Kyoto is home to some of the most incredible temples and shrines in Japan. While it is home to so many amazing sites, some of them should come with a little bit of a warning for tourists before they venture out to explore them. Here are some to watch out for as you explore Kyoto.
Gion District – The Gion District is beautiful and rich in history. From the streets, architecture, and occasional glimpse of a geisha, it is a photographer’s dream. However, if you are not having a meal there (which are pricey) or just there to say you walked through the area, there is not a ton to do aside from a few shops (that are quite expensive). Just keep that in mind if you are planning to spend hours there, you may run out of things to see or take photos of.
Kyoto Tower – Kyoto Tower is an iconic observation deck that is only a short walking distance away from Kyoto Station, giving tourists plenty of incredible views of the city and surrounding countryside that surrounds the city. However, despite having some great views, the tour is older, small, and can get quite crowded during peak times. Keep that in mind if you were looking to spread out with a lot of space.
Kinkakuji Temple – Kinkauji Temple, the Gold Temple is a must see for many, but if you are starting from Kyoto Station area, be ready for a trip. Via trains (which are not direct) it will take you about 45 minutes to get there (not including the walking times). Walking from Kyoto Station to the temple is even crazier, it’s over an hour and a half away, so not reasonable (fi you want to see anything else or be able to walk without pain the next day). It is also quite far from Fushimi Inari and other sites, so just keep that in mind if you are planning to see all you can and optimizing your time.
Fushimi Inari – Fushimi Inari has two things you need to watch out for while exploring the temple grounds. The first is, it can get quite crowded (during normal times). The gate-filled paths are fun to watch through, but with tons of crowds, it is hard to stop and take your time to get a picture, so just be prepared for that. Second, you are scaling a small mountain that can take about an hour to get to the top of. So if the weather is bad, you are tired, etc., keep these things in mind if you are planning to make it to the top of the temple shrine.
Nishiki Market – Nishi Market is a famous open-air market that is full of vendors selling goods, foods, and some street food. It is a famous and popular place to explore, but if you are not a big shopper, this is probably not going to be a really exciting place for you. It’s worth visiting, but this spot may not be for everyone if you are looking for the temples instead of looking for something to buy/eat.
This list is not meant to be mean or discourage you from visiting these places, it is just something to keep in mind while preparing because each have their own little oddities that are not often covered in your tour guide.