Southern Kyoto

Southern Kyoto is home to three of Kyoto’s greatest sights: Fushimi Inari Taisha, Byodo-in, Tofuku Temple, and the sub-temples that surround it. Southern Kyoto is easily reached by train, bus, bicycle, or even foot from Kyoto Station.

Group Attractions

  • Attractions
  • Dining
  • Experience
  • Omiyage

Fushimi Inari

An important Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari—the Shinto god of rice. It is best known for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings to the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari. These rows of gates are called Senbon Torii (thousands of torii gates), and renowned across the world for being one of the filming locations of the movie “Memoirs of Geisha.” Visitors with more time and energy can continue hiking up to the mountain at the very top and discover some of the more hidden gems of the shrine, as well as enjoy the panoramic view of the city below. Activities : Walking, Photo stop Fee : None Time required : 1 hour

Byodoin Temple

A Pure Land Buddhist temple built in the late Heian period in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture. This World Heritage Site is an important cultural property and renowned for its exquisite garden and Phoenix Hall. The latter is featured on the back of the ¥10 coin. This building is one of the country’s most well-known examples of Buddhist architecture and the only original structure of the Byodoin Temple complex that remains today. The Phoenix Hall requires special admission, paid for separately.

Activities : Walking, Photo stop Fee : None Time required : 1 hour

Daigoji Temple

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Daigoji is a Shingon Buddhist Temple with over 1,100 years of history. The sprawling complex starts at the top of a mountain and spreads downward, composed of (Shimo Daigo) and upper (Kami Daigo) sections. The temple complex includes an entire mountainside. The current main temple grounds along with its outstanding landscape garden dates to 1598 when it was expanded for Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s famous cherry blossom viewing party. The building remains an excellent example of extravagant Momoyama architecture and should not be missed.

Activities : Hiking, Photo stop Fee : None Time required : 1-1.5 hour

Tofukuji

This head temple of the Tofukuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism was built in 1236 and one of Kyoto’s oldest as well as most famous temples. It is renowned not only for its history and artistic gardens but also for maple trees that run through the center of its gardens. As a result, this temple is a very popular place to view foliage during the autumn season. Tofukuji’s grand Sanmon entrance gate is the oldest Zen gate in Japan. All four gardens are unique in their way, made up of different combinations of gravel, stone, moss, and trees.

Activities : Walking, Photo stop Fee : None Time required : 1 hour

Toji Temple

Means “East Temple,” Toji Temple was founded at the beginning of the Heian period, right after the capital was moved to Kyoto in the late 700s. Toji Temple is one of Kyoto’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is best known for its 55m tall pagoda tower (the tallest in Japan), and for its lively flea markets on the 21st of every month (called “Kobo-san” locally). It includes fine textiles, ceramics, and tansu furniture. Toji Temple is illuminated at night and makes for a lovely sight on the road.

Activities : Walking, Photo stop Fee : None Time required : 1 hour

Ujigami Shrine

Ujigami Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site believed to possibly be the oldest extant Shinto shrine in the country. It is believed that Ujigami Shrine was well established by 1060. It was closely linked to the nearby Byodoin Temple as its “guardian shrine.” Ujigami Shrine is notable for its honden (sanctuary) built in the style of nagare-zukuri architecture in Japan, characterized by its asymmetrical gabled roof. The curved roof was built in this style to offer shelter and welcome visitors. Ujigami Shrine can be accessed 10 minutes’ walk from Keihan Uji Station or 15 minutes from JR Uji Station.

Activities : Walking, Photo stop Fee : None Time required : 1 hour

Kimono-wearing & Maiko/Geisha Makeover

The kimono is a T-shaped, wrapped-front garment with square sleeves and a rectangular body, and is worn with the left side wrapped over the right side. Traditionally used with obi and accessories such as zori sandals and tabi socks, kimono is still worn by Japanese today to funerals, weddings and other formal events. Wander around the street of Kyoto in Japanese traditional dress, kimono. Better yet, go for the full experience of becoming a maiko/geisha with proper makeup and hairstyling.

Rickshaw Ride / Jinrikisha

The word jinrikisha (人力車 jin = human,  riki = power or force,  sha = vehicle), which literally means "human-powered vehicle". This transportation was invented as early as the 19th century. Experience traveling like true locals in this ancient "taxi" with guides who are eager to introduce you to must-visit destinations.

Nearby Areas

Comprising the Kyoto Station Building and the surrounding blocks, the Kyoto Station area has a lot to offer from shops, restaurants, clothing stores, and many more. Inside the Kyoto Station itself, you will find Isetan Department Store, the Cube, Asty Squares, and Porta Underground Shopping Mall.

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