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The Philosopher's Path (哲学の道, Tetsugaku no michi) is a pleasant stone path through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district. The path follows a canal which is lined by hundreds of cherry trees. Usually in early April these trees explode with color, making this one of the city's most popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots.

Approximately two kilometers long, the path begins around Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and ends in the neighborhood of Nanzenji. The path gets its name due to Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan's most famous philosophers, who was said to practice meditation while walking this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University.

Restaurants, cafes, and boutiques can be found along the path, as well as a number of smaller temples and shrines which are a short walk from the canal. The most notable of the temples is Honen-in, with an entrance gate that is quite spectacular especially during the autumn leaf season.

The canal, that the path follows, is part of the Lake Biwa Canal which tunnels 20 kilometers through the mountains to Lake Biwa in nearby Shiga Prefecture. The canal was built during the Meiji Period in order to revitalize the stagnating local economy, and was used to power Japan's first hydroelectric power plant. A beautiful aqueduct, which is part of the canal, can be seen around Nanzenji.

Honen-in Temple

Access

The Philosopher's Path runs between Ginkakuji and the neighborhood of Nanzenji, a 5-10 minute walk north of Nanzenji's main temple buildings.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hotels around Kyoto

Recommended Hotels
Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
Book:
Agoda Booking

Tours and Experiences

Page last updated: December 1, 2016