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See & Do


Around Kyoto Station

See & Do


Around Kyoto Station

The area around Kyoto Station, Kyoto's largest gateway, may be lined with buildings, but don’t let that prevent you from discovering the hidden treasures found just a few blocks away.
Two of Kyoto’s major temples, Higashi Honganji and Nishi Hongwanji, are located to the north, overwhelming visitors with their magnificent architecture. They open their doors in the early morning to anyone who wants to come to worship in the Founder’s Hall and the Amida Hall.

To the west, there's the Umekoji district, where visitors may immerse themselves in the authentic Kyoto lifestyle through nature, food, architecture, or history.

PDF map of the area around Kyoto station:


●Toji Temple
A temple with a history of over 1200 years, is located south of the station. During the cherry blossom season in spring and the autumn foliage season in autumn, a nighttime illumination is a popular event that beautifully illuminates the symbolic five-storied pagoda framed with flowers or colored leaves.
The temple towns flourished as commercial and industrial towns from the Middle Ages. It is nice to stroll in the backstreets with a downtown atmosphere in search of townhouse cafes, workshops, and craft shops.

●Higashi Honganji Temple
As the head temple of the Shinshū Ōtani-ha branch of Jōdo Shinshū (Shin Buddhism), Higashi-honganji has the second largest number of followers among all Buddhist sects in Japan. Six buildings have been designated Important Cultural Properties including the temple gate, which is one of the largest wooden structures in the world. In the spring of 2023 the green plaza in front of the temple gate will be open to the public, drawing attention as a new spot for tourists and citizens to interact.

●Nishi Hongwanji Temple
Having the largest number of followers among the Buddhist sects in Japan, Nishi-honganji Temple is the head temple of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Buddhist organization. It belongs to the same Jodo Shinshu as Higashi Honganji, but there are differences in the structure of the complex and the color and shape of the decoration. The nearly 400-year-old large ginkgo tree is designated as a Natural Monument by Kyoto City.

Ryukoku Museum
Ryukoku Museum, situated in front of Nishi Hongwanji, is a comprehensive buddhist museum offering exhibits that introduce visitors to the history of Buddhism. From its origins in India to its development in Japan, the museum presents this rich history in an easily understandable manner.

 ●Umekoji Park
Umekoji Park is located at the heart of the Umekoji neighborhood, a quaint area just 10 minutes away from Kyoto Station that remains refreshingly untouched by the tourist influx. Visitors to the park may enjoy the beauty of Japanese nature away from the usual crowds through activities such as cherry blossom viewing or strolling beneath the Momiji trees in autumn. Those looking to explore the traditional side of Kyoto will be happy to visit Shimabara, the city's oldest Geisha district, or watch the tuna auctions at Kyoto City Central Wholesale Market. Both attractions are located just a few minutes north of the park. There are also several entertainment facilities located within the park, such as Kyoto Aquarium, Kyoto Railway Museum, or Suzaku Garden, that offer an array of engaging activities for both kids and adults.

Kyoto Railway Museum
Kyoto Railway Museum is a heaven for railway enthusiasts and curious visitors alike. From steam locomotives to “Shinkansen” (bullet trains), the museum boasts a collection of 54 trains. As one of Japan’s largest railway museums, it’s the perfect place to learn about a range of topics, including the history, safety and technology of railways. “The SL steam” is a popular interactive exhibit where visitors can ride in passenger cars pulled by an actual steam locomotive. Visitors can also experience the job of real train drivers by using a simulator used for training.

Kyoto Aquarium
Located approximately 15 minutes on foot from Kyoto Station, this inland-type large-scale aquarium offers a glimpse into the sea of Kyoto. It showcases approximately 250 species of creatures, including a large tank replicating Kyoto's marine environment, a diverse array of jellyfish, penguins, dolphins, and more. Moreover, a highlight of the experience is observing programs demonstrating communication between the staff and the animals they care for.

One standout feature is the rigorously recreated Kyoto river ecosystem, home to the Japanese giant salamander, a testament to the aquarium's commitment to local biodiversity conservation efforts. Additionally, the facility plays a vital role in breeding programs aimed at preserving endangered regional aquatic species.

Viva Square Kyoto
Viva Square Kyoto, an entertainment facility located inside Umekoji Park, offers different experiences depending on the season: from ice skating in winter to a water park in summer. Families visiting will be able to enjoy a refreshing activity, and kids may have fun playing with local children.


Kyoto City Central Wholesale Market Fisheries Market Visitor Area
Kyoto City Central Wholesale Market was established in 1927 as Japan’s first central wholesale market.
In its visitor area not only can you see actual auctions(from approximately 5:00 AM to 6:00AM), but even when there are no auctions, you can also learn about the role of the market and its functions, the way logistics work, and Kyoto’s food culture while you have fun through hands-on exhibits and other attractions that include immersive videos and an area that lets you feel what it’s like to drive a MOTORA (the small transport vehicles used in the market). (Website available only in Japanese)

Dating back to 1641, Shimabara is the oldest Hanamachi (geisha district) in Kyoto. Visitors will be able to take a step back in time by admiring the façade of buildings dating back to the district's founding, such as Wachigaiya or Sumiya, one of the largest machiya in Kyoto.


●Toji Market (Kobo ichi)
Held on the 21st of every month, which is the anniversary day of Kobo Daishi Kukai, the founder of Toji Temple. One of the largest markets in Kyoto, with antiques, old kimonos, crafts and food.

●Umekoji Highline:
A food stall street built on the site of an elevated JR freight line. Held mainly on weekends from spring through fall. Being open-air, it is likely to be cancelled in case of bad weather.


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