Travel / Tourism Spots in Kyoto Area

  • Nijojo Castle
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    4.5
    7022 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).

    This is an amazing place. We loved walking “around” the main Ninomaru-goten Palace and seeing the panel reproductions that now are displayed in each of the rooms. Be sure to listen as the building...

  • Jisho-ji Temple (Ginkaku-ji Temple)
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    4.5
    4638 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ginkakujichou 2
    A mountain retreat modeled after the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Gold Pavillion Temple) built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, grandfather of the eighth Muromachi shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, in 1482. After Yoshimasa’s death, the villa was turned into a Rinzai Shokoku-ji school Zen Buddhist temple and, based on Yoshimasa’s posthumous name, the temple was named the Jishoji Temple. The Kannon Hall, commonly known as the Ginkaku (Silver Pavillion), is simple and elegant in its design; the Togu-do hall is the oldest extant example of ancient Japanese shoin-zukuri architecture and is designated a National Treasure.

    We stopped here despite the pouring rain. There is an entrance fee. The grounds are quite beautiful and you even can walk up a path of the side of the adjacent hill and find a wonderful overview of...

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
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    4.0
    57 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 great fun watching everyone queueing for these three streams - which one will they want to go for? Apparently you should only choose one!

  • Eikando Zenrin-ji
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    4.5
    1727 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.

    One of famous autumn leaves temple. Here is special to maintain trees during year for autumn season. It’s said water is impotent for red leaves if few rain they put water to a lot of trees. There are...

  • Byodoin
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    4.5
    1647 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.

    I visited Byodoin Jinja early April 2023. While the cherry blossoms had bloomed early here in UJi a fair amount were still at close to full bloom. In addition there was lovely blooming lavender on...

  • 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.

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha
    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.
  • To-ji Temple (Kyo-o-gokoku-ji Temple)
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    4.5
    1646 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.

    this place was absolutely gorgeous. It was established towards the end of the 8th Century, with it being the only remaining site from the original Heiankyo. (meaning that it existed since Kyoto...

  • Kodai-ji Zen Temple
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    4.5
    1499 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 is a smaller but beautiful temple in the heart of Kyoto. There are nice walking trails through the complex.

  • Ninna-ji Temple
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    4.5
    1264 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Omuroouchi 33
    This temple built in 888 by Emperor Uda is also known as Omuro Gosho. It is a World Heritage site and head temple of the Omuro sect of Shingon Buddhism, with a number of Important Cultural Properties on the expansive grounds including the National Treasure main building, five-storied pagoda, Goei-do building and Deva gate. The late blooming “Omuro Sakura” cherry blossom are best seen from mid to late April, and in autumn one can enjoy the beautiful and symbolic Kyoto sight of red and yellow leaves covering the road up to the main temple.

    Plenty of things to do here. If you go in April you may want to go to Omuro Zakura (Cherry Blossoms) as well. I went there on a rainy Tuesday but I still enjoyed it. There werent as many tourists as...

  • Shimogamo-jinja Shrine
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    4.5
    1037 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...

  • Kifune-jinja Shrine
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    4.5
    710 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Kuramakibunechou 180
    This shrine in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, is the head shrine for the Kifune-Shrines in Japan which number almost 500 shrines. Long been known for the god of rain it has also gained faith from the chefs, cooking industry, and water industries of Japan. Therefore, unlike the regional name of Kibune, the name of the shrine is read as Kifune. The middle shrine located between the main shrine and the rear shrine enshrines the goddess Iwanaga-hime, a goddess of marriage and matchmaking, and is therefore popular amongst young couples.

    I hiked to Kifune across the mountain from Kurama, walking a beautiful and well-kept forest path. Many shinto shrines on the way, placed into power spots. The shrine is in a narrow valley, and...

  • Sanzen-in Monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple)
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    4.5
    833 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ohararaikouinchou 540
    This Buddhist temple’s origin dates back to the Enryaku period (782–806), when the priest Saicho opened a temple in the To-do on Mt. Hiei; the temple moved to its current location in 1871. The temple grounds are filled with historic buildings, including the Ojo Gokuraku-in Hall and reception halls for Imperial and regular guests. The Amida Hall on the south side of the grounds houses a figure of Amitabha flanked by two attendants, a National Treasure. There are numerous other highlights, including the beautiful moss-covered Shuheki-en and Yusei-en gardens. Seasonal flowers and natural beauty can be enjoyed on the temple’s grounds year round, as well, including cherry blossoms in the spring and fall foliage in autumn.

    The great thing about Sanzen-in is that each way one looks, the view is different. This visit (not our first) it was a chilly day and we were grateful for the hot tea served. Take your time here...

  • Kenninji Temple
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    4.5
    1004 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.

    It seems this lovely temple is managing to avoid the hordes. We arrived at 10am on opening, removed our shoes and wandered the beautiful buildings, tatami mats, artworks and incredible roof painting...

  • Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
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    4.5
    788 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Shimogyo-ku Horikawa Nagaya-machi Town Down
    The head temple of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji sect of Buddhism believed to have originally been built as the mausoleum of the priest Shinran Shonin in 1272. After repeated relocations including Osaka and Wakayama, the temple was moved to its current location in 1591 with a donation from Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1591. The Nishi Hongwanji Temple (officially Ryukokuzan Hongwanji Temple) is the site of numerous Azuchi-Momoyama period structures designated National Treasures, including the Goei-do hall, Amidado-hall, the Kitano Stage (Japan’s oldest Noh stage), and study. The study’s garden is a traditional dry landscape garden and is designated a Special Place of Scenic Beauty. In 1995, the entire grounds of the shrine were registered as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” World Heritage listing.

    We came to see this temple after visiting the Higashi Hongonji. There were rather a lot of tents, which rather spoiled the ancient ambience of the complex; also making photography...

  • Chion-in temple
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    4.0
    717 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Rinkachou 400
    This Buddhist temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City is the head temple of the Jodo Pure-land Buddhist Sect. It was founded on the grounds where Pure-land Sect founder Honen built a thatched hut and passed away. After his death the Tokugawa family expanded the grounds and began construction of what would be the large-scale temple. National Treasures of Japan on the ground include the Miedo Hall and the three main gates before the temple while the Karamon gate and the great bellower have been designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan. A definite point to see are the three two-story wooden gates before the temple, which are the largest in Japan. * The Miedo Hall is closed for repair until 2020.

    We stumbled upon this active temple while walking through the area. We were able to witness a Buddhist prayer session and the temple was beautiful too.

  • Kamo-wake ikazuchi Jinja (Kamigamo-jinja Shrine)
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    4.5
    615 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.

  • Shoren-in Temple
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    4.5
    776 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.

    This temple looks more like a traditional Japanese home with tatami mats and open walls into garden. This is a must do if you want a glimpse into historical Japan.

  • Higashi Honganji Temple
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    4.0
    769 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Shimogyo-ku Karasuma-dori Seven Rises
    Higashi Honganji Temple is the head temple of the Otani sect of Shinshu Buddhism. The “Goeido” housing an image of sect founder Shinran is said to be one of the world’s largest wooden buildings with dimensions north-south of 76 meters, east-west of 58 meters, and a height of 38 meters. It was occasionally devastated by fire, and the current building is a reconstruction from the Meiji period. The gate outside Goeido, “Goeidomon,” is one of Kyoto’s three large gates.

    Our taxi driver dropped us off here while he waited. It was near closing time so we had to rush. The massive scale of this temple is quite impressive. The decor is beautiful and you really have a...

  • Maruyama Park
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    4.0
    678 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Maruyamachou
    Established in 1886, Maruyama Park is the oldest park in Kyoto City and is a nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty. A strolling garden built around a central pond created by the famed Ogawa Jihei VII, the graceful design makes use of natural hills. The garden vicinity is dotted with buildings such as a traditional Japanese ryotei restaurant, tea house, and the Maruyama Park Concert Hall as well as numerous other points of note, including Basho’s Hermitage and bronze statues of Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro. Also famous for its “Gion weeping cherry trees,” the beauty of the park’s cherries illuminated at night have become a must-see symbol of Kyoto. Gion-Shijo Station is the closest station to the park.

    It’s a pretty nice park and has a few shrines in or around it. Definitely a little creepy at night though, wife and I took a stroll and decided to leave. Lol

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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