Kyoto TowerI was only in Kyoto for about three days with two days completely without any travel. Each of those two days I spent on long walking tours of regions that’d be just packed with temples. Evenings I spent in the shopping and nightlife districts.  This entry is from my first day where I did a walking tour up in the Northwest of Kyoto. The main temple I really wanted to visit in Kyoto was Ryōan-ji which has the most famous of the karesansui (Zen rock gardens) which I’ve long been a fan of. It was also one of the more difficult regions to get to, but I figured out the bus and took it up to Kinkaku-ji temple which was the start of a three temple walking tour with Ryōan-ji in the middle concluding with Ninna-ji. It was fairly early in the morning which was good as these are some of the most popular tourist sites.

The Golden temple at Kinkaku-ji

Kinkaku-ji‘s main feature is a beautiful golden temple on the edge of a pond. The grounds are stunning as well. From Kinkaku-ji I walked along the temple grounds down to Ryōan-ji. I got off the route a bit at first and walked through a more suburban route. I ended up encountering another shrine, Waratenjin, on the route that was a more pragmatic but still beautiful

Temple Walk Gallery
Waratenjin can be seen in the first 20 pictures in my Temple Walk Gallery.


I got back on the path and shortly made my way to Ryōan-ji.

Dry Garden at Ryōan-ji
The dry garden at Ryōan-ji


Ryōan-ji‘s grounds were stunning, it’s a very old Zen temple and the grounds are just filled with neat areas all over. The lake was the most stunning one I saw and of course the dry garden was amazing. It was probably my favorite of all the temples I visited and I’d love to visit it again at a time when there is even less people there.

Cemetery I encountered in my Temple Walk


From Ryōan-ji I continued on the route and as I walked along the road I noticed a path/stairway into the woods at my right. Well I couldn’t resist that and took those up into what turned out to be a large and crowded cemetery. This can be seen in the Temple Walk Gallery below the shrine pictures.

Temple at Ninna-ji
Pagoda like temple at Ninna-ji


From the cometary I visited the last temple on the walk, Ninna-ji. This was a large complex with many diverse buildings in it. Looking it up on the web it turns out it had huge sections that I totally missed (or were closed). But I was pretty templed out at that point so that’s okay. One amusing thing is that I encountered a group of junior high school students who wanted to talk English with me. It was clearly an assignment but cute.

View from the highest point in the part
View from the highest hill in the park.

From Ninna-ji I headed off on my own to intersect with the JR rail line. The route I worked out took me to this great wooded area that was a park but mostly wooded.  It had paths up to a fairly high point with great views over the valley. Pictures from the park make up the third part of my Temple Walk Gallery.