The most popular pedestrian sightseeing section in Kyoto is the streets in Higashiyama District. I recommend starting from the Gion, from the south side of Hanamikoji Street to the southeast, along the Yasaka-dori, Ninenzaka, Sannenzaka and finally the Matsubara-dori until the Kiyomizudera Temple. The return route can go in the opposite direction. After returning to the Ninenzaka, turn to Ichinenzaka, Nene-no-Michi (ねねの道), Ishizuchi Alley, and then return to the Yasaka Shrine.
In the route, there are many temples and shrines to visit. If you want to cherish the memory of Japanese historical celebrities, you can go to the Kodai-ji Temple and the Kyoto Ryozen Gokoku Shrine. On the Yasaka-dori, there is the Hokanji Temple, and the Yasaka-no-tou Tower next to the temple is a famous photography location.
Gion is a famous geisha district in Kyoto. There is a Kabuki theater (Minamiza Kabuki Theatre) nearby, as well as tea houses, kiosks, bars. At Shijo-dori (an east-west direction road) section between Kamogawa River and Yasaka Shrines, there is a Gion shopping area along the route. There are many traditional souvenir stores. To the north, you can go to Shinbashi-dori near the Gion Shirakawa. The Shirakawa coast is selected as an important traditional building group protection area. To the south is the Kyoto historical landscape preservation area. You can start a stroll from the south side of Hanamikoji-dori towards the southeast. This is the route we took:
Following the crowd, we stopped at the Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine, then went to the Yasaka Dori and saw the famous Yasaka-no-tou Pagoda and Hokanji Temple. After finding a good photography location, there were crowds of people who kept coming across, so we had to shot photos in a hurry.
On Yasaka Dori, we went to the Maisendo Kiyomizu. When we saw the signboard of Okutan Kiyomizu, the Ninenzaka was in front of us. Though the location was at the top of the Ninenzaka stairs, we decided to go to Sannenzaka and Matsubara-dori first, and then come back for Ninenzaka later. On the Sannenzaka, we visited Fujinami, Shoyeido Sanneizaka Store, Yojiya Kiyomizu-Sanneizaka, Seiryu-en Souvenir Store and Izutsu Yatsuhashi Store. We then climbed up the stairs and connected to Matsubara-dori where it continued to go uphill.
On the Matsubara-dori, we headed directly to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Because it was raining, we stayed at the Baizando where was closest to the temple. We waited for the rain to stop before visiting the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is the oldest temple in Kyoto. The Kiyomizu-dera Temple will be covered in its own page. We will save the details for now.
On the way back, we stopped at the Houkyuuan and enjoyed their tempura and matcha ice cream. When we went downhill for Sannenzaka, we saw the Akebonotei, which had a huge Sakamoto Ryuma kanban in front of the store. It is said that it was originally a hotel where the Bakumatsu patriots liked to stay in the final years of the Edo period. After eating the Mitarashi dango and matcha tea at Fujinami, we returned to the Okutan Kiyomizu, then turned right to downhill which lead us to Ninenzaka.
On the Ninenzaka, we passed the Minatoya Tanba Kuro and the distinctive Starbucks, and also visited the CHIRIMEN Craft Museum, the Ousuno sato Ninenzaka location, and then bought incense at Niimi Original incense and incense pot Shop. The incense we bought represents the fragrance of the four landmarks of Kyoto, I like the fragrance that represents Arashiyama.
After passed Ichinenzaka, we went directly to Kodai-ji Temple without visiting any shops. Unfortunately, we got there at about 5 pm, Kodai-ji Temple was closed. The Kyoto Ryozen Gokoku Shrine was not open either because of maintenance. We followed Nene-no-Michi, the way to the north, strolling through the Ishizuchi Alley, and then reached the Yasaka Shrine.
Finally, after strolling around in the Gion shopping area along the route of Shijo-dori, we called it a day for our tour.