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Philosopher's Path, Kyoto

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Philosopher's Path, Kyoto: Our most recommended tours and activities

Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji, Philopher's Path and Nanzen-ji Tour

1. Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji, Philopher's Path and Nanzen-ji Tour

Enjoy a 3-hour walking tour covering some of central Kyoto's best-kept secrets in the Higashiyama area. First stop is Ginkaku-ji temple, which dates back to the 15th century and was restored 10 years ago. The temple was constructed with heavy wooden beams, and has an elaborate roof and typical Japanese sliding wooden doors with rice paper. You’ll then explore the surrounding gardens. Experience the starkness between carefully raked stones, moss, and then more elaborately presented grasses, plants, and trees. Learn about Buddhism from your guide and how its teaching are linked to the design of the temple and its gardens.  Next, head down a quaint, traditional shopping street that lead to the Philosopher's Path, or "Tetsugaku-no-michi" in Japanese. You’ll walk approximately 2 km (about 1.25 miles) down this gently winding, flat path that mostly runs along a lovely stream and beneath a canopy of trees.  During the brief cherry blossom season, this scene is particularly gorgeous, but the relative solitude of the path makes for fine walking any time of year. As you walk down the path, the guide will tell you stories about Japan, and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions.  You’ll then arrive at Nanzen-ji, a smaller temple and gardens. Walk around the complex that includes an imposing wooden gate tower, temple spaces, a bridge and other peaceful areas.

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Kyoto: Guided Walking Tour around Philosopher’s Path

2. Kyoto: Guided Walking Tour around Philosopher’s Path

Meet your friendly guide at JR Kyoto station and get on the bus together. Arrive at 'Ginkaku-ji' and start exploring the philosopher's world. Visit Ginkaku-ji Temple, the silver temple, located at starting point of the Philosopher’s Path. Learn why it is called a silver temple even though it isn't covered with silver. Taste soft serve with a piece of gold or silver leaf on it. You can choose between gold and silver. Discover why Philosopher’s Path is famous among locals. Experience the perfect place to stroll while being lost in thought. Gaze at cherry blossoms in spring, fireflies in summer, and autumn leaves in fall. Continue to Otoyo Shrine, one of the unique shrines located alongside the Philosopher’s Path. Shrines like this one usually have a statue of dogs made from stone, but this site has a rat statue which is unique to this shrine. Then, experience Nanzen-ji Temple, said to be the most special among all the temples in Kyoto. You can climb up on the gate which is like an observatory and have a panoramic view of Kyoto city. Don’t miss the photogenic spots such as the beautiful garden and the Lake Biwa Canal, built in the Meiji era (1868-1912) and considered as a piece of important modern architecture.

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Kyoto: Small-Group Guided Tour by Minivan

3. Kyoto: Small-Group Guided Tour by Minivan

Meet your driver guide and head to Sanjusangendo in eastern Kyoto, famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Continue to Shogunzuka Mount and take in panoramic views over the entire city of Kyoto, a valley surrounded by mountains. Journey to ramen street in the northern part of Kyoto for lunch (not included). Enjoy the authentic local atmosphere with many ramen restaurants competitively crowded together in one street. For vegetarians suitable restaurants are available as well. After the lunch break, walk along the cherry tress of the Philosopher's path. Marvel at the cherry blossoms in spring and the red leaves in autumn. Meet your driver guide at the end of the path and be escorted to Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) known for its tea ceremony room and the beautiful gardens. Then, visit Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto and see a variety of local foods such as seafood, Japanese pickles, Karaage, Takoyaki, Japanese spice, ice cream, green tea, egg roll, dee-fried food, and more. Feel free to taste and buy some of the foods, and look for souvenirs. Feel free to stay at the market after the tour or be driven back to the meeting point.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Philosopher's Path, Kyoto

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