“I can spend only 7 hours in Kyoto.” I hope you don’t have to deal with that situation, because there are simply too many things to see. But in case you are here for a conference or one day excursion, I’d like to give you a perfect plan.
I’m going to give you two choices, a busy version and a less busy version. When planning for this short visit, I assumed that you will arrive at Kyoto station at 10 AM and leave Kyoto station at 17 PM.
6 Hours in Kyoto: Busy Version
First of all, visit the Information Center in Kyoto station and get a free map (or use my Kyoto Guidebook). The Kyoto City buses are the main transportation method for an average tourist. However you have no time to do this because you need to wait in a long line to get on the bus. So take the subway Karasuma line, bound for Kokusai Kaikan (210 yen). Get off at Shijo station and take the Keihan line bound for Kawaramachi (150 yen). Get off at Kawaramachi. Walk toward Kamogawa river, keep walking until you hit the red Torii shrine gate (about 15-20 minutes).
Now go through the gate and visit Yasaka Shrine. Then walk around Maruyama park next to the shrine. When you see the two ponds in front of you, turn right to exit the park. Soon you will see Kodaiji Temple (600 yen). On the opposite side of Kodaiji, there is a small shop/restaurant complex where you can enjoy eating.
After visiting Kodaiji and having a short break, walk south toward Kiyomizudera temple. Visit the temple (300 yen). After visiting the temple, enjoy walking down the slope surrounded by many small shops. Walk toward Kiyomizu Gojyo staton (Keihan line). Take the Keihan line bound for Yodoyabashi. Get off at the next station which is Shichijo (150 yen).
If it is earlier than 15:30, walk east to visit Sanjyu Sangendo temple (600 yen). Visit the temple then walk toward Kyoto Tower & Kyoto station. If not, walk toward Kyoto Tower and Station.
6 Hours in Kyoto: Less Busy Version
Even if this plan is more relaxing, you still don’t want to waste your time for transportation. So, again you will take the subway Karasuma line bound for Kokusai kaikan (250 yen). Get off at Karasuma Oike station and change to the subway Tozai line bound for Uzumasatenjin (take a look at the sign on the platform right after you step out of Karasuma line.) Get on the Tozai line bound for Uzumasatenjin and get off at Nijojo mae station.
Visit Nijo Castle. Take your time. Get on the Tozai line again, this time, bound for Rokujizo (210 yen). Get off at Kyoto Shiyakusyo mae station. Find the entrance to the shopping arcade. Enjoy walking around the arcade, try to find the Nishiki market. After walking there are two possible choices. 1) If you get to Shijo street, take the Hankyu line from Kawaramachi station bound for Umeda and get off at Karasuma station (150 yen). Then take the subway Karasuma line bound for Takeda (210 yen) and get off at Kyoto station. 2) If you come back to Kyoto Shiyakusyo mae station, take the subway (Uzumasa Tenjin direction: 250 yen). Get off at Karasuma Oike station. Change from the Tozai line to the Karasuma line bound for Takeda. Get off at Kyoto station. If you still have time, you can go to Kyoto Tower (770 yen) or Higashi Honganji temple (free).