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Spots in Kyoto Area

  • Higashi Tennou Okazaki-jinja Shrine
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    3.5
    94 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Okazakihigashitennouchou 51
    This is one of the Shinto shrines built under imperial orders of Emperor Kanmu to protect the imperial palace during the relocation of the capital, Heiankyo, in 794. The enshrined deities Susano-no-Mikoto and Kushinada-Hime-no-Mikoto were blessed with many children, so many believers visit the shrine to pray for conception and safe child delivery.  Since there are wild rabbits inhabiting the land around the shrine, it is said that the messenger of the enshrined deity is also a rabbit and there are cute images of rabbits all around including child conception rabbits, guardian rabbits and beckoning rabbits.

    Quirky small rabbit temple that’s actually a hidden gem - worth a look if nearby. Shrine has rabbit theme everywhere! Cool place.

  • Saiho-ji Temple (Kokedera / Moss Temple)
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Matsuojingatanichou 56
    Saiho-ji Temple was first opened by Gyoki in the Nara period and then restored in 1339 by Muso kokushi (Muso Soseki). Covered by 120 kinds of beautiful green moss, it has acquired the name “Koke-dera” (moss temple). The two level garden, designated as one of Japan’s special areas of scenic beauty, is separated into an upper dry landscape garden and lower garden with central pond. In the autumn season, visitors’ hearts are stolen by the sight of red and yellow leaved trees contrasted against the green moss. Note that visits require booking in advance.
  • Sennyu-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Sennyujiyamanouchichou 27
    Located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, this is the head temple of the Shingon Sennyu-ji sect of Buddhism. The temple’s principle object of worship are figures of Gautama Buddha, Amitabha, and Maitreya. The temple is said to have been founded in the Heian period (794–1185) but the real foundations were laid in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) by the priest Gachirin Daishi (Shungyo). The tombs of successive generations of emperors such as Emperor Go-Horikawa and Emperor Shijo can be found on the grounds. Long affiliated with the imperial family, the temple is also nicknamed “Mitera” (the August Temple). Famous for being part of the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage conduct each year on Coming of Age Day, it is said one can bring home luck itself by acquiring a bamboo branch decorated with tags showing it was carried to each of the temples in the pilgrimage.
  • Honno-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Nakagyo-ku Teramachi-dori Oimachiro Down Shimotsunagae-cho 522
    Located in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, this is the head temple of Hokke Honmon Buddhism. The temple is famous as being the site where Oda Nobunaga was defeated by Akechi Mitsuhide. The temple was originally located at Horigawa Shijo, but was rebuilt at its current location by Toyotomi Hideyoshi after the Oda Nobunaga incident. A memorial tower stands on the grounds that is believed to have once housed Nobunaga’s longsword. In memory of the Nobunaga incident (June in 1582), the Nobunaga Festival is held each year at the temple on the first Saturday and Sunday of June.
  • Jingo-ji Temple
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    4.5
    165 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Umegahata Kaohsiung-cho 5
    A Koyosan Shingon Buddhist temple located in Ukyo Ward in Kyoto City. The temple is also located in in the center of Mt. Takao in the Atago Mountain Range. Founded by the nobleman Wake no Kiyomaro, the famed priest Kukai served here for 14 years starting in 809. The Daishido Hall was a reconstruction of the residence where Kukai lived. Built in a residential style, it is a designated Important Cultural Property. The temple’s principle object of worship, a standing figure of the Healing Buddha, is a National Treasure and aside from the painted red lips and black eyebrows and eyes is bar wood. The temple houses numerous Buddhist artworks and cultural properties, such as the standing figures of the Five Major Kokuzo Bosatsu in the two-tier pagoda as well as a temple bell regarded as one of the three most famous in Japan. Visitors can also enjoy throwing an earthenware plate, a tradition to ward away evil, in front of the Jizoin hall.

    It particularly worthy of visit in the late fall during foliage. There are a lot of steps & stairs just to get the temple. There are 3 main temples for a good day trips to Takao, & the buses by JR...

  • Mimurotoji Temple
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    4.0
    236 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Ujishi Todou Shigatani 21
    A Buddhist temple located in Uji, Kyoto and the 10th station on the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage. Said to have been founded in 770, legend has it that the temple’s principal object of worship, a figure of the thousand armed Kannon, emerged from the rocky pool deep in the temple grounds. The 16,000 square meter garden blossoms with seasonal flowers and is famed for its 20 thousand azaleas of various types in spring and 10 thousand French hydrangeas of 50 varieties in early summer. The fall foliage in autumn is also beautiful and the temple is so famous for this site it has become a byword for the autumn colors locally.

    I visited the Mimurotoji and its gardens under the suggestion of a Japanese friend. The view that met us shortly after the entrance was nothing short of spectacular! Tucked away from the usual...

  • Joruri-ji Temple
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    4.5
    97 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kidugawashi Kamochounishio Futaba 40
    This temple of the Shingon Risshu sect is located in Kamo Town, Kizugawa City, Kyoto. It is known as “Kutai-ji” (Nine-body Temple) due to the nine Amitabha Tathagata statues kept in the main hall. The garden, which represents the world of paradise, is a Jodo-style garden with Yakushi to the east, Amida to the west, and a pond in the center. The main hall has clay tiles laid laterally, and the interior pagoda houses a statue of Bhaisajyaguru. Both have been designated National Treasures. The standing statue of Kisshoten is famous as a Buddhist statue rarely shown to the public, and it is only displayed once each in spring, fall, and on New Year’s Day.

    Elegant main hall with superb images and a pagoda to boot, this place was very nice when visited in Autumn. Watch the attendant sprint out of his hut for his Yen300.- if he thinks there's a car...

  • Chohoji Temple (Rokkaku-do)
    Travel / Tourism
    Nakagyo-ku Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture Tsu Rokkaku Higashibora Council Nishiiri Donomae-cho
    An independent Tendai Buddhist temple said to be established by Prince Shotoku (574–622) located in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple is commonly known as the Rokkaku-do (Hexagonal Hall) due to the hexagonal main temple building. The temple has numerous interesting highlights, including the site of a pond where Prince Shotoku is said to have purified himself, smiling figures of the 16 arhats, and the Rokkaku Willow, which is believed to provide luck with marriage. The Ikenobo family served for generations as the head priests of the temple, and the various contributions they made to Buddhist prayer flower arrangements make the temple the birthplace of the traditional art of flower arranging.
  • Demachi Futaba
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    4.5
    371 Reviews
    Shopping
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto-shi, Kamigyo-ku Ichimachi-dori Imadegawa Kamiru Aerosecho 236
    Located along Kawara-machi Street, this Japanese confectioner was founded in 1899. Their famous “nadai mamemochi” features red bean jam and red peas wrapped in freshly-made mochi. It has been around since the founding, and is a standard Kyoto souvenir, popular enough to see people lining up to get some.

    Went here because its the model store for Tamako Market. There is no queue when we went there. There's a lot of mochi disolayed. We only tried the mame daifuku , unfortunately we did not like it but...

  • Zuiganzan Enkouji Temple
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    4.5
    151 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ichijoujikotanichou 13
    A Rinzai Nanzen-ji Buddhist temple located in the Ichijo-ji area of Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was erected in 1601 by Sanyo Genkitsu (Kanshitsu), Zen priest and ninth head of the Ashikaga Gakko school, who was asked to do so by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu to promote education and learning in the nation. The beauty of the temple’s garden, a traditional strolling garden built around a central pond, is said to have been much praised by ancient people, and is still a must-see today. The garden is filled with sights, including a traditional Suikinkutsu (ceramic pot under the ground) said to purify the soul with the clear sound of the water dripping into it; “Honryutei,” a dry landscape garden; and the “Jyu-gyu no niwa” Garden, famed for its moss and autumn foliage. The temple was also the site where the Fushimi-ban, one of Japan’s first printed books, was created, and the roughly 50 thousand wooden printing type used to make the book kept at the temple are designated an Important Cultural Property as Japan’s oldest printed type.

    Enkoji is one of the temples in Kyoto with colourful fall foliage around late November to early December. It is located slightly north east of Kyoto centre. I started my journey slightly later of...

  • Yoshimine-dera Temple
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    4.5
    107 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Oharanoshiochou 1372
    A Buddhist temple located in the Oharano area of Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was founded in 1029 by the priest Gensan. The temple is connected to the fifth Tokugawa shogun Tsunayoshi’s mother Keishoin; the hanging bell tower was donated by her to ward evil away from Tsunayoshi. The grounds, located halfway up a mountain, are some 99 thousand square meters in size. Visitors can enjoy some of Kyoto’s greatest views of the city and Mt. Hiei while strolling the grounds, as well as seasonal flowers and plants. In spring, the temple boasts weeping, mountain, and Somei-yoshino cherry blossoms which dye the grounds pink. One weeping cherry on the ground is over 300 years old and is said to have been planted by Keishoin.

    Beautiful temple off the beaten track. Much less people than the other temples. Takes a train ride + 30-min bus ride but it’s totally worth the trip. If you are taking the bus, take note that the...

  • Kyoto International Manga Museum
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    4.0
    531 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Karasuma-ku Ikegami Le, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
    This manga museum in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto, is Japan's largest manga museum. It first opened in 2006. Including valuable works from the Meiji period and the post-WWII period as well as popular modern titles and foreign works, they have almost 300,000 pieces in their collection. One of their showcases is a ''Manga Wall'' with 50,000 volumes of manga arrayed on bookcases that visitors can freely read. The spacious building is the former Tatsuike Elementary School and people can be found everywhere inside or outside on the lawn reading manga. This is a popular location for foreign tourists and couples.

    I absolutely loved this place! I thought it would be more of a library but it was a good balance between library and museum. There were a lot of carefully curated exhibits that were very interesting...

  • Maruyama Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    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.
  • Shinshogokuraku-ji Temple (Shin’nyo-do)
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    4.5
    161 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Joudojishinnyochou 82
    This Buddhist temple located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City is commonly called the Shin’nyo-do. The temple was founded in 984 when the priest Kaisan enshrined a figure of Amitabha from the Jyogyo-do Hall on Mt. Hiei. This figure, called the “Nodding Amitabha,” is said to provide aid to women. The current temple hall was erected in the mid-Edo period (1693–1717). The grounds carry an atmosphere befitting a major temple and are home to the massive main hall (an Important Cultural Property) and a beautiful three–story pagoda. The temple is also fast becoming a popular spot to view the scarlet maple leaves and bustles with visitors in fall.

    Perhaps because the temple's chief protector, Amitabha Tathagata, is only displayed once a year (15 November), or because the streets on the hill are too narrow for tour buses, this temple rarely...

  • Matsunoo Taisha
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    4.0
    140 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Arashiyamamiyamachi 3
    The oldest Shinto shrine in Kyoto and located in Nishikyo Ward. Seated at the foot of Mt. Matsuo, the shrine’s object of worship, the distinctive Muromachi period (1333–1568) architecture of the main shrine building is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. The mountain is seen as the god of sake and has attracted followers accordingly since the Middle Ages; the shrine’s mikoshi hall is stacked high with sake barrels. The waters of the shrine’s Kame-no-I (Turtle Well) are also famed for giving health, long life, and revitalization, and sake brewers, producers, and salespeople from around the country still come here to bring some of the water home with them.

    At around 10:30 AM, I received a same day admission for Katsura Rikyu for 1:30 PM. Since there are no places to visit in walking distance, I decided to visit Matsuo shrine, which was recommended by...

  • Springs Hiyoshi
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    4.0
    46 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Nantanshi Hiyoshichounaka Miyanotaka 8
    This roadside station in Hiyoshicho, Nantan City, Kyoto Prefecture lies directly below Hiyoshi Dam and is one of Nantan City’s greatest tourist spots. Inside there are vendors selling fresh local vegetables direct and a corner for specialty goods, as well as a restaurant offering Dam Curry and a traditional Chinese medicine-style black soybean milk ramen. The building across from the connecting bridge is the “Hiyoshi Onsen” day trip hot spring with facilities including a heated pool. There are also plenty of outdoor facilities including a barbecue garden and ground golf.

    We had an impromptu lunch at the Hiyosh Springs restaurant after hiring motorbikes on a Sunday in Kyoto and heading out to the Maiyama hills for the day. The food was delicious, beautifully presented...

  • Nonomiya-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Saganonomiyachou 1
    A Shinto shrine located in the Sagano area of Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. The shrine is dedicated to gods of scholarship, love, children, and easy childbirth, and is particularly renowned for aiding in finding marriage. The shrine was the setting of the Sakaki chapter of the famed Tale of Genji and is also the subject of the classic Noh song Nonomiya; the grounds contain numerous informational signs noting key points mentioned in these works. It is said that if one rubs the Kame-ishi (Tortoise Stone) next to the shrine dedicated to the marriage god Nonomiya Daikokuten, one’s wish will be granted within the year, and many visitors come to this popular Kyoto “power spot.”
  • Inoda Coffee main shop
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    4.0
    322 Reviews
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Nakagyo-ku Sakaicho-dori Sanjo Down Le Dogusa cho 140
    A venerable coffee shop located in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture that was established in 1940. Outside, the shop looks like a Kyoto merchant’s house; inside, the Western-style, retro atmosphere resembles the lounge of a high-class hotel and looks like a scene out of a movie. The fragrant, nel drip brewed coffee is a point of pride for the café. On request, the shop’s popular Arabian Pearl blend can be served with the perfect amount of sugar and milk. Open from 7 am, the Kyoto Breakfast served until 11 is one of the shop’s specialties and attracts many a repeat customer.

    We came for breakfast, and had some good toast, an okay egg sandwich, and some mediocre coffee. (The African was better than the Colombian, but neither one was good.) Since the store roasts its own...

  • Kyotamba Ajim no Sato Roadside Station
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Funaigunkyoutambachou Sone Deep Shino 65-1
    A roadside station accessible from general roads and the only shopping and dining area situated along the Kyoto-Jukan Expressway connecting north and south Kyoto. Here visitors can purchase Tanba specialty products like black soybeans and chestnuts, local fresh farm products, and Kyoto souvenirs. There are also two restaurants on the premises, Bonchi and the Tanba Daishokudo, which serve dishes made with local Tanba ingredients.
  • Shisen-do Jozanji Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    210 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ichijoujimonguchichou 27
    Located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, this was once the site of a mountain villa built by Edo period literati Ishikawa Jozan for his retirement. It is a nationally designated Historic Site. Today, it is a Soto Buddhist temple that is also called the Jozan-ji. Jozan had the Shisen-do built at the age of 59. For the remaining 30 some years of his life, this great man of letters devoted his time to poetry, calligraphy, and gardening, to the exclusion of even sleeping and eating. The Shisen-do preserves a great number of his works and calligraphy and, in addition to a standing exhibition, the temple a special three day exhibition starting from May 23 each year, the anniversary of Jozan’s death. The temple’s garden was designed by Jozan himself, a renowned gardener, and is particularly famous for its satsuki azaleas in spring and fall foliage in autumn. It is said that the first shishi-odoshi was created here. The shishi-odoshi is a bamboo tube balanced on a pivot which slowly fills with water until it tips over, draining the water and falling back into position with a “plonk” noise. Shishi-odoshi are practical – their sound scares away deer and wild boars that might eat garden plants – but their sound also accentuates the silence of a garden, and it is said Jozan loved the sound they made.

    I went a bit overboard, and went to a lot more temples than I should have. Some stood out, some didn't, and some of them felt kinda superfluous compared to the others. This fits the last one. It's a...

Kyoto Main 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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