Kyoto surely is a breathtaking city. There are so many things to see. We stayed in Kyoto for about four days and still have the feeling that there is so much left to see.
Besides the Iwatayama Monkey Park and the famous Geisha District, that you both shouldn’t miss out, Kyoto is mostly famous for its amazing temples.
And yes, the temples are not comparable with the temples of other cities in this country, such as Tokyo’s temples. In the following you can see our Top 5 Temples in Kyoto.
What to find out in this post
5. Ryoanji and Chion-in
The Ryoanji temple that has been built around 1450 is a Zen temple. 1994 the Ryoanji tempel has been declared UNESCO- World Heritage besides other sights of Kyoto. This temple is mainly famous for its stone garden. For 500 Yen (around 4 Euro) you can enter.
The temple garden is nice but couldn’t completely convince us actually. That’s why it shares the fifth place with the Chion-in Temple.
The Chion-in Temple is known for its colossal main gate. Its gate is the biggest in Japan and is said to be one of the most important Japanese cultural goods. It is 26,7 meters bride and 12,3 meters high. This gate has been finished building probably around 1620. And yes, the gate is really impressive. The temple on the other hand, doesn’t really feel special to us compared to the other amazing temples we saw in Japan. A visit in the Chion-in temple is worth it nevertheless. Even if it’s just for the gate.
4. Sagano-Arashiyama Bamboo Garden
The Arashiyama Bamboo Garden is one of the most famous sights of Kyoto.
But as you might have realized already, it is indeed not a temple. But as there are many temples in and around the park we included it to our list.
The park is located a little bit outside of Kyoto’s city center. Anyway, you can perfectly combine that way with a visit in the Iwatayama Monkey Park and the Togetsukyo Bridge. I can recommend them both.
You probably might wanna get there early in the morning. As it’s starting to get crowded in the Bamboo Garden from 10 am.
Moreover, the light shining through the bamboo looks much more beautiful around morning time. So you should definitely visit the Kyoto Bamboo Garden during your stay. And the entrance is free of charge by the way.
3. Kinkaku-ji Temple
The famous Golden Temple of Kyoto. You can enter the temple park for 400 Yen (around 3,20 Euro)
The upper floors of the Kinkaku-ji Temple are completely covered in gold. This masterpiece is orientated to the chinese Zen Architecture.
This temple really was impressive and we liked it a lot. But (yes, unfortunately, there is always a but…) the drawback is the huge amount of people pushing each other through the park. It really makes the whole experience less enjoyable.
Despite that, you should definitely go to see that impressive temple when you are in Kyoto.
2. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
The Kiyomizu-dera temple is quite popular due to its amazing view.
Unfortunately, a big part of the temple is under construction right now (June 2017). The Kiyomizu-dera temple also belongs to the UNESCO world heritage since 1994.
The entrance fee of this temple is 400 Yen (about 3,20 Euro)
Besides the beautiful view the temple has even more to offer. There is big amount of shrines and stands.
One part of the temple is dedicated to the god of love Okuninushi-no-mikoto. That part offers the so called love stones. They lay 18 meters apart from each other. It’s said that if you can walk with closed eyes from one to another you will find love very soon. If someone is helping or guiding you, it means that you find this love with help from someone else. In this part of the temple you should take care. It’s easy to get run over by Japanese school girls with closed eyes. 🙂
1. Fushimi Inari-Taisha
The Fushimi Inari-Taisha is probably the most famous sight in Kyoto. This Shinto Shrine counts as one of the biggest and most visited shrines in Japan. You can visit it without paying any entrance fee.
Everywhere in the grounds you will find theese typical orange gates. Most of them were donated by families and companies. Their names are printed on each of the donated gates. Moreover, you can find price lists next to the ways. The smallest gates costs already about 1500 Euro. All in all, there are way more than 1000 gates in the park. They work as tunnels and mark the way up to the mountain.
You can either walk as much as you feel like and then return to the entrance. The other option is doing the whole roundtrip which guides you up to the mountain top. It might be a little exhausting up to the top. But it is worth it from the moment you realize that the amount of tourists gets less with every meter up.
Then you can finally take one of those famous pictures. You should keep in mind though that this roundtrip might take several hours.
Everywhere during your way you can find fox statues. That’s because this Fushimi Inari-Taisha temple is dedicated to the rice god Inari. And his messenger is a fox.
Besides the way through the orange tunnels upwards there are also many small ways to smaller shrines.
Our tip: In the first part of your way up, you can find this sign. If you go up to the Fushimi Kandakara Shrine you can find a beautiful bamboo forrest up there. We spent around half an hour in this place to take pictures and have a little rest before walking up to the mountain top.
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