When visiting Japan, don’t forget to allocate some time for these 3 places you must visit near Kyoto.
As great as Kyoto is, there are many attractions that surround the city that should also be on your list to see. Each require at least a half-day to properly visit and require travel through train or bus. I was able to reach all of them by using the JR rail pass.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
A vast expanse of taller than buildings bamboo that has been featured on the cover of Lonely Planet guides, this forest also has several surrounding traditional Japanese gardens to explore. I spent a few hours walking the bamboo lined path, but if you are traveling with children or want to see it faster, you can also rent a bike for the day at a very reasonable price.
The gold pavilion is a popular tourist attraction so you should be prepared to deal with crowds, specially mid-day. There are so many people visiting this place, it is common to have to wait in line at multiple points and walk single file around the trails. Even so, it’s a place that you should visit.
This temple was special to me, because one of the few memories I have of my paternal grandfather was of him painting this temple. Since this trip was about reconnecting with my roots, I needed to see it.
Fushimi Inari-Taisha Temple
One of the most colorful temples I visited in Japan, this temple is famous for the thousands of vermillion colored benefactor gates (“Toris”) which are donations by business owners hoping for good luck.
The gates are widely photographed as Fushimi- Inari is one of the most visited temples in Japan, therefore, chances are, you will be sharing it with a crowd.
However, if you show up early or later in the day, there are pretty good odds that you will be there by yourself, as I did. The higher you climb, the emptier it gets as well, but take water and a snack because the hike takes about 2 hrs.
The temple was built to honor the shinto entity of Inari (fox). As such, you can see fox statues at the bottom of the gates. Inari is the deity of fertility, agriculture and industry as well as sake. Basically, everything people want in abundance, so it’s popular!
You can visit these places in 3 half-days, but I would recommend that you allot one full day for each if you like to take it easy or are traveling with children.
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Have you been to one of these 3 Places You Must Visit Near Kyoto?
Updated on March, 2019.