The following is a suggested half day itinerary for medium paced travelers around Kyoto's Philosopher's Path. This itinerary can be extended to a full day plan with a few additions.

Nanzenji (1 hour)

Explore Nanzenji. Check out the view from Sanmon Gate and the gardens at the main temple and smaller subtemples around the complex. Finish around the brick aqueduct at the rear of the temple grounds.

Heian Shrine (1 hour)

Walk along the canal at the bottom of the Keage Incline until you get to a huge torii gate. Turn right and head to Heian Shrine. Check out the garden behind the shrine. Afterwards, backtrack to the torii and follow the Shirakawa Canal to Gion.

Gion (1 hour)

Explore the old wooden neighborhoods around the Shirakawa area of Gion. Cross Shijo Avenue and continue exploring Gion's Hanami-koji neighborhood. Afterwards, consider having dinner in Gion or Pontocho, or another of our suggested additions listed below.

Recommended additions

Kyoto Half Day Itineraries

This itinerary is easily combined with one of our other suggested Kyoto itineraries to make a full day plan. One possibility would be to do this itinerary in the morning followed by our Higashiyama itinerary in the afternoon.


Eikando is a large temple near Nanzenji that is especially nice to visit in autumn when the leaves change. Extremely popular evening illuminations are also held during the fall season.

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 of 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.


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

Tours and travel services

Page last updated: February 1, 2018