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Your First Stop! Kyoto Station to Shosei-en

The starting point is the Central Gate of JR Kyoto Station. Walk north for about 10 minutes along Higashinotoin Dori, and you'll come to the first destination, Shosei-en Garden. It is a beautiful garden that is a part of Higashi Honganji, though not on the same grounds, and is designated as a place of scenic beauty by the national government. It is laid out as a kaiyu-shiki teien (a type of garden that is designed for strolling around in and looking at the ponds and artificial hills) and is praised for its variegated scenery. This is a great place to enjoy seasonal beauty, such as plum and cherry blossoms in the spring, Japanese iris and water lily in the summer, and colorful foliage in the fall.

Entrance fee (donation to support maintenance): 500 JPY and up/adult, 250 JPY and up/high school age and younger

Duration (approx.): 1 hour

Your First Stop! Kyoto Station to Shosei-en

Karasuma-dori Shichijo-agaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Sanjusangendo (Rengeo-in) (approx. 15 minutes of walking + bus from Shosei-in )

Walk approximately 7 minutes south from Shosei-en to Shichijo-Kawaramachi Bus Stop. Take the 206 bus bound for Kitaoji Bus Terminal or the 208 bus for Kujo Shako-mae and get off at Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae.

This is one of Kyoto's major tourist destinations, with a Hondo (main temple building) designated as a national treasure and one of the longest wooden buildings in the world, reaching 120m from north to south with 33 intervals between the support columns. The temple has 1,032 statues of Buddha, including the seated 1,000-armed Kannon (Senju Kannon), which is a national treasure, as well as 1,001 life-size, standing 1,000-armed Kannon statues.

Entrance fee: 600 JPY/general, 400 JPY/high school and junior high school age

Duration (approx.): 1 hour

Sanjusangendo (Rengeo-in) (approx. 15 minutes of walking + bus from Shosei-in )

657 Sanjusangendo Mawari-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple (approx. 15 minutes of walking + bus from Sanjusangendo)

Take the 100 bus bound for Kyoto Station or the 206 bus for Kitaoji Bus Terminal from Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae Bus Stop and get off at Kiyomizu-michi Bus Stop, then around a 10-minute walk.

This temple is registered as a World Heritage Site. It is an ancient temple that was founded in 778, and has nearly 30 temple buildings. The Hondo, which is a national treasure, is known as Kiyomizu Stage, and is a unique structure that juts out above a cliff. Photographs of its exterior are well-known, but the view from the stage is also spectacular. The important cultural properties, such as Nio-mon gate and the three-story pagoda, and Otowa Waterfall (Otowa no Taki) of clear spring water are other unmissable features of the temple.

Entrance fee: 400 JPY/general, 200 JPY/elementary school and junior high school age

Duration (approx.): 2 hours

Kiyomizu-dera Temple (approx. 15 minutes of walking + bus from Sanjusangendo)

1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Enjoy the Famous Tofu Cuisine at Okabeya For Lunch

If you walk 5 minutes from the Nio-mon gate of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, the restaurant is on the left side.

It will be time for lunch once the visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple is over. At Okabeya, they serve authentic Kyoto cuisine, including yudofu (simmered tofu). The homemade tofu made of a mix of domestic soybeans, including beans from Hokkaido, is an outstanding product that combines richness and sweetness. Take one bite of a tofu dish and a pleasant bitterness and aroma of soybeans will fill your mouth.

Sample menu items
Yudofu Fuji (course): 2,160 JPY
Yuba Fuji (course): 2,160 JPY

Duration (approx.): 1 hour

Enjoy the Famous Tofu Cuisine at Okabeya For Lunch

2 Kiyomizu-dera Monzen Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Stroll Around Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka

Walk about 1 minute from Okabeya.

Both Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka are stone-paved streets that are always crowded with tourists. The hills and buildings that continue as if on top of each other retain the feel of Kyoto of the past. The streets are perfect for shopping, with both sides lined with souvenir shops in traditional buildings. There is a wide selection of items available, ranging from sweets, such as Yatsuhashi (filled, thin glutinous rice cake) and Ajari Mochi (baked dumpling filled with sweet bean paste), to crafts, such as coin purses and folding fans. There are also chic cafes decorated in Japanese-styles, including a Starbucks in a traditional Japanese house.

Duration (approx.): 1 hour

Stroll Around Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka

2 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Begin the Afternoon at Ishibe Koji and Kodai-ji Temple

Walk 4 minutes from Ninenzaka to Ishibe Koji.

Ishibe Koji is a narrow street to the west of the path to the north gate of Kodai-ji Temple (the Path of Nene). The stone pavement, stone walls, and the rows of establishments such as ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) with restaurants create an atmosphere typical of Kyoto. Walk about 3 minutes from this street to arrive at Kodai-ji Temple, a Zen temple that was founded in 1606. Its highlights include the dazzling architecture that are representative of the times, such as Kaizan-do and Otamaya. The elegant and delicate Kodai-ji Makie lacquer in Otamaya is particularly impressive.

Entrance fee (including Kodai-ji Sho Museum): 600 JPY/general, 250 JPY/high school and junior high school age

Duration (approx.): 1 hour

Begin the Afternoon at Ishibe Koji and Kodai-ji Temple

526 Shimokawara-cho, Kodaiji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine (10-minute walk from Kodai-ji Temple)

Walk approximately 10 minutes north from Kodai-ji Temple.

Maruyama Park is a massive, approximately 86,600 sq.m. park that has Higashiyama as the backdrop. It is characterized by the use of natural hills to mimic a kaiyu-shiki teien. It is a park with a great atmosphere with a ryotei (luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant), a tea house and more. Yasaka Shrine, an ancient shrine that is said to have been founded in 656, is next to the park. The Gion Festival is held here for the whole month of July every year, which is one of Japan's three major festivals and has a history of great support both from the Imperial Court and the general public. The highlight of this shrine is the Nishiro-mon gate that faces Shijo-dori. It is a majestic structure painted in vermilion and is said to be a symbol of Yasaka Shrine.

Duration (approx.): 1 hour

Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine (10-minute walk from Kodai-ji Temple)

625 Gion-machi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Enjoy Kaiseki (Multi-Course) Cuisine at BENGARA for Dinner

Walk west for about 7 minutes from Yasaka Shrine.

The Gion area, which is one of Kyoto's foremost entertainment districts, is recommended for dinner. BENGARA is a restaurant where you can enjoy kaiseki (multi-course) cuisine. The courses here consist of outstanding dishes made with seasonal ingredients that are all procured that day. There are also Japanese dishes such as tempura and fresh fugu (blowfish). There is also the option of having a maiko (an apprentice geisha) come to the room for some light entertainment.

Foreign language menu: English

Sample menu options
Omakase Kaiseki "Kyo": 5,000 JPY (incl. tax)
Tempura Kaiseki "Yamabuki": 6,000 JPY (incl. tax)
Seasonal Kyo-Kaiseki with Maiko Entertainment: 10,000 JPY and up (incl. tax)
*Early reservation recommended

Duration (approx.): 2 hours

Enjoy Kaiseki (Multi-Course) Cuisine at BENGARA for Dinner

107 Yasaka-Shinchi Tominaga-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Stroll Around the Gion Area after Dinner

After dinner, stroll around Gion and enjoy some shopping. We recommend Hanamikoji-dori, a stone-paved street lined with established teahouses and restaurants with an atmosphere full of nostalgia befitting of Kyoto. This is a street that is around 1km in length, from Sanjo-dori to Keninji Temple, crossing Shijo-dori.

Duration: 1 hour and up

To go back, catch the train at Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line. Get off at Karasuma Station and walk to Shijo Station on the municipal subway line and take the train from the platform 1 to Kyoto Station. The whole journey takes about 15 minutes.

Stroll Around the Gion Area after Dinner

East of Ichiriki-tei, Gion Shijo-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

If you are planning to go to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, refer to this article to make your plans.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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