With its long history and rich culture, Kyoto is not only popular among foreign people, but is a place that the Japanese are also very proud of. As you can imagine, there are lots of things to see in Kyoto, so here in this article we are going to introduce some of our top tourist spots that we recommend you visit.
Out of all of the shrines and temples in Kyoto, one that we really recommend you visit is the Fushimiinari Shrine. Fushimiinari Shrine is the head shrine of the apparently 30,000 shrines dedicated to Inari-no-kami, the god of the harvest and of food. When visiting the main shrine, we also recommend taking the sando, or path to the shrine, known as the “Senbon Torii", or thousand gates. These torii gates donated by visitors to the shrine continue all the up to the peak of Mt. Inari behind the shrine. This magical yet photogenic sight feels as though you are traveling to another world. It takes approximately one hour to reach the peak of the mountain.
A straight green path with bamboo lining either side, the Chikurin-no-michi is one place we recommend people in the Arashiyama and Sagano area of Kyoto to visit. The bamboo groves expanding on either side of the path are a spectacular sight to see through the year. The way the light shines through the gaps in the green bamboo and the sound of the wind as it passes through the leaves with put you in such a relaxed mood that you might forget the time.
The area around Arashiyama is said to be where many aristocrats once lived. Since around 1,000 years ago, people have been peacefully enjoying walking through these bamboo groves. If you want to escape the bustle of everyday life, we recommend you come on a weekday or early in the morning.
2. Chikurin-no-michi - A vivid green and quiet path
With its high class tea stalls, restaurants and bars, Gion is one of Kyoto’s most famous downtown areas. While there isn’t a clear line defining where exactly Gion starts and finishes, it is often said that it extends from Shijo-dori from the Yasaka Shrine to the area of Hanamikoji-dori which intersects it. If you want to experience the atmosphere of Kyoto, we recommend taking a walk along Hanamikoji-dori or Ishiborikoji. If you’re lucky, you might have the chance to see a geigi or maiko (a geigi in training), but there are sometimes cases where they are not proper geigi or maiko, but tourists dressed up as them, but regardless of this, it is something you can really only see in Kyoto.
3. Gion - You might be able to meet one of the famous maiko?
With about 130 stores across its 400m length, Nishiki Market is said to be supporting the kitchens of Kyoto for 400 years. The roads are narrow, and it can be very difficult to pass by people when it is busy, but here you can find not just ingredients, but possible souvenirs, sweets and side dishes as well. You can also sample Kyoto’s famous gourmet dishes here as you walk around.
If you are a fan of Japanese manga, this is one place we recommend you visit. Here you can learn about the history of Japanese manga and how it is made. After seeing this, you will surely understand just how deeply manga has become part of Japanese culture and that it is not just something for children. In the building, there is a free reading space where you can enjoy approximately 50,000 manga titles which many people visit to relax.There are also manga translated into languages from all over the world, including English and Chinese.
Visited by a number of famous Hollywood stars when they came to Japan, the Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama is becoming one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist sites. Here you can watch up close the 120 or so Japanese macaques living as they live in the wild. From the huts in the resting areas you can feed the monkeys. The resting spot is about a 20 minute hike from the entrance of the park, but we highly recommend it.
While it is a quite far away from the center of the city, one place we wholeheartedly recommend is Amanohashidate. Chosen as one of Japanese top three scenic spots, it has been highly praised since the old times. This 3.6km long beach is lined with approximately 8,000 pine trees, and this unique landscape is said to look as though it is a bridge to the heavens, which is where the name Amanohashidate comes from. Here you can enjoy both delicious seafood as well as food of the land.
PaylessImages / 123RF
It is said that there are over 1,500 shrines and more than 3,000 temples in Kyoto. There is so much to see in Kyoto that no matter how many times you come and visit, it always feels fresh. Next time you have an opportunity to visit the city, be sure to pay a visit to some of the places we introduced here. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.