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Top Tourist Attractions in Kyoto

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The capital of east Tokyo and the capital of west Kyoto; the country’s capital once thrived in Kyoto, and now it’s moved to Tokyo. Just by looking around this old city, you can imagine how busy it must have been, and it still is nowadays. Countless temples and shrines still remain in the same place, after being destroyed and rebuilt again and again. Kyoto is the place where you can experience Japan in the old times; wearing kimono and walking in the old street will take you back to the good old days in Japan.
Here are some of the top tourist attractions you have to check out when you visit Kyoto; UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1000 year-old temples and breathtaking Japanese traditional gardens!

 

1. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

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This UNESCO World Heritage temple was built in 8th century, and known as one of the oldest temple in Japan. From the main hall you can enjoy the view of Kyoto city. In every season the temple will change its appearance; colorful trees spreading around the temple in fall season, white snow carpet in winter, and pink cherry blossoms in spring. Because of its easy access from Kyoto Station, the temple is always crowded with tourists from around the world and students who came as a school trip.
  • Entrance Fee: ¥400(High school student and over), ¥200(Junior high school student and under)
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 – 18:00 (closing time varies on each season, more details here)
  • Address: 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0862, Japan (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Kyoto City Bus No.206 or No.100 “Gojo-zaka Station”.
  • Official Website: http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/en/

 

2. Fushimi Inari Shrine

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Fushimi-Inari Shrine is famous for its Senbon Torii (Thousand Arches). The archway starts on the bottom of the temple and leads to the top of the Mt. Inari. The shrine is the head of 32,000 sub-shrines across the country, and many people visit and pray for prosperity of their business. In these days a lot of tourists come to capture this famous archway, so it’s getting harder to take pictures without people in your frame! (I patiently waited…)
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Opening Hours: 24 hours (Pray: 8:30 – 16:30)
  • Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō Fushimi-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 612-0882 Japan (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Kyoto City Bus South 5 or No.105 “Fushimi Inari Station”, Keihan Line “Fushimi Inari Station”, JR Nara Line “Inari Station”.
  • Official Website: http://inari.jp/ (Only in Japanese)

 

3. Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

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This bamboo forest in Arashiyama was featured on the cover of Lonely Planet Japan, so now it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions in Kyoto. This beautiful street continues for about 200 meters, and you will see well looked after bamboo trees along the way. We rented kimono for a day and took some pictures at the place. It turned out really nice!
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Opening Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: 1-13 Sagatenryuji Tateishicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8375, Japan (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Kyoto City Bus No.11, 28 or 93 “Nonomiya Station”.

 

4. Kinkaku-ji Temple

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This famous golden temple was built in 14th century, but was burned down several times since then, because of the natural disasters and civil wars. Being rebuilt in 17th century, it has been registered as a national treasure, and a lot of people have come to take a look at the combination of the temple and beautiful Japanese garden. The temple became the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, as one of the historic monuments of ancient Kyoto.
  • Entrance Fee: ¥400(High school student and over), ¥300(Junior high school student and under)
  • Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
  • Address: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 603-8361, Japan (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Kyoto City Bus No. 12, 59, 101, 102, 204 or 205 “Kinkakuji-michi Station”
  • Website: http://www.shokoku-ji.jp/k_about.html (Japanese Only)

 

5. Ginkaku-ji Temple

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The Ginkaku-ji Temple, which is also known as Jisho-ji Temple, was built in 15th century. The design of the temple emulated Ginkaku-ji Temple, so these two are often called “Kinkaku of the west, and Ginkaku of the east” (Contrast of gold and silver). Once you check out the Kinkaku-ji in the west, you will want to see how they imitate in the temple of east. Ginkaku-ji is also registered as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500(High school student and over), ¥300(Junior high school student and under)
  • Opening Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (March – November), 9:00 – 16:30 (December – February)
  • Address: 2 Ginkakujicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8402, Japan (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Kyoto City Bus No. 5, 17, 32, 100, 102, 203 or 204 “Ginkakuji-michi Station”
  • Website: http://www.shokoku-ji.jp/g_about.html (Japanese Only)

 

6. Higashiyama

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If you want to see how old streets in Kyoto looked like, I would recommend to go to Higashiyama. There is a long historical street continues from Yasaka Shrine in Gion area, all the way to Gojo-zaka, the path to the Kiyomizu-dera temple. In this street you will see many souvenir stores, traditional restaurants and cafes. Most of the stores close at around 6 pm, so the street will be quiet after that time. There are many places near this street where you can rent kimono, so it would be nice to walk around in traditional costume!
  • Entrance Fee: free
  • Opening Hours: 24 hours (Shops will be open around 9:00 – 18:00)
  • Address: Kawara-machi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Japan (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Start walking from Yasaka Shrine and go south or from Kiyomizu-zaka Street and go north.

 

7. To-ji Temple

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This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for the five-story pagoda, the tallest wooden tower in Japan. The temple was built in 8th century, next to the gate to the Heian capital, as a place to protect the city from enemies. In addition to the tower, this temple has multiple national treasures which are worth checking out. The tower is open only for a few days in a year, so make sure you check the details on the website if you want to climb!
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500(Adult), ¥400(High school students), and ¥300(Junior high school and elementary school)
  • Opening Hours: 8:30 – 18:00 (Closing time varies, more details here)
  • Address: Kujo-cho 1, Minami-ku, Kyoto, JAPAN (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Kyoto City Bus No. 207 “Toji Higashimon-mae Station”, No.202 or 208 “Toji Minamimon-mae Station”
  • Website: http://www.toji.or.jp/en/index.html

 

8. Nishiki Market

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Nishiki Market is the place to be if you are looking for some traditional food in Kyoto. You can find variety of pickles (picture above), green tea, fresh fish and so on! It is also nice to walk around and try some unique food in the market. The price is relatively high, but it reflects on the quality. Being located in the busy Gion area, you can easily drop by if you want to take a break from temple exploration!
  • Entrance fee: free
  • Opening Hours: 9:30 – 17:30
  • Address: Tominokoji-dori Shijo-agaru Nishidaimonji-cho 609, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8054, Japan (Google Maps)
  • How to get there: Kyoto City Bus No.5, 11, 12, 32, 46, 201, 203 or 207 “Shijo-Takakura Station”

 

Where is your favorite place in Kyoto? Let me know your recommendations in the comment down below! 🙂




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2 Comments

  • Reply Sheree May 12, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you for invoking fond memories of my trip to Japan in 2007. I visited all of the above and found each fascinating.
    Sheree recently posted…Differing fortunesMy Profile

  • Reply Mike May 18, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Went to Japan 2 years ago. I really need to go back ASAP. Thank you for your posts!

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