Surrounded by the Honshu hills, Kyoto is one of Japan’s largest cities and the educational center of western Japan. Kyoto, home to Japan’s most important tourist attractions, is a city that quickly took away the destruction of the Second World War. Of course, some points that remind you of those days are carried to the present by preserving their original atmosphere.
In Kyoto, you can see works belonging to museums, galleries, sculpture, painting and other art forms. You will also come across architectural structures with traditional Japanese lines in the city. In addition, Shinto and Buddhist temples are among the places where tourists always stop. We discussed all of them in the list of places to visit in Kyoto.
1- Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle; it is full of walls, towers, and ditches. The castle, built in 1603, was also used as a Japanese government mansion. As the castle is quite large, it resembles a complex. Consisting of a combination of different buildings, important works have been unearthed from the castle.
2- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine
It is one of the most famous shrines in Japan. You must see it during your visit. It was founded in 711 AD and was dedicated to the goddess Ukanomitama-no-mikoto. People who come here pray for their well-being. The main building dates from 1499 and has a four-kilometer-long street. There are 32 thousand arches on the street. It takes at least two hours to get through them all. In addition, fox statues, thought to be prophets, draw attention along the way.
3- Kinkaku-ji: The Golden Pavilion
Considered in the 14th century as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikage Yoshimitsu, the structure is now used as a Zen Buddhist temple. Golden Pavilion is one of the most beautiful places in Kyoto. It was rebuilt several times over time, adhering to its original structure. Its last appearance is from the 1950s. Standing on a large pond, the building draws attention with its traditional stone arrangement.
4- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kiyomizu Temple, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, has a scenic location on Otowa Mountain. Visitors can take a pleasant walk by seeing small shops and craft stores. Founded in 790 AD, the temple is dedicated to Buddhist goddesses. The terrace part of the temple has wonderful views in autumn.
5- Sanjûsangen-dô Temple
Also known as Rengyoin Temple or Niche Temple, is an interesting structure built in 1164. In the temple built for Kannon, the goddess of mercy, personalizing elements immediately draw attention. Archery training was given around him in the past. The most important work found here is the 3.5-meter statue of Kannon from the 13th century. Small figures are also scattered around.
6- Kyoto Imperial Palace
In Kyoto, you can have the opportunity to see the imperial palace, which is mentioned in Japanese movies, live. Built in 794 and displaced by fire, the Kyoto Imperial Palace continues to be one of the most visited historical sites in the city. Although the current building was built in 1855, it feels like it was just built.
The palace visit is open to the public but is operated by the Imperial Agency. Therefore, you should participate in guided tours of this agency. Discovering the subtleties of Japanese culture in the palace will open the doors of a completely different world.
7- Nishi Honganji Temple
Nishi Honganji, the head temple of the original Jodo-Shinshu sect, is an outstanding example of Buddhist architecture. The Hondo or Main Hall section is decorated with numerous statues from the 6th century. Paintings from 1760 are also hung in the rooms. Each painting in the temple has a different history and story. So they are not just hanging paintings. When all of them come together, the identity of the temple is revealed.
8- Kyoto National Museum and Municipal Art Museum
In addition to many good old temples, you will find museums and galleries around the world in Kyoto. When it comes to impressive collections, the first place that comes to mind is the national museum. It was founded in 1897 and is widely regarded as the most important museum in Japan. The museum, which exhibits examples of Asian and Japanese art, was completely renovated in 2014.
However, the municipal art museum also receives many visitors. Kyoto Municipal Museum, which opened in 1928 and houses 20th century Japanese artists, is one of the places where the country fell on. Takeuchi Seihô is one of the leading artists.
9- Gion’s Geishas and Temples
Located on the east bank of the Kamogawa River, Gion is an eclectic mix of modern architecture and historical beauty. We know the importance of tea in Japanese traditions from books and movies. You have the chance to experience this unique taste in the tea houses in Gion. The Silver Pavilion and Ginkakuji Temple are among the most valuable works of the region. It is necessary to open a separate bracket for the temple. Ginkakuji is a well-known temple because it carries the country’s largest bell, weighing 71 tons.
10- Byodo-in Temple
Established in 988, Byodo-in Temple has many unique buildings, shrines and artworks worth visiting. When the majestic gilded figure of Amida is added to the magnificent interior decoration, an impressive appearance emerges. Don’t forget to visit the museum room, including 52 wooden Buddha statues, carved phoenixes and original temple bells.
11- Kyoto Tower
Attracting attention as a modern building in a temple city, Kyoto Tower is the tallest building in Kyoto. Visitors can see the panoramic view of the city as far as Osaka. Telescopes and LED touch screens on the platform are in the attention areas. You get the best experience at sunset.
12- Monkey Park
“Do you go all the way to see a few monkeys?” don’t say We can say that you will encounter more monkeys than you can imagine. Those who swing from the trees and play games to buy food offer fun times. Take care of your belongings too! Some monkeys try anything to get your stuff. If you’re brave, you can get close to them to feed the monkeys.
Traveling and exploring Kyoto will be a great experience to understand Japanese culture in the best way possible. There are places where traditionalism is intertwined with modern understanding. But the Japanese have also managed to prevent cultural erosion. While always advancing their own culture, they also follow modern developments.