Photo:David McKelvey on Flickr

The 20 Best Places to See in Kyoto – Part 1

Kyoto is considered as the heart of Japanese culture. No wonder that this historically and culturally rich city is a very popular destination for tourists. We will introduce 20 attractions not to be missed in Kyoto... here is the first part!

Kiyomizu-dera Temple


Photo:Sam Ng on flickr

Kiyomizu-dera is the most famous temple in Kyoto. It becomes packed with tourists when cherry blossoms bloom in spring and when leaves turn red in autumn. The cherry blossoms illumination is particularly stunning.

Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion Temple)


Photo:Katsutoshi Seki on wikimedia commons 

Although the official name of this Buddhist temple is Rokuon-ji, it is called Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) because its top two stories are covered with pure gold leaf. The garden is a classical example of Muromachi period garden design. This temple is one of the most popular places in Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari Shrine


Photo:Paul Vlaar on wikimedia commons

This beautiful shinto shrine is located at the base of the Inari mountain, and includes long trails that goes up to the moutain. Red torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine are truly impressive. Those red torii gates were donated by the believers and have become the main attraction of the shrine.

Ginkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Silver Pavilion)


Photo:Norihiro Kataoka on flickr

This Zen temple is called Silver Pavilion because it was supposed to be covered with silver foil. However, works couldn't be completed before the owner's death so the plan was never realized. Restoration started in 2008 is now complete, so the temple is definitely a must-see. In particular, the snow covered Ginkaku-ji looks stunning in winter.

Heian Shrine


Photo:Polyglotte on wikimedia commons

The Heian Shrine was constructed in 1895 for the 1100th anniversary of the establishment of Heian-kyo (the former name of Kyoto) that Emperor Kanmu conducted. Emperor Kanmu is worshipped at this shrine.

The contrast between red and green is beautiful. The Jidai Matsuri, one of the three big festivals of Kyoto, takes place here.

Tenryu-ji Temple


Photo:SElefant on wikimedia commons

Tenryu-ji is a zen buddhist temple famous for its garden, which is designated as a place of special scenic beauty of Japan.

Enryaku-ji Temple


Photo:663highland on wikimedia commons

The Enryaku-ji is a monastery located on Mount Hiei, on the border between Kyoto and Shiga prefecture. It is one of the great holy grounds of Buddhism in Japan.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine


Photo:663highland on wikimedia commons

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to Michizane, a deified scholar. For this reason, thousands of people come to pray for success in entrance exams during the exam season. The shrine is the headquarters of all Tenjin and Tenmangu of the country that are dedicated to Michizane.

Gio-ji Temple


Photo:Jun Seita on flickr

This temple is surrounded by a bamboo forest and maple trees, and the moss spread all around creates a mysterious atmosphere.

Gion Shirakawa Street


Photo:Nullumayulife on flickr

Shirakawa Street, located in the Gion area, is certainly one of the most beautiful streets in Japan. Walking on Shirakawa street is like going back in time: on both sides, there are old buildings and traditional Japanese restaurants. Cherry trees can also be found along the path, which is lit up at night.

To be continued on part 2!

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