A Youtuber Paolo from Tokyo recently shared a list of “Top 8 Must-Visit Places in Kyoto”. Let’s take a look at Paolo’s ranking first:

Paolo’s Top 8 Spots in Kyoto (Spoiler Alert)

  1. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (嵐山嵯峨野の竹林)
  2. Hanamikoji-dori (花見小路通)
  3. Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺)
  4. Keage Incline (蹴上インクライン)
  5. Ninenzaka (二年坂)
  6. Yasaka Koshindo (八坂庚申堂)
  7. Kyutei Omuro (旧邸御室)
  8. Kamogawa (鴨川)

Overall, Paolo has chosen areas that are less crowded and quiet, for example, No. 1 Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (technically, it’s “Sagano” area located in North of Arashiyama), No. 4 Keage Incline, and No. 7 Kyutei Omuro.

#3 Kinkaku-ji
#5 Ninenzaka
#4. Keage Incline in Spring

These are all great choices (as I don’t like crowds), but I was a bit surprised that he didn’t include “Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺)“, which is ranked No.1 in most rankings for tourism in Kyoto. Kiyomizu Temple arguably is the most magnificent temple in Kyoto with a history of over 1,200 years.

So here are the 3 Best Spots in Kyoto that are outside Pablo’s ranking:

#1. Kiyomizu Dera

Kiyomizu Dera

Among the grounds, which spread over 130,000 square meters along the mid-slope of Mt. Otowa in the eastern part of Kyoto, stand thirty Buddhist buildings, including the national treasure Main Hall and many other important cultural properties. Since its foundation, most of the buildings have been destroyed by fire over ten times. Thanks to the assistance of the temple’s faithful, they were rebuilt time and time again. Most of the present buildings were reconstructed in 1633. In 1944, Kiyomizu-dera Temple was registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. (Excerpt from the Official Website)

It is a must-visit place in Kyoto, but perhaps Paolo thought it’s too classic to include it in his ranking.


#2. Philosopher’s Path

Philosopher’s Path (哲学の道, Tetsugaku no Michi) leading up to Kiyomizu Dera, is a pleasant stone path through the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. The path follows a canal which is lined by hundreds of cherry trees. Usually in early April these trees explode with color, making this one of the city’s most popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots.

Philosopher’s path (哲学の道)

#3. Ryoanji

Ryoanji (龍安寺) is a temple known for the famous “Rock Garden”, which was Steve Job’s favorite in Kyoto. Originally an aristocrat’s villa during the Heian Period, the site was converted into a Zen temple in 1450 and belongs to the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, whose head temple stands just a kilometer to the south.

Ryoanji Rock Garden

We hope you’ll find your own favorite spot(s) in Kyoto.