Haven’t Planned Your Kyoto Trip Yet? Here Are Top 10 Places One Simply Must Visit!

  • There are many tourist attractions in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. All the places are numerous and can be quite far from each other, so it might be difficult to arrange a good plan for a short-term Kyoto visit. In this article, we’d like to suggest 10 most attractive places in Kyoto. We assure you that these places are all worth visiting at least once in a lifetime. Hopefully, this article will help you arrange a trip to Kyoto city. Let’s go!

    1.Kiyomizudera Temple「清水寺」

    Kiyomizudera Temple is also called “Pure Water Temple”. This place was also nominated for “New7Wonders of the worlds”. The temple is located on the wooded hill near the waterfall called “Otawa”. The water from Otawa waterfall is divided into 3 streams, the tourists can use metal cups to drink some of that water. The water from each stream is believed to have different benefits from health to longevity to academic success. Moreover, in the main hall area of Kiyomizudera temple, there is a Jishu shrine which was built in order to worship Okuninushino Mikoto, the god of love. Inside the shrine, there are 2 famous “Stones of Love” lying 18 meters away from each other. It is believed that whoever walks from one stone to another with eyes closed will gain a fulfilling love life.

    2.Kinkakuji Temple「金閣寺」

    “Kinkakuji Temple” is also known as “Golden Temple”. The highlight of this temple is the golden pavilion. The entire exterior of the pavilion except the base is decorated with pure gold leaves. This is exactly what makes Kinkakuji temple outstanding and unique among any other temples. This pavilion is used for enshrining the relics of the Buddha. It is also composed of 3 architecture styles from 3 different eras. Kinkakuji Temple’s official name is “Rokuonji Temple 「鹿苑寺」”.

    3.Fushimi Inari Shrine「伏見稲荷大社」

    Fushimi Inari Shrine was built in the ninth century to worship foxes, which were believed to be the messengers of the god of harvest. The Japanese believe that Inari, the Shinto god of rice, is the god that provides them with food. There are a lot of fox statues inside the shrine. The symbol of this shrine is its Torii gates.

    4.Byodouin Monastery「平等院」

    Byodouin monastery is located in Uji city in southern Kyoto. It is about 30 minutes away from central Kyoto. Byodouin monastery is the temple that appears on 10 yen coins. It is famous for Phoenix hall, which consists of one central hall and two wing corridors. Inside the center hall, there are a seated statues of Amitabha, Buddhist sculpture, and other art collections from Heian period. Byodouin monastery has been recognized as a world heritage and as one of the most important historical monuments of Kyoto city.


    Arashiyama is located in western Kyoto. The highlight of Arashiyama is the bamboo grove. It is a great place for a walk or a bicycle ride, especially when there is light wind. These bamboos have also been used to manufacture many traditional products for years.

    6.Kyoto Tower

    Despite having been built in modern time, Kyoto Tower is also considered the cultural symbol of Kyoto. This 131-meter tall tower has many facilities, such as hotels, restaurants, public bath and souvenir shops, at its base. Kyoto tower is also a considerable place for sightseeing and having a rest.

    7.Ginkakuji Temple「銀閣寺」

    Ginkakuji Temple(Silver Pavilion) has an official name “Jishouji”. It was built by shogun Yoshimasa Ashikaga as a personal rest villa. Its exterior was supposed to be decorated with silver, to couple with Golden pavilion; however Yoshimasa had died before, and the decorations remained undone. The area outside the pavilion has unique Japanese architecture, including a stone garden, sand garden, moss garden, and a pond. These gardens are designed by the famous gardener Soami. The sand lying in front of the pavilion is believed to represent the mount Fuji.

    8.Nijou Castle「二条城」

    The uniqueness of Nijou Castle is that its whole building is made of wood. Nijou Castle was built in year 1569. It consists of rock forts which are arranged in a double ring with several Japanese-style gardens around. Inside, there is a decoration on the wall, which is made of gold. This shows the magnificent power of shogun in Edo period. The wooden corridors were made with no nails. This architecture style would make any invader who walk s through this corridor to make a sound of a nightingale bird. The southern part of the castle is Nijoujinya which, once, was a residence of the daimyo(Duchy) who came to visit shogun. Inside the Nijoujinya, there are many secret chambers and paths.

    9.Touji Temple「東寺」

    Touji Temple is famous as the tallest 5-storey wooden pagoda in Japan. This pagoda is the symbol of Kyoto city.

    10.Tenryuji Temple「天龍寺」

    Tenryuji temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Kyoto. It is also recognized as one of the 5 world heritage temples. Tenryuji is Zen temple, and it was the center of Rinzai. The gardens and trees are all influenced by Zen religion. Therefore, Tenryuji has a unique and beautiful architecture, concealing the feeling of Zen peace. This is one of the most popular places for tourism.

    Related articles:
    112 Things to Do in Kyoto, a City of Culture, Tradition, and Breathtaking Beauty, in 2018
    Kinkakuji and Kiyomizu–dera: The Magic of the Two Most Famous Temples in Kyoto