Postcards from Kyoto: The 6 Classic Destinations You Shouldn’t Miss

Kyoto is home to several of Japan’s most visited destinations which include beautiful gardens, revered temples, and shrines. For me, I still get shocked whenever I see more than 20 tour buses in one area. While you may join a large number of people in these places, the chance to learn about these areas make the time and effort worthwhile.

RELATED: Postcards from Kyoto: 6 Off the Beaten Path Destinations You Should Visit

Find out why these icons of Kyoto attract millions of travelers each year! Here are six classic destinations in Kyoto you shouldn’t miss.

6. Kiyomizu-dera


One of the prominent features of Kiyomizu is its wooden stage, overhanging the main hall and 13 meters elevated in the hillside. The main hall is built on a steep cliff wherein a network of pillars and rails support the overall structure.

Directions: Take the No. 206 bus bound for Kitaoji bus terminal via Higasihama-dori or No. 100 bound for Ginkaku-ji via Kiyomizu-dera Gion. Get off at Gojozaka stop and walk east for 10 minutes.

Admission fee: 400 yen (Php 171)

5. Kinkakuji


The beautiful Golden Pavilion has always been one of the most revered icons of Kyoto. There is no question how the pavilion continues to attract millions of travelers every year. Kinkaku-ji’s reflection shimmering across the pond is just mesmerizing.

Directions: For a faster route, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station and take a taxi. For direct access, take City Bus number 101 or 205 in Kyoto station.

Admission fee: 400 yen (Php 171)

4. Arashiyama bamboo grove


Nothing beats the good vibes you can get after a morning stroll. Visit the grove before eight in the morning and you’ll enjoy the sprawling rows of bamboo all to yourself.

Directions: Take Kyoto City bus #28 or Kyoto Bus #71, #72, #73. For train, get on JR Sagano Line and travel to Saga Arashiyama Station.

You can also take Kyoto City Bus #11 at Shijo Kawaramachi) or take the Keifuku Arashiyama Line  from Shijo Omiya StationThe bamboo grove is a 10-15 minute walk from the station.

 Admission fee: Free

3. Nishiki Market


The variety of sights and aromas is just one of the intriguing aspects of the 400-year old Nishiki Market. Fresh produce, seafood, and variety of Japanese specialties occupy the stalls where almost everything is locally procured.

Directions: The market is a five-minute walk from are Shijo Station on the Karasuma subway line or Karasuma Station on the Hankyu Line. Nishiki can also be reached by bus numbers #5, #205, #206, or #101.

Admission Fee: Free

2. Fushimi Inari


The winding path of bright, vermillion torii gates is another icon of Kyoto. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice who is worshipped as the patron of business. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Directions: Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station. You can easily take the train from Kyoto Station (JR Nara line).

Admission Fee: Free

1. Gion


Gion is one of Kyoto’s hanamachi or Japanese geisha district. If you are lucky, you might spot a geiko or maiko coming out of an ochaya (teahouse). Please be respectful though should you have an encounter with them. This is also a great area if you are keen for an evening stroll.

Directions: From Kyoto station, take bus number 100 or 206. Get off at Gion bus stop. The closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.

Admission fee: Free

Bonus: Budget Breakdown

Here is a breakdown of my basic expenses during my five-day trip. Note that the admission fees mentioned above are not yet included.

  • Accommodation: 2800 yen per night (hostel) – P1191 | Total:  14,000 yen or P5955  for five nights
  • Food:  1500 yen per day – P638 | Total: 7500 yen or P3190 for five days
  • Transport: I walked most of the time but I reckon I spent approximately 4000 yen during the whole trip  – P1702. 00

A total of Php 12,038 for basic expenses!

You can always tailor your itinerary depending on your interest, time and budget. Japan can be expensive, but it is worth every penny.

See more of my Kyoto adventures (overexcitement and all) at my blog and more photos at my Facebook page at

Are you planning a trip to Japan soon? I hope these Postcards from Kyoto have encouraged you to make Kyoto the starting point for your Japan trip.


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