The following is a suggested half day itinerary for medium paced travelers that takes you through Kyoto's best historic districts, the Higashiyama District and the Gion District, and includes a visit to Kiyomizudera Temple. This itinerary can be extended to a full day plan with a one or more additions.

Start at Kiyomizudera Temple
Temple with an iconic wooden stage 60 minutes
Visit Kiyomizudera early in the day, if possible, as it tends to be less crowded in the mornings.
Walk down the shop-lined approach to Kiyomizudera.
10 minutes
Higashiyama District
Winding streets lined with traditional shophouses 60 minutes
Head down the Sannenzaka stairs onto the shopping streets below. Explore the historic shopping streets of the Higashiyama District. Continue past the Ninenzaka steps towards Kodaiji.
Continue north towards Kodaiji.
10 minutes
Kodaiji Temple
Zen temple with impressive gardens 45 minutes
Explore Kodaiji and surroundings
Continue west past the Yasaka Pagoda to Kenninji Temple.
10 minutes
Kenninji Temple
Kyoto's oldest Zen temple 45 minutes
View the temple grounds of Kenninji.
Continue north to Gion.
5 minutes
Traditional neighbourhood 60 minutes
Explore the old neighborhood along Gion's Hanami-koji street. Cross Shijo Avenue and continue exploring Gion's quieter Shirakawa canal district. Afterwards consider dinner in Gion or Pontocho.

Recommended Additions

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is a friendly market to explore and try some Japanese food, but beware that most of the shops along the market open relatively late in the morning and close by early evening.

Dinner along Pontocho

Pontocho is one of Kyoto's more atmospheric dining streets, especially during the summer months when many of the restaurants build open air decks for riverside dining. Most restaurants open around 17:00.

Dinner in Gion

Gion is a wonderful, if not pricy, place to experience Kyoto cuisine. Some of the city's most exclusive restaurants can be found in Gion, but there are also plenty of moderately priced establishments.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine intrigues visitors with its thousands of vermillion torii gates. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to explore depending on how far you want to walk through the tunnels of torii gates that lead the mountain behind the shrine.


The Higashiyama District is a popular shopping area that has been serving travelers and temple visitors for centuries. There is a large variety of stores selling Kyoto specialties, food, clothes and souvenirs. Or for more modern shopping, check out the boutiques, department stores and shopping arcades along Shijo Avenue.

Hotels around Kyoto

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