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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 28, 2021
Headline for The Best Tourist Attractions in Kyoto – Awe-inspiring Sites Worth Visiting
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Joanna James Joanna James
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The Best Tourist Attractions in Kyoto – Awe-inspiring Sites Worth Visiting

To take a holiday to Kyoto is to experience the rich history and heritage of Japan along with its spectacular natural beauty. When planning your itinerary, these are some of the top local attractions that you should visit and explore.

1

Nijo Castle

Arguably the most well-known of attractions in Kyoto, the 17th century Nijo Castle takes one back to the Edo Period. The initial construction took place under Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of that period and today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is where you can view well-preserved towers, walls, moat, palace buildings and gardens. Key structures include the Inner Gate with its intricate carvings, while the most prominent site is Ninomaru Palace made up of five buildings; as you explore the palace, you will see captivating paintings, ornate interiors, private apartments of the shogun and one of a kind nightingale floors.

2

Kiyomizu Temple

In the eastern part of the city, one will find the Kiyomizu Temple on Otowa Mountain. This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site that is easily accessible by car or subway from city properties such as Park Hotel Kyoto. Dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Kannon, the temple dates to AD 790, though the existing structures were built after 1633 on a rocky outcrop. As you explore this sacred site, you will come across fascinating attractions like the Main Hall; it is constructed on tall pillars above Otowa-no-taki (waterfall) and provides spellbinding vistas of the area.

3

Kinkaku-ji

Dating to the 14th century, Kinkaku-ji was initially constructed for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu to serve as a retirement villa. Also known as the Golden Pavilion due to its gold leaf adorning, it is now a Zen Buddhist temple; it is within easy reach of centrally located hotels in Kyoto, Japan and is not to be missed when in the city. Though the structure has been rebuilt over the centuries, it still offers a most picturesque sight especially due to its scenic grounds and lakeside setting which is made even more picturesque during autumn.

4

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine

On Mount Inari, you will find the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine famed for its many torii gates that you have to pass under as you make your way up the slopes. This shrine was built to honour the Shinto god of rice known as Inari and there are in fact, five shrines here as well as several smaller shrines that can be visited along the path. Set amidst a tranquil wooded forest, this site is a perfect place for a hike amidst nature's beauty; for a unique perspective, visit at night when the area is lit up.

5

The Gion District

Gion is the most well-known geisha district in the city and one of the most captivating things to do in Kyoto is to explore this locale on foot. It lies on Kamogawa River's eastern bank and features both traditional and modern elements that add to its charm. On your visit, you can see everything from ancient teahouses to colourfully dressed geishas on the streets. This area is home to prominent temples worth heading to as well; these include the Chion-in Temple with its impressive tower that houses the largest bell in Japan and the Silver Pavilion that dates to the 15th-century.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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