We stayed in Kyoto for seven days and visited so many places that we decided to split our itinerary in two posts. Click here to read the first part of our itinerary.
The meaning of Ginkaku-ji is Temple of the Silver Pavilion as it was initially planned to cover the exterior in silver foil. Ginkaku-ji is seen as the counter part of Kinkaku-ji: a temple which is covered in gold (see below). The temple is surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden. The temple grounds are not that big and there’s a one-way path through the garden which you have to follow which ends in a souvenir shop. For the Pokémon fans among us: Ginkaku-ji is probably also one of the real-life temples on which the Bell Tower in Ecruteak City (Johto) is based.
Regular admission: JPY 500
Daily: 8:30-17.00 (summer) and 9:00-16:30 (winter)
Mt. Daimonji-yama hike
Next to the Ginkaku-ji temple is the start of the Mt. Daimonji-yama hiking trail. The hike is a 1.5 km round-trip and is not hard, although it can be a bit steep and slippery sometimes. The view over the city is amazing! On clear days you can even see Osaka. The hike is popular with locals and you’ll probably be greeted a few times along the trail.
The Philosopher’s Walk starts (or ends) near Ginkaku-ji. It’s a pedestrian path along a canal and is aligned with cherry blossom trees. The path is especially beautiful during cherry blossom season. During winter the branches are completely empty and the walk is not that special actually. Any other season would be better to visit the walk, because when the cherry blossoms are blooming, the path is absolutely stunning.
The Okazaki Shrine is a shrine where the rabbit is worshipped. The grounds of the shrine aren’t that big, but the shrine is beautiful. You can buy small rabbit figurines and place them in the temple. There are not as many rabbit figurines as there are cat figurines in Gotokuji in Tokyo, but it’s still pretty cool. It’s a nice place to visit when you are around and not only want to visit the well-known temples and shrines.
There’s no admission fee.
Kinkaku-ji is one of the most well-known and popular temples in Kyoto and is therefore always crowded. Kinkaku-ji literally means Temple of the Golden Pavilion as the temple is fully covered in gold. The temple was burnt down in 1950 and rebuilt in 1955. Just like its counterpart Ginkaku-ji (see above), Kinkaku-ji is surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden. This beautiful temple is absolutely worth a visit!
General admission: JPY 400
Yasaka Shrine is located at the end of the main shopping street Shijo-Dori and is a very popular shrine. The grounds of the shrine are pretty big and the buildings on it are definitely worth visiting. You will probably walk by this place anyway!
There’s no admission fee and it’s open 24/7.
On our last day we decided to visit the Railway Museum. The Museum is huge and filled with all kinds of Japanese trains. You can even look inside some of the trains and pretend to be the driver! It was lots of fun to see all these trains and it’s the perfect activity if you’re visiting Kyoto with little kids (which we weren’t). And if you’re a train enthusiast, it’s cool to see all the Japanese-made trains such as the first bullet train, the 0 Series Shinkansen.
JPY 1200 (adult)
JPY 1000 (university students – old university cards of foreign universities work, don’t ask why we know this)
Check this website for current ticket prices.
Daily: 10:00-17:30 (closed on Wednesdays)
Getting around in Kyoto by public transport is pretty easy. There often is a train station nearby all the well-known tourist attractions. Depending on where you’re staying or coming from you might need to switch lines or ways of transport. Just as in Tokyo, there are different railway operators, but there are not as many different operators as in Tokyo so the struggle in Kyoto is way less. We didn’t take the bus in Kyoto, but we heard it’s pretty convenient.
Have you been to Kyoto? Let us know in the comments below!
Planning your stay in Kyoto? Click here to get a 10% cashback reward on Booking.com!
Be sure to check out more of our visual experiences on Instagram!