Top 5 Places To Visit In Kyoto – A recent survey asked tourists to Kyoto about their favorite places. Here are his top five recommendations – along with five recommendations from UJ.
Recently, Honichi Labo interviewed foreign visitors to Kyoto and asked them about their favorite tourist spots. Here are their top five, plus five more from us here at Unseen Japan.
Top 5 Places To Visit In Kyoto
Located in the Nakagyo District, the Kyoto Samurai Ninja Museum is a museum of Japanese warriors from before 1871, both samurai and ninja. Boasting a wide variety of historical armor and weapons as well as several Buddha statues, the museum also offers visitors the opportunity to learn how to throw ninja stars (shuriken) and use arrows (fukiya), or samurai armor or ninja clothing.
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Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward, also known as Oinari-san, enshrines O-inari ōkami, the kami of agriculture and commerce. This place is famous for its long row of torii gates.
Together with Toyokawa Inari and Takekoma Inari, it is one of the three largest Inari shrines in Japan and the center of the Inari faith. He has also appeared in many popular roles in television, film, and even animation. A number of fox statues also attract visitors to the shrine (
Kinkakuji – Golden Pavilion – is number 3 on Honichi’s list. This is the more familiar name of the temple, which is still officially called Rokuon-ji. This is a Muromachi era temple in the Kita district of Kyoto, built in the 14th century by one of the Ashikaga shoguns as an image of heaven on earth.
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Unfortunately, a famous monk burned it down in the 1950s. It was the burning that led to the brilliantly restored temple we see today, as well as Yukio Mishima’s novel
The structure is just one part of a larger complex of gardens and Buddha statues. My advice is to get there quickly before it gets too busy. Even though it looks peaceful in the pictures you see, if you get there at a busy time it can turn into a huge disappointment and frustration.
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One other piece of advice I can give is don’t cross the line. When I visited in 2005, one of my tour group members climbed over the fence to get a better picture of the statue and caused a minor incident. For your own sake and for the sake of preserving this site, which is both a sacred site and a historical tourist attraction, please do not make curved fences.
Kiyomizudera is a historic temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward. This building was built in the 8th century, but the current building dates from the 17th century. A tourist attraction for centuries, the stage – which juts out from the cliff on which it stands like a balcony – provides panoramic views of Kyoto.
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It was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1994 along with other sites in the region as part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. The road leading to the temple gates is lined with many tourist shops offering everything from toys, kimonos, folding fans, to soft serve ice cream. Take your time to explore it and don’t forget to bring some money for souvenirs!
Kyoto Nishiki Ichiba is a fresh food market in central Kyoto. Located between Sanjō and Shijō between Karasuma Avenue and Teramachi Shopping Arcade. It’s a popular spot for locally produced and sourced ingredients and prepared foods, and some shops offer samples for customers to try. There are also shops in the market selling glassware.
Amazingly, this market has existed since the beginning of the 14th century. Some shops are shinise (老舗) that have been in business for generations.
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The legendary Buddhist abbot Kūkai – aka Kōbō Daishi – founded the Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple in Ukyō Ward in the 9th century. There are many statues in the temple yard which were previously scattered but are now gathered there. In late August, the statues are illuminated by candles at Sentō Kuyō, a memorial service for the dead.
Nearby is Otagi Nenbutsuji, another temple we talked about in a previous article and worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood.
The Sagano Bamboo Forest is located near Tenryū-ji Temple in the Arashiyama district, which is part of Kyoto’s Nishikyō Ward. The Ministry of the Environment has included forest sounds in Japan’s 100 soundscapes. Bamboo grows large and very tall, so high that the surface of the ground is in comfortable shade.
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When I visited in 2005, there was a fine mist and the air looked turquoise amidst the thick, tall ancient bamboo stalks. Those memories haunt me even after 18 years. If you can go, especially on a cool fall day, go.
Seimei jinja, in the Kamigyō Ward, is a Shinto shrine founded in the 11th century that houses Abe no Seimei. Abe no Seimei, who was a yin-yang diviner (onmyōji) serving at the imperial court, is a figure who frequently appears in popular occult depictions.
Where Nomura Mansai plays Seimei. I was so excited to see Seimei Shrine, but unfortunately I didn’t have time.
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While you’re there, be sure to check out the pentagram on the holy well stone. This is the same pentagram—also known as the Seimei Bellflower, representing the five phases or five elements—that the Tohoku Alliance used as its battle flag during the Boshin War of 1868.
Yōkai Street, the unofficial name of this section of Ichijō Street, will appeal to fans of yōkai, the creatures of Japanese folklore. Local businesses have statues of various yōkai. Even though their main purpose is not for tourists, they are still attractive to the discerning traveler.
Ichijōji, in the northeastern part of Sakyō in Kyoto, offers Ichijōji Ramen Street. Japan’s “culinary experience platform” by Food lists six of the best Ichijōji Ramen Street restaurants. They are Gokkei, Tsukemen Enaku, Bishiya, Tentenyu, Tsurukame and Arajin. From rich ramen at Gokkei to tonkotsu and miso mix at Arajin, there’s something for every traveling foodie.
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Kyoto has been revered as the unofficial cultural capital of Japan thanks to its many temples, shrines and traditional Japanese guards. The city’s cultural significance is also reflected in its museums, with places such as the Kyocera Museum of Art Kyoto City and the Fukuda Museum of Art mentioned in the publication. Festival fans won’t want to miss, for example, the Gion Matsuri – one of Japan’s biggest festivals – held here during the summer. More information about Kyoto can be found on our website here.
Gion Matsuri is one of the biggest festivals in Japan and is held in Kyoto during the summer (Photo: Patrick Vierthaler / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Meanwhile in Nagoya, one of the city’s attractions is Ghibli Park, which opens in early 2022. Built on the grounds of the 2005 Aichi Memorial Park Expo, this park is not a park that focuses on thrilling rides or attractions – it’s more than that. a unique display designed to immerse visitors in all things Ghibli. Highlights of the park include a screening room for various Ghibli short films, the Childr City area (designed as a replica of the Higashi-Koganei Station area in Tokyo, where Studio Ghibli is located), and the Catbus Room, which recreates the world.
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The city is also praised for its whiskey production, particularly Suntory Chita Distillery. It is important to note that the distillery does not offer factory tours or direct product sales.
You can reach Kyoto from Tokyo via Nozomi Shinkan in just 2 hours. Nagoya is only 90 minutes from Tokyo on the same route. Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto retains its beauty and cultural significance, making it one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Places to visit in Kyoto include beautiful gardens, feudal castles, temples, and machiya (traditional wooden houses). It doesn’t matter where
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