Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/4 04:32
Planning on staying 6 days in Kyoto during late March. Besides the top temples I wanted to visit a few less crowded temples and wanted to know which ones were the best.

I wouldnft want to to go to far outside the city (Kibune) and I prefer realism (so no reconstructed temples please).
by Alonso Odria  

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/4 08:17
There is a couple in the Otsu/Shiga/Biwako region. But would be similar travel distance as Kurama/Kifune.

Ishiyamadera, Miidera, Omi-Jingu, Hiyoshi Taisha etc.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/4 16:21
Go to Ryoanji right at the time of opening (ie be there at least 5 min before, not 15 min after). Then it is not crowded and very enjoyable.
I would also say that Ninnaji isnft so crowded. Itfs not like a temple in the countryside but not comparable in crowdedness to places like Kinkakuji.

If you go to Nara, try shin(!)yakushiji. It is actually not very far from the big shrine (Kasuga taisha) and also close to the lovely residence of Shiga Naoya. If you rent a bicycle at Nara station itfs very easy to reach. I think with public transport a bit less so, but I didnft try.

If you have the time to make it even more inwards Nara prefecture I would suggest Hasedera, but not sure about public transport there.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 02:41
When we were in Kyoto in June 2017, Ninnaji was very quiet, in particular compared to Kinkakuji which we had just visited earlier. My daughter and I really enjoyed it.

It's at its best during Golden Week when the azalea are in bloom, but I really liked Nagaoka Tenmangu a little outside of Kyoto in Nagaoka. It has a great example of Sangaku art and I thought was quite pleasant. The azalea bushes there are over 150 years old.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 08:00
"Best" is very subjective, but here are a couple of suggestions for non-touristy spot that 90+% of the hordes do not visit.
Kitano Tenman-gū Shrine and Hirano Shrine - next to each other - long history.
Honjan-ji (east and west versions - pick one or both).
Toji (the pagoda was open during my last visit)
Kodai-ji paired with Entoku-in (I especially like the bamboo grove here).

And when I visited Nanzen-ji Temple (a few people strolling around) last year we popped into Konchi-in. Again hardly anyone there (five people). We also went to the top temple labeled on the map as ŏ@ and we were the only people there until a photographer turned up. Famous, historic and interesting places in Kyoto don't have to be crowded.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 09:58
One caveat to @JapanCustomTours suggestions, Toji and Kitano Tenman Gu both get a lot more crowded during nice weather on their flea market days.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 14:46
And Toji would have been nice on the illumination evenings as well, but my last visit I missed that by a couple of days and it was pretty quiet.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 15:14
It depends what you're looking for of course, and I presume you are actually referring to both temples and shrines. The season really changes the atmosphere as well, and some places are especially good for the autumn colors. Others are good with the explosion of green in summertime. The cherry blossom and autumn leaf seasons are also wildly more crowded.

A few notable places:

The Honganji Temples & Shoseien Garden
These are some of the most impressive structures in Kyoto - yet often ignored by the crowds. They're also open around dawn, so they're easy to fit in if you can get up early. You can walk to them from Kyoto Station.

This shrine is mostly unknown to most, and has 5 varied and nice gardens. It's south of Kyoto Stn, and southwest of Takeda Stn.

Otagi Nenbutsuji
This amazing place sits at the end of Arashiyama, so not so many find it. It's one of the most whimsical places you'll ever see in Japan.

Tanukidanisan Fudoin
Tucked away on Kyoto's east side in the mountains east of Shimogamo Jinja, this often overlooked place will amaze you if like the tanuki or Japanese raccoon-dog.

Kokedera (Saihoji)
Kyoto's most expensive temple which needs advance reservations (they pick the time) has what many regard as the best moss garden, which almost glows at you from late spring through autumn. It doesn't get 'crowded', since the number of visitors at any one time is tightly controlled. But if you can't sit in seiza or crosslegged for a long time for the prerequisite rituals first, maybe you should skip it.

Very close to the Mt Hiei cable car, this place might have Kyoto's 2nd most expensive admission at 2000 yen. It's especially popular for its garden in autumn. That's when it gets crowded, but mostly by Japanese. Other times are much more tranquil.

This temple is about a 20 minute bus ride from the northern subway station Kokusai Kaikan. Some know it but it still doesn't get the big crowds like some other places. The moss garden from late spring is also wonderful - it also has gorgeous hydrangea. The garden is superb.

Ryozen Kannon
Not so many know Kyoto has its own Daibutsu or Great Buddha. This place is actually a temple and WW2 memorial. It's no Todaiji like in Nara, but nearly unknown and few visit it. It honors the dead from all sides.

Next to it is the Ryozen Gokoku Shrine and Museum of History, which focuses a lot on the fall of the Shogunate. The former has Sakamoto Ryoma's grave, but some may not like the imperial and wartime monuments + nihonjinron, a la Yasukuni in Tokyo. It's just south of Maruyama Park.

This is not a temple, but still one of Kyoto's most beautiful places. It's bypassed by those who just don't know it and shortchanged by those who do. It's the old home & garden of a prime minister at the end of the 19th century, and it's well worth your attention. It's in between Heian Shrine and the Nanzenji Temple.

It also goes without saying that you can still visit the more popular places in the off hours and also avoid most of the crowds. Fushimi Inari is open 24/7, and you could have the place almost completely to yourself at dawn, and also pretty uncrowded in the evening.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 15:20
Agree that Shoseien is really worth a look. Tofukuji is really nice too, and not busy a lot of the time.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 15:48
haven't heard most of the names in that list, except for kokedera, but that one is too expensive! will consider Honganji as a must

what are your opinions on the following temples:

1. Daigoji
2. Tofukiji
3. Toji
4. Ninnanji
5. Ryoanji
6. Daitokuji
7. Kinninji
8. Nanzenji
9. Nembutsuji
10. Gioji
11. Daikakuji
12. Shugakuin villa
13. Katsura villa

do you know any of them? do you think are worth while? what crowds can be expected? for what I've read they are all highly ranked in japan-guide after the more famous ones like Fushimi inari or Kiyomizudera
by Alonso Odria rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/5 16:55
Well if you've heard about them, it's likely the crowds have as well.

Also nobody explicitly said this yet but you mentioned that your'e going in late March, which is typically the start of cherry blossom season - so there are a lot more crowds to deal with - even the places without the blossoms get a lot of spillover.
Every place on your list is pretty well known. For the Nenbutsuji Temples, you'd need to specify which one - I mentioned the Otagi Nenbutsuji but there is also the Adashino Nenbutsuji.
For me Otagi is far more interesting and humorous, but nobody goes to Arashiyama to see one place and leave. Gioji is another example. It's worth seeing as part of a tour of the area, but not to really go out of the way for. It too is famous for its moss garden, but if you are going in late March it is too early for you to enjoy it.
You can make a tour of many places to fill a half or full day.
The Villas require you to sign up with the Imperial Household Agency, and then get on the led by the nose tour. The places are really beautiful though.

I'd say all the places you mention are worth going to. But given the time and how famous they are, you'll hardly be alone.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best less crowded temples in Kyoto? 2018/3/6 00:30
Shugakuin and Katsura, like Kokedera, require advance permission. The only way to see Shugakuin and Katsura is via a tour, so I would say while they are both famous, because you can only go as part of a tour they are not that crowded. Neither is a temple or shrine though, both are former Imperial Villas with lovely gardens. I really loved Katsura and as soon as my daughter is old enough to visit, I want to go back.
by rkold rate this post as useful

reply to this thread