Japan's golden route - tour to the world heritage sites (Kyoto)

Getting here and around

By air
The nearest airport to Kyoto is Itami Airport at Osaka. It takes about an hour bus ride from Itami airport to Kyoto central.

By train (shinkansen)
Kyoto is connected with many other major cities in Japan by JR shinkansen Tokaido line. One way ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto cost ¥13,720 (including seat reservation) on Nozomi train and ¥13420 (including seat reservation) on Hikari train. JR pass is not valid on Nozomi train. You can check the train schedule and fare from Hyperdia.

[Update 30th May 2015]

Now there is a new pass Takayama Hokuriku is available for tourists who travel to this region, Nagoya, Takayama, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Osaka and Kyoto. Click here for information.


We stayed in Capsule Ryokan Kyoto. It's a capsule hotel but they do have en-suite room (for 2) too. The room is small but it's comfortable enough for 2 people. We stayed there 3 nights and no complain. If you are not travelling with someone close enough, you may have trouble using the LED light equipped bathroom. There is no place where you can hang your clothes and towel.

What to do in Kyoto?

We visited quite a few temples in Kyoto, Kinakuji temple, Ninanji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine and etc. We followed day 1, 2, 3 itinerary below. Kinkakuji, Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari Shrine are my favourite places.

Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion) 金閣寺
This Kyoto symbolic icon attracts thousands of tourists every day. It opens daily from 9am - 5pm and the admission fee is ¥400

Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社
It is the most important shrine in Inari, the god of rice. The hike to to summit can take 2 - 3 hours. However you are free to turn back at any point of time.

Bamboo Forest (Bamboo Groves)
Bamboo groves walking path is very beautiful during Kyoto light up event (Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro) which will be held twice a year.  It's usually last 2 weeks in March (Higashiyama area) and last 2 weeks in December (Arashiyama area). 

Suggested Kyoto itinerary (provided by Capsule Ryokan Kyoto)

Day 1
1. From Capsule Ryokan Kyoto take bus 205 to Kinkakuji
2. Get off at Kinkakuji-michi station (approximately 30 - 40 mins ride)
3. Walk to Ryoanji Temple (it's a 30 mins long walk)
4. Walk to Ninanji Temple
5. Take tram at Utano Station
6. Transfer at Katabiranotsu Station
7. Get off at last station Arashiyama
8. Visit Bamboo Forest, Tenryuji Temple
9. Take JR train at Saga Arashiyama Station
10. Get off at Kyoto Station

Day 2
1. Take JR train to Inari Station
2. Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine
3. Take JR train to Nara
4. Visit Nara Park
5. Walk to Todaiji Temple
6. Shopping in Nara city
7. Take JR train transfer back to Kyoto
* We didn't visit Nara but visit Nishiki market instead.

Day 3
1. Take JR train to Osaka
2. Get off at Osaka Station and transfer subway to Osaka Castle 大阪城
3. Transfer subway to Shinsaibashi 
4. Walk to Shisaibashi shopping arcade and Namba
5. Walk to Nihonbashi
6. Walk to Shinsekai

Day 4
1. Take bus 206 from Capsule Ryokan Kyoto
2. Get off at Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo mae
3. Visit Sanjusangendo
4. Take bus 100/ 206 to Kiyomizu Temple (get off at Gojozaka)
5. Take bus 100 to visit Ginkakuji Temple (get off at Ginkakuji-michi)
6. Walk to Philosophy Road
7. Walk to Nanzenji Temple
8. Take bus 5 to Shijo-Kawaramachi

Day 5
1. Take JR to Kobe
2. Get off at Sannnomiya Station
3. Walk through under JR shopping arcade or other shopping arcade
4. Walk to Mosaic (The Bay) and visit Kobe Tower and Oriental Hotel
5. Take JR back to Sannnomiya Station
* There is a Kobe beef restaurant near Sannomiya Station. Set lunch price is about ¥6000 per person.

Day 6
1. Visit Nishihonganji Temple
2. Walk to Higashi Honganji Temple
3. Walk to Toji Pagoda
4. Take JR to Nijo Station
5. Walk to Nijo Castle
6. Take subway at Nijoumae Station
7. Transfer at Karasuma Station Oike Station
8. Get off at Shijo Station
9. Walk to Nishiji Food Market (close at 6pm)
10. Visit shopping arcade near Nishiji Food Market  

Interested to visit these places too? Check out my itinerary and trip report KanazawaTakayamaShirakawagoKyoto 

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