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Philosopher's Walk

This is a great walk to orient yourself around Kyōto. Stroll along a cherry tree-lined canal and visit shrines, temples, gardens and boutiques.

The Philosopher’s Walk in Kyōto gets its name from one of Japan’s most famous philosophy professors, Nishida Kitarō (1870-1945), who is said to have taken this walk as his daily meditation. The trail runs alongside a canal. It begins at the Temple of the Silver Pavilion, goes past Eikando Temple and several shrines and ends at Nanzenji Temple. The walk is particularly scenic in April, when the area comes alive with the profusion of blossoms on the hundreds of cherry trees.

The walk itself is only about 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) and takes roughly half an hour. It’s best to give yourself at least a few hours, however, so you can explore the sights along the way. The area is also full of restaurants where you can try katsu curry, in which the main meat ingredient is breadcrumbed, engage in a tea ceremony, and have kaiseki, a traditional multicourse dinner.

The canal, built during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), is crossed by picturesque bridges and surrounded by greenery. It begins a little way from the Temple of the Silver Pavilion, where you’ll find a moss garden, an unusual dry sand garden and temple buildings containing statues of the goddess of mercy. From here you will pass Honen-in Temple, Anrakuji Temple, and two shrines with beautiful gardens.

The path will also take you close to Eikando Temple, which is arranged at the base of a hill. Its buildings are connected by wooden walkways. During autumn, the temple is open later in the evenings and lit up so that the brilliant reds of the leaves in the gardens glow.

Nanzenji is the last temple on the Philosopher’s Walk. Entry to Nanzenji’s main temple grounds is free, but there is a fee to see inside some of the buildings. Make sure you climb to the top of the Sanmon gate for views over the city, and visit the head priest’s residence to see the Zen rock garden, and tiger paintings in gold leaf on the sliding doors.

The Philosopher’s Walk is in the Higashiyama district. Buses run from Eikando Temple back into central Kyōto.


Guide to Exploring Philosopher's Walk


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Guest House Aoi Nakamoto P3,571
Guest House Aoi Nakamoto

Guest House Aoi Nakamoto

     
    2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Sakyo Ward, this guesthouse is within a 15-minute walk of Philosopher's Walk and Kyoto University. Nanzenji Temple and Heian Shrine are also within 1 mile (2 km). Keage Station is 21 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 27 minutes.

    Villa Honen-in Nishi P11,639
    Villa Honen-in Nishi

    Villa Honen-in Nishi

       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Sakyo Ward, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Shinnyo-do Temple, Philosopher's Walk and Honen-in Temple. Temple of the Silver Pavilion and Heian Shrine are also within 1 mi (2 km). Keage Station is 20 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 27 minutes.

      Hostel Ginkakuji P794
      Hostel Ginkakuji

      Hostel Ginkakuji

         
        1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Sakyo Ward, this hostel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto University and Philosopher's Walk. Nanzenji Temple and Heian Shrine are also within 1 mile (2 km). Kyoto Mototanaka Station is 20 minutes by foot and Kyoto Chayama Station is 21 minutes.

        CROSS HOTEL KYOTO P4,464
        CROSS HOTEL KYOTO

        CROSS HOTEL KYOTO

           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Sanjo Keihan Station and Kyoto Sanjo Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery P6,675
          Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

          Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

          84 OHASHICHO, Kyoto
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nishiki Market and Chion-in Temple. Heian Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km). Sanjo Keihan Station and Kyoto Sanjo Station are within a 2-minute walk.

            Ryokan Yoshida-sanso P21,865
            Ryokan Yoshida-sanso

            Ryokan Yoshida-sanso

            59-1 Yoshida Shimo-ooji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Sakyo Ward, this luxury ryokan is within a 10-minute walk of Yoshida Shrine and Kyoto University. Philosopher's Walk and Heian Shrine are also within 15 minutes. Higashiyama Station is 23 minutes by foot and Keage Station is 23 minutes.

              Teppanyaki House
              Teppanyaki House

              Teppanyaki House

                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Sakyo Ward, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Eikando Temple, Nanzenji Temple and Philosopher's Walk. Kyoto University and Heian Shrine are also within 1 mile (2 km). Keage Station is 17 minutes by foot and Higashiyama Station is 23 minutes.

                The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo P4,434
                The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

                The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station and Shiyakusho-mae Station are within a 5-minute walk.