Saturday, June 18, 2016

Kyoto Travel: Visitng North-Western Area

Based on Japan National Tourism Organization's (JNTO) publication—Kyoto Walks, it says that, in Kyoto, the best surprises are reserved for those who are willing to walk. Among those recommended routes, it includes
  • Kinkakuji/Ryoanji Area (or the North-West area of Kyoto)
This area includes the following famous temples:
In this article, we will provide detailed travelling guides to this area.


  •  Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺videobest of the best
    • It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is also one of 17 locations comprising the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site.
    • Mirror Pond
      • Kinkakuji is an impressive structure built overlooking a large pond
    • Gardens
      • Hold a few spots of interest including Anmintaku Pond that is said to never dry up, and statues that people throw coins at for luck.
    • Admission fee: 400 yen
    • Open Hours: 9 am - 5 pm
  • Ryoanji Temple outstanding
    • Is the site of Japan's most famous rock garden, which attracts hundreds of visitors every day
      • An interesting feature of the garden's design is that from any vantage point at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the viewer.
    • Temple grounds also include a relatively spacious park area with pond
      • Besides some nice walking trails, the park also offers a restaurant which specializes in the Kyoto specialty of Yudofu (boiled tofu).
    • Admission Fee: 500 yen
    • Open Hours
      • 8 am - 5 pm (Mar - Nov)
      • 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (Dec - Feb)
  • Ninnaji Temple best of Japan
    • One highlight is the Goten, the former residence of the head priest in the southwestern corner of the temple complex
      • Built in the style of an imperial palace, the graceful buildings are connected with each other by covered corridors, feature elegantly painted sliding doors (fusuma) and are surrounded by beautiful rock and pond gardens
    • Is also famous for a grove of locally cultivated, late blooming cherry trees called Omuro Cherries
    • Admission Fee: 500 yen
    • Open Hours: 
      • 9 am - 5 pm (Mar - Nov)
      • 9 am - 4:30 pm (Dec - Feb)

Northern Kyoto Half Day

In [3], it says that you can plan a half day itinerary for Kinkakuji/Ryoanji Area. However, this itinerary can be easily extended to a full day plan with a few additions. A popular plan is to do Northern Kyoto in the morning and continue on to Arashiyama in the afternoon. Here are the itinerary:

Kinkaku-ji (stay: 45 mins) ⇒ Ryoanji Temple (stay:1 hour) ⇒ Ninnaji Temple (stay: 1 hour)

If you plan to walk from temple to temple, view this video and also click the map to enlarge.

Get to There and Around

There are two main types of buses operating in Kyoto: 
In addition to Kyoto's regular city bus services, Kyoto city also operates three loop buses specifically for tourists. These are the Raku 100, Raku 101 and Raku 102.  Read this article "Public Transport in Kyoto" to get yourself oriented first.

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) can be accessed from Kyoto Station by direct Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205 in about 40 minutes and for 230 yen. Alternatively, it can be faster and more reliable to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 260 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, 1000-1200 yen) or bus (10 minutes, 230 yen, bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205) from there to Kinkakuji.[1]

Photo Credit


  1. Kinkakuji (金閣寺 Golden Pavilion) 
  2. Kyoto Walks (JNTO)
  3. Northern Kyoto Half Day
  4. How to travel between Kyoto and Tokyo
  5. Kyoto Guide: Kyoto Buses
  6. Mapping Kyoto Streets (06/27/2012)
  7. Raku Bus 100
  8. Raku Bus 101
  9. Raku Bus 102
  10. Kyoto Bus 205
    • West-side route
      • Begins in south Kyoto at Toji-michi and travels to Kinkakuji on the west side of Kyoto via Kyoto Station, Kyoto Aquarium, Nishioji Shichijo, Nishioji Gojo, Nishioji Shijo, Kitano-Hakubaicho, Kinkakuji and on to Kitaoji Bus Terminal.
  11. Kyoto Bus 204
    • clockwise 
      • Kitaoji Bus Station in northern Kyoto past Kinkakuji Temple, Waratenjin, Hirano Jinja, Kitano-Hakubaicho (convenient for Kitano Tenmangu Shrine), Enmachi, the southern end of the Imperial Palace along Marutamachi,Kurodani Temple, then north up Kitashirawaka past Ginkakuji Temple, passes Mototanaka on the Eiden Line, convenient for Maki Shoten, and then west along Kitaoji back to Kitaoji Bus Station.
    • counter-clockwise 
  12. Kyoto Bus 12
    • Ritsumeikan-yuki (Ritsumeikan-bound)
      • Begins at 7.38am on week days and 7.38 on weekends; the last bus is 10.50pm.
      • The bus is popular with Ritsumeikan students and staff who have commuted into Kyoto on Keihan railways.
      • Route
        • Shijo Keihan Station (四条京阪) ⇒ Sanjo Keihan Station (三条京阪) ⇒ Yasaka Shrine in Gion
          • Then west along Shijo Street, a major shopping area, turning north on Horikawa past Nijo Castle, Nishijin Textile Center and Hokyoji Temple up to Kitaoji then west to Kinkakuji past Bukkyo University to terminate at Ritsumeikan Kinugasa campus.
    • Sanjo Keihan-yuki (三条京阪 Sanjo Keihan-bound)
      • Begins at 6.20am daily and the last bus is 9.30pm.
  13. Keifuku Randen Tram Line 
  14. English language online route finder 
  15. Kyoto Station (Kyoto Transportation Guide)
  16. Taking a bus in Kyoto
  17. Public Transport in Kyoto (important)
  18. Kyoto Guide: Kyoto Buses

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