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walking stories  |   asia   |  china  | japan | kyoto summary | kyoto story
Kyoto temples and shrines


Kyoto is, outside Tokyo, perhaps the best-known tourist location in Japan, and rightly so.  It was my introduction to Japan and its cultural monuments.  I simply walked from one attraction featured on the City Map to another.  The route took in temples and shrines, gardens, historic paths, and areas of old timber houses that are rare in most Japanese cities today.

  • I will remember most the Kiyomizudera Temple overlooking the city.
  • The best bit was the feeling of being immersed in an exotic city and culture.
  • The worst bit was working out how to get back to the hotel after arriving late at Ginkaku-ji.
  • The funniest sight was a woman taking her dog for a walk whilst riding a bike!
  • I didn’t expect to see a mass of large white birds in the trees of Shosei-en Garden - herons of some sort.
  • The whole walk turned up one new experience after another.
  • The main word of warning for others would be to get details of the bus services before setting out – but don’t expect them to be quick.
  • General advice would be to allow at least a couple of days to see round Kyoto – this was a bit rushed.

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Picture of the author at the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

At the Golden Pavilion

Key Facts

Location Eastern Kyoto, Japan
When it was walked July 2003
Walk type City and town walks
Difficulty Suitable for anyone who enjoys an easy walk - but best split into shorter sections by using buses
Distance approx 16km / 10 miles
Time taken approx 7 hrs
Map used if any Kyoto City Walking Map (free)
Source of info on walk The free map showed all the temples and shrines, and some walks. Lonely Planet guide had lots of info on Kyoto including several walks
Getting there Can start walk from Kyoto Station 
Places to stay Lots in Kyoto
Places to eat/ buy food Lots in Kyoto