Kyoto in winter is very cold and dry, it even snows sometimes, and it is very long. Usually winter starts in December and ends at the end of March (at least I feel this way).
So if you plan to visit Kyoto during winter, be prepared for cold temperatures, even if you visit here in March or possibly the beginning of April.
Here are three spots I recommend you avoid during Kyoto’s cold winter.
1. Kurama/Kibune: Don’t even think about visiting these places surrounded by mountains if you don’t like cold weather. It is much colder there. Plus the hiking course between Kuramadera Temple and Kibune area can be dangerous because of snow.
2. Fushimi Inari Shrine: Don’t get me wrong. This shrine is very interesting and beautiful. And it is one of my favorite places in Kyoto. Having said that, it has thousands of steps, which can be slippery if it is snowy or wet. So be sure to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine when it is sunny.
3. Arashiayama area: Arashiyama area has many attractive spots such as Tenryuji Temple and Nisonin Temple. However just like the two spots I mentioned above, it is very cold. Also the Sagano Sightseeing Tram, which takes you through the mountain area for natural scenic views does not provide service from September 30th to the end of February. So just like Fushimi Inari Shrine, you’d better visit Arashiyama area during day time, not too early and not too late.
If you are comfortable with cold weather, these three recommendations won’t apply. It is actually nice to see the popular temples/shrines covered by white snow. That’s something you can enjoy only if you go out and seek the adventure.
You can find much more useful and complete information in my Kyoto Guidebook which is now available on Amazon sites. Click here to buy the Kyoto Guidebook (ebook) on Amazon.com (You can find the Kyoto Guidebook on your local Amazon site).