Summary of Recommended Tourist Attractions in Gion and Kiyomizu Area.

This article summarizes the main tourist attractions in Higashiyama Ward.
In this area, you can find world-famous sites such as Kiyomizu Temple and Sanjusangendo with the “Thousand-Armed Kannon” statue.
Be sure to check out this article and consider a trip to Kyoto.

Kamo River

“Kamo River” is a charming place in Kyoto loved by people of all ages, from young children to the elderly.

Many individuals visit to take leisurely strolls, enjoy cycling, read books, or go on romantic dates, making it a versatile and beloved spot.

The distance between Shijo Ohashi in Kyoto and the Kamo River Delta is approximately 3 kilometers, and taking a leisurely stroll along this stretch is quite delightful. As you walk, you can appreciate the characteristic Kyoto townscape on both sides, and the scenery constantly changes, keeping the views interesting.

When you reach the Kamo River Delta, you’ll find yourself at the confluence of the Takano River to the east and the Kamogawa River to the west. When it comes to Kyoto, one famous aspect is the anime studio Kyoto Animation, often referred to as “Kyoto Animation.” They are well-known for producing many anime series and films.

Among their works, you may have heard of “K-On!” (“けいおん!” in Japanese). In addition to this article, there’s also a separate “K-On!” pilgrimage article for those interested, as Kamo River is a place that holds a special significance for anime enthusiasts.

Information

  • Address: Imadegawa-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: Open for leisurely strolls
  • Admission Fee: Free

Yasaka Shrine

In Kyoto, the Yasaka Shrine is affectionately known as Gion-san.
The Gion Festival, also known as one of Japan’s three major festivals, is the festival of the Yasaka Shrine.

It spans a month, starting on July 1st, and features various events.
However, the highlight of the festival is the Yamahoko Junko procession held on July 17th and 24th.
In 2016, the Yamahoko Junko procession of the Kyoto Gion Festival was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, a part of the World Heritage.

Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about the “Utsukushigozen Shrine” located on the right side as you face the main hall.
The sacred water that gushes out in front of the shrine is said to be beauty water.
It’s believed that applying a few drops to your skin can make it more beautiful and, at the same time, enhance your inner beauty.

Kyoto’s streets have their charm in every season, from cherry blossoms to autumn foliage.
However, my recommendation is during the Gion Festival.
It’s true that you’ll have to endure Kyoto’s scorching heat and the crowds, but you’ll experience a unique atmosphere filled with excitement that’s well worth witnessing.

Information

  • Address: 625 Giommachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 5 minutes on foot from Keihan Gion Shijo Station
  • Phone: 075-561-6155
  • Closed on: Open every day
  • Office Hours: Shrine Office from 9:00 to 17:00
    • Shrine grounds are open for visitation 24 hours
  • Official Website: Yasaka Shrine

Maruyama Park

After visiting Yasaka Shrine, a must-visit spot is Maruyama Park.
It was opened in 1886 and is Kyoto’s oldest park, now designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty by the government.
It is renowned as one of Kyoto’s top cherry blossom viewing spots, attracting many visitors during the cherry blossom season.

The most famous cherry tree in the park is the “Ichimonji-shira-kanhizakura,” a variety of weeping cherry tree.
The original tree died in 1947, and the current tree is its second generation.

Especially, the nighttime illumination of the cherry blossoms is popular, and the park remains lively with visitors enjoying the blossoms until late at night.

Information

  • Address: Higashiyama-ku, Maruyama-cho, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • 12-minute walk from Keihan Electric Railway Gion-Shijo Station
    • Approximately 13-minute walk from Hankyu Karasuma Station
    • Approximately 15-minute walk from Kyoto Municipal Subway Sanjo-Keihan Station
  • Phone Number: 075-561-1350 (Kyoto City Urban Greening Association)
  • Closed on: Open all year round
  • Operating Hours: Open 24 hours
    • Spring illumination from sunset to 10:00 PM
  • Fare: Free
  • Official Website: Maruyama Park

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kyoto is filled with numerous must-visit attractions, and one of the most popular and iconic destinations is Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
Locally, it’s affectionately known as “Kiyomizu-san.”
The history of Kiyomizu-dera dates back to ancient times when it was founded in the year 778.
It was established by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, a renowned figure for his efforts in pacifying the northeastern regions, in the year 780.

The name “Kiyomizu-dera” is derived from a poem by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro that reads, “The pure water linking the streams down from the mountains, sounds so divine.”
Unfortunately, Kiyomizu-dera has suffered several fires throughout its history.
The current main hall was reconstructed during the Edo period under the sponsorship of Tokugawa Iemitsu, and it has stood for approximately 400 years, which is truly remarkable.

When people think of Kiyomizu-dera, the phrase “Kiyomizu no Butai” often comes to mind, referring to the famous wooden stage of the temple’s main hall.
The main hall is supported by 168 massive wooden pillars and crossbeams without the use of any nails.
This truly showcases the high level of Japanese architectural craftsmanship and engineering.

Information

  • Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 10-minute walk from the Gion bus stop (Buses 206 and 100)
  • Phone: 075-551-1234
  • Closed on: Open daily
  • Visiting Hours:
    • 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM (until 6:30 PM in July and August)
    • *Special evening admission (spring, summer, and autumn) until 9:00 PM
  • Admission Fees:
    • High School Students and above: 400 yen
    • Middle and Elementary School Students: 200 yen
    • (same rate for special evening admission)
  • Official Website: Kiyomizu Temple

Sanju-sangen-do

To get to the “Sanjusangen-do” temple from JR Kyoto Station, you can take the city bus routes 206 or 208.
Get off at the “Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae” bus stop, which is just a 1-minute walk from the temple.
Inside the temple, you will find the national treasure, the “Thousand-Armed Kannon” statue, along with a total of 1,001 Buddhist statues lining the hall.

The temple is officially named “Rengeo-in Sanjusangendo,” and it is known for the stunning array of statues.
It is said that among these statues, there may be one that resembles someone you wish to meet or even one that looks like yourself.
Please note that photography inside the hall is not allowed, so be sure to visit in person to admire the breathtaking sight created by the 1,001 statues.

While the Sanjusangen-do temple’s main hall is the primary attraction, the temple grounds have other notable features to explore.
The Japanese garden within the temple grounds was designed by the renowned Kyoto landscape architect Kan’nosaku Nakane in 1961.
The garden features walking paths surrounded by lush greenery and is designed to be wheelchair-friendly, making it accessible to people with mobility challenges and the elderly.

Take the opportunity to appreciate the changing scenery throughout the seasons.
Along the way, you’ll come across the “Yonaki Jizo,” a statue believed to have the power to calm a crying child if you offer a prayer.
Explore the temple’s beautiful garden and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere it provides, in addition to the renowned Sanjusangen-do hall.

Information

  • Address: 657 Sanjusangendo-mawari, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: From JR Kyoto Station, take city buses 206 or 208 to “Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae” bus stop, then walk 1 minute.
  • Phone: 075-561-3334
  • Closed: Open year-round
  • Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • (From November 16 to the end of March: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
  • Admission Fee:
    • General – 600 yen
    • High School & Middle School Students – 400 yen
    • Children – 300 yen
  • Official Website: Sanjusangen-do Temple

Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto National Museum primarily showcases historically significant cultural treasures of Kyoto.
It not only presents exhibitions but also engages in research, various initiatives, and cultural heritage preservation, serving as a facility for the conservation and utilization of these treasures.

The origins of the Kyoto National Museum date back to the establishment of the Imperial Museums in 1889, which included the Imperial Museum in Tokyo, the Imperial Kyoto Museum in Kyoto, and the Imperial Nara Museum in Nara.

Opened in 1897, it became an affiliate institution of the Cultural Protection Committee in 1924 and was renamed the Kyoto National Museum.
Over the years, it evolved into its current form through collaborations with various government agencies, ultimately becoming an independent administrative institution.

As previously mentioned, it undertakes a wide range of activities, including educational courses on its exhibits, presentations of its collection using music and film, and even hosting traditional Japanese storytelling performances featuring renowned entertainers.
For those with an interest in various cultural treasures of Kyoto, the Kyoto National Museum is highly recommended.

Information

  • Address: 527 Chayacho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • A 15-minute walk from Kyoto Station
    • just a short walk from the Museum Sanjusangendo-mae bus stop.
  • Phone Number: 075-525-2473
  • Closed: Mondays, New Year’s holidays
    • (If Monday is a public holiday, the museum is closed on the following Tuesday).
  • Opening Hours: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (Last entry at 4:30 PM)
    • *Hours may vary during special exhibition periods.
  • Admission Fee: Varies for each exhibition.
  • Official Website: Kyoto National Museum

Conclusion

Did the charm of this area come across to you?
Kyoto offers many other spots where you can experience deep history and magnificent nature.
These are summarized in other articles, so please be sure to check them out.

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