10 Historic and Cultural Sites in Kyoto To Add To Your Visit List

The trip to Kyoto is essential for all those looking to travel to Japan. The ex-capital of the nation for thousands of years, the city was the center of development and culture. Even though its political influence has diminished through the years, it is still a city that has a rich tradition and culture, even to this day. Go on a trip through time and take in the beautiful architecture of the former capital city of the empire via these sites in Kyoto.

Kyoto historical sites that are essential to knowing the city

1. Heian Jingu Shrine

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One of the most well-known Kyoto landmarks includes the Heian Jingu Shrine (or, more simply, Heian Shrine), named for Kyoto’s original designation, Heian. It is younger than other temples in the city. It was constructed in the year 1895 and dedicated to the first and final Emperors of Heian, namely Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei.

Try to plan your trip with Jidai Matsuri in mind. It is held on the 22nd of October. It’s among the top tourist attractions of Kyoto. It is a celebration to commemorate the foundation of Kyoto and features the Heian Jingu Shrine as its main stage.

2. Fushimi Inari Shrine

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Fox statues also appear throughout the gardens and paths in the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Japanese folklore adores foxes as they serve as messengers to the goddess Inari. The statues represent this mythology. Be sure to rub their paws, and making offerings to the statues will bring luck!

3. Nijo Castle

The Tokugawa Shogunate played a crucial role in determining the course of contemporary Japan. The chieftain Ieyasu Tokugawa and high-ranking members of his clan lived within Nijo Castle.

The Palace was perfect for one of Japan’s most powerful leaders in Japan. Certain historians and artists consider intricate wood carvings on the Palace’s walls and impeccable gardens the pinnacle of Japanese style and art. Kyoto is one of the top places to visit in Japan, and its museum is a major attraction for visitors.

4. Nishiki Market

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Nishiki Market is an amazing place to go in Kyoto, particularly for foodies. The market is famously referred to as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” this food market is a part of Kyoto’s 400-year tradition of offering the most amazing food items in the city.

Particular to this market is produce grown in the local rural areas, with the majority of them with a crunchiness that’s unmatched. Traditional Japanese treats like cakes and rice crackers are available here too. 

5. Yasaka Shrine

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Gion District is among the top areas within Kyoto to visit. Its rich history and culture are alive and well in this district, as is evident by the abundance of tea houses that have been around for centuries and geisha. The heart of the zone of entertainment is the ancient Yasaka Shrine.

This shrine serves the powerful deity Susanoo-no-Mikoto and his wife, Kushinadahime-no-Mikoto. Deities will certainly be honored, particularly with the extravagant architectural style of the Yasaka Shrine. This is why Yasaka Shrine is the site of Gion Matsurione, which is one of Kyoto’s major festivals.

Places in Kyoto to see gorgeous temples

6. Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

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One of Kyoto’s most well-known UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the luxurious Kinkaku-ji Temple. Its top two floors sparkle due to the gold-leaf plating, so it is also referred to as the “Golden pavillion”. The gold-leaf plating is considered sacred to the temple as mythology suggests that it wards off negative feelings towards the death of a person.

It’s known as a Zen temple, but it served as an estate of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu around the fourteenth century. The son of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu Delle renovated the home into the shrine we have now. Kinkaku-ji is also the home of the oldest relics and statues, as well as scrolls which are highly pertinent to Buddhist beliefs.

7. Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)

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Another stunning and relevant alternative to Kinkaku-ji’s is the Ginkaku-ji Temple or the Silver Pavilion. Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa envisioned Ginkaku-ji’s design as an identical replica of Kinkaku-ji in homage to the family patriarch’s legacy.

Silver leaves were intended to be used as a covering for the villa’s exterior. However, the budget needed to meet the expectations was lacking. Like its golden counterpart, the villa was transformed into the Zen temple to offer an offer.

8. Toji Temple

To-ji Temple is among the many Kyoto historic sites tourists ought to be sure to visit. The five-story pagoda, which measures 57m tall, will surely grab any visitor’s interest. It was the highest Buddhist Temple in Japan and is an outstanding illustration of Heian design. In the Meiji period, the Japanese government stayed away from razing To-ji Temple to the ground at the time that Buddhism, as well as Shinto, were being divided. The good news is that visitors and locals can view To-ji Temple as a symbol of strength and peace.

Also, take yourself to the flea market in the temple! The market is open on the 21st of every month, which is when unique items can appear. It is also a good idea to browse around.

9. Tenryu-ji Temple

It is believed that the Ashikaga Shogunate built several World Heritage Sites in Kyoto long before it was recognized as such. The first shogun of the clan, Ashikaga Takauji, had Tenryu-ji Temple built in 1339 as a remembrance of Go-Daigo the Emperor. The temple was adorned with more styles, one of the most prominent being the gardens created in the style of Zen master Muso Soseki. The temple is located in a natural setting. It is also open to visitors to wander through the groves or take an adventure on the home river.

10. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

A visit to the Kiyomizu Temple is an experience that will leave you with a sense of awe. As visitors step their feet on the main hall of the veranda, a breathtaking panorama of Kyoto’s stunning natural beauty is a treat for the eye. Different colors and scenery make it appear like an actual painting.

In the middle of the main hall is the Otowa Waterfall. In addition to being drinkable, the majority of locals believe streams that flow from the waterfall influence luck. From success in business to falling in love, every stream can, according to some, change your life!

Of course, there are plenty of historical spots to visit in Kyoto, and it could be a lengthy trip to explore each one! Kyoto is known as the capital of the culture of Japan for a good reason. But Kyoto is one of the most exciting cities to visit and can get those fascinated by Japanese historical culture within a matter of minutes.


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