Kyoto is a remarkable city, frozen in time. It is full of shrines, temples, and monasteries. A city of reverence and faith to the religions of Buddhism and Shinto.
During our visit we visited over 50 of these shrines, temples, and monasteries. Some are small and are tucked into a corner, a side street, the edge of parking lot, or the back of a shopping mall. Some are huge and rest on top of a mountain, offer a journey from the city up through the woods, or are hidden behind great gates.
Many of the shrines and temples start to blend together, but each one holds something unique, and offers a chance for self-reflection and yearning for spiritual guidance. Below you can read about a few of our favorites and also some local attractions that stood out to us, plus a review of our airbnb in Kyoto.
Sites and Attractions:
Kyoto Imperial Palace
Nishiki Market (Kyoto’s Kitchen)
Airbnb near Fushimi Inaria-Taisha
If all this is starting to look and sound familiar, then you must be a Nintendo fan. So are we! The game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is inspired by the city of Kyoto.
In fact, while on our walking tour we came across the Nintendo headquarters, completely by chance!
We saw so many remarkable features, and identical replicas to the game in light posts, lanterns, Korok statues, prayer statues, koroko seed puzzles and more. We even saw darners and butterflies everywhere (I legitimately tried to reach out and grab them a couple of times). It was a genuine treat, and unexpected as we had no idea.
Speaking of treats, you can even find Chu Chu Jellies (otherwise known as konpeitō)!
►For Kids: Kyoto is a strenuous city for adults, let alone children. Some days we spent upwards of 8 hours a day walking. With so much to see around every corner, it’s hard to call it a day. Though you can take JR trains between shrines, doing so means that you’ll miss a lot of obscure ones. You’ll also miss out on experiencing the emotive quality of the city, you’ll only hit the most popular tourist attractions and you’ll lose a lot of time walking back and forth to stations.
To ease some of the strain you’ll definitely want to bring a stroller for younger children, but keep in mind that there are a lot of stairs at the shrines and temples, and no stroller accessibility. You can leave the stroller at the entrance, or carry it up and down. Fortunately, Japan offers super fun selections of ice cream and popsicles at every corner mini-mart, and even some of the shrines. We used that to our advantage stopping frequently for water, and special treats, to keep our energy levels up. We also stopped where we could to give the kids a break.
►Nap-Time Version: Kyoto is a very remarkable, and very religious city with over 1600 shrines and temples to visit. They’re incorporated into every day life and reflect reverence and solemnity.
Let us know your favorite part of Kyoto!