Kyoto City Orientation Tour, Kyoto

Image Courtesy of Flickr and Francesco_G
This self-guided walking tour is included in the iOS app " City Maps and Walks (470+ Cities)" in iTunes and the Android app "Kyoto Map and Walks" in Google Play.

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They say visiting Japan without seeing Kyoto is worthless, because a visit to Japan will never be complete without knowing Kyoto's treasures. A city of tradition, history, and culture, Kyoto has plenty of touristic spots to offer. The next walking tour takes you to the core of Kyoto and the main attractions of the city that are located in its central area. Enjoy!

Walk Route

Guide Location: Japan » Kyoto
Guide Type: Self-guided city tour
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.7 km
Author: emma

1) Shimogamo Shrine

The Shimogamo Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto. It is one of the 17 monuments in old Kyoto that have been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.

The Shimogamo Shrine dates back to the 6th Century and was originally constructed to protect the city of Kyoto. It is located within a forest called Tadasu no Mori or Forest of Truth. It is dedicated to the deities, Kamotaketsunumi-no-mikoto and his daughter Tamayorihime-no-mikoto and the God of fire and Thunder,...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Chris Gladis

2) Rozan-ji Temple

The Rozan-ji Temple is located to the East of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. It is built on a former mansion belonging to the father of the author of the epic Japanese novel, the Tale of Genji.

The Rozan-ji Temple was constructed in the year 938. Its location at the time of construction was on a mountain called Funaokayama. The Buddhist priest Ganzan Diashi designed and built the temple. In 1571, many of the temples in Kyoto were burned by the warlord Oba Nobunaga. The Rozan-ji escaped...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and PlusMinus

3) Sento Imperial Palace

The Sento Imperial Palace was once the residence of retired Emperors. Today, one can visit the garden surrounding the palace and some structures within after seeking permission from the Imperial Household Agency.

The Sento Imperial Palace was constructed in 1630 as the retirement residence of Emperor Go-Mizunoo. The nearby Omiya Palace was also built in the same year as the residence of the Empress Dowager. It became the residence of subsequent emperors after their retirement. Both palaces...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Daderot

4) Kyoto Imperial Palace

The Kyoto Imperial Palace was the former residence of the Emperors of Japan until the Capital of the country was shifted to Tokyo. It was also the venue where the enthronement of the Emperors of Japan took place until recently.

The present Kyoto Imperial Palace was built in 1855. It was constructed after a devastating fire destroyed a previous structure completely. Its design resembles the palaces of the Heian period in Kyoto. The buildings in the palace complex include the Dairi or Imperial...
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Matthias Rosenkranz

5) Nijo Castle

The magnificent Nijo Castle was the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is one of the few palaces of Kyoto where visitors are allowed to view the interiors.

The Nijo Castle was built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu. It was later enlarged by his descendant Tokugawa Iemitsu. He added a five floored tower called the Honmaru that was later destroyed by a fire. It was also the site where the last Tokugawa Shogun, Yoshinobu restored power to the Emperor in 1867. The Castle was opened to the...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Reggaeman

6) International Manga Museum

Manga is the Japanese word for comics and print cartoons. The International Manga Museum is dedicated to the preservation of comics, cartoons and animation.

The Museum was established by the Kyoto Seika University in collaboration with the City of Kyoto. It is housed in the former Tatsuike Elementary School; the buildings and land were donated by the City and it is managed by the University. A joint committee consisting of University officials and members of the City Government oversee its...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and ja:利用者:珈琲ルンバ

7) Pontocho Area

The Pontocho Area in Kyoto is home to many traditional Geisha houses and tea houses. It is a long dark and narrow cobbled street between the Shijo Dori and Sanjo Dori.

The Pontocho Area was a Geisha entertainment area from the reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is known as the birthplace of kabuki and the first exponent of the art was a Meiko called Okuni. Her statue is located on the opposite side of River Kamo and is visible from the street. Geisha houses have existed in the area from the...
Image Courtesy of Flickr and dany13

8) National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

The National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto popularly known by the acronym, MOMAK is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of 20th century Japanese art. The unique architecture of the building housing the museum has made it a popular tourist attraction in Kyoto.

The National Museum of Modern art in Kyoto was first established as an annex of the Modern Art Museum in Tokyo. The present site was once the Kyoto Municipal Exhibition Hall for Industrial Affairs. MOMAK occupied the building from...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and PlusMinus

9) Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

The Kyoto Municipal Museum of art was established to commemorate the coronation of the Showa Emperor in 1928. It is the second largest public art museum in Japan.

The Kyoto Municipal Museum was opened to the public in 1933. It was first called the Showa Imperial Coronation Art Museum of Japan or the Kyoto Enthronement Memorial Museum of Art. It was housed in a European style brick building with Palace like proportions. After the Second World War, the occupation forces took over the building...
Image Courtesy of Flickr and GEKKOH

10) Heian Shrine

The Heian Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei who were the first and last emperors respectively to rule Japan from Kyoto. It was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of the city.

As a result of the Meiji restoration, the capital of Japan was shifted to Tokyo and Kyoto ceased to be the seat of the Emperor. Throughout its history, the shrine was damaged by fires several times, the most recent being that of 1976 and has undergone several...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Chris Gladis

11) Nanzen-ji Temple

The Nanzen –ji Temple is the most important temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. The original structures were destroyed by fires and wars and the present complex dates back to the 17th century.

The Nanzen-ji temple was constructed initially as the retirement palace of Emperor Kameyama in 1264 AD. When he died, it became a temple in 1291. The grounds of the temple are open to the public for free but a fee is charged for entering the main temple and the many sub temples within the...
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and 663highland


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