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Attractions in Northern Kyōto

Tourist attractions in Northern Kyoto are so scattered and distant from each others that a lot of visitors stick to the unmissable Golden Pavilion and the famous rock gardens of Ryoan-ji.

Visitors with enough time on their hands will be rewarded by exploring the Daitoku-ji and the Enryaku-ji (on Mount Hiei), two of Japan's most impressive temple complexes, and the Shugaku-in Imperial Villa, which boasts one of the greatest masterpieces of Japanese gardening.

Also of interest are the Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines, which host the Aoi Matsuri on 15th May, one of Kyōto's three great festivals.

Off the beaten tracks, Kōzan-ji Temple is a quiet, modest hillside retreat, famous for its tea garden, the oldest in Japan. It is also here that Japan's first manga was drawn in the 12th century, the Chōjū-giga picture scrolls.

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Kinkaku-ji Temple
Kinkaku-ji Temple
must-see The "Golden Pavilion" is one of Kyoto's best-known attractions, and has been listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1994. Kinkaku-ji was originally built in 1397 as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu...Read more
Daitoku-ji Temple
Daitoku-ji Temple
outstanding Ryūhōzan Daitoku-ji is the head temple of the Daitoku school of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. This vast temple complex is made of 24 subtemples covering 23 hectares (56 acres), forming a small village of its own. It is one of the largest Zen temples in Japan...Read more
Shimogamo Shrine
Shimogamo-jinja Shrine
very good The Shimogamo Shrine is one of the three Shintō shrines in Kyoto listed as World Heritage Sites. The shrine's formal name is Kamo-mioya-jinja. Shimogamo means "Lower Kamo", as opposed to its sister shrine, the Kamigamo ...Read more
Ryōan-ji Temple
Ryōan-ji Temple
outstanding Ryoan-ji is a Zen temple belonging to Myoshin-ji school of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. Its dry landscape garden is one of the most famous in Japan and attracts hundreds of visitors daily. Originally a Fujiwara estate, the site...Read more
Shugaku-in Imperial Villa
Shugaku-in Riky Imperial Villa
outstanding Built in the 1650's by Emperor Go-Mizunoo, the Shugaku-in is a set of three villas (upper, middle and lower), each sporting its own garden laid in the imperial style. The grounds cover 53 ha (133 acre) and are considered a masterpiece of...Read more
Kamigamo Shrine ※
Kamigamo-jinja Shrine (photo by 663highland - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
very good Founded in 678, the the Kamo-wakeikazuchi Shrine is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. Like its sister shrine, the Shimogama-jinja, it is dedicated to the Kamo deities, whose role is to protect Kyoto from evil spirits.
Enryaku-ji Temple
Enryaku-ji Temple
outstanding Dominating the upper reaches of Mount Hiei-zan (848m), the Enryaku-ji is an important monastery and the head temple of the Tendai school of Buddhism. It is divided in two main compounds: the Tō-tō (Eastern Pagoda) and...Read more
Ninna-ji Temple
Ninna-ji Temple
very good Ninna-ji is the head temple of the Omuro school of Shingon Buddhism. It is one of the 13 Buddhist temples in Kyōto listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Ninna-ji is renowned for its beautiful garden...Read more
Kōzan-ji Temple
Kōzan-ji Temple
very good Located on the hillside of Mount Toganoo-san, Kōzan-ji is famous for having the oldest tea garden in Japan, and for its 12th-century Chōjū-giga picture scrolls, regarded as Japan's first manga...Read more

Other attractions

very good Ōhara 大原
good Shōkoku-ji Temple 相国寺
good Imamiya-jinja Shrine 今宮神社
good Kenkun-jinja Shrine 建勲神社
good Funaoka Onsen 船岡温泉
good Orinasu-kan Textile Museum 織成館
good Nishijin Textile Centre
very good Tōei Uzumasa Movie Village 東映太秦映画村
good Kōryū-ji Temple 広隆寺
good Myōshin-ji Temple 妙心寺
good Kitano Tenmangū Shrine 北野天満宮
good Hirano-jinja Shrine 平野神社
good Kyoto Museum for World Peace

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