Last weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Kyoto for a day. It was amazing at how many things I was able to see in a single day in Kyoto. Many of the main attractions are all located around the same area within walking distance of one another which made getting around easy.
From Kobe it is approximately 1 hr 15 minutes by train. There are 2 ways to get to Kawaramachi, Kyoto from Kobe, Sanomiya station. You can either take the express on the Hankyu line all the way to Juso then change over to the Kawaramachi express. Or if you are on the Hanshin line you can take the express to Umeda station and change over there to the Kawaramachi express. The difference in train times and price is marginal but the Hankyu is the cheapest and fastest from Sanomiya.
When you arrive at Kawaramachi just head straight up and out of the subway and you will be on the main street that runs straight through the middle of Kyoto and straight towards the mountains where the majority of the attractions are located. From the station you can just walk through to all the temples however it’s about a 30 minute walk all the way over to Kiyomizudera. I’m my case as it was raining I just caught a taxi over to Kiyomizudera. It cost 780 yen it took 10 minutes and the taxi drove me half way up the hill to the temple. Doing it this way just meant that I wouldn’t have to do the climb up the hill at the end of the day when I was tired. It’s a fairly long walk uphill.
When you get out of the station the next street up from station there is a small street that runs along a tiny little stream this street is called Kiyamachi street and it is lined with cherry blossom trees. This street is great for a quiet stroll or for getting pics of cherry blossoms.
After taking a walk down this street I caught a taxi up to Kiyomizudera. Kiyomizudera is one of the main temples in Japan and it is definitely worth seeing. On the way up to the temple the streets are lined with souvenir shops and tourists so if you’re not keen to be shuffling through crowds up the hill, I suggest walking up the street next to it as it’s pretty empty.
From Kiyomizudera you can head back down the hill towards the main road where you can turn right and head towards Yasaka Shrine. On the way to Yasaka shrine I came across a large very prominent pagoda called Yasaka no to. A pagoda with 5 levels and quite big. From here I found it much nicer to head to Yasaka shrine along the back roads. Not only is it a lot quieter but the streets are also kept in the old style and it was a very pleasant walk.
Yasaka Shrine was nice to see however I found that the gardens next to the temple in Maruyama park and surrounding areas far more impressive. The park also have little Japanese stalls there selling market foods and there are also tables and chairs set up amongst the cherry blossoms. It’s a very nice place to have a rest towards the end of the day.
After Yasaka head down the hill to the main road which will lead back towards the station. On the way back to the station the you will come across the old streets of Gion on your left. If you walk down this street it will lead to another shrine called Kennin-ji its grounds. From here it’s only a short walk back to the station.