I have named this page walking tour 1 basically because I have chosen some places to visit, but you can choose to do as little or as much as you like.
After maybe starting your day with breakfast at Choice (see review)
Start by getting the train from Sanjo station one stop to Gion -shijo or you can walk by the river. From here walk up Shijo Dori to your first place Yasaka Shrine and Maruyama Park . A lovely place to arrive early and relax in the park. Yasaka shrine was once called Gion shrine because of the district it’s in . As you walk up Shijo Dori you can see the main entrance to the grounds, this is a popular shrine for cherry blossom season and Gion Matsuri which is celebrated every July.
Following your way through you enter Maruyama Park and if you are lucky to be there for cherry blossom season they have a very famous weeping cherry tree here.
After a walk around Maruyama Park exit at the side and start your walk towards Kodai-ji temple.
Kodaiji Temple with its beautiful Zen gardens are well worth a visit on your walk, open 9am-5.30pm and costs ¥600 for an aldult. The gardens have bamboo groves tea houses and several ponds. Also a gorgeous Zen rock/gravel garden.
As you visit the gardens you will see the vast Ryozen Kannon this is your next visit.
This is a war memorial, the kannon (goddess of mercy) is 24 meters high and built of concrete and steel and was unveiled in 1955.
You can pay ¥200 entrance fee and place a stick of incense in a large pot in front of the pool where prayers for peace can be said.
After this start your walk up to Kiyomizu
You can either visit the Hokanji Temple also known as the Yasaka pagoda on the way or choose to visit on your way to Kennin-ji Temple.
I have so many pictures of this 46 meter high pagoda rising up from the residential back streets of Kyoto. You may climb up the steps inside if you wish.
The walk up to Kiyomizu is just full of the most wonderful shops and is heaving with people .
There are lots of gift shops and food places to tempt you on the way up but maybe if you get time early one morning come back when everything is closed to get a different atmosphere of the place.
Kiyomizu-dera is a Buddhist temple and is part of the world heritage sites . The word Kiyomizu dera means pure water Temple and is on the site of the Otowa waterfall and gets its name from the waters.
The vast wooden hall that stands 13 meters on the hillside gives wonderful views especially at cherry blossom season.
The Otowa waterfall is below the main hall
People wait in line to drink out of the three fountains each one giving different benefits one for long life one for success and one for luck in love .
While I was there I decided to have a simple lunch a vegan soba noodle in a soy sauce broth with aburaage tofu. I would definitely recommend doing this, having a delicious soba lunch here really adds to the whole experience of the day.
People love to come here dressed up to take beautiful photos of themselves. I think next time I would like to hire a Kimono and walk the streets myself dressed like this ( wouldn’t you )
There are lots of grounds to explore here.
As you start your descent down you may pass the huge cemetery grave site.
On reaching the bottom and back to the main road I now chose to take you down Gojo Dori this street lined with shop after shop after shop of gorgeous pottery. Crossing the road and turning down Yamato Oji Dori we now arrive at Hoko-ji on the way to Sanjusangendo.
Hokoji dates back to the 16th century
Next to Hoko-ji and Toyokuni shrine is the Kyoto National Museum this is not part of my tour as it would be to much to fit in but you could take a note and visit another day if you wish.
Opposite here is the Spectacular Sanjusangendo!
A Buddhist temple which is famous for having 1001 statues of kannon the goddess of mercy inside. The hall that houses them is the longest wooden structure measuring 120 meters. It costs ¥600 to enter but you are not permitted to take photos inside.
From here if your ready for some food, Veg Out cafe is just a short walk away on Shichi-jo Dori. (See review)
We are now walking back up Shichi-joDori on to Higashi Oji Dori . This is quite a long walk up but it is also here that if you didn’t before you can walk up Yasaka Dori and now visit the Pagoda. This is what I did and came across some delightful girls.
Also here is a really great coffee house called Arabica Coffee. Such a modern setting amongst all the old buildings (what a contrast)
Walking back on to the main road
You now carry on down Yasaka Dori and visit one of my most favourite temples in Kyoto Kennin-ji .
The oldest Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, I could just spend hours here. It is considered to be one of the five most important Zen temples in Kyoto. Admission is ¥500
The wind and the Thunder Gods
The Twin Dragons painted on the roof of Hodo Hall
It has the most wonderful strolling gardens
And dry gravel Zen Garden
The A place to relax and meditate
Finally leaving here and walking through Gion the Geisha district. Passing Gion corner, a place where you can see the famous Kyo- mai dance performed by Maiko in a unique theatre located inside Yasaka Hall.
You are now back where you started on the main Shijo Dori full of wonderful souvenir shops if your not too tired after your tour today, I would recommend picking up some Japanese sweets or wagashi before heading off for an evening meal or back to your hotel.
I hope you enjoyed my walking tour.