5 days in Kyoto itinerary - 5 day Japan itinerary - best things to do in kyoto travel guide. best places to visit in kyoto. how to get around by bus or train with jr pass. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog.

 

So you’re giving yourself 5 days in Kyoto as a part of your Japan itinerary!

Of course this is better than just one day or 2 days, as you have time to slow down and enjoy more!

 

Japan is famous for green tea and matcha tea, and you could say that Kyoto is the PERFECT place to experience this.

Kyoto is famous for matcha in particular.

 

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Matcha green tea in Kyoto. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

And as you’re walking the streets of Kyoto, you’re sure to come across a number of shops that sell different types of products containing matcha.

So if you want a taste of something “very Kyoto,” give a try to some food or drink that contains matcha!

 

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Matcha shops in Kyoto, food and drink. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

First, the quick list of the best things to do in Kyoto.

Then, a Kyoto map to better plan out your day.

And then finally, a few more details about how to create your own 5 day plan for Kyoto!

 

 

Now…

20 best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days

 

1. Nijo Castle

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - nijo castle, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

…and Nijo Castle teahouse

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - nijo castle teahouse for matcha green tea. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

2. Kinkakuji Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - ginkakuji temple, golden pavilion, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

…and Kinkakuji tea garden

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - ginkakuji temple teahouse for matcha green tea. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

3. Ryoanji Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - ryoanji temple zen, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

4. Yasaka Shrine

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - yasaka shrine, gion. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

5. Chion-in Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - chion-in temple near gion. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

6. Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - ninenzaka, sannenzaka slope streets. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

7. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - kiyomizu-dera temple, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

8. Fushimi Inari Shrine

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - fushimi inari shrine hike through torii gates. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

9. Ginkakuji Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - ginkakuji temple, silver pavilion, sand garden, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

…and Ginkakuji tea garden

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - ginkakuji teahouse for matcha green tea. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

10. Philosopher’s Path

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - philosophers path walk of philosophy, testsugaku no michi. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

11. Eikando Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - eikando temple. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

12. Nanzenji Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - nanzenji temple. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

13. Hozugawa River

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - hozugawa river. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

14. Okochi Sanso Villa Garden

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - okochi sanso villa japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

…and Okochi Sanso teahouse

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - okochi sanso garden teahouse for matcha green tea. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

15. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - arashiyama bamboo forest. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

16. Tenryuji Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - Tenryuji temple, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

17. Monkey Park

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - arashiyama monkey park. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

18. Kurama-dera Temple

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - kurama-dera temple. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

19. Kifune shrine

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - kifune-jinja shrine, kibune. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

20. Ohara village

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 5 days - ohara rural village. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

 

If you will be in Kyoto during cherry blossom season, also see this one day Kyoto cherry blossom walk.

 

 

🗾

Side note! In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor. And unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters so be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters. See the current price of insurance for your trip. (partner websites.) Also see planning tips for winter in Japan and spring in Japan!

 

Kyoto tourist map

So where are all these places located?!

Play around with the map below!

This map may not work very well on this page on mobile, sorry!

In that case, have a look at this Kyoto map in Google Maps!

Whether you’re on mobile or desktop, click on a colored icon for more information about each location!

Click the icon on the top left corner of the map below to also see the list of what’s included on this map.

 

 

 

Kyoto hotels map

Put in your travel dates below (partner website) and you can see prices of hotels in Kyoto!

You can also try searching for specific hotels like:



Booking.com

 

 

Now…

How to get around Kyoto

 

WARNING: There is a LOT of walking involved! 😉

 

 

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. 5 days in Japan. kyoto travel guide - details with list of best things to do in kyoto. best places to visit in kyoto. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog.

 

 

5 days in Kyoto itinerary

 

 

Day 1 in Kyoto

UNESCO world heritage sites

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. how to get around kyoto by bus or train - 1 day. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

Quick list of activities

 

How to get around

  • Bus from Kyoto Station to Nijo Castle
  • Visit Nijo Castle (and teahouse)
  • Bus from Nijo Castle to Kinkakuji
  • Visit Kinkakuji Temple (and tea garden)
  • Bus from Kinkakuji to Ryoanji
  • Visit Ryoanji Temple
  • Bus from Ryoanji to Gion
  • Visit Yasaka Shrine
  • Walk from Gion to Kiyomizu-dera (with stops at Chion-in and Ninenzaka)
  • Visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Bus from Kiyomizu-dera to Kyoto station

 

See more of one day with a Kyoto bus pass and UNESCO world heritage sites in Kyoto.

 

 

Day 2 in Kyoto

Hiking day

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. how to get around kyoto by bus or train - 2 days. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

Quick list of activities

 

How to get around

 

See more of the Fushimi Inari Shrine hike through 1,000 torii gates.

 

 

Day 3 in Kyoto

Philosopher’s Path

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. how to get around kyoto by bus or train - 3 days. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

Quick list of activities

 

How to get around

  • Bus from Kyoto station to Ginkakuji
  • Visit Ginkakuji Temple (and tea garden)
  • Start Philosopher’s Path walk
  • Visit Eikando Temple
  • Keep walking on the path!
  • Visit Nanzenji Temple
  • Bus or train from Nanzenji to Kyoto station

 

See more of the Philosopher’s Path walk.

 

 

Day 4 in Kyoto

Arashiyama and Sagano

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. how to get around kyoto by bus or train - 4 days. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

Quick list of activities

 

How to get around

 

See more of one day in Arashiyama and Sagano.

 

 

Day 5 in Kyoto

Kurama – Kibune – Ohara

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. how to get around kyoto by bus or train - 5 days. Backpacking Kyoto travel blog. Kyoto travel guide.

 

Quick list of activities

 

How to get around

 

See more about visiting Kurama, Kibune, and Ohara with a one day pass.

 

 

And there’s your 5 days in Kyoto!

 

 

Quick tips for getting around Kyoto

  • The Google Maps app is a reliable way to figure out how to get around Kyoto by bus and train
  • The Japan Travel Navitime app can be good if you’re trying to figure out the best way to get around with a JR pass (or to help you decide if it’s better to get around without your JR pass… or to help you decide if it’s worth it to buy the JR pass at all!)
  • The Google Translate app has a feature where you can take a picture of Japanese writing and it will translate it for you
  • The ICOCA card is SO worth it to get if you’ll be taking the bus or train to get around Kyoto. No cost savings, but it’s highly convenient so you won’t have to go through the hassle of buying individual tickets! They are basically recharge cash cards.

 

 

What about the JR pass for Kyoto?

While it is possible that there are parts of the this itinerary in which you can use your JR pass, if Kyoto is your first stop in Japan, you may want to wait to activate your JR pass.

There is a JR bus in Kyoto that you use can use with a JR pass. The route tends to be more limiting, but if you’ll already have your pass activated, you may want to look into it.

And there are some places you can get by train with your JR pass like to Arashiyama on the JR train.

But in general, it might turn out to be easier to get around Kyoto by taking routes not covered by the JR pass.

 

As for getting the JR pass in general, if you’re planning on doing 2 long-distance shinkansen rides within a week, the JR pass will likely be worth it.

The best way to truly know if the JR pass is worth it is to check the current price of the JR pass (partner website) and compare it with your calculation of the bullet train ticket prices that you are planning on doing.

 

Flying into Tokyo (Narita or Haneda), then to Kyoto

Maybe you are going from Tokyo to Hiroshima (maybe US$170), and then Hiroshima to Osaka (maybe US$90) and Osaka to Kyoto (maybe US$5),

Or maybe you’ll skip Osaka, and make it Tokyo to Hiroshima, and then directly Hiroshima to Kyoto (maybe US$100).

In either of these situations, it’s possible that the JR pass could end up being worth it especially if you add in some smaller fare train and ferry rides that you take in Hiroshima and Osaka. (Like getting from Hiroshima to Miyajima.)

It’s reasonable to be in Kyoto within 7 days of taking that Tokyo to Hiroshima train, if you were to activate your JR pass for the day you leave Tokyo, or possibly a day or 2 before depending on how many days you’ll be spending in Hiroshima and Osaka.

 

Flying into Osaka (Kansai), then to Kyoto

The Kansai airport is the closest airport to Kyoto.

So if this is the airport you’re flying into, you might consider waiting to activate your JR pass until the day you leave Kyoto.

Then if you go from Kyoto to Hiroshima (maybe US$100) and then Hiroshima to Tokyo (maybe US$170), it’s possible that the 7-day JR pass could end up being worth it with a few shorter rides.

There is a JR train that runs between Kyoto and Kansai airport, but depending on the rest of your itinerary and how many days you spend in Kyoto, it’s possible that you may want to pay for this train ticket out-of-pocket.

Once again the best way to know for sure if it’s worth it is to check the current price of the JR pass.

 

Round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto

Similarly, if you go from Tokyo to Kyoto (maybe US$120), and then back from Kyoto to Tokyo, there’s a good chance the JR pass could pay for itself as well with a few short train rides around Tokyo and Kyoto.

 

 

5 days in Kyoto itinerary. kyoto travel guide - best things to do in kyoto. best places to visit in kyoto. how to get around by bus or train. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog.

 

HAPPY 5 DAYS IN KYOTO!

 

More for your Japan itinerary

 



More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

There are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.

When the JR pass is worth it
In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.

My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

For more on planning your trip to Kyoto, see the 1-day, 2-day, and 5-day Kyoto itineraries. If you'll be in Kyoto in the spring, also see the 1-day cherry blossom photo walk.



Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto!


Create your Japan itinerary


That's it for now!




Backpacking Asia - Japan to India Backpacking Asia - Japan to Hawaii Backpacking Asia - Japan to Hawaii Backpacking Asia - Japan to Hawaii