Kyoto

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Kyoto - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Adashino Nembutsu-ji Temple

    Ukyo-ku

    The most unusual feature of this temple is its cemetery, where about 8,000 stone images stand, a solemn sea of silent mourners. The statues honor...Read More

  • 2. Byodo-in Temple

    In 1083 the Fujiwara no Yorimichi, a member of a very powerful clan, built this villa, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose image graces the...Read More

  • 3. Enryaku-ji Temple

    Otsu

    This temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is as majestic as the mountain where it is located. Mt. Hiei has a long and entangled...Read More

  • 4. Fushimi Inari Shrine

    Fushimi-ku

    This shrine's thousands of red gates may well be the quintessential image of Japan. The gates line the path up the mountainside, parted at irregular...Read More

  • 5. Ginkaku-ji Temple

    Sakyo-ku

    A UNESCO World Heritage site, Ginkaku-ji (the Temple of the Silver Pavilion) was intended to impress the courtly world with its opulence, but the current...Read More

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  • 6. Katsura Imperial Villa

    Ukyo-ku

    Considered the epitome of beauty, culture, landscape, and architecture, the Imperial Villa is highly regarded here and abroad. The landscape architect Enshu Kobori (1579–1647) employed...Read More

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  • 7. Kinkaku-ji Temple

    Kita-ku

    Possibly the world's most ostentatious retirement cottage, the magnificent gold-sheathed Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) was commissioned by Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga (1358–1409). He erected...Read More

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  • 8. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

    Higashiyama-ku

    Pilgrims have climbed Higashiyama's stone-inlaid streets to this historic mountainside temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for centuries. Kiyomizu-dera's tremendous gates and pagodas are marvels...Read More

  • 9. Koryu-ji Temple

    Ukyo-ku

    One of Kyoto's oldest temples, Koryu-ji was founded in AD 622 by Kawakatsu Hata in memory of Prince Shotoku (AD 572–621). Shotoku ruled during an...Read More

  • 10. Nijo Castle

    Nakagyo-ku

    Another of Kyoto's World Heritage sites, this castle whose construction began in 1603 is a grandiose and unequivocal statement of power by Ieyasu, the first...Read More

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  • 11. Ryoan-ji Temple

    Ukyo-ku

    The arrangement of stones amid the raked sand of this temple's rock garden is appropriately solemn for a National Treasure and UNESCO World Heritage site....Read More

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  • 12. Saiho-ji Temple

    Nishikyo-ku

    Also known as Kokedera or the "Moss Temple," the monks who run this temple and garden complex require visitors to perform a task upon arrival...Read More

  • 13. Sanjusangen-do Hall

    Higashiyama-ku

    This 400-foot-long hall preserves 1,001 golden, graceful Buddhist images, one of the world's most magnificent collections of wooden statuary. Enthroned in the hall's center is...Read More

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  • 14. Tenryu-ji Temple

    Ukyo-ku

    Meaning "Temple of the Heavenly Dragon," this sacred spot is well named. In the 14th century, Emperor Go-Daigo, who had brought an end to the...Read More

  • 15. Anraku-ji Temple

    Sakyo-ku

    This small temple in the foothills of Higashiyama dates back to the 12th century, when the priest Honen began to preach a novel means of...Read More

  • 16. Arashiyama Monkey Park

    Nishikyo-ku

    The tables are turned at this primate reserve where humans enter a cage-like hut while the resident monkeys roam free—except when clinging to the cage's...Read More

  • 17. Bamboo Forest

    Ukyo-ku

    A narrow path through dense patches of bamboo—thick, with straight, smooth green stems—gives most who pass through it a feeling of composure and tranquillity. The...Read More

  • 18. Chion-in Temple

    Higashiyama-ku

    The headquarters of the Jodo sect of Buddhism, Chion-in is impressive enough to have been cast in the film The Last Samurai as a stand-in...Read More

  • 19. Chishaku-in Temple

    Higashiyama-ku

    The lush garden of Chishaku-in and paintings by Tohaku Hasegawa and his son Kyuzo make a visit to this temple a memorable experience. A small...Read More

  • 20. Choraku-ji Temple

    Higashiyama-ku

    A procession of stone lanterns lines the steep stairway to this tiny temple founded in the early 9th century by Emperor Kammu with the priest...Read More

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