10 Best Spots to Photograph in Kyoto
Best Instagram-Worthy Spots in Kyoto
First time in Kyoto?? Want to take best travel photos in Kyoto?
Bear in your mind, Kyoto has approx 4,000 temples and shrines in the entire prefecture, and each one has unique and special feature. If you are going to visit Kyoto for limited days and want to make most of it, you should definitely plan where to visit in Kyoto in advance.
Today, I’d like to introduce 10 must-visit spots in Kyoto where you can take amazing photos. Especially, if you are a first timer in Kyoto and wondering where to take amazing photos in Kyoto just like on guide books or many Instagrammers, you should definitely check out this list! So let’s start 🙂
1. Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺) is one of the most famous landmarks in Japan. It’s official name is Rokuonji Temple, however because of its shiny golden exterior, it’s better known as Kinkakuji, which means Golden Pavilion. It’s one of the busiest spots in Kyoto, and sometimes you have to wait in the queue to enter, but it’s 100% worth.
2. Kifune Shrine
Kifune Shrine is a beautiful Shinto Shrine located at Kibune Village in Sakyo-ward, Kyoto. The shrine is best known for the red lantern lined stairs which is an approach to the main hall of the shrine. The iconic approach displays the beautiful scenery in each season. It’s one of the best off-the-beaten-path destinations in Kyoto.
3. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
One of the most instagrammed places in Japan, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) is famous for its super photo worthy “a thousand of vermilion torii gates”. In past years, the shrine was chosen as the most popular tourist attractions in Japan among foreign visitors by Tripadvisor for multiple times, and it’s definitely on everyone’s bucket list. If you want to take photos of the torii gates without crowds, I’d recommend you to go there in super early morning before the mass crowds get there!!
4. Yasaka Pagoda
The picturesque landmark of Higashiyama District, Kyoto, Yasaka Pagoda is a 5-story tower belongs to Hokanji Temple. The temple does not exist any longer since it was destroyed by fire, but luckily the stunning 46 m tall pagoda survived and stands there still since 1400. Although the pagoda is beautiful to look at and take photos of, it’s actually possible to enter and climb up inside the pagoda.
5. Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka Streets
Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka Streets are two most charming streets in Kyoto located in the preserved historic district of Kyoto, Higashiyama District. Ninanzaka and Sannenzaka Streets are both touristic streets lined with traditional wooden houses which are shops, restaurants, teahouses, etc. Enjoy shopping and dining at the most entertaining streets of Kyoto as well as taking the photos of historical Japanese architecture.
6. Gion District
Gion District in Kyoto is known as the home ground of Geisha and Maiko girls as the area developed as the city’s entertainment district for many years ago. Gion is also famous for the beautifully preserved historical streetscape with traditional wooden merchant houses. It’s highly recommended to visit at day and night as you can see more bustling atmosphere during the day, and at night the streets of Gion is much more quiet in dimmed lights.
7. Kiyomizudera Temple
Along with Kinkakuji Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺) is also one of the most famous places in Japan. The temple is known for its main hall with a large open-air wooden terrace with a great overlook view of Kyoto city. The temple and the surrounding nature displays absolutely stunning view in each season. During the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves season, the temple is open for night light-up.
8. Arashiyama Kimono Forest
Kimono Forest is one of the most charming tourist attractions in Kyoto, which is located at Randen Arashiyama Station. The Kimono Forest is formed with approx 600 poles with a various colourful textile pattern of Kyo-Yuzen, making the most charming and photo-worthy path in the town. Kyo-Yuzen is a traditional dyeing technique for Kimono in Kyoto, and 32 different patterns are displayed at Kimono Forest. The poles are lightened up at night.
9. Togetsukyo Bridge
Togetsukyo Bridge is a symbol of Arashiyama area for many years. The 155-meter bridge is built across the Katsura River and displays the stunning scenery with Arashiyama Mountain on the background. In each season, different scenery of the surrounding nature can be enjoyed. The traditional light-up event “Hanatouro” is held annually in Arashiyama area, and several sites in the area including Togetsukyo Bridge is lightened up at night.
10. Bamboo Forest
Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama is one of the most famous and iconic scenery in Japan. The view of the path through the bamboo grove is simply breathtaking. As it’s a top photography site in Kyoto for the past years, the Bamboo Forest tends to get extremely crowded during day, so if you wish to take pictures with the empty path, it’s better to hit the place before anybody else in early morning!
How did you enjoy the list?? When you see photos of Kyoto on social media sites like Instagram and wonder where those amazing photos are taken, you will find most of them at these 10 photo spots in Kyoto! Also there are must-visit places for all first visitors to Kyoto, so make sure to add all of them on your travel itinerary in Kyoto!
If you are into Instagram and want to impress your followers with unique and eye popping photos in Kyoto, here are some more recommended articles to read! Check out cute and colourful Insta-Worthy temples, shrines and cafes in Kyoto!