Some of the most picturesque parts of Kyoto are located in the eastern region of the city, across the Kamo River. Visiting the main tourist attractions of eastern Kyoto will fill a full day - a suggested itinerary is to work north from Kiyomizu-dera to Ginkakuji, passing through Gion, and visiting Yasaka Shrine and Nanzenji before following the Philosopher's Walk to Ginkakuji.
Keihan Railway serves the entire area of Eastern Kyoto, offering easy access to every part of the area. It also connects the Eastern region to Northern Kyoto at Demachiyanagi Station, from which Shimogamo Shrine is in walking distance, or cross the street to Eizan Railway Demachiyanagi Station to go as far as Kurama. Keihan Railway travels south to Southern Kyoto, extending as far away as Hirakata and Osaka, and offering easy connections to Uji at Chushojima Station.
Travellers staying in Central Kyoto can easily reach the Higashiyama area using the municipal subway system's Tōzai Line. For tourists, the most convenient stops on this line are probably Higashiyama Station (north of Gion) and Keage Station (near Nanzen-ji). The subway is also convenient for those travelling onward to Otsu and Lake Biwa.
Numerous Kyoto City Bus routes traverse the neighborhood, particularly along the major north-south thoroughfare, Higashioji-dori. Route 100 is the most convenient for tourists: it runs from Kyoto Station to Ginkakuji, stopping only at major attractions. Useful local routes include #5, Kyoto Station – Shijo-Karasuma – Gion – Ginkakuji, and #206, Kyoto Station – Sanjusangendo – Gion – Chionji – Kitaoji (in northern Kyoto).
- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺), 1-chome, Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku (Nearest bus stop: Kiyomizu-michi, routes 100, 202, 206, 207), ☎ 075-551-123, . Daily: 6-18. This temple complex, with a spectacular location overlooking the city, is a deservedly popular attraction, approached by either of two tourist-filled souvenir-shop-lined streets, Kiyomizu-zaka or Chawan-zaka. Admission ¥300. Open daily, 6am-6pm. Nearest bus stop: Kiyomizu-michi or Gojo-zaka. Highlights of the temple complex include; The main hall's wooden veranda, supported by hundreds of pillars and offering incredible views over the city. Jishu Shrine, the love-themed shrine selling countless charms to help you snag the one you love, and featuring two "love stones" positioned around 18m apart which the lovelorn must walk between with their eyes closed to confirm their loved one's affection, and Otowa-no-taki the temple's waterfall, which gives it its name (Kiyomizu literally means 'pure water'). Visitors stand beneath the waterfall, and collect water to drink by holding out little tin cups. Mountain hike, if you're up for a mountain walk, steer to the right-hand pathway instead of taking the left toward the Jishu-jinja. The path leads through a gate and winds up onto the mountain. You can walk up for a good hour and not reach the end of the path. Has lovely forest and great scenery, and makes for a nice short excursion out of the city traffic. ¥300.
- Mount Daimonji (大文字) is abit more than a hill, but it provides a breathtaking (and perhaps the best) view of the city. So if you're in the mood for a hike, this is a pleasant forest walk, taking about an hour. At the summit, you can take a breather and check out the views over the city, or climb the steps and keep hiking through the forest at the top for hours, as long as you don't mind winding up far away from where you started. There's a clearly marked path up the mountain that begins near Ginkakuji. To reach the trailhead, turn left when facing the gates of Ginkakuji, and, before the stone torii (the iconic gate found throughout Japan), turn right and follow the path upwards. You'll soon be greeted with a map of the hill. If you don't know Japanese, don't worry, just follow everyone up the very-obvious path to the summit.
- Rokuharamitsu-ji (六波羅蜜寺), 81-1 Rokuro-cho 2-chome, Matsubara-dori, Higashiyama-ku, ☎ 075-561-6980, . Daily 8-17. While the temple itself may not seem so special, the trip is made worthwhile by the amazing Kamakura Period artwork housed in its museum. In particular, the statue of Kuya is quite a unique piece of artwork depicting Kuya Shonin reciting the nenbutsu. To depict the words, the artist Taira Kiyomori, sculpted six miniature figures of Kuya Shonin walking out of his open mouth. Each figure represents one syllable in the nenbutsu. This temple is also the 17th temple of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. Grounds: free, Museum: ¥500.
- Sanjusangen-do (三十三間堂), "Sanjūsangendō (Nearest bus stop: Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae, routes 100, 206, 208), ☎ 075-561-0467. Open from 8 AM to 5 PM. is definitely worth a visit. It was founded in 1164 and became famous for its 1001 beautiful wooden and gold-leaf covered statues of Kannon, goddess of mercy, housed in thirty-three bays (sanjusan = thirty-three, gendo = bays) in the main hall. Entrance fee: ¥600.
- Kyoto National Museum (京都国立博物館), 527 Chayamachi, Higashiyama-ku, ☎ 075-541-1151, . 9:30am - 5:00pm, closed Mondays. Is near Sanjusangen-do, and has a large collection of ancient Japanese sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, painting, and other artifacts. (It's quite similar to the Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo/Ueno.) The Museum building is fairly grand, but the statue of Rodin's The Thinker out front is a bit out of place, as there's no Western art inside. It's seven minutes east of Shichijo Keihan. admission ¥500.
- Yogen-in. The original temple was built by one of Hideyoshi Toyotomi's concubines in honor of her father, but the temple was destroyed by a fire. When rebuilding the temple, the floorboards of Fushimi Castle in Southern Kyoto were used to construct the ceiling. Since Fushimi Castle was the site of quite a bloody battle, when you look at the ceiling, you can still see blood stains and body outlines from soldiers who committed seppuku. The artwork in the temple is also very famous, particularly the elephant paintings. Non-Japanese visitors have mixed success trying to enter the temple. You may be shown an English write-up that states that only those who understand Japanese are able to enter (because everyone who enters will be greeted by a guide who will walk you through the temple). It ends with something like, "This is why you are not allowed to enter the temple." Alternatively, the staff may refuse you entry and ask you to leave. Try not to let this deter you if you really want to enter but don't know Japanese. Simply agree to the tour, pay the fee, maybe lie about your Japanese ability, and then politely pay attention to your guide as they walk you through the temple.
- Heian Shrine (平安神宮), 97 Nishi Tennocho, Okazaki, Sakyo-ku, ☎ 075-761-0221, . Mar-Aug:8:30-17:30; Sep-Oct: 8:30-17; Nov-Feb: 8:30-16. Built in 1895 in commemoration of the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto, the shrine was designed as a scaled-down replica of the original Imperial Palace. The Shin'en Garden encircling the backside of the shrine is one of the city's most beautiful gardens and a popular place for hanami, particularly for those who prefer pink blossoms. Grounds: free; Garden: ¥600.
- Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (京都市美術館), Okazaki Park, Sakyo-ku, ☎ 075-771-4107, . Open 9 AM to 5 PM. Closed Mondays. This museum houses a wide variety of art with the permanent collections featuring artists that are from Kyoto. Special exhibits may feature Japanese art from other areas or foreign artwork.
- Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art (京都国立近代美術館), Okazaki Enshoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, ☎ 075-761-4111, . 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (on Fridays during special exhibitions, hours may be extended to 8:00 PM). Closed Mondays. An interesting museum featuring works from famous, as well as up-and-coming modern artists. Exhibits change frequently, so its best to call or visit the webisite to see exactly what will featured during your visit. You may also want to make sure they will not be changing exhibitions, as they often close an entire floor of the museum during the transition. ¥420. (college students receive a discount and special exhibitions require additional costs).
- Yoshida Shrine (吉田神社), 30 Kaguraoka-cho, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku, ☎ 075-771-3788. All day. Most famous as the site of the Setsubun Festival held in February, this small shrine was very highly revered during the Heian Period, and the court made offerings here. Free.
- Kyoto City Zoo, Okazaki Houshoji-cho, Sakyo-ku (located on the east side of the Kyoto Municipal Art Museum), ☎ 075-771-0210, . Like most zoos, visitors will see lions, tigers, and monkeys. There is an aviary and reptile exhibit, as well. The zoo has some native Japanese animals, but there isn't much to set it apart from most other zoos in the world.
- Hosomi Art Museum, 6-3 Okazaki, Saishoji-cho, ☎ 075-752-5555. Open from 10 AM to 6 PM. Closed Mon. A museum that showcases Japanese religious art from all periods of history. Exhibits change each season but typically feature famous artwork from local temples and shrines. Prices vary depending on the exhibit.
Maruyama Park area
- Maruyama Park (円山公園), 625 Gion-machi, Kitagawa-ku. is the main center for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto, and can get extremely crowded at that time of year. The park's star attraction is a weeping cherry tree (shidarezakura). Main entrance to the park is through Yasaka Shrine. Admission is free.
- Kodaiji Temple (高台寺,), 526, Shimogawara-cho, Kodai-ji, Higashiyama-ku, ☎ 075-561-9966, . Open from 9 AM to 5 PM. This temple was built for Toyotomi Hideyoshi's widow by Tokugawa Ieyasu and is located right next to the Ryozen Kannon temple. If you really like temples this is a very nice one. It's got a nice bamboo grove that you walk through on the way out. If you're in the area it's a good sight to see. Entrance fee: ¥600.
- Chion-in, ☎ 075-531-2111. The head temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism. The Sanmon gate at the entrance to the temple is the largest of such gates in the nation. Visitors can walk freely around the complex and inside the buildings, except for those that house the temples "Seven Wonders". Walking the temple grounds is free, but seeing the wonders costs money.
- Shoren-in, 69-1 Sanjobo-cho, ☎ 075-561-2345, . Open from 9 AM to 5 PM. Once associated with the head Tendai Buddhist sect temple, Enryaku-ji on Mount Hiei, Shoren-in is considered to be one of the top five Tendai sect temples. During the Tokugawa period, it served as temporary lodging for a retired emperor after the Imperial Palace burned down. Those who come during November may be able to practice a tea ceremony (See "Do" section of the guide). Admission is ¥500.
- Higashi Otani Mausoleum. Located in a cemetary, tourists typically visit this site accidentally however, because some of the ashes of Shinran, the founder of Jodo-Shin Buddhism, are contained inside the mausoleum, it is a popular place for Buddhists to come to pay their respects. Entrance to the grounds is free.
- Ryozen Kannon Statue (霊山観音), Kodaiji Shimokawaracho, Higashiyama-ku (At the northern end of Ninen-zaka), ☎ 075 561 2205, . Daily 8:30-16:30. A memorial to the unknown Japanese soldiers who died in World War II, with a 24-meter-tall statue of Kannon. Admission is ¥200, including a lit incense stick to place in front of the temple.
- Ryozen History Museum, 1 Ryozen-cho Seikanji. Open from 10 AM to 4 PM. Closed Mondays. A museum dedicated to displaying artifacts and information about the Meiji Period.
- Ryozen Gokoku Shrine, 605 Seikan-ji-Ryosen-cho, ☎ 075-561-7124, . This shrine was built to house the souls of all those who died in the Pacific War, from the Meiji Restoration uprisings and the Russo-Japanese War to the end of World War II. It is the first shrine in the nation to be officially recognized as a shrine for war dead.
Gion district (祇園)
Tea houses along the Shirakawa Canal
The flagstone-paved streets and traditional buildings of the Gion district, located to the north-west of Kiyomizu-dera, are where you're most likely to see geishas in Kyoto, scurrying between buildings or slipping into a taxi. The area just to the north of Shijo-dori, to the west of Yasaka Shrine, is especially photogenic - particularly around Shinbashi-dori and Hanami-koji. Sannen-zaka ("three-year-slope") and Ninen-zaka ("two-year-slope"), two stepped streets leading off from Kiyomizu-zaka, are also very picturesque - but watch your step, slipping over on these streets brings three or two years' bad luck respectively.
- Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社), 625 Gion-machi, Kitagawa-ku (East end of Shijo-dori. Nearest bus stop: Gion), ☎ 075-561-6155, . Always open. At the eastern end of Shijo-dori, at the edge of Gion, is the shrine responsible for Kyoto's main festival - the Gion Matsuri, which takes place in July. The shrine is small in comparison with many in Kyoto, but it boasts an impressive display of lanterns. Admission is free.
- Kenninji Temple (建仁寺), 584 Komatsu-cho, Higashiyama-ku, ☎ 075-561-0190, . 10:00-16:00 daily. Japan's oldest Zen temple, has handsome halls and sand and moss gardens, and is of particular interest to art lovers. Sotatsu's famed Edo-period screens of the Wind and Thunder Gods are on display. And on the high ceiling of the Hatto Dharma Hall writhe Koizumi Junsaku's splendid Twin Dragons, painted and installed in 2002. Admission is ¥500.
The Philosopher's Path runs from Ginkakuji down to Eikando, with many travellers choosing to end their journey at Nanzenji (or begin, should you choose to walk towards Ginkakuji). The sites are listed in the order you will pass them if you start from Ginkakuji.
- Ginkakuji (銀閣寺), Ginkakuji-cho (Nearest bus stop: Ginkakuji-michi, routes 5, 17, 32, 100, 102, 203, 204), ☎ 075-771-5725. Mar-Nov: 08:30-17:00; Dec-Mar: 09:00-16:30. This temple, known as the Silver Pavilion, is at the northern end of the Philosopher's Walk. Much like its golden counterpart Kinkakuji, the Silver Pavilion is often choked with tourists, shuffling past a scrupulously-maintained dry landscape Zen garden and the surrounding moss garden, before posing for pictures in front of the Pavilion across a pond. Do note, however, that major restoration works are being done on the pavilion, which is now surrounded by metal scaffolding. This is not expected to be completed until after 2010. Unlike its counterpart, however, the Silver Pavilion was never actually covered in silver; only the name had been applied before the plans fell apart. Be sure not to miss the display of Very Important Mosses! Admission ¥500.
- Honen-in, ☎ 075-771-2420. Open from 7 AM to 4 PM. A quiet temple with some interesting raised sand designs. It was built in honor of Honen, the founder of the Jodo sect. Temple grounds are free.
- Anraku-ji, 21 Shishigatani, ☎ 075-771-5360, . A temple built to console the soles of Anraku and some concubines who were killed by order of the Imperial Court who did not approve of their Buddhist sect.
- Koun-ji (光雲寺), ☎ 075-751-7949. A temple designed around the borrowed scenery of the surrounding mountains, it was once owned by Empress Gomizuno.
- Nyakuoji Shrine, 2 Nishioji Sakyo-ku, ☎ 075-771-7420. A nice shrine to visit in the autumn when the leaves are changing. It's a worthwhile stop for those travelling along the Philosopher's Path, but probably not worth making the trip just to see this shrine. Entrance is free.
- Eikando Temple (永観堂禅林寺), 48 Eikando-cho, Sakyo-ku (Nearest bus stop: Nanzenji/Eikando-michi, route 5), ☎ 075-761-0007, . Daily 9-17. A large temple said to have been originally constructed by Priest Kukai. The temple features a unique statue of Amida Buddha, Mikaeri Amida, that looks to the right rather than facing forward. The temple grounds also feature a Tahoto pagoda and a lake. The temple is particularly pleasant in the autumn when the leaves are changing. ¥600.
Aqueduct, Nanzenji Temple
- Nanzenji Temple (南禅寺), Fukuchi-cho, Nanzenji, Sakyo-ku (Nearest bus stop: Nanzenji/Eikando-michi, route 5). 8:40a.m.-5:00p.m.(until 4:30p.m. from Dec to Feb). with its distinctive two-story entrance gate (sanmon) and aqueduct, is another popular temple in Kyoto, but its larger size means that it doesn't seem as crowded as many of the others. Nearest bus stop: Nanzenji, Eikando-michi. Nearest subway station: Keage. Open daily, 8.30am-5pm. Walking around the temple complex is free, including the unusual Meiji-era aqueduct that wouldn't look out of place in Italy. There are three regions of Nanzenji that you can pay to enter: Sanmon - the two-story main gate to Nanzenji Temple charges ¥500 for admission, and offers pleasant views over the surrounding area of the city. Nanzen-in Zen Temple - a small, but relaxing temple and moss garden behind the aqueduct, dating back to the 13th century, charges ¥300 for admission, and is probably only worth it if you have a particular interest in Zen Buddhism. Hojo - the abbot's quarters, is a more interesting building, with a small raked gravel garden and some impressive paintings on the sliding doors of the buildings. Admission is ¥500.
During warmer months, Japanese and foreigners alike gather on the banks of the Kamo River to drink and make merry. The area around the Sanjo Bridge is the most popular. It's a friendly, welcoming scene. In summer months, on Fridays and Saturdays, a group of fire dancers and drum players occasionally hold free performances.
- Walk the Philosopher's Path (哲学の道 tetsugaku-no-michi). The 2km-long path through north-eastern Kyoto, along which a philosophy professor, Kitaro Nishida, used to frequently walk. It is a surprisingly pleasant and relaxing walk even today, though you will undoubtedly share it with more tourists than Kitaro did. The walk runs south from Ginkakuji beside an aqueduct to Nyakuoji Shrine, many guidebooks suggest that the walk continues further south from there to Nanzenji, but this southerly section of the walk is less consistently signposted. The route passes several temples en route, notably Honen-in, a beautiful secluded temple with a thatched gate. The best time to walk the trail is in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, as the path is lined with cherry trees, or in the fall when the leaves are changing. Of course, these are also the most crowded times of year.
- Ride in a Rickshaw, ☎ 075-533-0444, . Unlike the days of old when rickshaw pullers were looked down upon, the men pulling them today are quite highly regarded (and highly attractive). Some of the most popular pullers may even have their own patrons. These men do not simply transport you; they also act as guides, sharing information about the area and attractions. For those who can understand Japanese, it can be as informative as it is fun. The rickshaws are particularly popular with couples, as it can be quite romantic, especially in the evenings. The drivers are very friendly and will gladly take a picture of you sitting in it to remember the experience. Although they do have some set routes, you can also request to be taken to a specific attraction (within a reasonable distance, of course). Rickshaws can be found throughout the area from outside Maruyama Park to Kiyomizu-dera. Prices vary depending on what route you choose, but they typically range from ¥5000-7000.
- Tea Ceremony at Shoren-in, . Open from 10 AM to 3:30 PM on the vernal equinox, May 5, and throughout November. The ceremony is held in the former study of retired Emperor Gosakuramachi known as the Kobun-tei, typically not open to visitors. The room was rebuilt in the 1990s after a fire burned down the original, but it is still an interesting place nonetheless, and the tea ceremony is an interesting experience. The ceremony costs ¥1000 in addition to the temple entrance fee, costing ¥1500 total.
- Riraku Spa, Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel, 644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari, Higashiyama-ku, ☎ 075-541-1234 ([email protected]), . Seemingly expensive. I would advise going to Takayama for a luxurious yet affordable spa experience (¥10,000)
Geisha and Maiko
- Geisha Walking LectureIf your are interested about the world of the Geisha, you shouldn't miss the walking lecture by Peter MacIntosh . The walk will have you tour the Gion district where Peter, will give you an insider's view into the past, present and future of this unique and exotic world. If you're lucky you might see a Geisha walking by to one of her appointments. Reservation is to be made by phone: +81 090-5169-1654
- Kyoto Cuisine and Maiko Evening, 505 Gion-machi minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, ☎ 075-541-5315, . Show lasts from 6 PM to 10 PM Events held on Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., and other chosen days (see website to confirm dates). Located at Gion Hatanaka, this event offers foreigners the rare opportunity to see an authentic performance by real maiko. Guests are served food and you can drink as much as you like during the performance. You can make reservations online (continue to check for updates, because they reserve the right to cancel performances). ¥18000 (includes all-you-can-drink).
- Photo session as Maiko/Geiko, 4F Ouka Bldg., 576 Gion-cho Minamigawa Shijo-tori Hanamikoji Nishi-iru Higashiyama-ku (Gion), ☎ 075-661-0858, . 10:00am - 8:00pm. If you are interested in having a photo session dressed up as a Maiko or Geiko (geisha) or, for men, as a samurai, several studios in Kyoto provide this service at affordable price. The session includes full make up and dress in a kimono and normally lasts for 1.5-2 hours. Options include indoor or outdoor shots (strolling in Gion dressed up as a geisha!), plus at Yumekoubou they will take a few photos with your own camera while they dress you up, for free. It is recommended to select a plan and make reservation online - in some studios they speak very limited English. More links: http://www.yumeyakata.com/eng/index.html, http://www.maica.tv/e/index.html ¥9,975.
- Rakushisha Paper Crafts (洛紙舎), 549-2 Nishinomon-cho (On Shijo-dori where it intersects with Yamato-Oji-dori near Sanjuusangendo), ☎ 075-561-5852. Open from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. A great souvenir shop with some more original and less tacky souvenirs. In particular, for those looking to purchase nice nice paintings or copies of famous Japanese paintings, this shop offers a variety of paintings on paper that looks less cheesy than those that you will find along Shijo or near Kiyomizu-dera. There are also authentic Kyoto-made paper fans. Much of the items in this store are difficult to find elsewhere, so if you're interested in these items, it's best to buy them here.
- Honkenishio Yatsuhashi (本家西尾八ッ橋), ☎ 075-541-8284, . Open from 8 AM to 6 PM. The best store to buy raw yatsuhashi, it offers the largest variety of flavors, including seasonal varieties. One package of yatsuhashi costs ¥250.
- Il Pappalardo, ☎ 075-533-3330, . Lunch from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM, Dinner from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM. One of Kyoto's best Italian restaurants. Dishes tend to be pricey, but the food tastes delicious. Pizzas are sold at more affordable prices. Pizzas range from ¥1500-2400..
- Kick-up Bar is outside the Keage Tozai line subway station (nearest Exit 1) and on the opposite side of the street from the Westin Miyako Hotel. They have the best meatball sandwich in Japan for ¥800 and loaded pizza made from homemade dough (small for ¥900). The food is good, and the owner and his son are American and speak English. A nonsmoking establishment.
- Santouka Ramen is a Hokkaido style ramen shop in the Sanjo-Keihan above-ground plaza & bus station. For about ¥900 they have excellent pork broth ramen. Don't forget the broth-boiled egg for ¥200. Look for the line outside.
- Saryou Tsuriji, ☎ 075-561-2257, . Open from 10 AM to 9 PM. Famous for its macha (grean tea) parfait, this restaurant is quite popular among Japanese tourists. It is not uncommon to wait 30 minutes just to get inside. Mainly ice cream is served, and most of it is grean tea flavored, as it is a Kyoto specialty. It's a nice experience for those who like to make eating part of their travel experience, but for those on a budget, there are plenty of vendors selling cheap macha ice cream cones. Dishes typically range from ¥1000-1400.
- Sweets Paradise, Koto Cross Hankyu Kawaramachi 6th Floor, ☎ 075-212-2234, . Open from 10:30 AM to 9:30 PM. Sweets Paradise is the famed all-you-can-eat cake and dessert restaurant. While they do offer some main dishes, no one comes here for anything but the sweets! After you pay, you can eat as much as you want for 90 minutes. ¥1480.
- TACkitchen (タックキッチン祇園店), 京都市東山区八坂新地末吉町８８−１ (Coming from Gion Shijo station, walk along Shijo Dori on the left side, towards the east. After the first crossroads with traffic lights, walk about 100 meters and turn left into the small street. About 50 meters after the next crossroads, TACkitchen is on your left. Ground floor, wooden sliding door.), ☎ 075-531-0970, . 6-3pm. Not the cheapest, but really great Italian food in a very hospitable environment, with friendly staff, nice music and great dessert. 4000 p.p..
- Torikizoku (鳥貴族), . 5 or 6 pm to late. Torikizoku is the most popular yakitori chain in Kansai. There are several locations in Kyoto - most convenient for travellers is in Kawaramachi/Shijo, just before the bridge, or between sanjo and shijo, on kiyachou-dori. The yakitori is delicious, comes in generous serves and is very cheap. It's very popular with both locals and expats, and is always busy. Try to come before 7:30 to secure seats. Look for the Japanese characters on the distinctive yellow and red sign. All food/drink ¥300 each.
- Vietnam Frog Located just above Sanjo-Keihan station this nice little Vietnamese place as pho and other favorites at a moderate price: approx. ¥800-1500.
- New Supper (ニューサパー ''nyuusapaa''), 53 Okazaki Tennou-cho, ☎ 075-771-3019, . Open from 6 PM to 2 AM. Closed Mondays. ¥600 for whiskey and brandy, ¥800 for a cocktail fizz.
- Pig & Whistle: underwent a renovation last year, adding a more stylish whiskey bar to its original drinks bar. This is a popular spot, located right above the Sanjo Keihan subway station. If you hear live music, go on up; though it probably won't be great music, it will draw a crowd. Food here is also mediocre.
- The Gael Irish Pub: (formerly known as "Tadg's Irish Pub") convenient location if you are downtown (located in Gion at Shijo and Kawabata-dori). Open mic nights can be a mixed bag depending on who comes (always excellent jazz, no longer holding poetry readings apparently). Great portions of food. Definitely go for rugby games.
- Kickup. Kick-up Bar is outside the Keage Tozai line subway station (nearest Exit 1) and on the opposite side of the street from the Westin Miyako Hotel. They have the best meatball sandwich in Japan for ¥800 and loaded pizza made from homemade dough (small for ¥900). The food is good, and the owner and his son are American and speak English. A nonsmoking establishment.
The small size and historic preservation of this district leave little room for hotels – most people will stay in Central Kyoto instead. There are a few exceptions:
- bAKpAK Kyoto Hostel, 1-234 Miyagawa Suji, Higashiyama-ku (between Kawaramachi and Gion, next to the Minamiza theater), ☎ +81 (0)75-525-3143, . Dorm ¥2500/person to Japanese-style quad ¥14,000/room.
- Gojo Guest House, 3-396-2 Gojobashi-higashi, Higashiyama-Ku (5 min. walk from Keihan Gojo Station), ☎ +81 075-525-2299, . checkin: 3-10 PM; checkout: 11 AM. A Japanese style hostel with a cozy cafe located in the Higashiyama area. Dorm ¥2500/person, twin ¥6000/room, triple ¥9900/room for three people, ¥12,000 for four.
- Guest House - The Earth Ship, 33-15 Naka-Adaticho, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku (near Kyoto University, 10 min. walk from Keihan Demachiyanagi Station), ☎ +81 (0)75-204-0077, . Friendly shared living room. Dormitory ¥2,500, Private room starts at ¥4000 for one person, ¥6000 for two people, ¥7500 for three, ¥8000 for four. There is an additional discount on these prices for long stays.
- Higashiyama Youth Hostel, 112 Goken-machi Shirakawabashi (Located just across the bridge from Higashiyama Station on the Subway Tozai Line), ☎ 075-761-8135, . checkin: 3:30-7:30 PM; checkout: 9:00 AM. A hotel conveniently located between sites around Maruyama Park and the Okazaki area. There is a 10:00 PM. Reservations can be made at the website. Costs ¥3960 per night without meals, ¥3360 for members.
- Hidden Inn Kyoto Vacation Rental Townhouse, Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Kamitoryo-cho 126-12 (5 min. walk southeast from Keihan Gojo station), ☎ +81 (0)50-5534-2429 ([email protected]), . checkin: 4 PM; checkout: 10 AM. Modern & luxurious centrally located vacation rental townhouse fully equipped with kitchen, 2 bedrooms with Western style beds (sleeps up to 6), free WIFI. A great option for families or small groups. from ¥19,500 for two.
- Kyoto Travelers Inn (京都トラベラーズ・イン), 91 Enshojicho, Okazaki, Sakyoku (7 min. walk northeast from Higashiyama subway station T10, exit 1, or get off at Heian-jingu-torii-mae stop on number 5 bus), ☎ +81 (0)75-771-0225 (fax: +81 (0)75-771-0226), . checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 10 AM. One of the few hotels in eastern Kyoto, near the giant concrete torii of the Heian-jingu shrine. The building is divided into two sections, with Japanese-style and Western-style rooms; the former are often booked solid by groups during the school year, but are preferable if you're OK with a futon instead of actual bed. Free Wi-Fi in the lobby. Singles ¥6825 and up, doubles ¥12,600 and up.
- Iori Gion Shinmonzen Townhouse, Shinmonzen-dori, . Located in a traditional machiya, the Gion Shinmonzen (one of the Iori Machiya) is perfect for anyone looking to enhance their experience in Kyoto with ultra-traditional accommodations right in Gion. You can make reservations on the website. Prices start at ¥35000 (2 people) but vary depending on the day and time of year. Prices are listed for each day on the website.
- Hyatt Regency Kyoto, 644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari, Higashiyama-ku (Near Shichi-jo station on the Keihan line, or you can take buses #206, #208, or #100 from JR Kyoto station), ☎ +81 075-541-1234 ([email protected]), . 5 star hotel with contemporary interior design. All its restaurants feature show kitchens, which is a first in Kyoto. ¥43,000 for twin room.
- Ryokan Tamahan, 477 Gion, Shimogawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku (Gion District, 10 minutes by taxi from Kyoto Station), ☎ +81 075-561-3188, . checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. Traditional Ryokan in quaint Gion district. It's worth the experience for at least one night. The price includes Japanese dinner and a choice of Japanese or Western breakfast. There is free wifi access. Staff are friendly but speak limited English. ¥25,000 per person.
- Westin Miyako Kyoto, Keage, Sanjo, Higashiyama-ku, ☎ +81 (0)75-771-7111 (fax: +81 075-751-2490), . checkin: 1 PM; checkout: 11AM. Established in 1890, this is the oldest Western-style hotel in Kyoto. It has over 400 rooms, starting at ¥33,000 for twins. (If you make a reservation through a travel agency, you may get a lower price.) It has about 30,000 square meters, and a few Japanese gardens, one of which, Aoiden (葵殿庭園) was built by Jihei Ogawa (小川治兵衛). The gardens can be visited by non-guests. It's near Keage Station (subway - Tozai Line, T09), or you can take a shuttle bus from JR Kyoto Station.
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