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Kyoto Temple Guide

By Viator, August 2017

4.5 167 Reviews | Add your review

Kyoto is home to over 1,600 temples, making it a top destination for architecture lovers. With many dating back to the 11th century and hundreds built since then, it can be hard to decide which to see. Here are the temples you can't miss in Kyoto.

Ryoan-ji 
Famous for its Zen garden made of seemingly arbitrarily (but in fact, very purposefully) placed stones, Ryoan-ji is a favorite temple among locals and tourists. The rock garden is the highlight, and the grounds have the air of a secret, unspoiled piece of nature. 

Honen-in 
A moss-covered gate greets visitors at the small Honen-in Temple. Step in a few feet further, and you will be greeted with a small bridge that crosses a scenic pond. Honen-in is a must for nature lovers seeking a little piece of solitude in a busy city. 

Ginkaku-ji 
The "Silver Pavilion" is one of Kyoto's most famous temples. The view from behind the temple complex spans over Kyoto, with mountains rising in the distance, and some of the best spots on the temple grounds include the moss garden and a sand garden. 

Kinkaku-ji 
After seeing the Silver Pavilion, your next stop should be the Golden Pavilion, or Kinkaku-ji. Situated on a pond, this structure is a majestic sight. Dense, lush forest paints a colorful backdrop behind the temple. 

To-ji
The five-storied wooden pagoda at To-ji temple is the tallest of its kind in Japan, and it is easily accessible from within Kyoto's city center. For pagoda lovers, it's a must-see temple.

Kiyomizu-dera
This interactive temple is fun for the whole family. An open-air pathway wraps around it, allowing visitors to take in the outer view and the temple at the same time. The Otowa Waterfall is also on the premises, and visitors can drink from the falls using instruments provided.

Shoren-in
Nestled at the foot of the Hagashiyama Mountains, Shoren-in Temple is a hidden gem in Kyoto. The temple is peaceful and even illuminates a spectacular garden pond in the evenings during some parts of the year.

Tenryu-ji 
The landmark temple in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, Tenryu-ji should not be missed. This mountain escape boasts a pond that stretches all the way to a forest, which gives way to mountains rising in the distance.

Tours & Tickets

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Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, null
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Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple

4.5 star rating: Recommended 560 Reviews

Discover tranquil temples, Imperial palaces and ancient shrines on this 9-hour full-day Kyoto sightseeing tour. Explore top city attractions such as Nijo ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $122.90
Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Bus & Minivan Tours
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Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

4.5 star rating: Recommended 369 Reviews

Explore the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara on this full-day tour from Kyoto. In the morning, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites Nijo Castle and ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $136.55
Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Day Trips
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Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

4.5 star rating: Recommended 192 Reviews

Soak up temple and palace sights on this half-day guided city tour, great for those who want to see Kyoto’s top attractions in a short time. Travel by coach in ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $60.08
Scholar-led Kyoto Walking Tour: Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan, Kyoto, Half-day Tours
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Scholar-led Kyoto Walking Tour: Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 11 Reviews

Join a local scholar of religion on a 3-hour walking tour of Kyoto, exploring Shinto and Buddhist landmarks. Visit Yasaka Shrine, Kennin-ji Temple and ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $89.00
5-Hour Guided Walking Tour - Walk in Kyoto, Talk in English, Kyoto, Cultural Tours
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5-Hour Guided Walking Tour - Walk in Kyoto, Talk in English

4.5 star rating: Recommended 11 Reviews

Book this popular 5-hour Kyoto walking tour and learn the history and culture of Kyoto from a licensed guide. This unique walking tour was actually started in ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $18.21
Kyoto Afternoon Tour: Heian Shrine, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Walking Tours
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Kyoto Afternoon Tour: Heian Shrine, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu Temple

4.5 star rating: Recommended 73 Reviews

Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of Kyoto on an afternoon guided tour through the former capitol’s vibrant shrines and temples. Admire the alluring ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $55.53
Scholar-led Small-Group Kyoto Walking Tour: Japanese Gardens and Landscape, Kyoto, Half-day Tours
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Scholar-led Small-Group Kyoto Walking Tour: Japanese Gardens and Landscape

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Garden and landscape design is an art form that has shaped Japanese aesthetics for centuries. On this 3-hour scholar-led walking tour of Kyoto, you’ll see a ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $89.00

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