If you want to see what I did in Kyoto you can here, how I recommend you get to Kyoto, what I bring on all my trips, how to get to the bamboo forest, or to simply watch a 1 minute video of all of these places click that link!
To see a video of the Top 10 of what to do in Kyoto click here or a video on the Best Way to Spend $40 in Kyoto click here.
2. Bamboo Forest (Arashiyama)
Another of the most popular things to do in Kyoto is the Bamboo Forest. I'm not going to lie, the pictures are pretty cool online, it's similar to the one I have above. That was not my experience while I was there. It was extremely crowded and not at all as peaceful as they made it out to be. This is actually the only picture I have from there, other than this selfie because I wasn't able to get one without giants crowds in it. I got lost on my way there so here's an easy to use map!
3. Kinkaku-ji Temple - It's officially name is Rokuon-ji but you might as well call it the Golden Temple. It was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu that turned into a Zen Buddhist temple after his death in 1408. You'll need a ticket to get in.
4. Kiyomizu-dera - This Buddhist temple in Eastern Kyoto opened in 778 AD. It is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site.
5. Restaurant in Pontocho - Pontocho is a neighborhood that is famous for the preservation of traditional architecture and entertainment. There are numerous restaurants that sit along the Kamo River. This is something I didn't get a chance to do because I ran out of time. If you want a cheaper option you could grab some food and sit by the river instead!
6. Eikando Zenrinji Temple - It is the head temple for the Seizan branch of Japan's Jōdo-shū Buddhist sect. The temple is famous for it's fall foliage and it's prominence in the past as a center of learning. You'll need a ticket to get in.
7. Kyoto Tower - The tallest structure in Kyoto has an observation deck that sits at 100 meters with it's top being at 131 meters.
8. Gion District - If you are looking to get more exposure to Japanese culture or to see people in Giesha's this is the place you'll want to go.
9. Rent a Kimono for a Day - Want to take your experience up a notch? Might as well throw a kimono on yourself!
10. Higashiyama Jisho-Ji (Ginkakuji Temple) - Built in 1482 as a retirement home for Ashikaga Yoshimasa it was modeled after Kinkakuji which was his grandfather's retirement villa. After his death in 1490 it was converted into a Zen temple. You'll need a ticket to get in.
11. Hokanji Temple (Yasaka Pagoda) - A 5-story Buddhist pagoda temple, with great views from the top!
12. Philosopher’s path - It earned it's name because two influential Japanese philosophers used it as a place for daily meditation. The canal is lined with cherry trees and is a great place to check out the blossoms when they are in bloom!
13. Ryoanji Temple - A Zen temple with Japan's most famous rock garden! You'll need a ticket to get in.
14. Kifune Shrine - Kibune is a small town in the northern mountains of Kyoto City and is the home of the Kifune Shrine. It has a famed entrance surrounded by maple trees to worship Kami.
15. Mount Kurama Hot Springs - Only a 30 minute train ride north of Kyoto are hot springs surrounded by forested mountains.
16. Wazuka Tea Plantation - Kyoto is one of the biggest producers of green tea and matcha. If you want you can check out the town of Wazuka which has a great tea farm and tea fields!
17. Nishiki market - A marketplace that is rich with history and tradition and a great place to get some of Kyoto's famous foods and goods.
18. Chion-in Temple - This is the headquarters of the Jodo Sect and the home of Japan's largest temple bell. You'll need a ticket to get in.
19. Maruyama Park - This is close to Chion-In Temple and is a great place to check out cherry blossoms with the main attraction being a large cherry tree that will light up at night. Naturally this area will get very busy when they are in bloom but also around New Year's Eve.
20. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama - Google had this as the Arashiyama bamboo forest when I was there. If you are looking to hang with some monkeys this is a great option. You'll need a ticket to get in.
21. Sanjusangendo Temple - Officially known as Rengeo-in it's an iconic Buddhist temple that is known for it's 1,001 life-sized wooden statues of the goddess Kannon. The temple was originally built in 1164 for the Emperor Go-Shirakawa and is apart of the Myoho-in temple complex. You'll need a ticket to get in and was why I wasn't able to check it out since I was running low at the time!
22. Tenryuji Temple - Originally built in 1339 it remains the most famous Buddhist temple in the Arashiyama district.
23. Okazaki Park/ Heian Shrine - This Shinto shrine was built in 1895 to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto. It is free but there is a fee to check out the gardens which have cherry blossoms in them.
24. Kyoto Night Foodie Tour - If you are looking to check out local food these are always great options!
25. Nijo Castle - A world heritage site was built as a residence, not defense, for Tokugawa Ieyasu who was one of the most powerful men in Japan. The castle consists of two rings of various buildings and gardens. You'll need a ticket to get in!
HELLO AND WELCOME!
I'm Jake, a dude interested in personal finance and travel creating the life I choose.
In 5 years I went from living in a basement with Craigslist roommates to paying off 90k of debt, backpacking 3 continents, getting a house for myself and 5 rental units.
Read my story in the about me section.
All photos on the blog are from my travels
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