Travel in Kyoto, Japan is a must for first-time visitors. With over 2,000 temples and shrines in this old capital, you could easily spend days just walking around the city.
The city is easily accessible via bus and subway. At Kyoto Station, you can buy a one-day bus pass for only 700 yen. Or you can get a bus and subway pass for 1,100 yen for the day.
5 Best Points of Interest for Travel in Kyoto, Japan
Kinkaku-ji is a beautiful pavilion covered in gold foil. It is especially picturesque when the sun is shining and the gold reflects off the pond.
A walking path takes you around the temple gardens where there are areas to throw coins for good luck.
At the end of the path, there are souvenir shops and a tea garden where you can drink fresh matcha green tea and eat Japanese sweets.
The area dates back to 1397 and is officially called Rokuon-ji. It was named a World Heritage Site in 1994.
From Kyoto station, it takes around 35-40 minutes by bus. The temple is open everyday from 9:00 am–5:00 pm and the entrance fee is 400 yen.
Ginkaku-ji is known as the Silver Pavilion. Ironically, it is not made of silver, but was modeled after the Golden Pavilion so given the name to contrast the two buildings.
The temple grounds include a beautiful sand garden, ponds, and a moss garden.
A walking path zigzags up a hill to view the temple and surrounding city.
The temple dates back to 1482 and was named a World Heritage Site in 1994.
From Kinkaku-ji or Kyoto Station, it takes around 35-40 minutes by bus. The temple is open everyday from 8:30 am–5:00 pm (9:00 am-4:30 pm December through February) and the entrance fee is 500 yen.
Kiyomizu-dera is a beautiful temple at the top of a steep incline. There are spectacular views of the city from the temple grounds, and it is a great spot to watch the sunset.
Please note: The walk uphill to get to the temple can be difficult for some people. It takes around 10-15 minutes to reach the entrance.
On the way up to the temple, there are shops lining the street selling souvenirs, local foods, and Japanese traditional crafts.
The temple dates back to 778 and was named a World Heritage Site in 1994.
From Ginkaku-ji, it takes around 35-40 minutes by bus. From Kyoto Station, it takes around 15 minutes by bus. The temple is open everyday from 6:00 am–6:00 pm and the entrance fee is 400 yen.
The famous entertainment district of Gion is an interesting place to walk around. The area has traditional, wooden style houses where Geisha used to entertain.
Geisha can still be found dancing and playing traditional music in teahouses, but entrance is very expensive and usually not for foreign tourists.
However, Gion Corner offers daily shows for tourists at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Shows include traditional arts performed by Geisha, such as dancing, music, flower arranging, and tea ceremony. The fee is 3,150 yen.
From Kiyomizu-dera, you can walk to Gion in about one hour through the old Higashiyama District, which features narrow alleys, small shops, and cafes. Or from Kyoto Station, it takes around 20 minutes to Gion by bus.
5. Heian Shrine
Heian Shrine, established in 1895, offers a Japanese garden, large torii gate, and traditional buildings.
From Kyoto Station, it takes around 30 minutes by bus. The shrine is open everyday from 6:00 am–5:30 pm and is free to enter. The garden is open everyday from 8:30 am-5:00 pm and costs 600 yen.
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Becki and Shawn
Japan Travel Specialists
Hi, we’re Becki and Shawn! We love Japan and are truly passionate about Japan and Japan travel.
We’ve lived, worked, and traveled in Japan for 20+ years, so we know where to go, what to see, and how to get there. Join us in Japan for an adventure of a lifetime!