Kyoto’s Maruyama Park: Unveiling Its Wonders and Best Dining Spots

Maruyama Park is a vast 8,600 square meter park located in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto City.

Established in December of Meiji 19 (1886) by government decree, Maruyama Park has been a prominent feature in Kyoto’s landscape. Adjacent to notable temples and shrines like Yasaka Shrine, Kodai-ji Temple, and Chion-in Temple, it offers easy access for tourists along with other sightseeing spots.

As one of Kyoto’s oldest parks, Maruyama Park boasts a traditional Japanese garden, allowing visitors to enjoy the changing scenery throughout the seasons. Stay tuned as we introduce the highlights and enjoyable aspects of this scenic park, providing you with some inspiration for your visit.

Introducing the History of Maruyama Park!

Maruyama Park has its roots dating back to the 19th year of the Meiji era (1886). In the 19th year of the Meiji era, Maruyama Park was designated as a park area based on a decree from the Meiji government, giving birth to what we know today as Maruyama Park.

Among Kyoto’s parks, it stands out as one of the oldest and remains a popular destination for leisure and scenic views. During the period from the 19th to the 45th year of the Meiji era, developments such as the construction of ponds, fountains, and an outdoor music hall took place, shaping Maruyama Park into what it is today.

In the Heian period, the area that now encompasses Maruyama Park was known as “Makuzugahara.” Later, in the Edo period, Jionzan Anyouji Temple was built, and the area came to be called “Maruyama,” derived from the temple’s name.

Tourist Information for Maruyama Park

  • Address: Various locations in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Phone Number: 075-643-5405
  • Closed: Open all year round
  • Opening Hours: Always open for public access
  • Admission Fee: Free
  • Official Website: Maruyama Park

Maruyama Shrine, located in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto City, is a tourist spot where you can come and go freely 24 hours a day. There are no regular holidays, so feel free to explore the park at any time of the year.

However, please note that reservations are required for the Kyoto Maruyama Park Music Hall. The rental fee for the music hall is ¥15,710 on weekends and holidays, and ¥13,610 on weekdays if the event is free. If the event is paid, the rental fee is 7% of the total amount, or ¥31,420 if the 7% of the total amount is less than ¥31,420.

Access to Maruyama Park

Getting to Maruyama Park is convenient by taking a bus or train from JR Kyoto Station, which serves as the hub for Kyoto sightseeing. Since roads leading to the park from the station area can often be congested, it’s advisable to use public transportation.

When heading to Kyoto Station, the limousine bus from Itami Airport and JR trains from major cities like Osaka and Tokyo are convenient options. If you plan to visit Maruyama Park while exploring the station and the city, consider using the city buses or subway with available day passes.

Train Access

  • A 10-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway.
  • A 10-minute walk from Higashiyama Station on the Tozai Subway Line.
  • A 15-minute walk from Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Railway Kyoto Main Line.

Bus Access

  • A 5-minute walk from the “Gion” bus stop served by Kyoto City Bus routes 12, 31, 46, 80, Rapid 100, 201, 202, 203, 206, and 207.
  • A 5-minute walk from the “Gion” bus stop served by Keihan Bus routes 83, 83A, 84, 84C, 85, 85A, 86, 86A, 86B, 87, 87A, 87B, 88, and 88C.
    • ※For Kyoto City Bus, it’s recommended to take buses 201-207 to reach Gion.

Relaxing Spot in Kyoto! Discover the Charms of Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park, located in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto, is a popular tourist spot known for its scenic beauty. In this expansive green park, we’ll highlight some of the must-see attractions.

Famous for Cherry Blossoms! “Scenic Beauty in Every Season”

Maruyama Park, surrounded by lush nature in the Higashiyama area, is a scenic spot where you can enjoy the beauty of each season. This park, spanning 8,600 square meters, is renowned for its cherry blossoms in spring.

Among the many cherry trees, the prominent weeping cherry tree, affectionately known as “Gion Shidare,” stands out. It’s said that the second-generation weeping cherry tree, planted after the 200-year-old tree died, is now over 80 years old. From late March to early April, the park is illuminated at night to coincide with the peak cherry blossom season.

In early summer, you can enjoy the fresh greenery that covers the entire park. The spacious grounds offer plenty of shaded areas, making it comfortable to spend time outdoors even on hot days.

Bench areas covered in ivy provide cool spots to relax, even when temperatures soar above 30 degrees Celsius. Compared to popular seasons like autumn or spring, there are fewer tourists during this time, making it a hidden gem season.

In autumn, the vast gardens are ablaze with brilliant red maple leaves. The “Hyotan Pond” within the park offers a picturesque view of the autumn foliage reflected in the crystal-clear water on sunny days.

Unlike the softness of spring, you can enjoy the distinctive, atmospheric scenery typical of Kyoto. With its spacious grounds, you can leisurely explore the park compared to nearby spots like Kiyomizu Temple and Yasaka Shrine.

The “Japanese Garden” Designated as a National Scenic Beauty

In the heart of Maruyama Park lies a Japanese garden, which has been designated by the government.

Crafted by Ogawa Jihei VII, this garden follows the traditional Japanese style, incorporating the grandeur of Higashiyama’s natural landscape into its design. At the center of the Japanese garden lies a large pond, with views resembling a valley unfolding as you venture deeper into it.

Dating back to the early days of the Taisho era, this historic Japanese garden is imbued with the charm of Maruyama Park’s seasonal beauty. Beyond the Japanese garden, a winding path leads to a serene stream, offering a tranquil spot where you can enjoy the soothing sound of flowing water.

As you venture further into the garden, you’ll find fewer tourists, providing a sense of discovery and tranquility.

At the heart of the Japanese garden lies a gourd-shaped pond, offering panoramic views of the natural beauty of Higashiyama and the surrounding trees in the park.

One of the charms of the garden is the opportunity to enjoy different scenery depending on the season and time of day. Around the large pond, you’ll find benches where visitors can take a break and admire the views while exploring the park.

In front of the Japanese garden, there are weeping cherry trees that bloom with pink flowers in spring. Before the cherry trees, there is a large dove sculpture, which serves as a landmark when the flowers are not in bloom.

Explore Famous Spots Inside the Park, Including Statues of Historical Figures from the Late Edo Period

At the top of the slope in Maruyama Park, you’ll find bronze statues of the renowned figures from the end of the Edo period, Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro.

The background behind the creation of these two statues dates back to 1934 when Shota Yoshimatsu, a former naval minister, initiated the idea to honor the two figures who laid the foundation for the navy. Permission was granted to erect the statues within Maruyama Park, and thus, statues of Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro were erected.

Although confiscated by the government during World War II to be used as resources for weapons, the statues were reconstructed in 1962 by the inaugural chairman of the Kochi Prefecture People’s Association. The composition of the statues, with Ryoma standing and Shintaro seated, was designed to conceal the height difference between the two individuals.

Contemplating these two great figures while admiring their statues can offer a moment of reflection on history.

At “Ginsharyo” within Maruyama Park, you can try the famous Kyoto specialty called “nishin soba.”

Enjoy soba noodles served with a broth made from kombu seaweed and bonito, along with herring that has been debittered over the course of a week. You can also find sweets like dumplings and sweet red bean soup available for casual takeaway within the park.

Moreover, during the hot summer months, they offer refreshing shaved ice and other seasonal limited-time treats. It’s a great idea to stop by for a break or a snack while exploring the park.

Right in front of Ginsharyo, there’s a relaxation area where you can enjoy ice cream and dumplings.

Moreover, there are other attractions such as the Maruyama Park Outdoor Music Hall, where regular music events take place. During the pleasant seasons, take a leisurely stroll around the park, exploring its various attractions while enjoying the scenery.

Recommended Sightseeing Spots Around Maruyama Park

In the area surrounding Maruyama Park, located in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto, there are plenty of popular spots that attract many visitors exploring Kyoto. These include unique sightseeing spots such as Chion-in, considered the head temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism with national treasures within its precincts, and Yasaka Shrine, which is adjacent to the park and known for its distinctive character.

Explore Chion-in, the Head Temple of the Jodo Sect, where you can admire National Treasures

Take the City Bus Route 206 and get off at “Chion-in Mae” bus stop, just a 5-minute walk from there, nestled on a hillside right next to Maruyama Park.

Chion-in is considered the head temple of the Jodo Sect founded by Honen Shonin. Its serene grounds surrounded by the natural beauty of Mt. Higashiyama offer a tranquil escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

At the heart of the temple grounds lies the Miedo Hall, enshrining the image of Honen Shonin. Designated as a national treasure, the Miedo Hall was constructed in 1639 under the patronage of Tokugawa Iemitsu.

Currently undergoing extensive renovations, the interior of the hall is not open to visitors at the moment.

Constructed in 1622 under the orders of Tokugawa Hidetada, the second shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty, the Sanmon Gate has been designated as a national treasure.

Among the wooden gates found across Japan, the Sanmon Gate stands out for its impressive size, boasting one of the largest among them. As you ascend the stairs from the approach, its imposing presence becomes more overwhelming the closer you get. Consisting of three gateways called “Kuimon,” “Musomon,” and “Muganmon,” representing stages of enlightenment and liberation, it’s referred to as “Sanmon,” meaning “three gates,” rather than “Sanmon,” or “mountain gate.”

Information about Chion-in Temple

  • Address: 400 Rinkacho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 5 minutes on foot from the “Chion-in Mae” bus stop on route 206, 8 minutes on foot from the “Higashiyama” subway station on the Tozai Line
  • Phone number: 075-531-2111
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Hours: 5:00 AM to 4:00 PM (may vary depending on the season)
  • Admission: Free
  • Official URL: Chion-in Temple

Visiting Yasaka Shrine, Symbol of Higashiyama

Yasaka Shrine, affectionately known as “Gion-san” among Kyoto locals, is located just a short walk from the Gion bus stop, served by bus routes 206 and 100. This shrine, which enshrines Susano-o no Mikoto, known for its multiple blessings, symbolizes the Higashiyama area of Kyoto.

As you walk along Shijo Street towards Yasaka Shrine, you’ll come across the “Nishiromon” gate. Passing through this gate, designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan, you’ll enter the precincts where you’ll find the main hall, also designated as an Important Cultural Property.

Beneath the main hall lies a pond where the Blue Dragon is said to rest, guarding the Higashiyama area of Kyoto.

For those interested in beauty, consider stopping by the Utsukushigozensha Shrine, which enshrines three goddesses known for their beauty. This shrine, dedicated to goddesses associated with wealth and beauty, is considered a power spot for beauty. Near the main hall, there is a spring called “Beauty Water,” believed to bestow beauty benefits when applied in a few drops to the skin.

Yasaka Shrine Visitor Information

  • Address: 625 Kitagawa, Gion-machi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: A short walk from Gion bus stop (routes 206 and 100), 5 minutes on foot from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway
  • Phone Number: 075-561-6155
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Hours: Open for visitation at all times
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: Yasaka Shrine

Explore the Historic Enclave of Shoren-in Monzeki, a Tendai Buddhist Temple with Many Important Cultural Assets

Shoren-in Monzeki, located just a 5-minute walk from Higashiyama Station on the Tozai subway line, is a temple with a rich history, serving as one of the three gates of the renowned Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei, the headquarters of the Tendai sect.

Esteemed for its long-standing connections to the imperial family, this prestigious Monzeki temple boasts national treasures like the Aofudo statue and numerous other important cultural assets. Monzeki temples traditionally have been passed down through generations of the imperial family or regent’s household.

Situated in the popular Higashiyama area, Shoren-in Monzeki is just a 7-minute walk from Maruyama Park. Its proximity to attractions like Chion-in Temple and Yasaka Shrine makes it an ideal stop during your exploration of Higashiyama.

Within the precincts, there are several halls, temples, and a pond garden designed in the traditional Japanese style.

Please note that photography is generally prohibited outside the garden area, so be mindful when taking photos. The precincts, offering diverse scenery throughout the seasons, are designated as a national historic site.

The highlight of the precincts is the national treasure “Aofudo Son.” It is said to be the incarnation of the esteemed Dainichi Nyorai as Fudo Myoo. Due to the exalted status of Dainichi Nyorai, it became common to worship the incarnation of Fudo Myoo instead.

Among the Fudo Myoo statues categorized by color – blue, yellow, red, white, and black – the Aofudo at Shoren-in Monzeki is considered the highest-ranking. Visit the temple to admire the Aofudo, a rare sight found only at Shoren-in, and enjoy the beautiful garden.

Shoren-in Monzeki Tourist Information

  • Address: Sanjo-Bocho, Awataguchi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 5-minute walk from Tozai Line “Higashiyama” Station, 3-minute walk from bus stop “Jingu-michi” for bus routes 5, 46, 100, 10-minute walk from Maruyama Park
  • Phone: 075-561-2345
  • Closed: Open daily
  • Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Last entry at 4:30 PM);
    • Extended hours during spring and autumn for night illumination: 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Last entry at 9:30 PM)
  • Admission: Adults 500 yen, Middle/High School Students 400 yen, Elementary School Students 200 yen
  • Official Website: Shoren-in Monzeki

Recommended Dining Spots around Maruyama Park

The Higashiyama area, where Maruyama Park is located, offers a variety of dining options along with its tourist attractions. Along Shijo Street, known as Kyoto’s main thoroughfare, and near temples and shrines, you’ll find a range of eateries from cafes to restaurants. Indulge in dishes full of character unique to each establishment, such as the traditional “oyakodon” (chicken and egg rice bowl) or parfaits infused with Uji matcha, allowing you to experience Kyoto’s rich history through its culinary offerings.

Enjoy the Fluffy and Delicious Oyakodon from the Established Restaurant “Hisago” in Gion Shimogawara, Founded in 1930.

From Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Railway, it’s a 13-minute walk, and from the Higashiyama Yasui bus stop, it’s a 3-minute walk to this long-established Japanese restaurant.

They offer a variety of dishes ranging from their signature Oyakodon to noodles and rice dishes. In the summer, the cold “seiro soba” is popular, while in spring, autumn, and winter, the “nishin soba” is a favorite.

Their signature Oyakodon, priced at 1,060 yen (tax included), features tenderly simmered chicken and fluffy egg atop rice, creating a dish bursting with flavor. Indulge in the taste of this longstanding establishment, which has been serving since 1930.

store information for Hisago in Gion Shimogawara

  • Address: Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 484 Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-dori, Yasaka Torii-mae-sagaru, Japan
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: A 13-minute walk from Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway, a 3-minute walk from the Higashiyama Yasui bus stop on the No. 206 bus route.
  • Phone Number: +81 75-561-2109
  • Closed: Mondays and Fridays
  • Hours: 11:30 AM to 7:00 PM (Last order at 6:30 PM)
  • Budget: ¥1,000 – ¥1,999

Right by the Weeping Cherry Trees in Maruyama Park! “Kaikatei Café”

Just a 10-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway, this café is conveniently located near the famous “Weeping Cherry Trees” in Maruyama Park.

At Kaikatei Café, you can find a variety of drinks and sweets, making it a perfect spot for a break during your sightseeing adventures. With outdoor terrace seating available, it’s a great place to visit during cherry blossom or autumn foliage seasons.

Their “Strawberry Milk Shaved Ice” priced at 650 yen (tax included) is a summer-exclusive treat. Featuring fluffy shaved ice topped with sweet syrup, it’s a refreshing delight on hot summer days.

Kaikatei Café Information

  • Address: Maruyama Park, Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 5-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway, 6-minute walk from Gion Bus Stop (Bus Route 206)
  • Phone: 075-561-2115
  • Closed on: Mondays (may have irregular closures on other days)
  • Business Hours: [Mon-Fri] 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, [Sat-Sun/Holidays] 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (extended hours during busy periods on weekdays and weekends)
  • Budget: [Dinner] 2,000 – 2,999 yen, [Lunch] 1,000 – 1,999 yen

Enjoy Delicious Specialty Parfaits with Uji Matcha at “Saryo Tsujiri Gion Main Store”

Just a 5-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway lies “Saryo Tsujiri,” a renowned matcha (green tea) establishment. In 1978, they expanded their offerings beyond beverages, starting “Saryo Tsujiri Gion Main Store” as a place to enjoy tea.

Their aim isn’t just about sipping matcha but also incorporating it into various sweets, reflecting their dedication to enhancing the matcha experience through culinary delights. Located beneath the café is the “Tsujiri Main Store,” where you can purchase matcha sweets and tea souvenirs.

One highlight is the “Tsujiri Parfait” priced at ¥1,232 (tax included), a specially crafted parfait featuring Uji matcha. Layered with matcha-infused cream and jelly, each bite offers a delightful transformation of flavors.

Shop Information for Tsujiri’s Saryo Restaurant

  • Address: 573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, 2F・3F Gion Tsujiri Main Store
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: A 5-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway
  • Phone Number: 075-561-2257
  • Closed: Open all year round
  • Business Hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Budget: ¥1,000 to ¥1,999

In Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, you’ll find Maruyama Park, a popular sightseeing spot known for its magnificent drooping cherry blossoms in spring and a Japanese garden designated as a national scenic beauty. Adjacent to temples and shrines like Yasaka Shrine and Kodai-ji Temple, it’s conveniently located and easy to access. Take a stroll through the vast 8,600 square meters of the park and experience the beauty of nature in Maruyama Park.


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