Kyoto is one of the largest cities in Japan and is surrounded by hills of central Honshu. It is one of Japan’s great tourist destinations and is also famous for having preserved much of the atmosphere of the past. Your travel itinerary has to include visiting the non-touristy sites as well. Here is a list of must-visit places when in Kyoto.
1. Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine – This is one of the most famous shrines in Japan and was found in AD 711. The place is dedicated to the goddess of rice-growing, Ukanomotama-no-mokoto and is still frequented by tradesmen and merchants, who pray for prosperity.
2. Kiyomizu-dera temple – It is an important UNESCO World Heritage site and lies in the beautiful landscapes on Otowa Mountain that overlooks the city. Visitors can enjoy a stroll along the quaint Tea-Pot Lane that has small shops and craft stores.
3. Sanjusangen-do temple – It is also known as the temple of 33 inches and has got its name from its unusual structure. The place is divided in to 33 niches to reflect the belief that Kannon, the goddess of Mercy could take on 33 different personifications. The place was built in 1164 and the current building was constructed in 1266.
4. Kinkaku-ji: The Golden pavilion – The 14 century villa was made as a retirement place for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu which is now a Zen Buddhist temple that is a magnificent Golden Pavilion which is one of Kyoto’s most picturesque attractions. The place takes it name from the gold leaf adorning the top two of its three floors, which is a design element believed to alleviate any negativity associated with death.
5. Nijo Castle – The Nijo castle has preserved walls, towers and a moat that was built in 1603 and later served as the seat of government. The complex has many buildings and has many significant works of art. It is famous as the location chosen by the emperor to issue the rescript that abolishes the country’s Shogunate that was once powerful.
Photo Credits: The Japan Times, Japan Guide, On the go tours