Dedicated to the gods of sake and rice, the Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. Five shrines dot the forested temple grounds, and the arched red lines of torii gates straddling the pathway leading up to Inari Mountain are a truly iconic sight. You’ll also see plenty of stone foxes at this temple, another symbol of Shinto.
A lovely place for a stroll in rural surrounds, there are fine views of Kyoto from the top of the torii gate pathway up the mountain. Stop off for a sustaining bowl of tofu soup at the small restaurants along the way.
The Golden Pavilion, or Kinkaku-ji, is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto, and a major highlight of any visit to the city. The three-story pagoda gleams with gold leaf, though it is a 1955 replica of the original 1397 temple, which was destroyed by fire in 1950.
The beautiful temple hovers over a lake, surrounded by twisted pines and forests. The image of its reflection captured in the mirror-like water is a Kyoto symbol, and a must-have photo opportunity. The classic stone and water gardens are another highlight for a stroll.
The Kiyomizu Temple is an ancient institution, dating back to 798 AD and the days of Nara, which has inspired temple architecture for centuries. This Kyoto landmark provides fabulous views over the city and is surrounded by gardens and shrines.
Climb the steeply inclining steps leading up to the temple where You’ll find pavilion teahouses and restaurants in the grounds and the main hall jutting out over the hillside.
Host to Japan’s most famous festival, Gion Matsuri, Yasaka Shrine is located in the heart of Kyoto. Yasaka Shrine dates back to the 7th century, when it was known as Gion Shrine for its location near the Gion district, famous for the geisha that live and work there. The shrine consists of several buildings. The main hall houses an inner sanctuary and a secondary hall. One of the most prominent features of the shrine is a large stage out front lined with hundreds of lanterns. One of the most popular times to visit the shrine is in the evening or at night, when the lanterns light the stage. The annual Gion Matsuri festival began more than 1,100 years ago at Yasaka Shrine. In modern times, it takes place every July. Originally, the festival sought to expunge the city of illnesses. Today, the festival celebrates craftwork. Intricate fabrics, textiles, and sculptures adorn floats that men carry through town. Music, costumes, and street food contribute to the festive atmosphere.
Often mistaken for the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, Sagano expands north of the Togetsukyo Bridge in Kyoto. The tranquil area encompasses some of Kyoto’s most stunning landscapes. With rural residential areas, mountains dotting the horizon, fields ablaze with color and a famous bamboo forest, Sagano may just be one of Japan’s prettiest (and lesser known) spots.By far, Sagano is best known for its bamboo groves. Walking trails wind through the forest, with thin, tall bamboos lining either side. Sun light filters through the narrow trunks, casting shadows along the path. Beyond the grove, one of the best ways to experience Sagano is on bicycle. In addition to the bamboo groves, there are numerous temples to explore, as well as the river and the well-traveled bridge. This idyllic nook on the outskirts of Kyoto should not be missed.
Nijō Castle was built in 1603 as the official residence of the first Tokugawa shogun. With its moats, walls, secret passageways and hidden chambers, the heavily fortified castle stands as a defiant symbol of the shogun's power.
Entered through an elaborate main gate, the castle complex includes two palaces, Ninomaru and Honmaru.
A visit to Ninomaru Palace reveals spectacular artworks, including painted screens and intricate gold leaf ceilings. Known as 'nightingale' floors, the squeaking floorboards were designed to alert the shogun’s bodyguards to the presence of intruders.
Van sushi tot keukenmessen, op de markt van Nishiki vindt u alles wat met eten te maken heeft. De overdekte markt is een paradijs voor de fijnproever en biedt een inkijkje in de winkel- en eetgewoonten van inwoners, koks en families in Kyoto. Koop ingrediënten om zelf in uw onderkomen een maaltijd te maken, of kies uit talloze kant-en-klare gerechten, zoetwaren en drankjes. Hier kunt u prima een unieke souvenir uit Kyoto meenemen, van authentiek kookgerei tot groene thee of foto’s van deze kleurrijke markt.
De koninklijke familie van Japan woont niet meer in het Keizerlijk Paleis van Kyoto, maar het koninklijke meubilair is bewaard gebleven. Het enorme park om het paleis is een van de meest geliefde openbare parken van Kyoto.
Het paleis staat leeg sinds 1868, toen de keizer verhuisde naar het Keizerlijk Paleis in Tokio. U dient vooraf een rondleiding door het paleis te boeken onder leiding van het Agentschap van de Keizerlijke Huishouding. Bij die rondleiding krijgt u de ceremoniële zalen, de keizerlijke bibliotheek, de kamers van de keizerin en de troonzaal te zien. De prachtige omgeving staat vol met bomen en grasvelden, vijvers met karpers en kersenbomen. Neem iets mee voor een picknick en blijf de hele dag.
Built in 1164, Sanjusangendo Temple impresses in scope, size, and detail, with 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, flanking the main image of a giant, seated Kannon. Carved in the 12th and 13th centuries, the statues are arranged in 50 columns, each two rows deep. It's said that the Kannon witness and protect against human suffering. To aid in their mission, the Kannon are equipped with 11 heads and 1,000 arms.
"Sanjusangendo" translates to hall with thirty three spaces between the columns," describing a traditional measurement system. The wooden temple building extends 118 meters (387 feet), making it the longest of its kind in the world. Originally built for former emperor Go-Shirakawa, the Temple today remains a religious destination and popular tourist stop. It represents some of the most exquisite Japanese Buddhist sculpture and architecture in the country.
Ranked number one of Kyoto's five great temples, Tenryu-ji celebrates a history dating back to 1339 and stands in dedication and memory to an ancient emperor. Many of the temple buildings have been destroyed over the centuries, but the temple's landscape garden remains much the same today as it did in the 14th century.
The garden boasts a clever and unique design that marries imperial taste with zen aesthetics. Lush foliage lines a shimmering pond, and as visitors walk from one end of the pond to the other, it appears as though the seasons change in front of their eyes. Intricate stonework on one hill represents a mountain stream cascading into the pond, while in another area stones appear to be carp fish. Visitors seek out the garden to be transported to another time.
Few places on earth are more breathtakingly beautiful than Fall in Tofucku-ji Temple. During cool autumn months travelers and locals make the journey to this Zen temple in southeastern Kyoto that’s known for its incredible colors and brilliant Japanese maples. Visitors climb to the top of Tsutenkyo Bridge, which stretches across a colorful valley full of lush fall foliage in fiery reds and shocking oranges.
Visitors who make their way to Tofuku-ji other times of year can still wander beautiful temple grounds and explore places like the Hojo, where the head priest used to reside. Well-kept rock gardens provide the perfect spot for quiet contemplation and a stone path near the Kaisando is lined with brightly colored flowers and fresh greenery that’s almost as beautiful as the Japanese maples this temple is famous for.
Just because it is a museum does not mean that the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum is not functional. This operational sake brewery introduces visitors to the history and technical components of sake brewing. Located in the heart of an old sake brewing district, many of the buildings and breweries have been standing since the Edo era. Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum itself was founded in 1637, making it one of the region’s oldest breweries.
The charm of this Museum is its attention to detail. The brewery is in an old-fashioned, traditional sake house. Japanese songs about sake and sake brewing play throughout the museum. One of the main displays features over 6,000 brewing tools, considered by many to be cultural relics. Of course, the highlight of the tour is the sake tasting itself, where some of the area’s best is on display.
Built at the end of the 9th century in the year 888 and founded by the reigning Emperor of the time, Ninna-ji Temple maintained a centuries long reign as a royal place of worship. Members of the Imperial Family served as the temple’s head priest, bringing prestige that lasts to this day. To further elevate its status, the temple was originally named Monseki-jiin and served as a residence for a member of the Imperial Family who had entered priesthood.
Today, Ninna-ji is the center of the Omuro sect of Shingon Buddhism and houses buildings from the former Imperial Palace in Kyoto. Among the relocated historical treasures is a five-storied pagoda and Reiho-kan, a structure that houses cultural treasures such as sculptures, paintings, and the seated figure of Amida-Nyorai Buddha, the deity of Paradise. Encompassing the temple buildings is an orchard of dwarf cherry trees, making Ninna-ji one of the most popular spots to see the cherry blossoms in Spring.
One of Japan’s heralded philosophers is said to have meditated daily as he walked on a stone route alongside a canal on his commute to Kyoto University. The scenic path, shaded by hundreds of cherry trees, quickly became known as The Philosopher’s Path (or The Path of Philosophy), and today hundreds of people traverse the two-kilometer trail every day searching for peace, insight, and a clear mind. Small temples and shrines peek out from the cherry trees, beckoning to thinkers and walkers in search of religious observance.
Originating near Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion temple, the trail extends to the Kyoto neighborhood of Nanzenji. Near the end of the trail, a large aqueduct greets visitors, a popular spot to stop and take photos. Restaurants and cafes dot the trail. In the Spring, The Philosopher’s Path is one of the best places in all of Kyoto to enjoy the vibrant cherry blossoms in bloom.
For handmade goods by local craftsmen in Kyoto, nothing beats the Kyoto Handicraft Center. This three-floor building is jam-packed with handicrafts, as the name implies, and souvenirs. The local cooperative showcases the best work from local artisans and encourages visitors to try their own hand at making a souvenir to take home. Visitors are also invited to step into observation studios where they can watch local artisans at work.
The Kyoto Handicraft Center focuses on traditional Japanese goods. These include pottery, kimonos, jewelry, dolls, carvings, decorative fans, and more. It may be the best place in all of Kyoto to find handicraft goods of all varieties in one place.
The Horino Memorial Museum is about more than tasting sake. This traditional sake-brewing house in Kyoto honors the legacy of Machiya culture, a style of wooden townhouse best exemplified in Kyoto. The house formerly belonged to the Horino family, founders of the craft beer company Kinshi Masamune, but has since been converted into a museum that is open to visitors interested in learning about the history of Japanese architecture and sake brewing.
Visiting the Horino Memorial Museum provides a unique look into the art of brewing sake. The museum has an exhibit on sake brewing tools, and travelers are invited to taste three different kinds of Japanese sake, all made with water from a well on the premises. The well-water is still used today to make beer. and visitors get the chance to make their own label for a bottle of sake to take as a souvenir.
Als u een dagtocht wilt maken vanuit Kyoto of Osaka ga dan naar Himeji. Het beroemde witte kasteel met meerdere lagen bij Himeji wordt wel gezien als de mooiste en meest complete historische citadel van Japan. Het kasteel op de heuvel, dat ook wel Witte Reiger wordt genoemd, werd gebouwd in 1580. Hoogtepunt is de centrale toren van vijf verdiepingen en de omliggende grachten, muren en pagodes. Door de ligging lijkt het kasteel op de zee van Japanse dennenbomen eronder te drijven.
Met een georganiseerde rondleiding ontdekt u de geschiedenis en details van het kasteel, zoals de vele openingen in de verdedigingsmuren die gebruikt werden om kokende olie op indringers te gooien. Het terrein van het kasteel is gevuld met de vijvers en theehuisjes van de tuin van Koko-en, een ideale plek voor een wandeling en lunchpauze.
Kasteel Himeji onderging onlangs een volledige renovatie en heropende in maart 2015 voor het publiek.
The ancient pilgrimage to the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano spans as far back as 1,000 years ago and still continues today. The pilgrimage routes that crisscross Kii, Japan’s largest peninsula have become known as the Kumano Kodo. Pilgrims and tourists, alike, take on the route to reach Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha. Throughout history, retired emperors, high-ranking officials, and other determined pilgrims have completed the pilgrimage.
Today, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The route spans through the Kii mountain range, making for an arduous journey. Though challenging, the paths wind through verdant forests and pass by and over cascading waterfalls and streams. In addition to providing a path between the shrines, the Kumano Kodo links Kyoto to the mountainous Kii region.