History / Culture / Tour Spots in Kyoto Area

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha
    rating-image
    4.5
    24522 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.

    An amazing shrine to visit in Kyoto, must see. Plenty of shops on the way to the shrine if youd like to pick up a souvenir. Next time, I hope to go through more of the gates.

  • Nijojo Castle
    rating-image
    4.5
    6983 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 a UNESCO world heritage site. As of June 2022, the Honmaru-Goten Palace is closed for major restoration/renovation. The various gardens inside the castle walls are all accessible and...

  • Jisho-ji Temple (Ginkaku-ji Temple)
    rating-image
    4.5
    4610 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.

    Ginkakuji Temple was one of many I saw while touring around Kyoto. I was here in September and had the temple to myself. There is an entrance fee for this temple but its well worth a visit. I loved...

  • Tenryu-ji Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    1969 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.

    This temple is at the end of the bamboo forest and is just stunning. The pond and garden around it is a great picture opportunity. Fortunately not many people were there when we went on our trip.

  • Nanzen-ji Zen Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    2178 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Nanzenjifukuchichou
    The head temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was founded by the priest Mukan Fumon as the Zenrin-ji-dono, the imperial villa of Emperor Kameyama in 1291. The temple’s standing is high; it is considered above the five most important Rinzai temples in both Kyoto and Kamakura. Its triple gate is considered one of the three most impressive temple gates in Kyoto and is also famous as the setting of a scene in the kabuki play Sanmon gosan no kiri, in which the character of Ichikawa Goemon utters the well-known line, “How beautiful, how beautiful!” The temple houses numerous Important Cultural Properties, such as famed painter Kano Tan’yu’s screen paining The Tiger of Mizunomi. The grounds contain an abbot’s residence which is a National Treasure and was moved here from the former imperial palace of Fushimi Castle. The temple’s garden is a dry landscape garden representative of the early Edo period style.

    came to beloved kyoto to visit our wonderful friend after hiking the kumano kodo trail. our 6th visit to japan, our third exploration of kyoto. lucky us to have our japanese friend who was raised in...

  • Rokuon-ji Temple (Kinkaku-ji Temple)
    rating-image
    4.0
    29 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.

  • Byodoin
    rating-image
    4.5
    1634 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.

    The temple was designated to UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most famous building in the temple, the Phoenix Hall which hold the Amida Buddha statue and two statues of phoenix on the roof. The hall...

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
    rating-image
    4.0
    33 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

  • Tofuku-ji Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    1818 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.

    I have seen the Tsuten-kyo Bridge for countless times in the end-title roll of the samurai drama, Oniheihankacho. Knowing the bridge was always crowded, I have hesitated to visit it especially when...

  • Eikando Zenrin-ji
    rating-image
    4.5
    1715 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.

    This shrine is particularly very popular during the momijis season in fall. The colors are so bright, the garden,the pond, little waterfall... beautiful setting.

  • To-ji Temple (Kyo-o-gokoku-ji Temple)
    rating-image
    4.5
    1629 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.

    Who doesn’t know the famous pagoda of Toji, in the former capital of Japan? Okay, at the first glance the temple itself is nothing special, it’s not as assaulted by tourists as other Kyoto temples...

  • Kodai-ji Zen Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    1493 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
    rating-image
    4.0
    1229 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.

    This Shinto shrine is only just over 100 years old.A massive torii gate marks the approach to the shrine, around which there are a couple of museums. The actual shrine grounds themselves are very...

  • Shimogamo-jinja Shrine
    rating-image
    4.5
    1032 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
    rating-image
    4.5
    701 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.

    The picture of the red stairs attracted me to visit the place. So, added this place into my Japan trip. Went on end Nov 2019 for a day trip to visit Kibune shrine, Kurama-Dera temple and to see the...

  • Sanzen-in Monzeki (Sanzen-in Temple)
    rating-image
    4.5
    822 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.

    We loved the garden around Sanzen-in Temple. Beautiful water features. Moss gardens and stone statues were outstanding. So much to photograph... There were restaurants and stores leading up to the...

  • Chion-in temple
    rating-image
    4.0
    708 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.

    Chion-in Temple is one of the main highlights in Kyoto which (in my opinion) should not be miss. This Temple is absolutely worth visiting. However itcan get too crowded during the day. So I recommen...

  • Kamo-wake ikazuchi Jinja (Kamigamo-jinja Shrine)
    rating-image
    4.5
    612 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
    rating-image
    4.5
    772 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...

  • Higashi Honganji Temple
    rating-image
    4.0
    758 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.

    The complex is huge. There are not clear signages. We did not have too much fun in here. Perhaps a tour would be nice!

Kyoto Areas

around-area-map

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.

Kyoto Photo Album

Browse Interests