Use A-Z Index for other landmarks that are not listed below.

Green star: World Cultural Heritage sites of Kyoto

Principal Temples

Principal Shrines


Places of Interest in Kyoto (H)

Following are brief explanations of places of interest in Kyoto.


Myoshin-ji in this area is the largest temple in Kyoto. This temple has the most typical arrangement of a large Zen temple. On the ceiling of Hatto hall is a painting of a Dragon that is a masterpiece of Kano Tan'yu.

Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji

Halls of Enryaku-ji temple scatter in the old cedar forest of Mt. Hiei. You can either take shuttle buses or spend a whole day to walk around the area.

Hieizan Enryaku-ji templeHieizan Stone Buddhist image

Higashiyama (North)

Ginkaku-ji temple in this area is one of 17 world cultural heritage sites of Kyoto. Ginkaku, the Silver Pavilion and Togu-do buildings of the Rinzai-shu sect Zen temple are national treasures. Its chisen-kaiyushiki (pond-stroll) garden was modeled after the garden of Saiho-ji. Nanzen-ji has a good Karesansui garden. Hojo and Ko-Hojo of the Zen temple are national treasures. Shoheki-ga paintings in these buildings were painted by the Kano School painters.

Other temples in this area include Anraku-ji, Honen-in and Eikan-do. It is good to stroll on Tetsugaku-no-michi road along Biwako-sosui canal especially in Spring and Autumn. Himukai-Daijingu shrine, is just off a main street and you may see only a few visitors but has a long history. Murin-an, an ex-villa of a senior statesman has a good Chisen-Kaiyu-shiki garden.

Ginkaku-ji templeHonen-in templeEikan-do templeNanzen-ji templeHimukai-daijingu shrine

Higashiyama (Middle)

Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most popular temples in Japan, is one of 17 world cultural heritage sites of Kyoto and is famous for its big wooden stage. Chion-in temple has the largest wooden gate in the world and biggest bell in Japan, which weighs 70 tons. Kodai-ji has a good garden and a couple of good tea ceremony houses.You will hear the sound of a small water fall, and yet you may feel quiet atmosphere in Shoren-in temple's Chisen-kaiyu-shiki garden. Yasaka-no-to stands like a symbol of Higashiyama. Yasaka-jinja is a shrine of Gion-matsuri festival.

Kiyomizu-dera templeChion-in templeKodai-ji temple

Higashiyama (South)

Tofuku-ji is famous for their autumn leaves and has very good modern Karesansui gardens. Sennyu-ji (Sen'nyu-ji) used to be the family temple of Imperial Family. Another temple, Sanjusangen-do, has more than one thousand life-sized statues in it's earthquake-resistant building. Chishaku-in temple has good Fusuma-e (Shoheki-ga) paintings and a good garden. Ryogin-an, a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji has oldest Hojo building (a national treasure) and good modern Karesansui gardens. Funda-in also is a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji and has a karesansui garden laid out by a master painter of suiboku-ga, Sesshu. Komyo-in, another sub-temple of Tofuku-ji has a good Karesansui garden that was laid out by Shigemori Mirei.

Tofuku-ji templeSen'nyu-ji templeSanjusangen-do templeChishaku-in temple
Dragon head in Ryogin-an

Hongan-ji and To-ji (Kyoto station and vicinity)

Nishi-Hongan-ji is a member of the world cultural heritage of Kyoto but you need to ask them in advance a permission of admission to good parts of the temple. Higashi-Hongan-ji's founder's hall is one of the biggest wooden building of the world. Shosei-en, a detached residence of Higashi-Hongan-ji, has a good Chisen-Kaiyu-shiki (pond stroll) garden. To-ji also is a member of the world cultural heritage of Kyoto and famous for its pagoda, a national treasure and the tallest of its kind in Japan. Four of other buildings also are national treasures. The old temple has many Buddhist images that are national treasures.

Nishi-Hongan-ji templeHigashi-Hongan-ji templeKikokutei of Higashi-Hongan-jiTo-ji templeKyoto station and a reflection of Kyoto Tower