photo of walkway between shinto shrine

Today we will tell you what to see in Kyoto if you only have 4 days at your disposal. Unfortunately, having never been there personally yet, we bring back the itinerary of our friends!

what to see in Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Taisha and surrounding area in Kyoto

The Fushimi Inari and the surrounding area are important not only for the shrine of the same name, but also for the tunnel that leads from the temple to the surrounding forest: a tunnel made with thousands of red torii (doors).

Those who have seen the film Memories of a Geisha will have a deja-vu, since the location has been chosen to set some scenes of the film: in fact the yield is really unique, provided that you are lucky enough to avoid the busiest days of tourists.

In this regard, it is better to come on days away from New Year’s Eve, so as not to be dragged by hundreds of thousands of people.

what to see in Kyoto: The Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto

This trail, called tetsugaku no michi in Japanese, is a two-kilometer-long route that extends between the Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-ji Temple) and Nanzen-ji Temple.

The road is next to a canal, relaxing and quiet, flanked on both sides by many cherry trees, beautiful to see especially in April, during the flowering of the sakura, when it seems to be in a completely pink tunnel, worthy of a Basho haiku.

what to see in Kyoto: Gion and Pontocho

They are two neighborhoods famous for both ochayas and okiyas: the former are teahouses, while the latter are geisha houses. What immediately pops to the eye while walking in these areas, are the numerous ancient and wooden buildings.

In Gion, in particular, there are two points that I would recommend before leaving the neighborhood. I am talking about the stretch south of Shijo-dori, where you can walk along both sides of the indoor street, full of a succession of restaurants, shops and cafes. To find it you must have the Yasaka Jinja as a reference.

The other not-to-be-missed area of Gion is Shirakawa Minami-dōri or Shinbashi, a parallel to Shijo-dōri. Walk along Shijo dōri from Yasaka Shrine and at Gion-Shijō Station turn right, then to the third crossbar again to the right.

You will find yourself in a beautiful tree-lined avenue with wooden houses and buildings, very suggestive at night in the light of the lanterns laid in front of the premises along the street.

Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka

They are located just below the Kiyomizudera and, despite the large number of tourists who flock to it and the proliferation of clubs and shops, it has managed to preserve its soul intact.

Having the chance, it is preferable to come here from six in the afternoon onwards, precisely because at that time almost all the shops close and you can “breathe” a little more.

what to see in Kyoto in 4 days

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Written by

Matteo Angeloni

Photographer, social media manager, close to master's degree. I wanted to open this blog out of a pure passion for travel, places and little stories.