Japan has a reputation for being one of the most expensive countries to visit. And on top of this Kyoto especially is well known for being over-priced with many shrines and temples requiring you to pay an entrance fee to enjoy the city. This can be challenging for backpack travelers or for visitors interested in seeing as much as possible in Japan while maintaining a tight budget. So here are 5 of the best places in Kyoto that you can enjoy for free!
If you want to feel old Japan then Gion District should definitely be on your list. You will be stunned with the traditional architecture, shrines and temples, the beautiful landscape and all those souvenir shops. Gion is also home to geisha (traditional Japanese female entertainers) and you will get a chance to watch many people in beautiful yukata or kimono depending on the season.
The Gion festival is one of the most famous festivals in Japan and goes for the entire month of July and the main event takes place in “Yasaka Shrine” one of the biggest shrines in the Gion district .
Located 5-minute train ride away from Kyoto station, Fushimi Inari Shrine is definitely a favorite among tourists and locals in Kyoto and Japan. The shrine is built on the Inari mountain and spans for about 4 kilometers (approximately 2 hours walking) and is well-known for its thousands of beautiful vermilion gates (torii) and “fox” (kitsune) souvenirs. There are many small shops nearby that serve “kitsune udon” and “kitsune ramen”.
The shrine’s busiest time is around New Year’s Day when many Japanese business owners visit the shrine to pray for profit, good fortune, and success for their business and financial lives in the coming year.
A pleasant spot for tourists especially during the cherry blossom and fall seasons. The area is full of attractions such as the famous bamboo forest, Togetsukyo bridge, and the monkey park Iwatayama. You can also consider renting a boat and enjoying the scenery from the Katsura river.
Located at Arashiyama but this time, we are not talking about Arashiyama’s bamboo forest but Arashiyama station’s Kimono forest. Consisting of approximately 600 poles of Yūzen (paste resistant method of dyeing) prints. Each pattern was carefully selected by the Japanese designer “Yasumichi Morita” .
It’s recommended to visit the place from dusk until night time to enjoy the patterns illuminated in the LED poles while walking to the dragon pond at the end of the kimono forest.
Japan pioneered the world when it comes to trains and subway stations. But there is another reason why Kyoto station is one of the most popular spots for tourists. You will find restaurants, cafes, gift shops, matcha, beauty stores and practically anything you’re looking for. There is also a Lego model for the station inside and a beautiful terrace which has a clear view of the famous Kyoto tower.
Kyoto station is the one of the few modern buildings in Kyoto and it is said that other buildings are not permitted to follow the station’s bizarre style. It’s recommended to visit at night so you can enjoy the beautiful lighting of the station and Kyoto tower.
Have you visited any of these spots? Do you know other places that don’t require admission fees around the Kyoto area and are worth visiting? If so, please comment below and share your experiences! Kyoto is such a magical city with so much to see and do.