Must Have Sights in Kyoto
Every Japanese person I ask for a recommendation immediately answers go to Kyoto. As many other places Kyoto has many sights, here is my recommendation if your time is limited to two days.
This a temple which is expressed by the “Ji”. Built in the end of the 14th century it was planned as a retirement place first. It’s also called the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, because parts of the outside are made of gold.
This temple is similar to Kinkaku-ji and also called the “Silver Pavilion”, but it never had silver parts. It has a beautiful Zen- and mossy garden, which is really worth to see.
If you’ve just visited Ginkaku-ji you’re at the North end of the Philosopher’s Walk, which is very beautiful in the cherry blossom season. It also leads to many other temples.
Higashiyama District a very old part of Kyoto, especially for Japan it’s very old. You can have same good food or buy souvenirs while enjoying the nice buildings.
Kyoto once was Japan’s capital and it’s Imperial Palace is rarely used by today’s emperor. The park is nice for a little walk away from cars. There isn’t much to see from the palace because of walls, but there are free guided tours which have to be reserved first almost every day.
This castle is one of Kyoto’s top sights, but I’ve never its inside because it was under construction. It’s a Shogun residence from the Edo time with a big garden.
Roof of the main station
If you climb up on the roof using many escalators you can get a nice view over the city for free.
Taisha means main shrine and Fushimi-Inari is a really special one. It covers a huge area also up on a hill from where you have a beautiful view on Kyoto. It’s famous for it’s many torii (gates) and open all around the clock for free.
Be careful regarding operating times of temples and shrines, they often close between 16:30 and 17:00 o’clock. Kyoto has a bus day ticket for 500 Yen, which is worth to buy because is not fully covered by train lines.
There also is a famous bamboo forest which I wouldn’t recommend if you plan to visit Kamakura. Hōkoku-ji’s Bamboo Garden in Kamakura is way more beautiful.
What’s next? If you haven’t been to Nara yet, I would highly recommend it. It’s Todai-ji from the 8th century is Japan’s most beautiful and impressive temple.