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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto - Eastern Kyoto
Philosopher's Path 
# 13   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

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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

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How to get there
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

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Hotels and Ryokan
Kyoto offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and tastes, including historic ryokan, Western style hotels and low-budget hostels. Among the most attractive districts to stay are the Kyoto Station area, the city center around Shijo Street and the Higashiyama District.
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Gion Hatanaka
A real Japanese inn in a quiet area of Gion, famous for Geisha. 15min walk to Kiyomizu-dera. 5min to Yasaka-jinja.
Ryokan Saka-no-ue
Traditional, cozy ryokan with 12 rooms. Japanese cottage style houses available. Located near Yasaka Shrine and Gion.
Ryokan Motonago
A real traditional inn at Gion with 11 rooms, friendly staff. Walking distance of Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka-jinja and more.
Gion Shinmonso
A fine ryokan in the Gion near geisha streets. Easy access to Kiyomizu-dera and Yasaka-jinja. Special offers available.
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Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
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Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
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Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
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Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
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New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
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Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
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Tours and Packages
Kyoto Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Philosopher's Path:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 768 users):
85/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 784):
195.  Ohara (Kyoto)   85/100
196.  Mount Mitake (Tokyo)   85/100
197.  Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto)   85/100
198.  Sakurajima (Kagoshima)   85/100
199.  Narai (Kiso Valley)   85/100
200.  Philosopher's Path (Kyoto)   85/100
201.  Yakushiji Temple (Nara)   85/100
202.  Irozaki Coast (Izu Peninsula)   85/100
203.  Hongu Taisha (Kumano)   85/100
204.  Odaiba (Tokyo)   85/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
46.  Ameyoko (Tokyo)   1466
47.  Osaka Aquarium (Osaka)   1393
48.  Roppongi Hills (Tokyo)   1393
49.  Kyoto Tower (Kyoto)   1388
50.  Umeda Sky Building (Osaka)   1385
51.  Philosopher's Path (Kyoto)   1360
52.  Toshogu Shrine (Nikko)   1307
53.  Yamashita Park (Yokohama)   1265
54.  Nagoya Castle (Nagoya)   1255
55.  Tokyo Disneyland (Tokyo)   1241

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