After many trips to Kyoto, and several visits to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), I decided to head to the other side of the city and check out Ginkaku-ji, the Philosopher's Path, and Heian Shrine.
Departing from the Nishiki Market area, we took a taxi (¥1,500), as it was a quick and efficient way to get to our destination. Still, even once we exited the cab, it was a short uphill walk to reach Ginkaku-ji.
One of my first impressions of Ginkaku-ji was the lack of crowds, especially when compared to some of the other popular sights in Kyoto.
Maybe it was just the weather, but unlike the constant stream of people visiting the Golden Pavilion, the Silver Pavilion grounds were calm, relaxing, and easily appreciated. The walking route showcases the area and gardens, providing a lot to see and enjoy.
Heading back downhill (a deliberate ploy), we took the Philosopher's Path along the canal.
Rated one of the top 100 walkways in Japan, outside of cherry blossom season it was, unfortunately, unremarkable. Still, the path was peaceful, and it was nice to look at the fish, though it would probably have been even more alluring on a sunny day. Again, there were very few people around so it was a comfortable, uncrowded walk between Ginkaku-ji and Heian Shrine.
At one point along the route we had to make a left turn and head in the direction of the city. This took us along one of the major roads, but also allowed us to briefly visit Okazaki Shrine.
Heading towards Heian Shrine, we could appreciate the size of the grounds enclosed by the perimeter walls. While the shrine itself makes up only a small proportion of the area, it is still very big. However, the expansive open areas can still get very crowded on special occasions.
In total, it took us around three hours to make our way back to the Kamo River (essentially our starting point). It would be easy to spend extra time looking at things along the way, but taking in these main sites was certainly achievable in a single afternoon.
Travel Tip Shared by Japan Custom Tours
Japan Custom Tours