Kyoto is home to countless shrines and temples, making it a must see when you want to see the ancient side of Japan (once things are safer of course). It can be a little overwhelming at first, trying to figure out what to see. So in an attempt to make it easier for you, here are five things I would recommend you see while exploring Kyoto.
Kyoto Station area – The Kyoto Station area is probably where you will start your visit in Kyoto and while you may want to race off to all of the shrines, the area around the station is home to tons of restaurants, stores, and sites like Kyoto Tower to see. So before you head out into the ancient city, take a few minutes to enjoy the modern heart of the city.
Tofukuji Shrine – Tofukuji Shrine is a beautiful Buddhist shrine complex that is a must see for tourists. The shrine complex is south of Fushimi Inari and is not that busy when compared to some of the more popular shrines (or well known). If you are looking for ancient temples and those quiet corners that are often forgotten by tourists, make a point to come to this shrine.
Sagano bamboo forest – Sagano bamboo forest looks like it should be in some karate movie and is a must see for anyone who loves nature or ancient sites. Located in the western part of Kyoto, it takes a little bit to get over to the area to see, so be prepared for that and also be prepared for the crowds because everyone wants to see this incredible forest.
Yasaka Shrine – The Shinto Shrine is in the heart of the Gion District and is another must see for anyone visiting the ancient area. It is a photographers paradise and for a person wanting to see an ancient shrine complex (and also enjoy all the street vendors that typically set up shop here) it is a must see. Just look for the tall stairs in Gion to reach the shrine complex itself.
Ginkakuji Shrine – The Silver Pavilion is a beautiful Zen complex that is home to tons of incredible temples and gardens that are among some of the most visited and explored by anyone that visits Kyoto. Fun fact, Ginkakuji is not actually covered in silver like Kinkakuji is covered in gold. Even if it lacks the fancy covering, it is still an incredible shrine to visit.