26 Oct 2016

Kyoto was previously the capital of Japan before Tokyo. As a result, it is steeped in history and being home to some of the most famous temples and shrines that Japan has to offer.Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a city on the island of Honshu. It is famous for its many classical Buddhist temples, as well as landscape gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district.

1. Fushimi Inari Shrine

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Fushimi Inari Shrine – A 1,300 years old shrine for the God of bountiful crops and prosperous business
Serving as a place of worship for commoners over 1,300 years, Fushimi Inari Shrine is the headquarters of inari shrines. The tunnel consisting of 10,000 torii gates is something to see. Enjoy a stroll through the gently rolling land of the spacious grounds of the shrine.

Red torii gates and white foxes – the symbols of Fushimi Inari Shrine For more than 1,300 years, people have come to Fushimi Inari Shrine to worship the Inari God that assures bountiful crops. The shrine is the headquarters of the more than 30,000 inari shrines across Japan. The red torii gates and white foxes are the symbols of Fushimi Inari Shrine. It is said that the red color of the torii gates and the shrine building has power against supernatural powers and that the color also indicates the bountifulness of the Inari God. Foxes are...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Shrine grounds are open 24 hours a day
Phone
075-641-7331
Price
- Free
Website
en.wikipedia.org

2. Kinkakuji

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Kinkakuji – the World Heritage site of gold that glitters with nature in each season
Kinkakuji was established in 1397 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The dazzling appearance of the reliquary hall on the temple grounds, which is decorated with gold leaf, is what Kinkakuji is known for.

Kinkaku glitters with gold Kinkaku is a three-story building made of wood. The first story is in the style of a Heian palace, the second story is in samurai-house style, and the third story is in the style of a Zen Buddhist temple. The second and third stories are covered in gold leaf, as is the inside of the third story, except for the floor. The Kinkakuji seen today was rebuilt in 1955 after the building was destroyed by fire in 1950. Major repairs were carried out in 1986, when the gold leaf was reapplied so as to achieve the appearance see...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-461-0013
Price
- Adult: 400 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

3. Kiyomizu-dera

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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Kiyomizu-dera – Kyoto’s most popular tourist attraction
Kiyomizu-dera is a Kannon temple where the goddess Kannon is worshipped. Among Kyoto’s temples, Kiyomizu-dera has a particularly long history, and is a registered World Heritage site. It is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist attractions.

Enjoy the National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Kiyomizu-dera Kiyomizu-dera was constructed on Mt. Kiyomizu (Mt. Otowa). The main temple at Kiyomizu-dera, which is also referred to as the “Kiyomizu-dera stage,” was rebuilt by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1633. The main temple building, constructed early in the Edo period, is a National Treasure. It is supported by more than 100 keyaki (Japanese Zelkova) trees and not a single nail is used. Jojuin, in the northern area of the temple grounds, features the Moon Garden, which...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
Phone
075-551-1234
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
Website
www.kiyomizudera.or.jp

4. JR Kyoto Station

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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A huge terminal where you can also enjoy cuisine and shopping
Kyoto Station is the gateway to the ancient capital boasting a thousand years of history. In the Kyoto Station Building, there are plenty of restaurants and souvenirs characteristic of Kyoto. The attraction doesn’t end at the terminal.

The gateway to downtown Kyoto and the popular tourist spots Kyoto Station is one of the leading terminals in Japan which has the 4 transportation companies of JR Tokai, JR West, Kintetsu and the Kyoto Municipal Subway running through it. Many city buses also come and go from the station, connecting with the main tourist spots in downtown Kyoto. Before you go on your tour, first head for Kyo-Navi, the tourist information center which is located on the 2nd floor of the Kyoto Station Building along the Nanboku Pedestrian Walkway. Tourist informa...

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Business hours
- Everyday (5:30 AM ~ 11:30 PM )
Phone
075-000-2486
Website
www.westjr.co.jp

5. Sanjusangen-do

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

A museum of Buddhist statues – 1001 life-size statues of Senju Kannon
Sanjusangen-do, which was rebuilt in 1266, has been maintained for more than 700 years while repeatedly undergoing repairs. 1001 statues of Kannon are enshrined in the 120-meter long temple, which is made entirely of Japanese cypress.

1001 statues of the 1000-armed and 1000-bodied Kannon Higashiyama-ku is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a hub of historical buildings, including Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji, and Yasakajinja. Even among them, Sanjusangen-do is a popular destination for tourists that was given three stars in the Michelin guide. The sitting statue of Senju Kannon, which is the principal object of worship in Sanjusangen-do, is enshrined in the Buddhist temple. The statue, which is made of wood, is a designated National Treasure. On both s...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-561-0467
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

6. Eikan-do

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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Eikan-do, where you can refresh your soul from the beautiful autumn leaves and the Mikaeri Amida
With the temple grounds colored by the autumn leaves, there is a wonderful harmony among the beautiful architecture, the pond and the garden, and so an elegant scene arises. Beautiful autumn leaves striving to be the best even in Kyoto can be seen.

When thinking of Eikan-do, the beauty of the autumn leaves comes to mind In 853, Shinjo, the student of the monk Kukai, established the temple. The official name is Zenrin-ji, but due to the deeds of helping out the disadvantaged by the 7th head monk Yokan, it started to be called Eikan-do. Since long ago, fall foliage that strives to become the best in Kyoto can be seen here to the extent that people say “Autumn means the maples in Eikan-do”. Passing through the main gate, the path lined with autumn trees continues on, and there i...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-761-0007
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 400 JPY
Website
www.eikando.or.jp

7. Shoren-in

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Shoren-in, associated with the Emperor. Its pond garden and fusuma (sliding doors) paintings are exquisite
Shoren-in was also used as a temporary Imperial Palace. The pond garden which can be viewed from the Kacho-den guesthouse has a beauty to warm the heart.

Lighting up of the bamboo forest and the garden in blue to signify the blue image of the Buddhist god of fire (Blue Cetaka) Shoren-in was built 850 years ago as a temple of the Tendai sect. In the Edo Era, the Imperial Palace had burned down and so the temple became the temporary palace, with many men in the Imperial family becoming chief priests so it became a temple with deepening connections with the Emperor. It has been said that the monk Shinran Shonin planted the now-800-year-old camphor trees which have become Natural Monuments in fron...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-561-2345
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
Website
www.shorenin.com

8. Nijo Castle

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

A leisurely stroll through the site of the huge Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle, which was constructed in the Edo period, is a registered National Historic Site, while Ninomaru Palace is a designated National Treasure, and other buildings and wall panel paintings are designated as Important Cultural Properties. Nijo Castle is also a registered UN World Heritage site. (Ninomaru is the area that directly defended Honmaru, which was the control center in times of war.)

Nijo Castle – a World Heritage site Nijo Castle was constructed in 1603 as the Kyoto lodging place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who had secured victory in the Battle of Sekigahara. It was later remodeled into the form of Nijo Castle that is seen today by Iemitsu, the third shogunate. As a flatland castle, the structure was built on a larger plot of land after the territory of the daimyo had increased. In the spacious castle grounds are Ninomaru Palace (National Treasure), Honmaru Palace (Important Cultural Property), and the Ninomaru Garden (Plac...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-841 -0096
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
Website
www.city.kyoto.jp

9. Ninna-ji Temple

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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Ninna-ji is recommended for the beautiful late-blooming cherry blossom season
The temple was built in 888 by Emperor Uda. An example of Heian Era palatial architecture that served as a residence for the nobles of that time, Ninna-ji was recognized as a National Treasure and has also been registered as a World Heritage site, famous for its cherry blossoms.

Enjoy the National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Ninna-ji Temple There are many National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties inside Ninna-ji. The Golden Hall that retains the notable atmosphere of a palace has been recognized as a National Treasure for its Heian Era style as it served as a residence for the Heian nobility. The Goei-do Hall which was constructed in the Momoyama style is an Important Cultural Property as is the temple’s five-storied pagoda, which, unlike other similar pagodas whose roofs usually g...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-461-4070
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.ninnaji.or.jp

10. Gion

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Enjoy Kyoto at its Most “Kyoto-esque”: Gion
Gion is hugely popular with tourists for its bustling downtown streets.The famous Yasaka Shrine is on the outskirts of Gion. Maiko and geisha (known locally as geiko or geigi) entertain guests with songs and traditional Japanese dances, and the houses where one can enjoy the company of geisha, gathered together in the entertainment district, are well known.

Experience Japan’s Traditional Arts in Gion If you say “Kyoto-esque,”many tourists probably imagine maiko and geisha. Even though the figure of a geisha dressed in kimono dancing a traditional dance for a gathering in a tatami-roomed tea house can often be seen in movies and elsewhere, it is said that this image is uniquely representative of Kyoto.Gion preserves that image, and, even within Kyoto, is itself a popular sightseeing destination. To begin with, try walking down Gion’s main avenue, Hanamikoji Street. Hanamiko...

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Phone
075-561-1119
Website
kyoto.travel

11. Ginkakuji (Higashiyama Jisho-ji)

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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Ginkakuji, or “Temple of the Silver Pavilion,” is representative of the Higashiyama Culture, which saw the blossoming traditional Japanese culture
Built in 1490, during Japan’s Muromachi shogunate, by Yoshimune Ashikaga, the Eighth shogun, who prospered in the Muromachi period, Ginkakuji is a structure in which the first floor section is built in a domestic style, and the second floor section is built in the style of a Buddhist temple.

The Appeal of the Ginkakuji Beyond the main gate of Ginkakuji, proceeding further inside is the Kannon-den, also called the Silver Pavilion. This has been designated a national treasure; the Silver Pavilion is also a building that preserves the hallmarks of the culture of the Muromachi Period. It is said that the Muromachi period, in which Ginkakuji was built, was an age that blended the aristocratic culture of samurai warriors, monks and court nobles.Much of the well-known Japanese traditional culture that came to be cherished by many people...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-771-5725
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

12. Kyoto Imperial Palace

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Kyoto Imperial Palace is a building of much history with a beautiful garden
Generations of emperors up to the early Meiji Era once resided in Kyoto Imperial Palace. The Japanese garden within the expansive grounds is also elegant. In spring, it is known as a famous place for cherry blossoms which open wonderfully.

Touring Kyoto Imperial Palace Generations of emperors once lived in Kyoto Imperial Palace from the Kamakura Era to the Meiji Era in Kyoto in the center of the country. The buildings from that time were reconstructed due to fire, but currently, they are preserved as National Tangible Cultural Properties. Kyoto Imperial Palace has a huge area spreading about 110,000 sq. meters beginning with the main building of the Shishin-den (Hall for State Ceremonies) at the south end, the Seiryo-den (Emperor’s Habitual Residence), and other buildings...

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Phone
075-211-1215
Price
- Free
Website
sankan.kunaicho.go.jp

13. Kifune Shrine

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

The God of Water and The God of Marriage
Upstream from the Yodo and Kamo Rivers, it was said that the main building of the 1500-year-old Kifune Shrine had been built in an area gushing with water. It is a famous Shinto shrine which, as a shrine dedicated to marriage, has also been visited by historical figures.

A shrine whose god rules the water Kifune Shrine, which has a history of 1500 years and is surrounded by woods along the banks of the Kibune River, the source of the Kamo River, is a shrine that deifies the God of Water. It’s separated into 3 rear shrines: the main shrine devoted to the God of Water, an associated shrine devoted to the God of Marriage, and the site of the original main shrine. It is also said to be one of Japan’s three major marriage shrines and known as the place where Izumi Shikibu, one of the poets for the Hyaku...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-741-2016
Price
- Free
Website
en.wikipedia.org

14. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

The world-class precious breed of Japanese macaque monkey (Nihon-zaru) is right at your fingertips!
A monkey park in the popular Kyoto tourist area?! Let’s introduce a hidden place where you won’t just be charmed by wild monkeys but will also enjoy hiking.

A wild monkey park with monkeys right up to you   “There is this sort of place in Kyoto?!” Yes, this is the spot. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama is a wild monkey park of 6000 sq. m. at Iwatayama in Arashiyama. Currently, there are 120 macaque monkeys residing here. The mountain top where the monkeys congregate is a 15-20 min. walk from the observation level. The path is beautifully maintained, so you can even climb up with your children. There is an exhilarating feeling hiking along the woods. One big difference with the usual...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-872-0950
Price
- Adult: 550 JPY
- Child: 250 JPY
Website
www.kmpi.co.jp

15. Nishiki Market

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Known as Kyoto’s kitchen, you can see, eat and enjoy the city’s seasonal foods at Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market has 400 years of history. There is a festive atmosphere as you walk and look around the market which has foods only found in Kyoto.

Nishiki Market with 126 shops Located right in the center of Kyoto, Nishiki Market is a shopping area which measures 390m and has 126 shops. It has a long history of 400 years. In long-ago Kyoto which had no refrigeration, the people used underground water to keep their foods cold. In 1615, when the area received its title to be a fish wholesaler from the Edo shogunate, it progressed as a fish market, and then with the creation of the Kyoto Central Wholesale Market in 1927, Nishiki Market evolved into its current form. At Nishiki Market, per...

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Website
en.wikipedia.org

16. Toei Kyoto Studio Park

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Get to know the attraction of a period drama, this is a large-scale theme park where you can meet samurai and ninja
You can observe the filming of movies on streets which have re-created the Edo Era. This is a theme park to be enjoyed by the whole family which is a must for period drama fans where you can try on genuine costumes of the era.

Toei Kyoto Studio Park where you can sample the world of the period drama The theme park was first opened in 1975 and is a place where you can experience the world of the period drama through its open sets, events and attractions. In a mock-up of an Edo town within the village, actual filming of movies and TV programs is done and it’s possible to observe the process. When you arrive in the village, there are staff walking around as samurai, townswomen and ninja, and one of the nice things is that you will be greeted openheartedly by the...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
0570-064-349
Price
- Adult: 2200 JPY
- Child: 1100 JPY
Website
www.toei-eigamura.com

17. Maruyama Park

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

The oldest park in Kyoto. In spring, the sky is covered with cherry blossoms in full bloom
Maruyama Park is a famous place for sakura. It is a popular spot to take a stroll in the beautiful Japanese garden that has free admission. There are also teahouses and a ryotei restaurant recommended for Kyoto epicureans.

A magnificent park spreading out to the east of Yasaka Shrine Opened in 1886, it is the oldest park in Kyoto. In 1912, Jihei Ogawa created a garden centering on a pond making use of the natural hills which has contributed to its current appearance. The park has Yasaka Shrine to the west, Kodai-ji Temple to the south and Chion-in Temple to the north. You can enjoy the park’s beauty only found in Kyoto amid the temple roofs among the greenery of Higashiyama in the background. Within a garden that boasts an area of about 90,000㎡, you can...

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Business hours
- Everyday
Phone
075-561-1350
Price
- Free

18. Nanzenji

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Kyoto’s foremost location for cherry blossoms and autumn colors – enjoy the Cultural Properties of Nanzenji
Nanzenji was built as a temple of prayer for the prosperity of the country. It was inaugurated by the Cloistered Emperor Kameyama in 1291 during the Kamakura period. It is one of the most popular locations for the beautiful cherry blossoms in spring and autumn colors in the fall.

Enjoy the cultural properties at Nanzenji Nanzenji is a designated National Historic Site, and there are many Cultural Properties on the temple grounds. First of all, there is Sanmon, which is a National Important Cultural Property, and one of Japan’s three greatest gates (it is the entrance to the temple and one of the locations that must be passed through during Buddhist training). The view of northwest Kyoto from the upper floor of the gate (known as Gohoro) at a height of 22 meters is very popular. Hojo (meaning “room”) i...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-771-0365
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.nanzen.net

19. Ryōan-ji

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Relax in the famous Ryōan-ji Rock Garden
Hosokawa Katsumoto established Ryōan-ji in 1450 during the Muromachi period, when Zen sects flourished. Without using water, karesansui, or dry landscape, gardens represent water using stones and sand, and “Ryōan-ji’s Rock Garden” is famous for this.The garden is listed as a World Heritage Site.

Enjoying the Rock Garden at Ryōan-ji The Rock Garden at Ryōan-ji is listed as both A National Site of Special Scenic Beauty and a National Historic Site.As a karesansui, or dry landscape, garden, sand is used to represent the sea, its waves represented by lines drawn in the sand using a rake. The stones are said to represent mountains and islands.Additionally, the Rock Garden’s meanings are interpreted variously as a “Garden of Tiger Cubs Crossing,” or as the shape of the Chinese character for “heart” or “mi...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-463-2216
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.ryoanji.jp

20. Tenryu-ji Temple

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Tenryu-ji Temple, a World Heritage site with the spectacular Unryu-zu (image of the cloud dragon) and a garden from 700 years ago
Tenryu-ji Temple once contained all of the Arashiyama area. It has a garden whose view hasn’t changed in 700 years and an ink painting 9 meters in diameter titled “Unryu-zu” that is a splendid World Heritage asset.

The beauty of a Japanese painting Founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339, Arashiyama, Togetsukyo Bridge and Kameyama Park among other places were within the temple grounds. Burned down by fire 8 times, the buildings were mostly re-built in around 1900. However, the Sogenchi Pond Garden has retained its original form from 700 years ago, and was given Japan’s first designation as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. In 1994, it was registered as a World Cultural Property as a Historic Monument of Ancient Kyoto. For the...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-881-1235
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.tenryuji.com

21. Arashiyama

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Arashiyama, a prominent tourist spot in Kyoto where you can enjoy the great outdoors
Tougetsukyo Bridge which evokes Arashiyama’s elegance. The trolley trains and the cruise down Hozu River where you can physically sense nature throughout the 4 seasons. This is the place where you can feel Kyoto’s grace unified with nature

A popular tourist spot Arashiyama is an area that includes Tougetsukyo Bridge which spans Katsura River and the mountain that soars up to command a view of the area. This is a quiet place that is surrounded by mountains which have had classic Japanese poems recited about them from long ago, and there are many various shrines and temples. Recently, along with the famous well-established dining establishments, there have also been Japanese-style cafes, souvenir shops selling miscellaneous goods from Kyoto, trolley trains, and river cruises down...

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Website
kyoto.travel

22. Toji (Kyo-o-gokokuji)

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

A temple with great history marked by its five-story pagoda, the landmark of the ancient Kyoto
Roughly about a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station. Surrounded by modern buildings of the city center, Toji exudes an atmosphere as though time stopped flowing at some point. Established 1,200 years ago, it is the first Esoteric Buddhist temple in Japan. Experience the unusual and distinctive world views expressed at this temple

Forever the landmark of Kyoto It is believed that Toji was built when Emperor Kanmu relocated to the ancient capital (the present day Kyoto, then called Heiankyo) in 794. It was later given to a monk named Kukai, who had returned to Japan after studying new Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism in China, by the subsequently enthroned Emperor Saga. This is how Japan’s first Esoteric Buddhist temple came into existence. Since its establishment, it has continued to prosper as the headquarters of Esoteric Buddhist practices in Japan and still exis...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-691-3325
Price
- Free
Website
www.toji.or.jp

23. Daikakuji

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Daikakuji, the temple that originated ikebana and has the oldest man-made pond in Japan
Daikakuji is a temple with many things to see such as Japan’s oldest forested pond, the corridors of nightingale flooring and the images painted on the sliding doors. It is also known as the birthplace of ikebana and the safekeeping place for a handwritten sutra written by the Emperor, and is a temple with an Imperial relationship which can relate Japanese culture to future generations.

Beautiful scenery that hasn’t changed in 1200 years Built as an Imperial villa, the temple was established in 875. Osawa Pond, which was built within the grounds, is Japan’s oldest artificial pond, and around its 1 km perimeter are about 650 overhanging cherry and maple trees and 3000 lotus plants growing wildly, so you can enjoy scenery that hasn’t changed in 1200 years. The chrysanthemums on Osawa Pond’s Chrysanthemum Island were placed in vases by Emperor Saga, and it’s said that this affection for nature gave...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-871-0071
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.daikakuji.or.jp

24. Katsura Imperial Villa

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Katsura Imperial Villa, a Japanese garden at its peak beauty, in harmony with nature throughout the four seasons
With its tranquil appearance, this is a masterpiece of a Japanese garden showing the spirit of the Japanese people. You can enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of the four seasons from several tea rooms.

Visits are completely by appointment Construction was initiated in 1615 by Prince Tomohito, after which this Imperial villa was completed in 47 years. With an area of 69400㎡, you can see structures such as the Old Shoin (Drawing Room), the Middle Shoin and the New Palace, and there are other drawing rooms and tea rooms surrounding the Japanese garden pond where you can stroll around, a magnificent combination of garden and architecture. It can also be said to be the culmination of Japanese garden beauty. Under administration by the Imperial...

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Business hours
- Weekdays
Phone
075-211-1215
Price
- Free
Website
sankan.kunaicho.go.jp

25. Saiho-ji Temple (Koke-dera)

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Covered in 120 kinds of moss, it’s a splendid garden which spreads out like a green carpet.
This is a moss garden that is a lush green thanks to the rainy season, and the contrast of red and green during the fall is beautiful. Reservations are necessary to see Koke-dera, a place which has been said to have been visited by Steve Jobs many times incognito.

Koke-dera, a World Heritage site Reportedly founded by the Buddhist priest Gyouki in the 700s, the temple was destroyed by war and floods after which it was rebuilt by Soseki Muso as a Rinzai sect temple in 1339. Its official name is Saiho-ji but the temple grounds are covered in approximately 120 kinds of moss which spread out beautifully like a green carpet thereby earning it the name of Koke-dera or “moss temple”. It has been registered as a World Heritage site. Viewing by reservation only Currently visits are restricted by...

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Phone
075-391-3631
Price
- Adult: 3000 JPY
- Child: 3000 JPY
Website
www.saihoji-kokedera-reservation.com

26. Ohara

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

A tranquil area surrounded by mountain greenery with temples scattered throughout
Ohara is surrounded by the lush green of Mother Nature. Aside from the famous Sanzen-in Temple, there is Hosen-in Temple where you can see pines in the shape of Mt. Omi-Fuji that are spectacular Natural Monuments, the legendary Otonashi-no-Taki waterfall and plenty of other places.

What is Ohara? Located in northeast Kyoto, Ohara is a quiet area with plenty of beautiful nature in a mountain valley. Since the temples and tourist spots are grouped close together, one of its good points is that once you reach the area, you can tour around on foot. Along with the famous Sanzen-in Temple in Ohara, there are a number of other spots that we recommend. Hosen-in Temple, where traces of samurai battles remain on the ceiling There are many places to see at Hosen-in, with the appearance of 700-year-old Japanese white pine trees ta...

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Phone
075-744-2148
Website
www.jnto.go.jp

27. Nijo Jinya

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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A late Edo Era building that has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property
The building was used as a rice exchange and also as an inn. For those reasons, it had undergone special construction to prevent fire and is highly praised and valued in terms of its architecture.

Many rooms of the highest quality There was a man by the name of Suketada Ogawa who had served under Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and was defeated at the Battle of Sekigahara. His eldest son began Nijo Jinya as a rice exchange on the land near Nijo Castle. Such a facility is known as a jinya, but it was also used as an inn for visiting feudal lords (daimyo). Even now as it has for generations, it remains a residence of the Ogawas, and it is the second private home in Japan to be registered as a National Important Cultural Property. It is well-constru...

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Business hours
- Everyday (10:00 AM ~ 3:00 PM )
Phone
075-841-0972
Price
- Adult: 1000 JPY
Website
nijyojinya.net

28. Higashiyama

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Enjoy exploring temples and typical Kyoto-style cobblestone streets
In the east side of Kyoto is Higashiyama, so-called because of the many mountains there. And there are many temples which have beautiful gardens as the Ginkakuji since they were former health resorts for nobles and samurais.

Enjoy a Stroll through Higashiyama The Higashiyama district is dotted with many temples. Among these temples, Kiyomizu-dera and Fushimi-inari Taisha are well known, with even more ancient history than Heiyan-kyo (what Kyoto was called for 794 years when it was Japan’s capital) itself. Also, on your next visit to Kyoto, we would certainly ask you to visit the main temples gathered together in Higashiyama, which are representative of Higashiyama Culture, in which Japan’s traditional culture, including tea ceremony and flower arrangi...

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Website
higashiyama-kanko.jp

29. Mt. Hiei

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Visit Enryaku-ji Temple, a sacred site of Buddhism from where you can get a panoramic view of Lake Biwa and the city of Kyoto
Enjoy a walk in the sky with a superb view by cable car and ropeway, and after viewing French paintings and seasonal flowers, visit the World Heritage site of Enryaku-ji Temple, a sacred place for Japanese Buddhism which boasts an area of 500 hectares.

A panoramic view of Kyoto from Mt. Hiei An 848m mountain on the border of Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures, it’s a place of picturesque scenery where Lake Biwa can be seen below to the east and all of Kyoto to the west. A stroll through the sky by cable car and ropeway There is a 9-minute scenic route by Eizan Cable which is the pride of Japan that traverses 561m in altitude starting from Kyoto’s Yase-Hieizanguchi Station. The cherry blossoms of spring, the fresh green leaves of summer and the fall colors are beautiful. You can get a...

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Website
en.wikipedia.org

30. Ponto-cho

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

A district where you can experience an elegance only found in Kyoto
Ponto-cho is located in the center of Kyoto. In the teahouses that occupy the townhouses there, you can see maiko and geisha. A highlight is the Kamogawa Odori performed by the geisha twice a year in spring and autumn.

Ponto-cho where you can experience the Kyoto aesthetic There is an unusual attraction which charms the hearts of people visiting Kyoto. When it comes to Kyoto, the many historical buildings which include the temples and shrines, and the local cuisine of Kyoto which is at the center of Japanese cooking are famous. On top of that, there is the attraction of the machiya townhouses with their calm and sophisticated atmosphere. Kyoto machiya are wooden houses of traditional construction which serve as residential/commercial space only found in thi...

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Website
en.wikipedia.org

31. Kurama

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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Visit Kurama, a mysterious area where it’s said that a tengu (long-nosed goblin) lives
Kurama is in the middle of a thickly-forested mountain. While hiking there in the crisp air, visit Yugi Shrine, famous for its Fire Festival and Kurama-dera Temple which is known as a power spot.

The Legend of Mt. Kurama’s Tengu A large tengu is displayed in front of Eizan Railway’s Kurama Station. It’s said that a tengu resides on Mt. Kurama, and that it’s known that he taught the art of Japanese swordsmanship to Ushiwakamaru (General Minamoto-no Yoshitsune). A Buddhist temple gate (Nioumon) close to the station is the entrance to Mt. Kurama. A one-way 2-min. cable car ride will take you to Tahoto Station. It’s a fairly steep climb if walking, but if stopping off at Yugi Shrine, famous for the Kurama Fire...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:30 PM )
Phone
075-741-2003
Price
- Adult: 300 JPY
Website
www.jnto.go.jp

32. Yasaka Shrine

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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The guardian deity of the Hanamachi (geisha quarter) providing hope through protection against evil, the warding off of disease, and prosperity of business
A shrine located close to Hanamachi that was the origin for Kyoto’s Gion district. It has been popular as a place to earn the grace of the gods through protection against evil, warding off of disease, business success, matchmaking and beauty among other things.

A venerable shrine for the Gion Festival Yasaka Shrine was established in 656, approximately 150 years before the transfer of the capital to Kyoto. Affectionately called Gion-san, it can be visited from a walk through Hanamachi. Its guardian deity is known as Susano Kushi-inada Hime Yahashiranomiko-kami. Revered from all over Japan as the capital underwent development, even today, it has 3000 branch shrines all over the nation. The Gion Festival which is the great annual summer festival for Kyoto which lasts for almost a month from July 1st i...

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Business hours
- Everyday
Phone
075-561-6155
Price
- Free
Website
www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp

33. Sanzen-in Temple

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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Time passes slowly in the temple grounds surrounded by flora such as moss and cedars.
This temple is so beloved that whenever Ohara is mentioned, people always think of Sanzen-in. In the beautiful mossy garden, smiling child jizo statues show their faces charming the hearts of visitors.

Sanzen-in’s association with the Imperial family When the monk Saicho built Enryaku-ji Temple in 788, the construction of a thatched hut underneath a huge pear tree in Minamidani at the East Pagoda is said to have been the beginnings of Sanzen-in Temple. Afterwards, it became a temple administered by the family of an Imperial prince which was repeatedly moved from Mt. Hiei to Omi-Sakamoto to Kyoto. In 1871, following the Meiji Restoration, the Ohara Government House was made into the main hall and the temple was given the name of Sanzen-...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-744-2531
Price
- Adult: 700 JPY
- Child: 150 JPY
Website
en.wikipedia.org

34. Tofuku-ji Temple

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

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Tofuku-ji Temple whose buildings have been designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties
The temple has plenty of highlights including 25 sub-temples and a rock garden. It is also famous as a place to see the fall colors. The colors are especially beautiful at Tsutenkyo Bridge linking the main hall with Kaisan-do Hall.

Tofuku-ji, Kyoto’s leading group of temple buildings There are 5 famous temples in Kyoto which have been ranked as the Kyoto Gozan or the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto, of which one is Tofuku-ji Temple. As well, the buildings of the temple show characteristics that belie its status as a Rinzai sect temple. The 22-meter high sanmon gate has been designated as a National Treasure and is known as the oldest sanmon gate in Japan. Also, Tokufu-ji has the oldest zen meditation hall in the nation. Furthermore, Tsutenkyo Bridge which makes us...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
075-533-0621
Price
- Free
Tsutenkyo Bridge
adults 400 yen/children 300 yen
Garden
adults 400 yen/children 300 yen

Website
www.tofukuji.jp

35. Byodoin Temple

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Heaven on earth – A World Heritage site, Byodoin Temple
Byodoin Temple embodies the heaven envisioned by an aristocrat of the Heian period. A valuable building that attests to the prosperity of the Fujiwara clan. The temple’s Phoenix Hall has been recovered in a brilliant state following the recent completion of its restoration work.

Aristocrat’s second house turned into a temple Byodoin temple was established in 1052 when an aristocrat named Yorimichi Fujiwara decided to turn his second house into a temple. The temple building and the Buddha statues created nearly 1,000 years ago have been collectively listed as a World Heritage site. Adding to its glory, the temple’s Phoenix Hall is featured on the Japanese 10 yen coin. The Phoenix Hall recently underwent nearly 2 years of restoration work including a roof replacement and re-coating of its exterior layer; th...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM )
Phone
0774-21-2861
Price
- Adult: 600 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.byodoin.or.jp

36. Manpuku-ji Temple

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

A Chinese-style temple established by Buddhist priest, Yinyuan Longqi, who had a huge influence on Japanese culture in the Edo Era
The priest Yinyuan Longqi introduced art, architecture, printing, green tea, Chinese-style vegetarian cuisine, kidney beans, temple drums, and many other things to Japan, and had a huge influence on the Edo Era.

Influence of the Ming Dynasty of China The temple was first opened in 1661by Chinese priest Yinyuan Longqi (known as Ryuki Ingen in Japanese). Responding to an invitation from Japan, at the age of 63, the priest was accompanied by 20 disciples and arrived in the country in 1654 after which Manpuku-ji Temple was built with the cooperation of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The architecture and the culture were all of Ming Dynasty, and the totality of Edo Era culture was influenced. Places to see on the Ming-style grounds Passing through the Chinese-...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
0774-32-3900
Price
- Adult: 500 JPY
- Child: 300 JPY
Website
www.jnto.go.jp

37. Philosopher’s Walk

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Changing through the seasons, a path where you can enjoy the beauty of nature.
Philosopher’s Walk is an approximately 1.5km walking path along the foot of Mt. Higashiyama. On the western end of a canal built in the Meiji Era lies the stone-paved path which has also been selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Streets.

Get a full appreciation of the rich natural beauty through the cherry blossoms of spring and the colors of autumn Philosopher’s Walk is a short path which starts from Nyakuouji Shrine and passes Honen-in Shrine heading for Ginkaku-ji Temple along the canal. Philosopher Kitaro Nishida walked along this path while meditating which gave it its name. About 450 cherry trees are planted along the 1.5 km path, and it’s famous as a place for sakura. The cherries along either side of the canal are known as kansetsu-zakura, and they proudly...

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Business hours
- Everyday

38. Shimogamo Shrine

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

One of Kyoto’s oldest shrines surrounded by an ancient forest
Shimogamo Shrine, known for one of Kyoto’s 3 Great Festivals, the Aoi Festival, is among the oldest shrines in Kyoto. While enjoying that walk through the woods in the huge grounds, you will want to share in the benefits of the various gods.

A solemn holy ground evoking a long history The World Heritage site of Shimogamo Shrine (Kamo-mioya Shrine) is located in the triangular zone bracketed by Kyoto’s Kamo and Takano Rivers. With belief in the God of Guidance and the God of Victory since ancient times, it is known as a shrine to celebrate the beginning of things. Two east and west main shrines have been built. On the left is the shrine dedicated to the god Kametaketsunomi-no-mikoto who opened a mountain castle in ancient Kyoto, and on the right is the shrine dedicated to hi...

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Business hours
- Everyday (6:30 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-781-0010
Price
- Free
Website
www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp

39. Okochi Sanso (Mountain Villa)

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

A famous garden built by the famed actor Denjiro Okochi
Denjiro Okochi, famed for his roles in period dramas, created the garden and villa for Okochi Sanso. You can fully enjoy the beautiful Japanese garden boasting an area of about 6000 tsubo (19835 sq. m.) and a view of Arashiyama that cannot be seen elsewhere

Places to see at Okochi Sanso Okochi Sanso consists of a villa and garden created by movie actor Denjiro Okochi. From the age of 34 (1931) to his death at 64, Okochi used a majority of his earnings in film to build this mountain villa. The most interesting place is the garden which uses the technique of “shakkei” that incorporates the view of distant mountains and nature as if they were part of the garden. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the four seasons embracing the cherry blossoms in spring and the changing leaves in au...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM )
Phone
075-872-2233
Price
- Adult: 1000 JPY
- Child: 500 JPY

40. Takao

Top 40 Places to Visit in Kyoto

Photo by Planetyze

Mt. Takao, a famous place for the fall colors that change the earliest in Kyoto…there is a walking course to enjoy the autumn fol

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