the Imperial household—since ancient times, the temple’s head priest was a member of the Imperial household or a line of Imperial regents and advisors. The entire spacious approximately 33,000 square meter grounds are a nationally designated Historic Site. The highlights of the grounds are the temple’s two gardens which give visitors the chance to enjoy beautiful, seasonal scenery. One is a traditional circular strolling garden with a central pond created by Soami in the Muromachi period. The other, the Kirhishima-no-niwa, was created by Kobori Enshu (formally, Masakazu). Each year in spring and autumn, the gardens are lit up at night by approximately 1,000 lights large and small, creating magical sights.

    Shoren-in has a stroll garden you can also view from the temple veranda. One side of the garden has a pond with islands and a miniature stone pagoda in the background, while other only has a...

  • Kamo-wake ikazuchi Jinja (Kamigamo-jinja Shrine)
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    4.5
    608 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kita-ku Kamigamomotoyama 339
    This shrine in Kita Ward, Kyoto City, enshrines the patron god of the Kamo clan. It is said the shrine was founded in 678 when the god Kamowakeikazuchi no Okami descended to the foot of Mt. Kamosan during the reign of Emperor Jimmu. The god is said to protect against misfortune, grant good fortune, victory in battle, and protect the power industry. The main hall and temporary shrine are both National Treasures and were last rebuilt in 1863 while the 34 worship halls rebuilt in 1628 are designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan. On May 15th they hold the Aoi Festival, one of Kyoto's three largest festivals, and many people come to watch the procession which is put on in Heian-period costumes.

    lovely buildings and gardens to walk around, history of these places is amazing. Very tranquil and so clean.

  • Kurama-dera Temple
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    4.5
    391 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Kuramahonchou 1074
    A Buddhist temple whose origin dates back to 770 when Gantei (Jiàn zhēng) shonin, the leading disciple of the Chinese priest Ganjin (Jiàn zhēn) wajyo, enshrined a statue of Bishamonten (Vaisravana: the guardian god of Buddhism) here. Thereafter, in 796, Chief of Temple Construction Fujiwara no Isendo had an additional temple building constructed here enshrining a figure of Senju Kannon (Thousand-armed Buddhist Goddess of Mercy). The temple is known for its legends regarding a tengu (long-nosed goblin) and Ushiwakamaru (young Minamoto no Yoshitsune), and there are sites along the mountain trail leading to the inner sanctuary from behind the main temple building connected to him. The “path of 99 bends,” which famed author and court lady Sei Shonagon described as being “short yet long” in her Pillow Book, extends for approximately one kilometer between the main temple gate and the main temple building, but visitors may also ride a cable car up to the temple’s two tier pagoda. A renowned “power spot,” this popular site is visited by great numbers of people each year.

    We visited Kurama temple in the afternoon after visiting Kifune shrine at the neighboring town. Kurama Temple is located at the base of the Mount Kurama but will still need to hike up to the temple...

  • Katsura Imperial Villa
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    4.5
    471 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Katsuramisono
    This is the Katsura Imperial Villa, established in 1615 after taking 50 years to complete. With a beauty that could be called the culmination of Japan’s gardens, the grounds are a chisen-kaiyushiki garden covering an area of 69,400 square meters. The main buildings include the Koshoin (Old Shoin), Chushoin (Middle Shoin) and Shingoten (New Palace), while also around the pond are four teahouses each with a different feel. It is a garden where one can enjoy the four seasons of Japan from spring’s cherry blossoms to autumn’s changing leaves. Though same day booking is possible, one should book in advance to be guaranteed entry.

    Katsura Imperial Villa is one of must-sees in Kyoto. To visit the villa, you should either make a reservation in advance, or go directly to the entrance early in the morning. Only the limited number...

  • Yasaka Hall Gion Corner
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    3.0
    520 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachiminamigawa 570-2 Inside the Yakinikan
    Here you can enjoy seven of Japan's traditional arts in the space of about an hour including Kyomai traditional Kyoto dance, Kyogen comedy theater, Gagaku traditional court music, Bunraku puppet theater, koto music, tea ceremony, and ikebana flower arranging. It is located inside the Yasaka Hall in Gion, Kyoto City, nearby the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo theater. In the lobby you'll find pictures of annual festivals held in ''Kyoto Gokagai (five districts)'' (Gion Kobu, Miyagawa-cho, Ponto-cho, Kamishichiken, Gion Higashi) as well as a Maiko gallery showing the ornamental flower pins worn by the Maiko, their hairstyles, and other small items. This is a famous place for seeing the character of Japan and is popular amongst students on school trips and foreign visitors. It is a five-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Line.

    This was an enjoyable taste of seven Japanese art forms seamlessly interwoven together in under an hour that at times it seems like one event with several sub-plots. The event highlights the tea...

  • Daikakuji temple
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    4.5
    371 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagaosawachou 4
    Located in the Saga area of Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, this is the head temple of the Shingon Daikaku-ji school of Buddhism. The temple’s principle object of worship is five figures of the great wisdom kings centering around Acala. The temple was founded by Emperor Saga. A former villa that belonged to Emperor Saga which was renovated into a temple, the grounds contain many imperial buildings that were moved here. The strikingly beautiful screen paintings in the Botan-no-Ma and Kobai-no-Ma rooms in the Shinden hall (an Important Cultural Property) were painted by Kano Sanraku. The temple is also located near Uzumasa, where many historical dramas are filmed, and the temple grounds themselves are also frequently used to shoot historical and other varieties of drama programs. As the birthplace of flower arrangement, the temple is also famous for being the head temple of the Saga Goryu school of flower arrangement.

    Daikaku-ji Temple was initially an imperial villa of Emperor Saga during the Heian period. The huge temple with ornate doors surrounded by beautiful gardens and a large lake were targets for...

Kyoto Areas

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Its wooden tea houses, shuffling geisha, and spiritual sights have seen Kyoto hailed as the heart of traditional Japan, a world apart from ultramodern Tokyo. Despite being the Japanese capital for over a century, Kyoto escaped destruction during World War II, leaving behind a fascinating history which can be felt at every turn, from the fully gold-plated Kinkakuji Temple down to traditional customs such as geisha performances and tea ceremonies, which are still practiced to this day.

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