Visiting Kyoto Part 2

In our last post, we wrote about a few places to see in Kyoto. Those places are all great, but if you only see those few places, you aren’t seeing enough.

We’d like to add three more locations to visit while in Kyoto.

Upon checking out of our ryokan, we walked over to Kyoto Station to grab a bus to our first stop, Kiyomizu-dera. If you take the bus, be sure to get off at Kiyomizu-michi and walk all the way up the hill.

Kiyomizu-dera

kyoto kiyomizu-dera dragon

At the top of the hill, you will be treated to the front gates of Kiyomizu-dera. As you catch your breath, turn around and take in the Kyoto skyline.

kyoto skyline 2
kyoto skyline 1

Kiyomizu-dera is a large temple complex. Like most Buddhist temples in Japan, the complex includes some Shinto shrines as well.

kyoto kiyomizu-dera entrance

If you Google Kiyomizu-dera, you’ll likely come across a bunch of image results with a photo of the same view of the temple on a cliff side. We weren’t tempted enough by the one single photo to pay the admission fee, so we stuck to the outer grounds.

kyoto kiyomizu-dera gate

We spent a good amount of time walking around the grounds, admiring the architecture, and snapping photos.

There’s not too much else to say about it, so enjoy the photos.

kyoto kiyomizu-dera statue
kyoto kiyomizu-dera kevin gate garden
kyoto kiyomizu-dera buildings
kyoto kiyomizu-dera roofs

Details

Gion District

kyoto gion streets

As you leave Kiyomizu-dera, head down Matsubara Dori. It is a pedestrian shopping street lined with beautiful historic buildings. You’ll find shops selling chop sticks, fans, snacks, clothing, tea sets, etc.

kyoto gion fan shop

Take your time people watching as you go from shop to shop.

As you head down the street, you can head North through the Gion district.

kyoto gion pagoda
kyoto kevin painting
kyoto gion streets 3

Gion is most famous for the geishas that walk along the streets to their appointments.

kyoto gion streets flowers
kyoto gion scooter

In addition to geishas, you will see Japanese day trippers wearing rented kimonos walking the streets in traditional formal attire.

This neighborhood was a real treat and felt like the oldest part of Kyoto.

kyoto white lover
kyoto gion statue
kyoto gion streets katie
kyoto gion streets 4

As you take your time exploring the streets, you’ll continue heading North. Eventually you’ll come across Maruyama Park and it’s neighboring Yasaka Shrine.

Yasaka Shrine/Maruyama Park

kyoto maruyama park gate 2

We had no idea where we were when we came across the park, but it turns out it’s a popular destination, particularly during Cherry Blossom season.

kyoto maruyama park shrine

Yasaka Shrine is a large shrine you see when you first walk in.

kyoto maruyama park statue
kyoto maruyama park clock
kyoto maruyama park lantern
kyoto maruyama park shrine

Lining the outer walls of the shrine, are a series of smaller shrines. I don’t claim to know what they are for sure, but I half suspect they are family-owned shrines, similar to the family-owned mini chapels inside European Christian cathedrals.

kyoto maruyama park 1

Wrapping Up

kyoto maruyama park gate

You could spend an entire day walking through the streets in this part of Kyoto. As it was, we had to head to our next destination in Kyoto before heading out of the city in the late afternoon.

We walked out of the silent, serene park, and right onto a lively, noisy city street. The contrast was a little jarring to be honest.

Only a few blocks West of Yasaka Shrine is the Gion-Shiho subway station. We grabbed it for our final destination in Kyoto.

In our next post, we talk about the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine.

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