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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Kyoto

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Things to see in Kyoto

Tourist Offices

Kyoto City Tourist Information

Address: Shimogyo-ku, 2/F, JR Kyoto Station Building, Karasuma, Kyoto, 600 8216
Telephone: +81 75 343 0548.
Opening times:

Daily 0830-1900.

Website: http://www.kyoto.travel

The Kansai Tourist Information Centre (known as Kyo-Navi) is jointly operated by the Kyoto prefecture and Kyoto City. It's located on the second floor of the Kyoto Station Building where multilingual staff are stationed to assist visitors with sightseeing and transport information, advice on accommodation, restaurants and hands-on cultural activities as well as the purchase of tickets for various tourist attractions. The office also provides free maps, city guides and shopping brochures.

Tourist passes

The Kansai Thru Pass (www.surutto.com) is a two- or three-day transport pass which allows you to ride on buses, trains and subways across the Kansai region which includes Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. The super ticket offers various rewards and discounts to key attractions.

The one-day Keihan Kyoto Sightseeing Pass (www.keihan.co.jp) can be used for unlimited train travel of Keihan lines within a designated area that covers many of the city's temple stops and tourist districts.

Attractions

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

This magnificent shrine is devoted to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and business, and is guarded by statues of foxes considered to be Inari's messengers at the base of Inari Mountain. A magical 4km trail lined by thousands of red-painted torii (shrine) gates winds along forested hills behind the central shrine while various smaller shrines can be found hidden up pathways away from the crowds.

Address: Fukakusa Fushimi-ku, 68 Yabunouchi-cho, Kyoto, 612 0882
Telephone: +81 75 641 7331
Opening times:

0700-1830.

Website: http://www.inari.jp
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

One of Japan's most beloved temples, majestic Kiyomizu-dera perches precariously on a steep hillside in eastern Kyoto and is known for its wooden ledge jutting out from a beautifully preserved main hall over sweeping city vistas. The temple was founded in 798 above the sacred waterfall of Otowa-no-taki, believed to bestow health and longevity.

Address: Higashiyama, 94 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Kyoto, 605 0862
Telephone: +81 75 551 1234
Opening times:

Daily 0600-1800.

Website: http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Gion

History comes alive in Gion, Kyoto's famous geisha district, defined by its narrow streets overhung with traditional wooden buildings. Along with an array of teahouses and Japanese restaurants, the area boasts plenty of performing arts venues such as Gion Corner, a theatre staging daily Kyo-mai dance performances, tea ceremonies, puppet plays and flower arranging.

Address: , Gion, Kyoto, 605 0078
Telephone:
Opening times: Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Nijo-jo Castle

Southwest of the Imperial Palace lies Nijo Castle, completed in 1626 under the reign of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Edo Shogunate. Its distinct layout consists of two concentric rings of impenetrable fortifications, while the ornate interiors boast beautiful decoration. Popular all year round, the castle's gardens are also a key site during cherry blossom season.

Address: Nakagyō-ku, 541 Nijojo-cho, Nijo-dori, Horikawa-nishi-iru, Kyoto, 604 8301
Telephone: +81 75 841 0096.
Opening times:

Daily 0845-1600.

Website: http://www.city.kyoto.jp/bunshi/nijojo
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Kinkakuji Temple

Located in northwest Kyoto, the iconic Zen Buddhist temple of Kinkakuji is known as the Golden Pavilion due to its gold-foil-covered exterior. The 14th-century original was burnt down in 1950 by a novice monk to be replaced five years later by a beautiful reconstruction set on a shimmering pond amid stunning gardens that draws in daily hordes of wide-eyed, camera-wielding visitors.

Address: Kita-ku, 1 Kinkakuji-chō, Kyoto, 603 8361
Telephone: +81 75 461 0013.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.shokoku-ji.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Nishiki Market

Nowhere better displays the diversity of Japanese cuisine than Kyoto's iconic four-century-old market the stretches along a narrow covered walkway parallel to the Shijo-dori shopping precinct. Its bustling stalls are crammed with a bewildering array of fresh seafood and pickled vegetables, tofu doughnuts and sticky mocha (rice cakes), that assault the senses and offer a tantalising insight into local life.

Address: Nakagyo-ku, Nishikikoji-dori (between Teramachi and Takakura), Kyoto, 604 8054
Telephone: +81 75 221 3882.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1730.

Website: http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Ryoanji Temple

The mysterious Zen garden at Ryoanji Temple in northwest Kyoto consists of raked white gravel scattered with 15 abstractly positioned rocks that leave many visitors perplexed as to their esoteric significance. A sense of calm and contemplation pervades its wooded grounds and pond whilst the viewing platform is a popular spot during the cherry blossom season.

Address: Ukyo-ku, 13 Ryoanji Goryonoshita-cho, Kyoto, 616 8001
Telephone: +81 75 463 2216.
Opening times:

Daily 0800-1700 (Mar-Nov); daily 0830-1630 (Dec-Feb).

Website: http://www.ryoanji.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Kyoto Imperial Palace

See how royalty lived at Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) which, until 1868, was the residence of the emperor of Japan. Set in the expansive Imperial Park, the complex preserves an ambience of regality with different architectural styles representing various eras. Visitors must pre-apply for access and tours of the grounds and should take identification.

Address: Kamigyo-ku, 3 Kyoto-gyoen, Kyoto, 602 0881
Telephone: +81 75 211 1215.
Opening times:

English-language tours operate twice daily Mon-Fri at 1000 and 1400.

Website: http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/kyoto.html
Admission Fees:

No (but entry only by application).

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Ginkakuji Temple

Built in the 1480s, Ginkakuji Temple – or the Silver Pavilion – is a masterpiece of minimalist elegance complete with manicured gardens and a reflective pond that create a vision of natural harmony. From the temple, it's a picturesque walk along the Philosopher's Path that hugs a cherry-tree-lined canal passing a number of shrines and temples to reach the neighbouring Nanzen-ji Temple.

Address: Sakyo-ku, 2 Ginkakuji-cho, Kyoto, 606 8402
Telephone: +81 75 771 5725
Opening times:

Daily 0830-1700 (0900-1630 Dec-Feb).

Website: http://www.shokoku-ji.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Maruyama–Koen Park

Located just behind Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama-Koen is a resplendent green oasis complete with gurgling streams, well-tended gardens and leafy pathways that meander between restaurants, souvenir shops and cafes. Come April, its serenity is broken by excitable hordes of tourists and locals who gather for spring-welcoming hanami - the viewing of the city's majestic cherry trees in bloom.

Address: Higashiyama-ku, 473 Maruyama-chō, Kyoto, 605 0071
Telephone: +81 75 222 3586.
Opening times:

Daily 24 hrs.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No