Kyoto is a very rich cultural city which attracts through its places full of traditions and history. Having to choose from more than 1,600 Buddhist temples can be overwhelming when planning to spend only a couple of days in the city. Here are the 5 most impressive temples you must visit in Kyoto.


Located up the hill, Kiyomizu-dera offers great panoramas its gardens and over Kyoto basin. One of its point of attraction is the natural waterfall from where visitors drink sacred water in hope of good health and longevity. There are several halls and shrines, as well as many cherry and maple trees.

Do not miss: Enter the completely black cave (Tainai-meguri) where you can spin a big rock to make a wish.



The garden of the Kodai-ji temple is stunning in autumn due to the little ponds and bridges. There are beautiful tea houses, Zen gardens with pine and maple trees, as well as a rock garden consisting of a large field of gravel.

Do not miss: Take a stroll through the bamboo grove.



The grounds of the Chion-in temple will mesmerize your eyes from the entrance due to the Sanmon Gate. This is the largest wooden gate in Japan and dates back to 1600s and you can visit its balcony. However, you will not be able to visit the Main Hall of the temple as it is closed for renovations until mid-2019.

Do not miss: Japan’s largest temple bell, as well as the gardens designed in the Edo period.



There are two old camphor trees which will welcome you to this space of peace and beauty. One of my favorites temples in Kyoto, the multiple temple buildings of Shoren-in can be discovered through its winding path that crosses the various gardens.

Do not miss: Take a seat on the tatami mat in the drawing room so to admire the garden and the pond.



Known also as the Silver Pavilion, Ginkaku-ji is a Zen temple where an art lover shogun used to live. The path climbs a hill behind the temple from nice views of the full grounds area and over Kyoto can be seen at sunset.

Do not miss: The moss garden with its little ponds and bridges, as well as the unique dry sand garden.


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