Kyoto’s Indoor Activities for Rainy Days: World Heritage Sites, Ninja Museums and Shopping Malls Kyoto’s Indoor Activities for Rainy Days: World Heritage Sites, Ninja Museums and Shopping Malls

Kyoto’s Indoor Activities for Rainy Days: World Heritage Sites, Ninja Museums and Shopping Malls


2019.12.18

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Kyoto’s Indoor Activities for Rainy Days: World Heritage Sites, Ninja Museums and Shopping Malls

Kyoto is known as the cultural capital of Japan and there are plenty of great options for rainy days’ sightseeing that will keep you dry as well. Kyoto Tower, Nishiki Market, Ancient Temples, and much more are completely rainy-day friendly and waiting to be explored.

Though many of Kyoto’s famous sights such as Fushimi Inari, or Nara Park, are outside and rather inaccessible in case of bad weather you don’t need to get the rainy-day blues. In this guide we will give you our top picks for our best indoor (and even some outdoor) activities.

  • 01

    Cultural Attractions for a Rainy Day: From World Heritage Sites to Unique Performances

    Saihoji

    Saihoji

    ― Saihoji: Koke-Dera, the Moss Temple

    Enter a lush green realm complemented by dark wooden buildings and stormy skies at Saihoji: Koke-Dera, the Moss Temple. At over 1200 years old, Saihoji has served as a model for later temples such as Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji (the gold and silver temples). This World Heritage Site is a functioning Zen Temple, where people come for prayer and reflection.

    In order to protect this atmosphere, reservations are needed in advance. Check the official website for more information!

    If you’re unable to get a reservation to Saihoji, no worries! Kyoto has no shortage of Temples and Shrines. For a similar mossy ambiance, we recommend Tofuku-ji Temple and Giou-ji Temple.

    Saihoji

    Saihoji

    ― Sanjusangendo (Forest of Buddha Statues)

    Our next recommendation is Sanjusangendo (Forest of Buddha Statues), home to 1,001 incredible statues. Inside Japan’s longest wooden structure waits Kannon, The Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. With crystal eyes she bears witness to our suffering and with her numerous arms seeks to help us. Behind her you will spot two imposing giants, Fujin, the god of wind, and Raijin, the god of thunder.

    Flanking the hall are 1,000 statues of the goddess and every face is unique (crafted by around 70 different sculptors over a period of 100 years).
    These statues are made of Japanese Cypress but painted with gold leaf, which gives the temple a golden illusion. An ancient legend says that if you have someone you would like to meet, you will find their face among the statues. There is no photography allowed in the temple so sit and marvel at the beauty and enjoy the sounds of the rain on the roof.


    ― Kenninji Temple

    Also not to be missed is Kenninji Temple, the oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto. This beautiful temple is accessible without getting wet by taking the arcade from the Gion Shijo Station . Sip tea inside, enjoy the atmosphere of the temple, the views of Chouontei Garden and the impressive Dragon painting on the ceiling within.

    Kyoto Butoh-Kan

    Kyoto Butoh-Kan

    ― Kyoto Butoh-Kan

    Born in the 1950s, Butoh is a type of avant-garde Japanese dance.Kyoto happens to have the first theater in the world specializing in this kind of performance and you can witness it in a historical building, an Edo-period Kura, or storehouse. The performances are extremely intimate, with only 9 people in the audience at a time. We highly recommend this one-of-a-kind blend of traditional Japanese music, including a Shamisen, eccentric costumes, and unique dancing.

    There are three different types of shows that occur on different days so be sure to check the website before you go!

    Saiho-ji Temple (Kokedera / Moss Temple)
    rating

    4.0

    263 Reviews
    place
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nishikyou-ku Matsuojingatanichou 56
    phone
    0753913631
    opening-hour
    Free worship
    蓮華王院 三十三間堂
    place
    京都府京都市東山区三十三間堂廻リ657
    phone
    0755610467
    KYOTO butokan
    place
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nakagyou-ku Tsukinukechou Clothe racketry 123
    phone
    0752546520
  • 02

    Traditional, Modern, and Authentically Japanese; take a stroll through Kyoto’s Museums

    ― Kyoto National Museum

    Depending on your interests there are a variety of museums in Kyoto. When it comes to history and art, with several buildings and a large outside space, the Kyoto National Museum is definitely one of the top four museums in Japan. They have a permanent collection which includes not only paintings and sculptures but also spectacular period costumes. Also available are constantly changing special exhibitions of rare and interesting relics.

    When you’re feeling tired head over to the Tea House to sip Matcha, eat Wagashi (Japanese Sweets), and reflect on what you saw.

    Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

    Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

    Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

    Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

    ― Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

    If walking through the museum has made you thirsty, we recommend the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum as your next stop. This special museum features a fusion of the past and the present. Built in an old Sake brewery from 1909, you can learn about the old-fashioned way of making Sake and see the tools they used on display.

    After that, step into the modern brewery to view the Sake in various stages of maturation. The most important part? Definitely the Sake tasting at the end. You can choose from a few different types of Sake and even a plum wine known as Umeshu in Japanese.

    Kyoto International Manga Museum

    Kyoto International Manga Museum

    Kyoto International Manga Museum

    Kyoto International Manga Museum

    ― Kyoto International Manga Museum

    If you want to learn more about Manga, Japanese comics, we recommend the Kyoto International Manga Museum. For something more contemporary check out The National Museum of Modern Art or learn more about the culture of this beautiful city at The Museum of Kyoto.

    Kyoto National Museum
    place
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Chayachou 527
    phone
    0755252473
    opening-hour
    Nagoya Gallery[TuesdayWednes…
    Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
    rating

    4.0

    322 Reviews
    place
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Fushimi-ku Minamihamachou 247
    phone
    0756232056
    opening-hour
    9:30-16:30 (Reception until …
    Kyoto International Manga Museum
    place
    Karasuma-ku Ikegami Le, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
    phone
    0752547414
    opening-hour
    10:00-18:00(Latest entry17:3…
  • 03

    Get the full Samurai and Ninja Experience

    Ninja

    Ninja

    ― Ninja VR Kyoto

    If you’re looking for an interactive cultural experience that your whole family can enjoy, you have to try Ninja VR Kyoto. You can live out your Ninja fantasies using a combination of innovative VR Technology and real-life practice.

    Take a Ninja exam using a Shuriken (throwing star) or a Katana (Japanese sword), if that’s more your style. At the end you can all dress up in Ninja gear and take a photo, creating a fun and precious memory that will last for a lifetime.


    ― Samurai & Ninja Museum

    The fun goes on at the innovative Samurai & Ninja Museum. View a variety of Samurai Armor and Swords that belonged to the Nobility and learn about their history and craftsmanship. Then take the extra step by dressing up in armor and doing a sword lesson with a master. This museum is also well-known for its Samurai show, so check the website ahead of time so you don’t miss it!

    NINJA VR KYOTO
    rating

    5.0

    215 Reviews
    place
    Kyoto Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Furukawacho 5452F
    phone
    0752052798
  • 04

    Stay dry while Dining, Drinking, and Dancing Outside

    Sujin-Shinmachi

    Sujin-Shinmachi

    Sujin-Shinmachi

    Sujin-Shinmachi

    Just a five-minute walk from Kyoto Station is a village of elevated street food (some stalls even have a Michelin nod) at Sujin-Shinmachi.

    Enjoy Japanese classics such as Yakitori and Oden or opt for a more international vibe with hot dogs and hamburgers.

    All of the stalls have clear plastic tents with a seating area so that you can stay out of the rain and enjoy the atmosphere. This tiny town really comes alive at night with a campfire, paper lanterns, and neon lights, so grab a Kyoto craft beer and make some friends. It’s a limited event, only until the end of summer 2020, so don’t miss out!

    Sujin-Shinmachi

    Sujin-Shinmachi

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    Takashihitoshishinmachi
    place
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Shimogyou-ku Kaminochou 19-6
    phone
    0757082985
  • 05

    Kyoto’s hottest and driest Shopping Guide

    Kyoto Tower

    Kyoto Tower

    Kyoto Tower Sando

    Kyoto Tower Sando

    ― Kyoto Tower

    Turns out you don’t need to walk around in the rain to get your Souvenir shopping done. Our first stop is the iconic Kyoto Tower. Symbolizing a lighthouse, the Kyoto Tower Sando is the tallest structure in the city.

    Don’t let the weather keep you from the best views, head to the Observation deck for a panorama view of the city. Once you get hungry, go to the basement for a variety of delicious and inexpensive food.

    Before you head out check out the shopping on the first floor. It’s a great chance to buy authentic Kyoto-made souvenirs.

    The Skyway

    The Skyway

    ― Kyoto Station Building

    Our next stop is likely the very place you arrived, Kyoto Station itself. Visitors will find theKyoto Tower Sando to be a futuristic contrast to this highly historical city.

    Designed by renowned Japanese architect, Hara Hiroshi, this structure features crisscrossing metal beams gleaming far above your head. The best view is definitely The Skyway on the 11th floor where you can walk above the central hall.

    If you’re trapped here by the weather and looking to do some shopping, you should check out the two gigantic Department Stores. The Isetan Department store takes up an entire 13 stories, including a restaurant floor. In the basement you’ll find The Cube Shopping Mall which has a nice selection of fresh food.

    ▼ Related Article
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    Porta

    Porta

    ― Porta

    Finally head over to Porta, this Underground Shopping mall connects to Kyoto Station and is broken up into two areas. The West area is where all of the fashion boutiques showcasing the latest Japanese fashions are.

    Head East if you’re looking for souvenirs and food. Our recommendations? Fukujuen Tea (producing authentic Green Tea since 1790!) and Nishiri Pickles, which is a Kyoto brand of a standard Japanese side dish (they usually have some samples out if you’re an adventurous eater).

    Kyoto Tower
    place
    Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku Karasuma through seven under article le Higashishiokoji-cho 721-1
    phone
    0753613215
    opening-hour
    9:00-21:20(Last entry21:00)
    Kyoto Station Building
    rating

    4.5

    4245 Reviews
    place
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Shimogyo-ku Karasumaru Saltwater Road Down Le Higashi Salokoji-machi 901
    phone
    0753614401
    opening-hour
    Depending on the facility
    Porta
    place
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Shimogyo-ku Karasumaru Saltwater Road Down Le Higashi Salokoji-machi 902
    phone
    0753657528
    opening-hour
    [Shopping Service] 10:00-20:…
  • 06

    A Covered Paradise: The Best Shopping Arcades in Kyoto

    Nishiki Market

    Nishiki Market

    Nishiki Market

    Nishiki Market

    ― Nishiki Market

    It’s very likely that you’ve heard of Nishiki Market, but did you know that it is also called Kyoto’s Kitchen? Fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, and even Japanese sweets such as Rakugan (fine sugar spun into adorable shapes) are available for your browsing pleasure.

    Nishiki Market is also several centuries old, so many of the stores you see have likely been in the same family for generations. With its nice local atmosphere, it’s a pleasant place to put your finger on the pulse of the city.

    ▼ Related Article
    ・Nishiki Market : 10 of the Best Street Foods

    Nishiki Market

    Nishiki Market

    ― Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcades

    Located just a few streets over from Nishiki, feel free to make the Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcades your next stop. Shinkyogoku is a busy shopping arcade with a number of cafes and specialty stores. This is another prime location to search for souvenirs like a nice pair of wooden Hashi (chopsticks).

    For some entertainment (and to see what the local kids are up to) head into a Japanese Game Center, or Arcade.

    新京極商店街
    place
    京都府京都市中京区
    no image
    Nishiki Market
    place
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Nakagyo-ku Nishiki Koji Road Teramachi Takakura
    opening-hour
    Depending on the store

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