8 Must-Visit Sightseeing Spots around Kawaramachi Station in Kyoto! Immerse Yourself in the Essence of Kyoto♪

Kawaramachi is one of Kyoto’s bustling downtown areas, representing the city’s charm. The streets offer a genuine Kyoto atmosphere, and you can enjoy various tourist spots throughout the seasons.

What adds to the appeal of Kawaramachi is the presence of many shopping streets, including the famous Nishiki Market. Beyond just tourist attractions, there are numerous dining options and cafes, making it an ideal place for meals and souvenir hunting.

The vicinity of Kawaramachi reflects the essence of Kyoto, allowing you to leisurely savor the Kyoto ambiance. In this blog post, we’ll carefully introduce recommended tourist spots around Kawaramachi Station, including the renowned Gion district.

What’s Kyoto’s Kawaramachi Area Like?

“Kawaramachi” stands as Kyoto’s largest downtown hub right in the heart of the city. It refers to the area surrounding Kawaramachi Street, which runs north to south through Kyoto.

Kawaramachi is known as the lively epicenter for enjoying Kyoto to the fullest.

Locals refer to this bustling district as “Kawaramachi,” “Shijo,” and the younger crowd often simply calls it “Machi.” It’s not just a destination for tourists but draws a diverse crowd, including young people, seniors, and business professionals alike.

Kyoto boasts top-performing department stores like Takashimaya Kyoto, the longstanding Daimaru Kyoto, and the youth-centric Fujii Daimaru, along with various dining establishments and commercial facilities. Beyond shopping, it’s a delightful place to enjoy meals, offering a plethora of options for lunch, dinner, or a break during your sightseeing.

The main attractions of Kawaramachi are split between the district itself and Gion, separated by the Kamo River. Everything is within walking distance, making it convenient to explore. Take a leisurely stroll, soak in the Kyoto ambiance, and enjoy sightseeing, dining, and shopping—all conveniently within walking distance.

Additionally, Kawaramachi serves as a hub for tourism, with hotels and guesthouses scattered around. Staying in Kawaramachi is highly recommended for a convenient base during your Kyoto exploration.

Access to Kawaramachi

Accessing Kawaramachi begins by heading to JR Kyoto Station. From JR Kyoto Station, there are primarily three ways to reach Kawaramachi: by bus, train, or taxi.

How to Get There by Bus

If you opt for the bus, head to the A2 bus stop in front of JR Kyoto Station. Take either the City Bus Route 4, 17, or 205. Disembark at “Shijo Kawaramachi,” and you’ll arrive in the Kawaramachi area.

The journey takes about 15 minutes, and the fare is 230 yen one way. For those planning to take the bus three times or more, it’s recommended to purchase a one-day pass for 600 yen (tax included).

If you’re looking to keep costs down, the bus is the most budget-friendly option.

Getting There by Train

If you’re taking the train to Kawaramachi, board the Nara Line from JR Kyoto Station and transfer to the Keihan Line at Tofukuji Station. The Nara Line operates about every 10 minutes, but keep in mind it has fewer trains compared to Hankyu or the subway. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes, and the fare is 270 yen.

Getting There by Taxi

Heading from JR Kyoto Station to Kawaramachi by taxi takes approximately 10 minutes, with fares ranging from around 1,010 to 1,200 yen.

While it’s the pricier option, taking a taxi is a good choice if you want to get there quickly. Keep in mind that depending on the time of day, there might be traffic, which could result in a higher fare.

Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Kawaramachi

Kawaramachi is situated on the west side of the Kamo River. During the cherry blossom season in spring, you can explore scenic spots like Gion Shirakawa, where beautiful cherry blossoms can be enjoyed.

Takase River

The “Takase River” is a small river located just in front of Kawaramachi Station in Kyoto. Flowing parallel to the Kamo River on its immediate west, it runs from north to south.

During the Edo period, the Takase River was bustling with “Takasebune,” boats used to transport goods between Kyoto and Osaka. It’s also the setting of the novel “Takasebune” by Mori Ogai.

Along the present-day Takase River, particularly along Kawaramachi Street, which runs parallel to it from Nijo to Gojo, there are numerous dining establishments. Known not only as one of Kyoto’s major entertainment districts but also as a famous cherry blossom spot, it’s highly recommended to visit during the cherry blossom season.

In spring, along the Takase River from Shijo to Gojo, about 200 Somei Yoshino cherry trees bloom beautifully, stretching for approximately 1 kilometer. Strolling along the riverside is delightful, thanks to the picturesque cherry tree-lined path. Taking a leisurely walk by the river is a pleasant experience in itself. Enjoying a meal with a view of the cherry blossoms is also a great idea.

Moreover, you’ll come across numerous stone monuments around the Takase River area that commemorate events from the end of the Edo period. It’s a hidden gem where you can experience a laid-back atmosphere, quite different from the bustling entertainment districts.

Takase River

  • Address: Near Kawaramachi Street, Nijo-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: Just a short walk from “Kyoto Kawaramachi” Station, also easily accessible on foot from Keihan Railway’s “Shijo” or “Gojo” Stations.

Nishiki Market Shopping Street in Kyoto

“Nishiki Market Shopping Street” boasts a 400-year history, stretching over 390 meters. Known as the “Kitchen of Kyoto,” this lively market features around 130 shops.

You’ll find a variety of establishments, from traditional shops to trendy souvenir stores and cozy bars where you can casually enjoy a drink.

Especially, don’t miss trying the special croquette from “Kyono Oniku-dokoro Hiro Nishiki” and the Kyoto-style aged wheat gluten “Tanaku” from “Fufusa-rouho.”

“Kyono Oniku-dokoro Hiro Nishiki” is a butcher shop where you can savor hearty croquettes. In addition to croquettes, you can also enjoy steaks and meat sushi. “Fufusa-rouho,” known for its Kyoto-style aged wheat gluten “Tanaku,” is an established shop with a history dating back to the late Edo period. The Kyoto-style aged wheat gluten “Tanaku” is limited to 100 servings, so it’s advisable to go early if you want to try it.

It’s convenient because there’s a roof, so you don’t need to worry about carrying an umbrella, even on rainy days. I recommend setting aside about 1 to 2 hours to leisurely stroll around and enjoy some food.

Aside from enjoying meals on the spot, you can also buy souvenirs like sweets or dinner dishes to take home. As Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine is right in front of the shopping street, consider paying your respects to “Nishiki’s Tenjin” before enjoying your food journey.

Nishiki Market

  • Address: 609 Nishidaimonjicho, Teramachi-dori Shijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • 【Train】
      • Approximately 3 minutes on foot from Subway Karasuma Line “Shijo” Station,
      • approximately 3 minutes on foot from Hankyu Kyoto Line “Karasuma” Station,
      • approximately 4 minutes on foot from Hankyu Kyoto Line “Kyoto Kawaramachi” Station,
      • approximately 10 minutes on foot from Keihan Main Line “Shijo” Station.
    • 【Bus】
      • Approximately 2 minutes on foot from Kyoto Station, City Bus Route 5, “Shijo Takakura (in front of Daimaru Department Store).”
  • Closed: Varies by store
  • Business Hours: Varies by store
  • Official URL: Nishiki Market

Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine

“Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine” is a small shrine located along Shinkyogoku Street. Founded at the birthplace of Sugawara no Michizane, a famous deity of learning during the Heian period. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period, it was relocated to its current location as part of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s urban planning.

Due to the enshrinement of Michizane as the deity, the shrine is believed to bring blessings for academic success, prosperous business, fulfillment of wishes, good fortune, and protection from misfortune and disasters.

Within the grounds, there is a wellspring known as “Nishiki no Mizu,” one of Kyoto’s renowned pure waters. If you enter towards the left rear, you’ll find the Daigan Ume tree, believed to fulfill wishes and considered auspicious.

Additionally, like at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka, there is a sacred cow called “Goshingyuu” (pettable cow) enshrined. It’s said that you can receive blessings by gently petting it. When you visit, consider embracing the opportunity to experience these blessings.

The temple grounds may not be expansive, but they are packed with attractions. Due to its proximity to the shopping street, it tends to be crowded, but early mornings are less busy. If you want to explore at a leisurely pace, it’s recommended to visit in the early morning.

Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine

  • Address: 537 Nakanocho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: Approximately 5 minutes on foot from Kyoto’s “Kawaramachi” Station, 5 minutes on foot from the city bus stop “Shijo Kawaramachi.”
  • Phone: 075-231-5732
  • Closed: None
  • Business Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Admission: Free
  • Official URL: Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine


Pontocho, located near Shijo Kawaramachi Station, is a charming alley along the Kamo River, stretching 500 meters north and south. It’s a spot in Kawaramachi that particularly captures the essence of Kyoto.

Pontocho is one of the five areas in Kyoto known for “ochaya-asobi” or tea house entertainment. In this district, you’ll find a variety of establishments, including izakayas, traditional Japanese restaurants, local hangouts, as well as practice studios for geisha and tea houses.

The “Pontocho Kaburenjo” in Pontocho is where geisha and maiko entertain visitors with singing and dancing, making it a popular tourist attraction.

In recent years, the area has seen the rise of trendy hidden gem restaurants housed in historic buildings, attracting a younger crowd to Pontocho.

Stroll through the charming, meticulously maintained back alleys that embody the essence of Kyoto. As evening falls, the enchanting glow of the “Senraku” lanterns, symbolic of Pontocho, creates a wonderful atmosphere.

While walking along these lanes, you’ll find yourself compelled to pause and capture the picturesque scenes – it’s a perfect opportunity for a leisurely photo session.

Exploring these alleys is delightful, and you’ll also find welcoming establishments such as cozy tea houses and izakayas that even first-time visitors can enjoy. If a particular spot catches your eye, stepping inside for a closer look is highly recommended.

Pontocho is conveniently close to Kawaramachi Station and other popular attractions. Whether you take a brisk 10-minute walk or leisurely stroll for around 30 minutes, immerse yourself in the deep, authentic Kyoto vibes that Pontocho has to offer.


  • Address: Around the Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • 5 minutes on foot from Subway Tozai Line “Keihan Sanjo” Station,
    • 10 minutes on foot from “Kyoto City Hall” Station,
    • 5 minutes on foot from Keihan Electric Railway “Sanjo” Station,
    • 3 minutes on foot from “Gion Shijo” Station,
    • 5 minutes on foot from Hankyu Railway “Kawaramachi” Station
  • Closed: Varies by establishment
  • Business Hours: Varies by establishment
  • Official URL: Pontocho

Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Gion

Gion is situated on the right bank of the Kamo River, and you can find it by looking at the map. Beyond its tourist attractions, Gion offers a bustling shopping street and numerous eateries, providing various ways to enjoy your time.

Gion Shirakawa

Gion Shirakawa is a charming street lined with traditional townhouses featuring cobblestone paths and lattice-patterned exteriors. This picturesque location has even served as the backdrop for television dramas, making it an iconic image when one thinks of Kyoto.

If you’re fortunate, you might even encounter geisha or maiko while exploring the area.

During the cherry blossom season, a row of cherry blossom trees lines the flow of Shirakawa, where traditional restaurants and houses stand. Though there are not many cherry trees, approximately 40, the scenic beauty attracts numerous tourists who come to enjoy the cherry blossoms along the Shirakawa River.

I visited during the cherry blossom season, and it was the perfect time when the Somei Yoshino and weeping cherry blossoms were in full bloom, creating a beautiful spectacle. In the evening, the cherry blossoms are illuminated, presenting a must-see night view.

There were women dressed in kimonos and people capturing wedding photos, making the place lively with a bustling atmosphere even in the morning.

Spring brings beautiful cherry blossoms, while summer showcases vibrant greenery, autumn displays colorful foliage, and winter transforms the landscape into a snowy wonderland. Each season offers its own unique charm, making it enjoyable year-round. You’ll likely find yourself stopping often, compelled to capture numerous photos.

Despite being a hidden gem, not as widely known as popular tourist spots, this location remains a lesser-known but delightful destination.

Gion Shira-kawa

  • Address: Along Shira-kawa Minami-dori, Motokichi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: Approximately 3 minutes on foot from Keihan Main Line “Gion Shijo Station,” about 7 minutes on foot from City Bus “Gion”
  • Official Website: Gion Shira-kawa

Shijo Ohashi

“Shijo Ohashi” is a large bridge spanning the Kamo River along Shijo Street.

As you walk eastward from Shijo Kawaramachi Station along Shijo Street, you’ll come across Shijo Ohashi, overlooking the Kamo River. The Kamo River is a primary river in the Yodo River system, connecting to Osaka and passing under the bridges of Shimogamo Shrine, Sanjo Ohashi, and Shijo Ohashi.

Remember that Shijo Ohashi marks the division between Kawaramachi and Gion.

Near Shijo Ohashi, you’ll find historical architectural gems.

One notable site is the “Toka Saikan,” a Beijing-style restaurant built in 1926, designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property. Its retro ambiance from the Taisho era is distinctive, and you can catch a glimpse of its unique character even from the outside.

The view from the bridge is fantastic, making it a recommended spot for taking photos.

Additionally, the Kamo River is famous for couples sitting at evenly spaced intervals along its banks. If time allows, consider descending under the bridge. Sitting down, relaxing by the flowing river, you’ll naturally find a sense of tranquility settling over your mind.


  • Address: Kashiwaya-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kawabata-cho, Shimogyo-ku, and Saito-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: Get off at Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Main Line, or Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line.
  • Official Website: Shijo-Ohashi

Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine is the main shrine of approximately 2,300 Gion shrines across the country, dedicated to Susano-no-Mikoto. Known as a famous “Power Spot for Beauty and Love” in Kyoto, it is affectionately referred to as “Gion-san.” This popular shrine attracts numerous visitors from all over Japan.

The majestic main hall, known as “Gion-zukuri,” is a notable feature and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government.

Gion-zo enshrines three deities: Susano-no-Mikoto, Kushinadahime-no-Mikoto, and Yahashira-no-Mikogami. Its distinctive name comes from the unique architectural style where the main hall and worship hall are covered by a single roof. Constructed in 1654 by the Tokugawa shogun House Tsunayoshi, the current main hall replaced the original structure.

In addition to the main hall, there are other points of interest, including a dance hall, and on the north side of the main hall, you’ll find Hiyoshi Shrine, Hamono Shrine, Soreisha, and Itsukushima Shrine.

Within Yasaka Shrine, there are times when stalls are set up, offering the opportunity to enjoy light snacks. It’s within walking distance from Kawaramachi, and nearby attractions include Kiyomizu-dera, Kodai-ji, and Maruyama Park.

Yasaka Shrine (Kyoto)

  • Address: 625 Gion-machi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 5-minute walk from Keihan Gion Shijo Station
  • Phone: 075-561-6155
  • Closed: Open daily
  • Reception Hours: [Shrine Office] 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM *Visitation possible 24 hours
  • Official Website: Yasaka Shrine

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park, opened in 1886, boasts a spacious area of 8,600 square meters, making it the oldest park in Kyoto. It has evolved into the city’s premier recreational spot and was designated as a national scenic spot in 1931.

Located adjacent to Yasaka Shrine and Chion-in Temple, the park features a Japanese garden where visitors can enjoy changing scenery with each season.

Representing one of the iconic cherry blossom spots, Maruyama Park, especially known for its weeping cherry trees, stands out among the many cherry blossom locations. During cherry blossom season, it attracts a lively crowd, and when the author visited, it was bustling with many people.

From late March to early April, the park is illuminated at night to coincide with the cherry blossom season. If the timing is right, visiting during the cherry blossoms is a great idea.

In early summer, the park transforms with vibrant greenery. While spring and autumn tend to be busy, summer offers a quieter atmosphere, making it ideal for a leisurely exploration.

Autumn paints the vast garden with brilliant reds as the maple trees change colors. The “Hyotan Ike” pond within the park reflects the vibrant autumn foliage on sunny days, creating a picturesque scene.

With its ever-changing beauty throughout the seasons, the park provides a spacious environment, complete with benches and shops offering light snacks. It’s not only perfect for sightseeing but also an excellent spot for a relaxing family picnic.

Maruyama Park

  • Address: Maruyama-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • 12 minutes on foot from Keihan Electric Railway “Gion Shijo” Station
    • Approximately 13 minutes on foot from Hankyu “Kawaramachi” Station
    • Approximately 15 minutes on foot from Kyoto Municipal Subway “Sanjo Keihan” Station
  • Phone: 075-561-1350 (Kyoto City Greenery Association)
  • Closed: None
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours; Spring Illumination held from sunset to 22:00
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: Maruyama Park

Kawaramachi is a bustling district where you can enjoy more than just sightseeing – it’s a spot where you can indulge in everything from shopping to dining. With the convenience of trains and buses passing through, it offers excellent access to other tourist spots, making it even more delightful. It’s an ideal location to base your sightseeing adventures, so staying in Kawaramachi is highly recommended. Immerse yourself in the essence of Kyoto right here in Kawaramachi.


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