Kyoto — Day 4 of a 5-Day Trip in Japan’s Kansai Region
Day 4 was mainly focused on visiting the Arashiyama Park in Kyoto. This area of Kyoto has so much greenery and the light autumn colours on the landscape are breathtaking.
We picked up some onigiri for breakfast on our way to the train station. We were headed for Arashiyama. It took us about an hour and ten minutes to reach Arashiyama Station. Horin-ji, a Buddhist Temple, was right by the station up a flight of stairs. The temple is small, but offers a nice view of the Arashiyama area.
We headed to the Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama next. We paid the entrance fee at the base of the mountain and headed up. It takes about 25 minutes to reach the peak and is not a difficult hike due to the well-maintained trail. The peak has a pleasant view of the city and wild monkeys roam about freely. The monkeys have no problem with visitors, but the park warns not to stare directly at or to touch the monkeys (and should be followed).
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
Back at the base of Iwatayama, we crossed the Togetsukyo Bridge. The scenery and nature around this area is breathtaking.
We stopped at a stall for a snack before continuing to Tenryu-ji. We ordered the ebi fry and wagyu potato croquette. Crunchy and deep fried goodness!
Tenryu-ji is a Buddhist Temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Arashiyama. We did not pay the admission to go inside, but admired the temple from afar.
Next was the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, a five minute walk from Tenryu-ji. This is another spot where it gets busier later in the day. If you are looking for a visitor-free picture, you need to go early. The charming pathway is surrounded by towering bamboo.
We followed another trail leading up to a viewpoint that looks down at Kameyama Park. What an incredible view!
After snapping a few photos of our surroundings, we headed to the nearest train station for our commute to Kinkaku-ji. On our walk, we enjoyed the fresh air and landscape.
The nearest train station to Kinkaku-ji is about a 30 minute walk or 10 minute bus ride. We had not had lunch yet so we decided to walk in hopes of selecting a restaurant on the way. There is not much to see on the walk, but it may be nice to take in the sights of a local neighbourhood. We stopped at a restaurant called Kagonoya. They serve traditional Japanese shabu shabu set meals (the raw egg is for mixing with your rice).
After lunch, we headed to Kinkaku-ji, known for its Golden Pavillion. The Buddhist Temple was full of tourists trying to snap a picture of the landmark.
We headed back to Osaka afterwards for the evening — going directly to Kura Zushi Shinsekai Tsutenkaku for dinner. Before heading back to the hotel, we picked up a cheese tart from Pablo (which we ate for breakfast the next morning). The cheese tart was good, but I enjoyed the cheese tarts from Kinotoya Bake (in Hokkaido) more.
Complete Day 4 Itinerary
Travel times may vary and do not include walking distances to and from train stations. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
8:00am: Head to Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto (Estimated travel time from Dotonbori is an hour and 20 minutes — 3 minute train from Nagahoribashi Station to Kitahama Station, transfer for another hour and 13 minutes from Kitahama Station to Fushimi-Inari Station). Grab breakfast at the convenience store.
10:00am: Head to Maruyama Park (9 minute train from Fushimi-Inari Station to Gion-Shijo Station). Visit the Yasaka Shrine (2 minute walk from Maruyama Park Entrance) and Otani Sobyo (5 minute walk from Yasaka Shrine).
11:00am: Visit Kodai-ji (3 minute walk from Otani Sobyo).
12:00pm: Walk through Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka (2 minute walk from Kodai-ji). Browse the stores and grab lunch.
2:00pm: Visit Kiyomizu-dera (11 minute walk from Ninen-zaka). You can also visit Otowa Waterfall located at the base of the main hall.
3:00pm: Head to Kyoto Imperial Palace (21 minute bus from Gojozaka Stop to Saibansho Mae Stop).
5:00pm: Head back to Gion (1 minute train from Marutamachi Station to Karasuma Oike Station, transfer for a 4 minute train from Karasuma Oike Station to Sanjo Keihan Station). Walk through Hanami-koji. Enjoy dinner here or people-watch to see if you can spot a geisha.
6:00pm: Walk through Gion Shimbashi (1 minute walk). If you did not eat in Hanami-koji, a good dinner option in Gion Shimbashi is Kyoto Gion Ramen Muraji.
7:00pm: Grab a drink in Pontocho Alley (or bar hop). Alternatively, you can head back to Osaka for an evening drink.
16-Day Japan Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 16-Day Japan Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in Japan!