Kyoto has plenty of places to visit. For those who stay in Kyoto only for a few days, it will be difficult to select spots to visit, since there are so many. But if visiting shrines and temples does not sound fun, or your priority is relaxing, then a normal guidebook might not be helpful. For relaxing spots, who better to ask than locals? The following 3 spots are worth visiting if doing nothing but relaxing is your most important goal for Kyoto sightseeing.
Kamogawa River has been around since even before Kyoto was chosen as the capital. It has been witness to all the historic events that have happened in Kyoto. In light of that, Kamogawa River should be counted as a sightseeing spot. In fact, many local people visit this river for various reasons. Some people practice musical instruments, some people enjoy jogging, some people take pictures and some people just watch the river go by. A few of the popular areas along the river for Kyoto locals are: an area near Sanjo Ohashi Bridge and the delta area near Demachi Yanagi Station. From the Sanjo Ohashi area, traditional houses & buildings can be seen while the delta area has more scenic views. At the delta area, there are stone steps which connect the riversides. This spot has been used in many TV dramas that feature Kyoto.
Sanjo Ohashi Bridge
Kyoto Imperial Park
Kyoto Imperial Palace is regarded as a sightseeing spot. Although the process involved in going inside is slightly complicated (a prior reservation is usually required) it does have cultural and historical value. That being said, people in Kyoto don’t actually go inside. In addition to the fact that they know that the palace will be open to public twice a year, they go to this spot just to relax. The palace itself is open only for people who made reservation, but the large park area that surrounds the palace is open to the public 365 days a year. This park is full of nature with about 50,000 trees. This makes it a perfect place to take a walk, walk the dog, read a book and simply relax. These activities are not limited to local people. Anyone, including tourists from foreign countries can do it. Also, this park is one of the main destinations when the cherry blossoms, Sakura, is in full bloom.
Kyoto Botanical Garden
Kyoto Botanical Garden is located in the beautiful Kitayama area, but since visiting the botanical garden doesn’t fit traditional ideas of sightseeing in Kyoto, this place is usually excluded from most guidebooks. However, the botanical garden is worth visiting for those who want to enjoy walking or lounging in an area filled with many varieties of plants. The plants that can be seen are different every season, which attracts many local citizens. In addition, the shops and restaurants on Kitayama Street, where the north entrance is located, are more spacious and relaxing compared to those inside the central area. For more information on Kyoto Botanical Garden, read “Local Hot Spot 2: Kyoto Botanical Garden“.
Kyoto Botanical Garden
Price: 200 yen/adult, 150 yen/high school student, free/younger than middle school student
Open Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (Last Entry 16:00)
Closed on: December 28th – January 4th
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