Are you thinking about going to Kyoto for a holiday?

Or are you planning on making this city part of your 2 week Japan itinerary?

Either way, we’ll show you the best things to do and see in Kyoto.

Kyoto is a city of history and culture, of contemplation and reflection.

It’s home to some of the most incredible sights in Japan, so get your joggers ready as we share the best things to do and the most popular Kyoto attractions!

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1. Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)

Kinkaku-ji or the Golden Pavilion is one of the top sights to see in Kyoto.

Notably, it is one of the most lavishly decorated and artistically diverse temples there.

It is covered in a thin veneer of gold leaf.

Meanwhile, each floor is designed to invoke a different style of Japanese architecture.

It was originally built around 600 years ago.

Indeed, the entire temple grounds with its teahouses and gardens are designed to create a sense of calm contemplation.

If you want a picture-perfect shot, be patient.

This is because there will be many other visitors trying to get a photo near the entrance where there is a standing platform.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
  • Prices: Adults 400 yem, Kids 300 yen
  • Address: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

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2. Kiyomizu Temple

The walk up to Kiyomizu-dera is filled with snacks, local souvenirs, and happy families passing by.

The Buddhist temple itself was renovated recently.

Furthermore, it strikes a beautiful orange hue in the sunset from which you can see a wonderful view of Kyoto.

It’s named after a waterfall running within the complex.

On the other hand, visitors can drink the water and it’s believed to have wishful powers.

Kiyomizu Temple is a popular gathering, especially during festivals.

  • Opening Hours: 6am-6pm
  • Prices: Adults 400 yen, Kids 200 yen
  • Address: 294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

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3. Imperial Palace

This place used to be the official Imperial Palace of Japan until 1868.

Then, the imperial family moved to Tokyo.

Thankfully, you don’t need to book in advance and can casually stroll in during its opening hours.

It’s not allowed to enter any of the buildings here due to its sanctity.

However, you can walk the same grounds where a thousand years of Japanese imperial court life happened.

  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9am-4pm (Oct-Feb); 9am-4:30pm (Sep/Mar); 9am-5pm (Apr-Aug)
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-0881, Japan

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4. Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the great unifier of Japan.

Moreover, it served as the location of its de facto government for over 200 years.

Today, you can view the battlements that surround the castle.

In addition, you can walk through its cherry blossom gardens.

You can even enter the room where the most powerful man in Japan, the Shogun, would meet dignitaries.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8am-4pm
  • Prices: Adults 1,030 yen, Kids 350 yen
  • Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8301, Japan

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5. Sanjusangendo Hall

Classified as a National Treasure of Japan, Sanjusangendo Hall is part of the Buddhist temple Sanjusangendo.

Above all, it is the country’s longest wooden structure at 120 meters.

This massive hall dates back to 1266 during the Kamakura period.

Meanwhile, the temple is also widely known for housing the gigantic 1000-armed Kannon (the goddess of mercy).

Additionally, it houses the 100 thousand-armed Kannon (this time, standing – 500 each on both sides of the seated Kannon).

Furthermore, it features 28 standing attendants, and statues of Raijin (god of thunder, lightning, and storms), and Fujin (god of the wind).

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8am-5pm
  • Prices: 600 yen
  • Address: 657 Sanjusangendomawari, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0941, Japan

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6. Nishiki Food Market

Get ready for a culinary adventure when you visit the Nishiki Food Market.

It features more than 100 restaurants and shops spread over five blocks to explore.

To begin with, this where you will find Kyoto food wonders.

For example, feast on delicacies such as sushi, sweets, dried seafood, and pickles.

In addition, you will see fresh produce, cookware, and fresh seafood.

Check out the food establishments including tiny stalls where you can buy food and eat them while walking.

On the other hand, you can choose larger restaurants where you can sit and enjoy a relaxing meal.

Discover why this bustling retail market is called “Kyoto’s Kitchen”!

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-6pm
  • Prices: Free admission
  • Address: 609番地 Nishidaimonjicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8054, Japan

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7. Fushimi-inari Shrine

Fushimi-inari Shrine is a temple that spans an entire mountain.

In particular, it is filled with thousands of torii gates.

As it is a Shinto shrine (Japan’s old religion), you’ll see statues of foxes and small shrines for spirits everywhere.

Meanwhile, the walk up to the top can take up to 2- 3 hours and will offer the best view of Kyoto by far.

Indeed, Fushimi-inari can truly boast an otherworldly feel to it, especially at night.

As the temple is open 24/7, you can come after dark and walk through the almost ghostly paths surrounded by gates.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

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8. Arashiyama

Arashiyama is probably the farthest district you’ll visit from central Kyoto.

Located on the western outskirts, it is mostly known for its gorgeous Bamboo Grove.

The trees here are verdant green and have grown to such a height that they can make the walking paths dark even at noon.

There are always visitors walking up and down the paths, so if you want a clear Instagram shot of the green bamboos, you’ll have to be patient.

Besides the Bamboo Grove, there are plenty of other sights to see including quaint, old restaurants, shops, and temples.

Address: Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0007, Japan

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9. Sagano Romantic Train

Jump on board the Sagano Romantic Train and see the beautiful scenery along Hozukyo Ravine.

This 25-minute trip starts from Saga Torokko Station, adjacent to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station.

While you’re waiting for your train departure, have a look around the station.

You’ll see a mini-train model track and a Hall with life-size historic trains.

Once on board, the train passes through the mountains so you can bask in scenic views of the Hozu River, a tree-lined ravine, and on to the basin of Kameoka.

If you want to go on the river directly, there’s an optional riverboat ride, heading back to Saga Torokko Station.

Definitely worth it!

  • Departure Times: check the schedule
  • Prices: Adults 630 yen, Kids 320 yen
  • Address: Saga Torokko Station

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10. Horino Memorial Museum

The Kinshi Masamune Horino Memorial Museum is situated in the original site of a brewery in Sakaimachi Nijo.

It was built in 1781.

You will get to see the tools used in traditional sake production in this museum in central Kyoto.

Above all, it was opened to pass down the sake culture and help keep it alive.

The Kinshi Masamune brand of sake is one of the most famous in Kyoto.

Furthermore, you will learn about their history through exhibits and photos of the equipment they use for brewing, in a traditional Japanese house (“Machiya”) setting.

  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday 11am-5pm
  • Prices: Adults 300 yen, Kids 200 yen
  • Address: Japan, 〒604-0811 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 二条上る亀屋町172

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11. Yasaka Shrine

Take a tour in and around Yasaka Shrine, a well-known shrine and tourist attraction in Kyoto.

This shrine is also the location of what may be Japan’s most popular festival, the Gion Matsuri which is commemorated every July.

Hundreds of participants gather with gigantic floats during this summer festival, which has been celebrated for more than a thousand years.

Visitors flock to the shrine in and around early April every year, as it is adjacent to a famous spot to go to during the cherry blossom season – Murayama Park.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0073, Japan

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12. Daitoku-ji Temple

Spend hours exploring the walled temple complex of Daitoku-ji and be amazed at the stunning architecture and pockets of picturesque Zen gardens.

The complex is actually made of 24 smaller temples with only four of them regularly open to the public.

You can get insights into the Japanese aesthetic, through calligraphy, painting, architecture, the Zen gardens, and tea ceremonies.

Daitoku-ji Temple was closely associated with tea master Sen no Rikyu and has since been developed into a tea ceremony center.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4:30pm
  • Prices: Daisenin 400 yen, Ryogenin 350 yen, Kotoin 500 yen, Zuihoin 400 yen
  • Address: 53 Murasakino Daitokujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8231, Japan

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13. Gion Corner

Gion is a geisha (or “maiko” in Japanese) district where you can still see geishas wearing kimonos strolling around the city.

In Gion Corner, you can have a wonderful cultural experience.

There are geishas performing dances, tea ceremonies, and music performances.

The show happens twice every day at 6 and 7 pm so make sure to be on time.

Gion is also a fantastic area for enjoying good food.

  • Performances: Daily 6pm & 7pm
  • Prices: Adults 3,150 yen, Students (16-22 yrs) 2,200 yen, Kids (7-15 yrs) 1,900 yen
  • Address: 570-2 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0074, Japan

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14. Tenryu-ji Temple

Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tenryu-ji Temple is Arashiyama district’s most important temple.

Built in 1339, it has the highest ranking among Kyoto’s five great Zen temples.

Enjoy a leisurely walk around while surrounded by one of the most beautiful gardens in Kyoto.

Gaze at the tranquil pond for a few moments of contemplation.

Making the scenery more breathtaking are the majestic mountains of Arashiyama in the background.

This is perfectly incorporated into the stunning views in and around the temple.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am-4:30pm
  • Prices: 500 yen
  • Address: Japan, 〒616-8385 Kyoto, Ukyo Ward, Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho

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15. Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

Learn everything there is to know about sake (Japanese rice wine) in the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum.

In fact, it is run by one of the most prominent sake companies in Japan, Gekkeikan Sake Company, Ltd.

Explore the history of sake and its production in an old sake brewery dating back to 1909.

For this reason, it hosts exhibits including over 400 items used for sake production.

Feel the history of the place and be transported to an old Japanese brewery.

Notably, listen to chants used by traditional sake makers play throughout the museum.

Your visit will conclude with sake and Ginjoshu tasting in the museum lobby.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9:30am-4:30pm
  • Prices: Adults 600 yen, Kids 100 yen
  • Address: 247 Minamihamacho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-8043, Japan

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16. The Philosopher’s Path

The Philosopher’s Path is a 2-kilometer pedestrian path following the route of a canal.

It is made more picturesque with hundreds of cherry trees on either side.

The path was named so because the 20th-century philosopher Nishida Kitaro used to frequent the area for his daily meditation.

Walking through the tranquil path will give you a glimpse of shrines and temples such as the Honen-on that boasts of an imposing entrance gate.

The path is also lined with several boutiques, cafes, and restaurants for your pleasure after the calming stroll.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: Japan, 〒606-8406 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Jodoji Ishibashicho, 61

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17. Tofuku-ji Temple

This temple is one of the famous and oldest ones in Kyoto, and characterizes the features of a medieval Zen temple

Its Sanmon gate is Japan’s oldest Zen main gate and a National Treasure.

The temple is renowned for its architecture and beautiful gardens.

In autumn, the place is filled with people who can enjoy the spectacular view of a valley filled with the fiery leaves of maple trees.

Head to the 100-meter long Tsutenkyo Bridge – a covered walkway where you can have the best views of the maple trees’ awe-inspiring autumn colors.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-3:30pm
  • Prices: 1,000 yen
  • Address: 15 Chome-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0981, Japan

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18. Heian Shrine

Heian shrine was built as a dedication to the spirits of the first and last emperors who had their reign from the city.

They were Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei.

This is one of the most important Shinto shrines in Kyoto.

You will be welcomed by an imposing vermillion shrine gate (“torii”) that stands almost 25 meters high.

Inside the shrine grounds, you will see a smaller version of the original Imperial Palace dating back to the Heian period.

Check out the lovely garden with its multitude of cherry trees that bloom later compared to other trees.

This makes Heian Shrine a popular cherry blossom spot in Kyoto.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 6am-5pm
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8341, Japan

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19. Ninna-ji Temple

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ninna-ji Temple is one of Kyoto’s great temples.

The original buildings built in 888 were damaged by fires and wars.

Now, the oldest buildings that remain are the Kannon Hall, the main hall (“Kondo”), the front gate, and the five-story pagoda.

They date back from the early parts of the 1600s.

Check out the Goten, designed to resemble an imperial palace connected by covered corridors and flanked outside by lovely pond and rock gardens.

The complex is also home to Umuro Cherrie.

They bloom later than other cherry trees, making this an ideal spot to visit towards the end of the cherry blossom season in Kyoto.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-4:30pm
  • Prices: 500 yen during cherry blossom season
  • Address: 33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8092, Japan

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20. Himeji Castle

Although Himeji Castle is about a 75-minute train ride from Kyoto, its well worth it!

The magnificent white exterior of the Himeji Castle beckons from a hilltop.

It’s not surprising that this is one of the most visited castles in the country.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it earned its nickname, the “White Heron” because of its appearance.

It is said to resemble a bird about to take flight.

The maze-like design of the complex is due to its original purpose as a fort.

Himaji Castle features more than 80 buildings connected by winding walkways and a series of gates.

The Sannomaru bailey features a lawn lined with cherry trees – an ideal spot to enjoy during the cherry blossom season.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-4pm
  • Prices: 1,000 yen
  • Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan

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21. Nanzen-ji Temple

This sprawling Zen complex is home to one of the most important Zen temples in Japan.

Welcoming you is the imposing Sanmon gate, which is one of Japan’s biggest temple gates.

Take a look at the Hojo, the priest’s chambers built out of the old Imperial Palace and which are now a national treasure.

A dry landscape garden gives off a tranquil vibe that will energize your spirit.

The Choshoin sub-temple is dedicated to the preservation of a vegetarian cuisine style that focuses on simplicity without sacrificing a delectable result.

Here is where you can feast on a Japanese lunch, traditionally made for the past three centuries.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8:45am-5pm
  • Prices: 600 yen
  • Address: Japan, 〒606-8435 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Nanzenji Fukuchicho, 86

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22. Togetsukyo Bridge

The 155-meter Togetsukyo Bridge follows the Saga Arashiyama, and is the area’s main landmark.

The architectural aesthetic of the bridge has popularly been featured in several period films.

During summer, you can feed koi fish or watch cormorant fishing from the bridge.

In springtime, you will be surrounded by stunning cherry blossom trees that make for the perfect background for unforgettable photos.

A stroll across the bridge will take you to a small pier where rental boats await you for a magical cruise down the river.

  • Address: 1 7, Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8385, Japan

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23. Jojakko-ji Temple

Veer away from the main tourist path by visiting the quaint Jojakko-ji Temple.

It’s situated on Kokura-san Mountain, renowned for the autumn leaves.

There’s also a history of being home to royalty, poets, and nobility.

Explore the 12-meter tall pagoda surrounded by tranquil greenery.

You’ll love the amazing views of the Arashiyama area from the mountain slope.

With more than 200 maple trees, the temple offers breathtaking views of the fiery leaves during the spring and summer.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
  • Prices: 400 yen
  • Address: 3 Sagaogurayama Oguracho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8397, Japan

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24. Byodo-in Temple

This temple was originally built as a powerful politician’s countryside villa, featuring Jodo (Buddhist Pure Land) architecture.

The temple’s most notable feature is the Phoenix Hall, named as such because of its shape and the two phoenix statues on the roof.

This Hall is one of the few wooden structures from the Heian period that are still standing.

Situated underground is the treasure house that securely houses the temple’s most prized artifacts, including national treasures and vital cultural valuables.

Learn more about Byodo-in’s history through multi-lingual exhibits and displays shown in the treasure house.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am-5:30pm
  • Prices: 600 yen
  • Address: Renge-116 Uji, Kyoto 611-0021, Japan

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25. Chion-in Temple

The Chion-in Temple is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto.

You will be welcome by the temple’s massive Sanmon gate, the country’s largest wooden gate measuring 50 meters wide and 24 meters tall.

The steep staircase towards the main compound was notably used as part of the Tom Cruise film, The Last Samurai.

Climb another set of steep steps to get up close and personal with the largest temple bell in Japan, weighing in at 74 tons.

Visit the mausoleum containing Honen’s ashes, or take relaxing strolls on the gardens while surrounded by lush greenery.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4:20pm
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: 400 Rinkacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-8686, Japan

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26. Kamogawa River

Don’t miss a chance to experience Kyoto’s most popular river – Kamogawa River.

Walk along the river banks to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the time away from the busy streets of the city center.

You can even ride a bike on the sides of the river or cross the river itself using strategically-placed stepping stones.

During the summer months, restaurants open their balconies so their customers can feel the cool breeze coming from the river as they enjoy their sumptuous meals.

The riverbank becomes enchantingly illuminated at night, making it ideal for a romantic evening stroll.

  • Length: 31km

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27. Kennin-Ji Temple

Located in Kyoto’s notable geisha district, the Kennin-Ji Temple is one of the city’s five great Zen temples (ranked third).

Built in 1202, it is also Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple.

Moss and gravel gardens surround the main buildings, which are accessible after paying an entrance fee (other areas are free to the public).

The interiors of the main buildings feature sliding doors with depictions of dragons.

Check out Dharma Hall where the ceiling is painted with a stunning image of twin dragons, commissioned to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the temple in 2002.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4:30pm
  • Prices: 500 yen
  • Address: 584 Komatsucho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0811, Japan

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28. Kiyotaki River

The clear waters of the Kiyotaki River are home to the largest amphibian in the world – the giant Japanese salamander.

They can grow as long as 1.5 meters.

While it is not guaranteed you’ll see a salamander, keep an eye on where you step.

The river winds through the forest and the mountainous area of Takao.

It is where avid hikers go for nature trails.

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29. Kyoto Handicraft Center

The Kyoto Handicraft Center showcases the best of traditional Kyoto crafts, as well as souvenirs of the highest quality.

This is where you can buy the most beautiful items to give out as gifts back home.

You’ll also find origami, calligraphy, woodblock prints, Japanese candles, and a host of other arts & crafts.

Check out the pottery and jewelry selection for items that you can bring home, maybe to start your own collection?

Best of all, you can purchase these amazing items at the Kyoto Handicraft Center using other currencies, and duty-free!

  • Opening Hours: Friday to Monday 11am-4pm
  • Address: Japan, 〒606-8323 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Shogoin Entomicho, 17

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30. Kyoto Station

This main transportation hub & railway station features a cutting-edge design.

It provides an admirable contrast to the Kyoto that tourists usually consider as the capital of traditional Japan.

The spacious main hall is equipped with a roof of exposed steel beams called the Matrix.

This depicts the grid-like Kyoto city layout and the station’s futuristic architecture.

Kyoto station is divided into 2 sides.

Karasuma faces downtown, housing several shops, hotels, the Kyoto Tower, and the main bus terminal.

On the other side, Hachijo has highway bus stops, the Toji Temple, and a few hotels.

The station’s building is also home to an art museum, a wide array of dining and shopping establishments, a theater, and the Granvia Hotel.

  • Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan

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31. Nishi Hongan-ji Temple

Located on the northwest side of the Kyoto Station lies the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple.

You can experience modern Japanese Buddhism through its architecture and historical significance.

It is part of a compound housing two Honganji temples, the Nishi (western) temple, and the Higashi (eastern) temple.

The entire complex is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visit the Amida-do, the main worship hall that houses an image of Amida Buddha on the central altar.

Other notable structures include the Gingko Tree, Bell Tower, Scripture Repository, Karamon Gate, and the Drum Tower.

The complex also has a café, souvenir shop, and bookshop.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 5:30am-5pm
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: Japan, 〒600-8501 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, 堀川通花屋町下ル

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32. Pontocho Alley

Pontocho is a geisha district in Tokyo which is renowned for preserving the traditional forms of entertainment and architecture.

This area is home to many geiko (or geisha) and maiko (apprentice geisha) houses, as well as traditional tea houses.

At night, the area is lit up with traditional lanterns that will take you back to the way the Japanese lived centuries ago.

The cobblestoned alley is lined with tea houses, geisha houses, and brothels

There are also high-end restaurants, serving a mix of cuisines and Japanese local food.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Address: Kashiwayacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8014, Japan

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33. Ryoan-ji

Ryoan-ji is probably the most philosophical of the zen temples thanks to its simplicity.

Once you enter the temple grounds, you will be greeted with rock formations in a garden that can only be viewed from a single viewpoint due to the location of the terrace.

The garden itself encourages you to contemplate the immutability of nature and how only changes in your own perspective can create a change in what you view.

You’ll be asked to take your shoes off on entry.

Take your time to walk around the rest of the area to get a feel of Japanese culture.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8am-5pm
  • Prices: 500 yen
  • Address: 13 Ryoanji Goryonoshitacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8001, Japan

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34. Sannenzaka Ninenzaka

The sloping streets of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka may be the most picturesque ones you will ever encounter in Japan.

Both of these streets are open only for pedestrians.

So you can leisurely and safely stroll around without worrying about vehicles.

These streets are free from unsightly overhead power lines.

They are lined with lovingly-restored shophouses, transporting you to Kyoto historic time.

Quaint tea houses and restaurants abound in this area, including the wistful Japanese café, Kasagiya.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Address: Japan, 〒605-0826 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Masuyacho, 清水2丁目

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35. Shimogamo Shrine

Along with Kamigamo Shrine, the stunning Shimogamo Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Shimogamo shrine is surrounded by the beautifully-preserved forest of Tadasu no Mori.

It has remained untouched by modernization and is home to trees that may be as old as 600 years old.

Each year on May 15, the shrine hosts the Aoi Matsuri Festival – one of Kyoto’s main festivals.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 6:30am-5pm
  • Prices: Free
  • Address: Japan, 〒606-0807 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Shimogamo Izumikawacho, 59

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36. Teramachi Street

The historic Teramachi Street is home to one of the city’s main shopping districts.

This covered shopping arcade is the place to go to for your dose of retail therapy.

It has a more refined ambiance compared to the noisier Shinkyogoku area.

Check out clothing shops offering the latest in fashion, and also those with a more traditional style outlook.

The street is also home to bookshops, art galleries, pachinko parlors, and souvenir shops.

  • Length: 4.6km
  • Address: Teramachi Street (from Kuramaguchi Street to Gojō Street)

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37. National Museum of Modern Art

Here you can have a taste of what new Kyoto has to offer with its vast array of modern artists.

The museum itself hosts exhibitions with diverse themes that not only include paintings but also textiles, pottery and jewellery.

Visit the National Museum of Modern Art to see the riveting collections.

This includes modern Japanese art, Nihonga art, and a few contemporary Western-style exhibits.

  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday 9:30am-5pm; Friday & Saturday 9:30am-8pm
  • Prices: Adults 420 yen, Kids 130 yen
  • Address:  26-1 Okazaki Enshojicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8344, Japan

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38. Kyoto International Manga Museum

This museum was originally built as an elementary school and has since been turned into a shrine housing more than 300,000 items (manga-related and comic books).

You can read any book you want, chosen from the numerous bookshelves that line most of the hallways and walls spread over three floors and the basement.

Most of the collections are of Japanese manga, but there are some books that are of foreign origin and duly-translated.

The museum also showcases manga-themed exhibits and events, with some of them featuring foreign artists.

  • Opening Hours: Thursday to Tuesday 10am-6pm
  • Prices: 900 yen
  • Address: 452 Kinbukicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-0846, Japan

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39. Toei Studios

If you’ve seen an old Japanese samurai movie, there’s a good chance it was made by Toei Studios.

This place is packed with old movie sets, ninja shows, and haunted houses.

Hundreds of visitors usually dress up as their favourite manga (Japanese cartoon) characters.

Feel free to walk up to them and ask for a photo.

Definitely a favourite for kids and their granddads.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
  • Prices: 2,400 yen
  • Address: 10番地 Uzumasa Higashihachiokacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8586, Japan

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Where to Stay in Kyoto

The area of Gion and Kawaramachi are the most popular areas to stay to get around Kyoto.

They are incredibly convenient to go in and around due to its central location.

Gion and Kawaramachi are well stocked with their own sights and entertainment options.

If you are visiting Kyoto, be prepared to see A LOT of temples.

While you may get “temple fatigue” towards the end, remember that all of these temples have their very own unique history and possess stark differences between each other.

There are plenty of other things to do and see as well if you want to avoid temples in Kyoto.

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For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!