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5 recommended spots in Kyoto in the early morning


5 recommended spots in Kyoto in the early morning

Speaking of sightseeing in Kyoto, I get the impression that it is always crowded with many people from Japan and abroad.

Early morning is recommended for those who want to avoid the crowds and calmly visit the temple.

This time, we will introduce spots where you can visit and take a walk from early morning without worrying about congestion, away from the hustle and bustle.

Why don’t you enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto in the morning that is different from usual?

* This article was created based on a visit from mid-September to late October 2021.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, one of the most popular temples, is surprisingly open early in the morning at 6:00am.

If you visit early in the morning, the number of worshipers is still sparse, and you can take a leisurely stroll through the precincts while feeling the gentle morning light and the atmosphere of a solemn temple, and you can fully enjoy the quiet space.

After enjoying the worship, you can’t miss a walk around Sannenzaka, Yasaka-no-to (Yasaka Pagoda), and Ninenzaka.

You can also enjoy a calm walk while taking pictures in the tranquility.

Along the walking path, there are some shops that are just right for breakfast, such as “Maeda Coffee Kodaiji-ten” which is open from 7:00am and “Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya” which is open at 8:00am.

Opening hours / access

■Opening hours
  6:00~18:00 (varies depending on the season)
  Approx. 10 minutes on foot from the city bus “Gojozaka” bus stop
■ Official website
  Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Nanzen-ji Temple

In the precincts of Nanzenji Temple, which is famous for its autumn colors and has many attractions such as Sanmon and Hojo Garden, there is Suirokaku, which is well known as a location for dramas.

The brick retro structure is an aqueduct bridge built in the Meiji era to draw the water of Lake Biwa to Kyoto, and is still in active use.

It seems that you can access this Suirokaku 24 hours a day.

It passes through the temple grounds, but as it is said that it was designed with the landscape in mind, it blends in with nature and blends into the surroundings.

It is crowded with many people when visiting during the day, but in the early morning there are still few people and it is quiet, and it is very easy to take pictures without people.

There are many photo spots around the temple, such as Incline and Philosopher’s Path. Paid visits to the Sanmon and the garden begin at 8:40am, so why not visit early and enjoy taking photos to your heart’s content?

Opening hours / access

■Opening hours
  8: 40-17: 00 (varies depending on the season)
  Approx. 10 minutes on foot from “Keage” station on the city subway Tozai line
■Official website
 Nanzen-ji Temple (Japanese)

To-ji Temple

To-ji Temple, which is closely related to the Monk Kukai and is well known for its five-storied pagoda and Kobo-ichi market, opens at 5:00am, the earliest in the city.

In the early morning, we often see locals taking a walk as a worshiper, creating a quiet and calm atmosphere.

Also, from 6:00am every morning, a memorial service called “Shojinku” is held at Miedo, and anyone can attend.

The location is within walking distance from Kyoto Station, so it is also a recommended place for those who arrive early by night bus.

Paid visits start at 8:00am, but a leisurely stroll through the precincts in the fresh air will start a pleasant day.

Checking the weather forecast and sunrise time and taking a picture of the five-storied pagoda against the backdrop of the sunrise is another way to enjoy it in the early morning.

Opening hours / access

■Opening hours (Precincts)
■Opening hours (Main Hall, Lecture Hall)
  Approx. 15 minutes on foot from the Hachijo exit of JR Kyoto Station
■Official website
  To-ji Temple | UNESCO World Heritage Site (Foreign Language)

Higashi Honganji Temple

Higashi Honganji Temple is easily accessible, about a 7-minute walk north on Karasuma Dori from the central exit of JR Kyoto Station.

It is a mother temple of the Shinshu Otani-ha branch of Jodo Shinshu (Shin Buddhism) and the opening time in the morning is 5:50 or 6:20 depending on the season.

The Goei-do (Founder’s Hall) where Shinran is enshrined and the Goei-do Mon (Founder’s Hall Gate) are one of the largest wooden structures in the world.

Next to the Goei-do is Amida-do (Amida Hall) where Amida Buddha is enshrined.

Those historic architecture is filled with solemn atmosphere.

At Amida-do and Goei-do, the morning memorial service (Jinjo Hoyo) is held from 7:00am every morning and anyone can visit freely.

Opening hours / access

■Opening hours
  March-October 5: 50-17: 30,
  November-February 6: 20-16: 30
  Approx. 7 minutes on foot from the central exit of JR Kyoto Station
■ Official website
  Shinshū Ōtani ha HIGASHI HONGANJI


Arashiyama, a classic sightseeing spot in Kyoto.

The area is rich in nature and dotted with shrines and temples, making it a recommended area for a walk.

In recent years it has become more popular and always crowded, but in the early morning people are sparse and quiet and can take a leisurely stroll.

Most temples start at 9:00am, so it is recommended to take a leisurely walk in nature during the early morning hours.

“Path of Bamboo” where you can feel a quiet and mysterious atmosphere, “Nonomiya Shrine” filled with sacred air, “Kameyama Park Observatory” with a wonderful view of Hozu Gorge, “Togetsu-kyo Bridge” which is a representative landscape of Arashiyama, etc.

Since it is an early morning time when there are few people, you can enjoy walking while feeling the tranquility and calmness everywhere.

If the timing is right, you may be able to monopolize your photo opportunity.

Opening hours / access

<Nonomiya Shrine>
■Opening hours
  can be visited at any time (shrine office 9: 00-17: 00)
  Approx. 12 minutes on foot from “Saga Arashiyama” station on the JR Sagano line
■Official website
  Nonomiya Shrine

The recommended spots in Kyoto in the early morning

You will have a fulfilling time early in the morning in Kyoto which is quiet, calm and less people.

On your next trip to Kyoto, why not schedule an early morning sightseeing at temples and strolls and enjoy Kyoto at your own pace?

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