As we already mentioned, Kyoto is a city that has countless many things to see. It is a popular touristic destination because of it’s rich cultural and historical heritage. There are around 2000 temples and shrines around Kyoto. That’s incredibly many and no wonder it’s a popular place to visit by both Japanese and foreign tourists! Believe it or not, but we didn’t manage to see all of the shrines and temples and probably nobody has, even the local people.
We concentrated on visiting a few interesting places, among them the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine with the tunnel made of thousands of orange torii gates. All the places we visited had a free entry. If you like to see the buildings from inside there is normally a ticket counter but for us it’s enough to see the gorgeous places from outside. We like to do sightseeing by foot because it’s budget friendly and good exercise at the same time. We spent one day walking in the eastern part of the city and at the end of the day it turned out to be at least 20 kilometers walking which has become quite normal daily routine for us. Quite a big change for our bodies after sitting 40 hours per week in the office for the last years 😀
Our walking tour started next to Kyoto station where we visited Higashi Honganji Temple.
From here we headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine that we were waiting to see the most. Actually we visited the place already previous evening but we were a bit late and it just got dark so we couldn’t see what we wanted. When we came back before noon, we kind of hoped that there wouldn’t be that many people but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Probably this place is full any time, especially in the holiday season. But after waiting patiently we managed to capture some nice pictures without too many people in the background 🙂
We continued walking north towards the geisha district Gion and discovered other temples and shrines on the way.
The area around Shoho-ji Temple was very crowded and all the streets were full of girls dressed in kimonos. It seemed to be popular to rent a kimono, get the hair and makeup done perfectly and go out for sightseeing. And we have to admit, the Japanese traditional dress is very beautiful and colorful. We don’t know if there are always so many kimono girls around in Kyoto or if it’s just the holiday season peak.
Our tour ended wandering the streets of Gion. This is a district with old wooden buildings and full of restaurants and nightlife. If you are lucky, you might spot a maiko or even a real geisha coming out from a building and walking in the street. We were there probably too early and didn’t manage to see any. Even if you miss the geishas, we recommend checking out the area on the both sides of the river. There is a net of narrow streets with hundreds of Japanese restaurants and bars and ambient evening lights. It is a perfect place to have a dinner and enjoy the night out. We ended up sitting in the massage chairs at the end of the day though… again! But they are simply so luxurious after all the biking and walking.