This article will introduce a perfect Kyoto 2-day itinerary, especially recommended for first-timers! This itinerary suggests how to best enjoy the city of Kyoto in 2 days with the best highlights such as temples, shrines, and other must-see places in this beautiful old city.
- Day1: Explore the East Side of Kyoto
- Day2: Explore the West Side of Kyoto
- Recommended Stays in Kyoto
- Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Kyoto
- Articles you may also like
Day1: Explore the East Side of Kyoto
10am Fushimi Inari Shrine
Let’s start your Kyoto trip from the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine where you can see thousands of red torii gates. It’s one of the most photogenic spots in Kyoto.
Since it’s a popular tourist spot, visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine in the early morning is also recommended.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is located in Mt. Inari and the mountain itself is considered a precinct of the shrine. You can enjoy a pilgrimage while hiking on the 233 meters mountain. It takes approximately 2 hours to get to the top.
11:30am Kiyomizu Temple
The next stop is Kiyomizudera (or Kiyomizu Temple), one of the most famous temples and sightseeing spots in Kyoto. Near the temple, there are areas called Sannen Zaka and Ninen Zaka that have a traditional atmosphere with well-preserved buildings. We recommend you stop there and have Udon noodles for lunch!
▶Recommended Private guided tour at Kiyomizudera Temple and more
1pm Yasaka Shrine Area
Around Yasaka Shrine is a very beautiful area and there are several notable landmarks such as Ishibei Koji Street, Yasaka Pagoda, and Kodaiji Temple. This area is less crowded than Kiyomizu temple, so you could feel the calm and pleasant atmosphere of traditional Kyoto.
3pm Ginkakuji Temple and Philosopher’s Path
How about visiting Ginkakuji temple? It’s a sophisticated temple and has a Zen atmosphere. And the gardens are also beautiful! After Ginkakuji temple, you can have a relaxing walk through Tetsugaku no Michi (Philosopher’s Path). You will find hidden shrines, small cafes and restaurants along the path.
5pm Explore Gion Area
The Gion area is a very famous spot for Maiko and Geiko (or Geisha) because there are many Ozashiki where they perform! If you are very lucky, you can see Maiko walking on the streets of Gion. But keep in mind that there are many “fake” geisha or maiko on the street since dress-up like them with their unique makeup is one of the popular tourist experiences in Kyoto.
If you want to make sure to see the real geisha and maiko, we recommend visiting Gion Corner or booking tours!
7pm Dinner at Pontocho Alley
Kyoto has its own unique food culture and there are some signature dishes like Yuba, Kaiseki, Hamo, etc. If you already travel around Tokyo, you should try local food to see the difference between the dishes in Tokyo and Kyoto. In the Pontocho area, there are many restaurants and bars in a beautiful atmosphere where you can enjoy the evening.
▶Recommended tour including visiting Pontocho
Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @ Nishiki Street & Gion
Day2: Explore the West Side of Kyoto
9am Kinkakuji Temple
Kinkakuji Temple is another one of the most famous spots in Kyoto, also known as the golden pavilion in English. When you research Kyoto you probably have seen a picture of this stunning temple! Though the place is often very crowded, it is definitely worth going and seeing it with your own eyes. Autumn or winter is one of the most popular times to visit to see the combination of shining gold with colorful leaves or beautiful white snow.
10am Ryoanji Temple
Ryoanji is very famous for its Zen garden from the 15th century. In the garden, there are 15 rocks, but you can only see 14 rocks from any angle. It’s said that it indicates the beauty of imperfection, which is an essential part of Zen.
1pm Togetsukyo Bridge
Next, let’s move to the Arashiyama area. There is a very famous bridge called Togetsukyo Bridge. It’s one of the most picturesque spots in Kyoto. The view of the bridge over the Oigawa River is very beautiful!
Tip: Across the bridge, there is a monkey park. You could see more than 100 monkeys!
▶Recommended Food and Drinks Tour in Arashiyama area
2pm Tenryuji Garden
In Tenryuji Garden, there is another beautiful Zen garden. This is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto and Japanese first national important property. You can even do some meditation while observing the beautiful garden!
3pm Bamboo Grove
The Bamboo Grove of Arashiyama is also a very famous spot in Kyoto. Have you seen the photos with the bamboo? There are thousands of bamboo trees and you can feel the cooler and pleasant air inside the bamboo grove.
This is our suggested Kyoto 2-day itinerary, covering most of the highlights. But of course, there is much more to see and do in Kyoto. You can easily spend a full week in this city alone! But most likely you don’t have this time to spend in Kyoto. If you have a local guide on this itinerary, that would make your days more enjoyable and you get the most out of your trip to Kyoto! Our friendly and knowledgeable guide will show you around the beautiful city and some of the hidden gems that only locals know.
▶Total Kyoto Experience – 10 Hours Private Walking Tour
Recommended Stays in Kyoto
High Class Hotel
Other recommended accommodations in Kyoto
We wish you a wonderful time in Kyoto!
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Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Kyoto
When you are visiting Kyoto and you need some help organizing your trip, you came to the right place. We’re happy to help you make your trip to Kyoto the best trip ever. We can advise you on where to go or even better, show you around with a local, English speaking guide. Let us help you create safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memories in Kyoto!
▶Kyoto Private Full-Day Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.
▶Total Kyoto Experience
If you only have a day or two in Kyoto, we offer a full-day tour of the city, enabling you to immerse yourself in and fully enjoy the entire city of Kyoto in just 10 hours!
▶Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @Nishiki Street & Gion
If you’re looking to learn more about the culture and the local cuisine of Kyoto, this is the perfect tour for you! Take part in this Kyoto food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the famous Gion district.
Find the Other Tours
If you want to make travel easier, we suggest you look into tour packages.There are a wide range of tour packages out there to suit the accomodate for each traveler needs. Click the button below to find the best tour package from various Tour Operators!