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Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Kyoto, the "City of Ten Thousand Shrines," is renowned for its abundance of beautiful zen gardens and well preserved religious architecture all developed over the centuries when the city was Imperial Capital and center of Japanese culture. Visit Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the Kyoto Prefecture - a selection of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and the Nijo Castle, each embodying the respective era when it was constructed - collectively named as the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities).


Rokuon-ji (Deer Garden Temple) in Northern Kyoto is aptly more known by the name Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion). The classic sight of its gold leaf covered structure reflected on the surface of the pond below is one of Kyoto's most popular imageries.


Perched on Otawa mountain in Eastern Kyoto, the Kiyomizu-dera (Pure Water Temple) offers lovely views from its hillside Kiyomizu Stage especially during the seasons of autumn, when the area is vibrant red with maple leaves, and spring, when the cherry trees blossom.

Visitors can drink from the sacred Otowa-no-taki waterfalls beneath the Main Hall for health or find their way eyes closed between the two love stones of Jishu Shrine for blessings in love.

Nijo Castle

The Nijō-jō (the only castle in this collection of temples and shrines) in Central Kyoto was built in the 1600s to serve as Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa shoguns. The flatland castle complex includes the Ninomaru Palace, Honmaru Palace and surrounding gardens.

Zen Buddhist Temples and Japanese Gardens

The arrival of Zen Buddhism in Japan and the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) introduced the emergence of the dry landscape meditation gardens and marked a period when Japanese culture greatly flourished.

Discover the Zen Buddhist Temples and Japanese rock gardens comprising this Kyoto World Heritage Site: Kinkaku-ji, Ninna-ji, Ginkaku-ji (with its miniature gravel Mount Fuji replica), Ryōan-ji (whose stone garden with clay wall symbolizes the Japanese "wabi-sabi" aesthetic), Byōdō-in, Tenryū-ji and Saihō-ji (whose moss garden is designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty).

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What our travelers say

Terrence S.

Wonderful Guides wiht strong knowledge and good humour enhance the experience

- Kyoto and Nara in One Day

Ian M.

Great tour and great guide. Would thoroughly recommend this if you are limited for time in Kyoto. Guide (Amy) was excellent.

- Kyoto Afternoon Tour - Heian Jingu Shrine, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Sanjusangen-do Temple

Jeremy C.

Great friendly staff, very knowledgeable about local shrines and enjoyed hearing the history of each place. Recommend to others!

- Best of Kyoto Day Tour - Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji, Imperial Palace, Heian Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera

Yvette B.

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and kept the tour moving. The tour allowed enough time to see everything and not be rushed. Would recommend it to anyone!

- Kyoto Morning Tour - Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple and Imperial Palace

Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto Traveler's Pictures

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