With so much culture and history, Kyoto is a city that can’t be missed when travelling to Japan, even if you only have two days to spare! There’s so much to see and do in this beautiful city, so I’ve put together a list of some must-see sights to see in Kyoto below.
One of Japan’s most iconic shrines, Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine is perhaps the most important shrine in Kyoto. Known for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, there are a number of hiking trails that lead into the sacred Mount Inari. Whilst the hike to the summit and back takes 2 – 3 hours, the Yotsutsuji intersection is about half way up the mountain and offers some beautiful views of Kyoto.
Kinkaku-ji Temple (The Golden Pavilion)
One of the more famous temples throughout Japan, Kinkaku-ji Temple, otherwise known as the Golden Pavilion, is not to be missed. The top two floors of the temple are completely covered in gold leaf, which you can admire as you walk around the beautiful gardens surrounding the temple.
Arashiyama is such a beautiful district to take a walk around, made even more stunning during the cherry blossom season. Be sure to walk across the historic Togetsukyo Bridge and take in the scenic views. Tenryu-ji Temple is also located in this district. Stop by before walking on to the famous bamboo grove (below).
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Located close to Tenryu-ji Temple, walking through the soaring bamboo grove is magical. Get here early to try and avoid the crowds. Be sure to walk right through to the end for more photo opportunities where the bamboo gets more dense and the crowds start to thin out.
Take an evening walk through the heart of Kyoto into the Gion district, an area filled with shops, restaurants and teahouses. It’s also Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. There is so much to explore in Gion and lots of traditional architecture to see. Keep walking until you get to the Yasaka Shrine and the park surrounding it. This is a great spot to see cherry blossoms and pick up some food from the stalls just after the Shinto Shrine.
Built in 1603 as the residence of the first shogun of the Edo Period, this samurai castle features the beautiful Ninomaru Palace as well as traditional Japanese landscape gardens. The entire castle grounds are surrounded by stone walls and moats.
Located on top of a hill that overlooks Kyoto, this historic temple is best known for its wooden stage, which juts out 13 metres above the below hillside. This provides some amazing views of Kyoto and the beautiful cherry blossom trees in the spring.