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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto
Higashiyama District 
# 27   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

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Higashiyama around the Ninenzaka steps

The Higashiyama District along the lower slopes of Kyoto's eastern mountains is one of the city's best preserved historic districts. It is a great place to experience traditional old Kyoto, especially between Kiyomizudera and Yasaka Shrine, where the narrow lanes, wooden buildings and traditional merchant shops invoke a feeling of the old capital city. Recent renovations to remove telephone poles and repave the streets have further improved the traditional feel of the district.

The streets in Higashiyama are lined by small shops, cafes and restaurants which have been catering to tourists and pilgrims for centuries. These businesses retain their traditional design, although many have been renovated through the years, and they continue to serve customers today, selling local specialties such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets, pickles, crafts and other souvenirs.

The streets of Higashiyama in the morning

The shops and restaurants in the area typically open around nine or ten in the morning and close relatively early around five or six in the evening, except during the ten day long Hanatoro in March when the streets of Higashiyama are lined by thousands of lanterns and many of the area's temples, shrines and businesses have extended hours and special illuminations.

While the walk through the Higashiyama District between Kiyomizudera and Yasaka Shrine is only about two kilometers long and could be done in half an hour, you could easily spend half a day or more in the area, visiting the various temples, shrines, shops and cafes along the way. Good walkers are likely to enjoy walking beyond Yasaka Shrine past Chionin and Shorenin Temples to Heian Shrine, and possibly even further via Nanzenji and the Philosopher Path to Ginkakuji Temple.

Kiyomizudera Temple (more details)
Hours: 6:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 300 yen
Kiyomizudera is one of Japan's most popular temples. It stands in the wooded hills of eastern Kyoto and offers visitors a nice view over the city from its famous wooden terrace. The busy approach to the temple is lined by dozens of shops and restaurants that have been catering to pilgrims and tourists for centuries.

Kodaiji Temple (more details)
Hours: 9:00 to 17:30
Closed: No closing days
Fee: 600 yen
Kodaiji Temple was constructed in 1605 in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi by the great political leader's wife. It features temple halls, gravel and landscape gardens, teahouses and a bamboo grove.

Yasaka Pagoda
Hours: 10:00 to 16:00
Closed: No closing days
Fee: 400 yen
Yasaka Pagoda, the last remnant of Hokanji Temple, is one of the most visible and recognizable landmarks in the Higashiyama District. Visitors may climb up the inside of the five story pagoda, which is a rare opportunity as most pagoda can only be viewed from the outside.

Yasaka Shrine (more details)
Hours: Always open
Closed: No closing days
Fee: Free
Yasaka Shrine, host to the Gion Matsuri, is one of Kyoto's most popular shrines and is located at the eastern end of Shijo-dori next to Maruyama Park. The shrine's hanging lanterns are lit every night after dark.

Maruyama Park (more details)
Hours: Always open
Closed: No closing days
Fee: Free
Maruyama Park is a public park next to Yasaka Shrine. During the first half of April, when the cherry trees are in full bloom, Maruyama Park becomes Kyoto's most popular and most crowded spot for cherry blossom viewing.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
From Kyoto Station take bus number 100 or 206 in direction of Kiyomizudera. The Higashiyama district can be accessed from multiple bus stops between the Gojozaka (10 minutes, 230 yen one way) and Gion (15 minutes, 230 yen) bus stops.

Alternatively, the district can be reached in a 10-15 minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station or Gion-Shijo Station along the Keihan Line, from Kawaramachi Station along the Hankyu Line or from Higashiyama Station along the Tozai Subway Line.

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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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.
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.
Recommended Hotels around Kyoto - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
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
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
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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 Higashiyama:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of the best  
User Rating (by 340 users):
86/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 785):
159.  Osaka Aquarium (Osaka)   86/100
160.  Harajuku (Tokyo)   86/100
161.  Ouchijuku (Aizu)   86/100
162.  Nijo Castle (Kyoto)   86/100
163.  Biei (Furano)   86/100
164.  Higashiyama (Kyoto)   86/100
165.  Takaosan (Tokyo)   86/100
166.  Porotokotan (Noboribetsu)   86/100
167.  Hokusai Museum (Obuse)   86/100
168.  Nara Park (Nara)   86/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
113.  Tofukuji Temple (Kyoto)   704
114.  Gion Matsuri (Kyoto)   700
115.  Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Kobe)   695
116.  Toshodaiji Temple (Nara)   693
117.  Tokyo Skytree (Tokyo)   689
118.  Higashiyama (Kyoto)   682
119.  Yatai (Food Stalls) (Fukuoka)   681
120.  Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto)   668
121.  Ninnaji Temple (Kyoto)   664
122.  Climbing Mount Fuji (Mount Fuji)   663

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