5 Scenic Spots in Kyoto
In the former capital of Kyoto, there are many temples as well as famous and historical places. This time around however, we will introduce 5 recommended scenic spots with particularly beautiful scenery.
Amanohashidate is in the northern part of Kyoto, located in the Sea of Japan’s Miyazu bay. It is a stretch of sandbank approximately 3.6km long and 20 - 170m wide. Together with Matsushima in Miyagi prefecture and Itsukushima in Hiroshima prefecture, it is one of the Three Views of Japan; which are specially designated places of scenic beauty within Japan. The whole of Amanohashidate has an unusual terrain with roughly 8,000 pine trees of various sizes growing abundantly along it. The shape of it gives the impression of a bridge that spans across heaven, hence the name of Amanohashidate (bridge in heaven). Every year, many tourists visit to see this mysterious area that took many thousands of years to produce naturally. One of Amanohashidate’s appeals is that you can enjoy its scenery from several different viewpoints. In particular, we recommend viewing from the south side via Amanohashidate View Land which is located on the summit of Mt. Monju. The view known as Hiryukan gives the appearance of a dragon flying into the heavens. In the summer you can swim in the beaches so it’s definitely a recommended spot from this season onwards.
In Miyama-cho, Nantan-shi, Kyoto, there is a unique display of culture and architecture. Exemplary of that culture is the mountain village community, Kayabuki no Sato Kitamura in Miyama-cho’s Chii district. Among the 50 houses in this district, 38 of them have kayabuki roofs (thatched roofs) that are characteristic for their high ceilings called “irimoya-zukuri” which have ornamental rafters on both ends and resemble Shinto shrines. You’ll be amazed to find that the oldest of these buildings was constructed in 1796. This area is surrounded by mountains on three sides with the clean Yura river flowing alongside it in perfect harmony and depicts the kind of rural scenery you would see in ancient times. In 1993, it was selected as one of the country’s conservation districts of traditional buildings. The rustic and beautiful scenery just the same as it was long ago allows us to forget the flow of time. Why not have a look at an original Japanese landscape?
Extending across the grounds of the World Heritage Shimogamo Shrine is the remainder of the forest that was situated in the southern part of Kyoto around the 7th - 8th century; the only one that can boast an expanse of approximately 12.4 hectares. On the premises, there are about 600 trees like Japanese hackberry, Zelkova and Oriental Elms ranging from 200 to 600 years old as well as about 4,700 trees with a diameter of over 10cm growing en masse. 4 streams flow inside the forest and when it’s early summer, you can see the fireflies fluttering about. Tadasu no Mori has been known since ancient times as a place where you can enjoy the scenery and many poems from the Heian Period (794 - 1185) were composed about it. In addition, there are still many works left over from the famous 17th century artist Ogata Korin which features designs of the Mitarashi River that flows in Tadasu no Mori as well as the plum blossoms that bloomed in that area. Once you’re surrounded by the tranquil forest air, you will also understand why this land has never ceased to fascinate human beings.
3. Tadasu no Mori
Kyoto Ohara Sanzenin is located in Ohara, approximately 1 hour’s bus ride from within Kyoto city. It originated as a small temple that was built at Mt. Hiei 1,200 years ago and after moving repeatedly ended up in its current location in 1871. A statue of Amida Buddha “Amidasan Zonzou”, one of the country’s national treasures has been enshrined at the Ojo Gokuraku-in Hall in Ohara since the 12th century. In addition to that, there are many highlights like the Shinden and Kyakuden buildings, Fudo Myoo and a number of important cultural assets, including the Jikaku Daishi Den. After all is said and done however, we recommend the two gardens Shuhekien and Yuseien. This beautiful garden which author Yasushi Inoue described as the “Jewel Box of the Orient” is lovely in every season and delight the tourists who visit it. Be sure to burn the image of this breathtaking scenery into your memory.
In Ine town which is located in the eastern end of Kyoto Prefecture’s Tango Peninsula, about 5km in the area of Ine Bay, there are private houses called “funaya” which appear to protrude out into the sea. There are about 230 of these funaya, and since they are very rare nationwide, the area has been designated as a conservation district of traditional buildings. The first floor of a funaya is a garage for boats so the boats can go directly out to sea. There are many walking paths inside Ine town so we recommend taking a leisurely stroll while gazing at the funaya lined up along the beautiful sea. Also, in the town there are many highlights like traditional wine cellars and restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood cuisine just brought in from Ine Bay! With a nostalgic feel even if it’s your first time visiting, you must go to see the kind of scenery that will touch your heart.
What did you think? If you grow tired of the sightseeing areas in Kyoto that are always overflowing with people, why not go out of your way a little to see beautiful scenery overflowing with nature? You will definitely refresh your body and mind.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.