Summary of contents of this post
I’m convinced that when you’ve started to organize your stay in Kyoto you’ve found yourself a bit lost at first sight about which are the most important places, where are they, how far away are they from each other, what to see in each neighborhood… So in this post we’re going to share with you our map with all the essential places in Kyoto in which you’ll be able to get an idea at a glance of which are the most important points of interest in the city.
COMPLETE GUIDE TO KYOTO
If you want more information about our trip to Japan you can find it here: complete guide of Japan, what to see in Kyoto in 3 days, where to eat in Kyoto, how to move around Kyoto, map of Japan, preparations of a trip to Japan, how to find cheap flights to Japan, how to pack, tips to travel to Japan from Spain, visa for Japan, plugs in Japan…
Get the best travel insurance for Japan
🎬 Subscribe to our Youtube channel here: http://bit.ly/SuscríbeteAComiviajeros 🎬
These are our essentials in Kyoto
Before you start planning your days in Kyoto, it is best to take a look at our Kyoto must-haves to decide which areas you are most interested in and which you will eventually sacrifice if you don’t have time for everything.
Analyzing Kyoto from north to south, these would be the essential places and areas, which you will be able to distinguish on this map:
1. Fushimi Inari, the largest of the essentials in Kyoto
Of course, one of our main attractions in Kyoto is the Fushimi Inari shrine.
Must see in Kyoto: Fushimi Inari
This marvelous enclosure rests on the sacred Mount Inari and best of all: touring it is free.
Visiting this sanctuary is like entering another world. A world full of vermilion toriis that accompany the path to the top of Mount Inari.
✅ The best way to get money or pay abroad are the travel cards 💳 your best allies to save as much as possible on your trips. Here we review the most important ones, we tell you their advantages and disadvantages and we offer you all the discounts and offers we have obtained for you 😉. For example, if you order your Bnext card through our link and you top up 25 euros, you get another 5. The N26 card, on the other hand, is the best option for paying without commissions when you travel.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most special places in Kyoto. You can find out more about how to visit it in our super guide to Kyoto.
2. The path of the philosopher, one of the great imperatives in Kyoto
The Philosopher’s Path is a beautiful walk surrounded by nature that runs along a small canal from Ginkaku-ji Temple, the northernmost temple in eastern Kyoto, and Eikan-do Temple.
Essential in Kyoto: The Philosopher’s Way
Anything I tell you will fall short of describing the beauty of this walk. Plus, along the way you’ll find some of Kyoto’s most beautiful temples.
The path owes its name to the philosopher Nishida Kitaro, one of its most famous walkers who, it seems, got lost while walking it abstracted in his thoughts.
3. Kiyomizu Dera Temple and its surroundings: Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets
Now let’s talk about two super cool traditional shopping streets that lead you to Kyoto’s most famous temple and that you can’t miss for anything in the world: Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka.
Without a doubt, for us this is one of the most charming areas of Kyoto. Walk them up and down and get lost in them, because it’s really worth it.
Must see in Kyoto: Sannenzaka Street
The Kiyomizu Dera temple impressed us, perhaps because we experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets of the whole trip there. Simply magical.
Essential in Kyoto: Kiyomizu Dera
The views from above are impressive although we are the main pavilion under construction.
Even though it was one of the temples where we found more people, it was a wonderful experience to visit it at sunset and it seems like the ideal moment to make the visit.
4. Neighborhood of Gion
The Gion neighborhood is the geisha neighborhood of Kyoto and is really beautiful.
What to see in Kyoto: Gion
The Gion area, besides being a perfect place to walk at night and try to find a maiko during the walk, is a great place to have lunch or dinner and soak up a great atmosphere.
5. Ginkaku-ji Temple or Silver Pavilion
The Ginkaku-ji is one of the most important temples in the eastern part of the city and is undoubtedly one of our favorites in Kyoto.
Essential in Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji
As with most of the temples we visited in Kyoto, what we liked best about the silver pavilion enclosure was its exquisite relationship with nature, which is a perfect part of the enclosure.
6. Eikan-do Temple
The Eikan-do is impressive not only in terms of its natural beauty, but also in terms of the various buildings that make up the religious complex.
Essential in Kyoto: Eikan-do
The Eikan-do is well worth a visit for its pagoda and wooden pavilions that help introduce you to another era in Japan’s history. Just beautiful, really.
7. Nanzen-ji Temple
The gateway to this temple is really imposing (you can climb up for 500 JPY), but it may not be what most caught the Nanzen-ji’s eye.
Essential in Kyoto: Nanzen-ji
What we liked best about this temple is that there is a super curious red brick aqueduct.
Essential in Kyoto: Nanzen-ji
8. Kinkaku-ji Temple or Golden Pavilion
We were not sure whether to include the Golden Pavilion in our list, but finally we thought it had to be there, even if it was not the temple we liked best in Kyoto.
The famous Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion is one of the most renowned places in Kyoto and perhaps in all of Japan.
Essential in Kyoto: Kinkaku-ji
Despite the number of people you’ll meet here, going to Kinkaku-ji is worth it.
The Golden Pavilion is impressive (not so much the pavilion itself, but the contrast of the pavilion with the landscape), and the gardens surrounding it are among the best in Kyoto.
✅ One of the most important things to consider when preparing a trip is insurance. Never travel without insurance! Why don’t you save up all year so that your vacation will be twisted by an unforeseen event. And so that in addition to traveling safely, you save, we have for you this 5% discount on your insurance with IATI, the insurance company we trust for all our trips.
9. Ryoan-ji Temple
The Ryoan-ji dry garden is undoubtedly one of the most famous in Kyoto and Japan.
It is formed by 15 rocks placed in groups with moss at the base and the curious thing is that wherever you look at it you will never see them all at once. There’s always one hidden behind another.
Must see in Kyoto: Ryoan-ji Temple
You’ll probably miss a spot on this list. And yes, we haven’t included the Arashiyama bamboo forest because the reality is that we don’t think it’s a Kyoto necessity.
There are millions of places and more interesting temples to spend your time in Kyoto. Especially if it’s limited.
Get the best travel insurance for Japan
You want to organize a trip to Japan like this?
Find cheap flights to Japan here.
The best accommodations in Japan here.
Get 25 euros for your apartment with Airbnb here.
Book your Japan Rail Pass here.
The best excursions and tours in Japan here.
What are the best travel cards?
Change money at the best price here.
Take out your travel insurance with a 5% discount here.
The best guides of Japan here.
Other content that you are probably interested in:
If this post about must-haves in Kyoto hasn’t told you much, you should know that we have a group about trips to Japan on Facebook in which travelers from all over the world participate with their questions and answers related to their trips to this wonderful country. So if you have any questions that we haven’t answered in this post, feel free to stop by and ask your questions – we’ll be happy to help!
If you liked this post about must-haves in Kyoto, which is part of our complete guide to Japan, don’t forget to follow us on our social network profiles, where we tell you everything live: