Some great places to visit in Kyoto Last March in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake, I
decided it would be prudent to leave the darkened streets and empty convenience stores of Tokyo to visit Kansai, the birthplace of Learn Japanese Pod. During that trip I stopped off in Kyoto to take pictures to use in our new iPad travel app. Due to my hectic schedule I managed to rush around to
most of the main points of interest in just one day. However, I would advise against this as it can lead to a combination of dehydration and Temple-itis, a condition that causes the sufferer to get sick of visiting temples, especially ones with expensive entrance fees. As Kyoto boasts over 1600 buddhist temples and 200 Shinto Shrines, it’s better to choose just a couple of places to take in slowly over the course of a day or afternoon. So here is a list of some of my favorite places to visit in
Kyoto which might possibly inspire you to plan a trip to Kyoto but at a more leisurely pace.
龍安寺 Ryoanji As there is so much to see in Kyoto it can get a little
overwhelming when planning an excursion. One tip is to choose a temple or Shrine that is close to other points of interest so you can explore the area on foot over a morning or afternoon. Ryoanji, located in north west Kyoto, is one such temple within walking distance from Ninnaji and Kinkaku-ji
which are both worth visiting. I started my route by walking North from Hanazono station, visiting Ninnaji, then Ryoanji and finally Kinkakuji. You could alternatively go from Ryoanji station. I love Ryoanji mostly for the beautiful 15th Century Zen
rock garden that is it famous for. I recommend going at quieter times during the low season or on week days to avoid the crowds. It’s a great place to take in the simple beauty of the rock gardens and have your Zen moment if you can between the “helpful” announcements on the loud speakers to visiting tourists.
哲学の道 Testugaku No Michi If you are looking for a relaxing stroll through Kyoto then
you should check out Testugaku No MIchi or The Philosopher’s Walk. Located in the north of Kyoto in the Higashiyama district, you can stroll along the river bewteen Ginkakuji and Nanzenji temples which could also be added to your itinerary. The path is about two kilometers long and follows a canal lined with cherry trees including cafes, shops and boutiques along the way. You might also run into a clowder of local cats who are professionals at hanging out on the path and getting passers-by to stroke them. All in all, it’s a very relaxing walk with some really nice places to have a cup of green tea and watch the world go by.
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