Kyoto has too many places to visit. There are 17 World Heritage Sites in and around Kyoto City. And dozens of spots, which are not designated as a World Heritage Sites, but are nonetheless equally historical and important, are scattered around Kyoto City. Fortunately, many of these places are gathered in a few areas and some of them are located within walking distance of each other. However there are some places that take some time to visit. Even though they are technically inside Kyoto City, they are more difficult to reach compared to transportation friendly spots such as Heian Jingu, Nijo Castle, Kiyomizudera Temple and so on. Do not worry though. Reading this post will ensure stress-free travel and a deeper Kyoto experience.
The Ohara Area is secluded and surrounded by deep mountains. Still, there are a few beautiful and historical spots to see. Sanzenin Temple and Hosenin Temple are worth visiting. Ohara Sanzenin started 1200 years ago, and boasts a beautiful hydrangea garden, a stone Buddha Statue and a stern-looking gate. During autumn leaves season, this temple is filled with visitors from all parts of Japan. Hosenin Temple is also worth checking out. It is fortunately within walking distance from Sanzenin. The best thing about this temple is the garden, where the windows act as a frame. With a Matcha tea and small sweet, enjoy viewing the art as long as you like.
Ohara Area is not possible to access by City Bus nor Subways. The easiest transportation method is the Kyoto Bus. Note that this is different from City Bus. At Kyoto Station, find C3 and take 17 or 18 (600 yen). It will take 60 – 80 minutes depending on the season. Or take the Karasuma Line bound for Kokusaikaikan (290 yen) and take Kyoto Bus 19 (350 yen) from the bus stop in front of the terminal station. It will take 25 minutes from there. This will take 50 – 65 minutes. For those who do not wish to take a bus, take a taxi from Kyoto Station or one from Kokusai Kaikan Station. From personal experience I recommend the taxi + subway combo as the best method.
Related article: How to Go to Ohara in Kyoto
Kifune/Kurama Area is far away from the city and Kyoto Station alike. That’s why they have completely different atmosphere and scenery. This area is perfect for hiking, starting from Kuramadera Temple to Kifune Shrine or vice-versa. Kuramadera Temple is deep in the mountains and the Honden (main hall) is regarded as a power spot. Kifune Shrine enshrines a God of Water. Kibune River running next to the shrine is crystal clear and sacred. Pray here for making dreams come true, finding a mate or being fortunate.
To get to this area, take the Eizan Line from Demachi Yanagi Station. Demachi Yanagi Station is the terminal station of the Keihan Line. To take the Keihan Line, find Sanjo Station, Shijo Omiya Station, Kiyomizu Gojo Station or Shichijo Station. From Demachi Yanagi Station, take the Eizan Line bound for Kurama (420 yen). It will take 30 mins. From Kuramadera Temple to Kifune Shrine, it will take about one hour (by walking). On the way back from Kifune Shrine, walk 30 mins or take the Kyoto Bus (Line 33) from the bus stop Kibuneguchi and get off at Kibuneguchieki mae, then take the train back.
Related article: Hiking in Kyoto : Kurama & Kibune Area
Daigoji Temple is a World Heritage Site, and very famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms. The five story pagoda, which was built in 951, is the oldest wooden building in Kyoto. This temple has a large premises which is divided into two sections, lower and upper Daigo. As said above, the cherry blossoms here are magnificent, and this temple is filled with many visitors. Also, there is an illumination event during autumn leaves season (middle of November to beginning of December). Note that each spot requires an entrance fee. For those who want to see everything, it’s better to get a joint ticket (1500 yen). Upper Daigo also requires a separate entrance fee.
Keihan Bus has a nifty service called Yamashina Express. It leaves a bus stop in front of Keihan Hotel near Kyoto Station and goes directly to Daigoji Temple (300 yen). For those who prefer trains/subways, take the Subway Karasuma Line and connect to the Subway Tozai Line. Get off at Daigoji Station. It costs 320 yen in total.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
This shrine is one of the most gorgeous and eye-catching sightseeing spots in Kyoto, maybe next to Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for its red “tunnel”. It is not actually a tunnel, but the literally thousands of vermilion Torii gates in a row do look like a tunnel. These gates are dedicated by people/companies hoping to find, or who have found, financial success. Fushimi Inari Shrine is a mountain itself with main halls are placed at the foot of the mountain. Be sure to wear sneakers and be prepared for some exercise.
To get to Fushimi Inari Area, the JR Nara Line (140 yen) from Kyoto Station or the Keihan Line are the easiest. As for the Keihan, be sure to take the local.
For more fun and useful information, which will make your Kyoto Travel more exciting, memorable and stress-free, please check our Kyoto e-Guidebook.