So if you’re looking for a half day excursion in Kyoto, a walk from Gion to Kiyomizu-dera Temple could be perfect!
If you were to do a point-to-point walk, it might take you around 30 minutes.
But if you include the wandering you’ll do around the areas that are a part of this walk, it’s possible that it’ll take you some (a lot) more time.
And, you’ll want to give yourself some time at your final stop of Kiyomizu-dera Temple too.
Gion is a famous district in Kyoto, so it can make a good starting point.
And the Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a famous UNESCO world heritage site in Kyoto, so it can make a good destination!
Along the way, you can make a point to pass by some streets that you might call “classic Kyoto” or “classic Japan,” so it can give you another glimpse into Japanese culture and architecture!
You can also do this route in the opposite direction, from Kiyomizu-dera to Gion.
It actually might be a little easier that way, since there’s a hill on this route which would be downhill if you go from Kiyomizu-dera Temple to Gion.
First, the quick list of places that are a part of this walk.
Then, a few more pictures to see if you want to do this Kyoto walk!
Places to visit when walking from Gion to Kiyomizu-dera Temple
2. Chion-in Temple
Japanese language tip: TEMPLE
On its own, tera in Japanese means temple.
In this case of attaching to another word, tera usually becomes dera.
So the dera part of Kiyomizu-dera means temple.
When speaking generally of a temple, you may also hear it being referred to as otera.
Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk as part of a one day Kyoto itinerary
I made Gion and Kiyomizu-dera Temple a part of my day with an unlimited one day Kyoto bus pass:
Here’s a bit of what you might see on this Kyoto walk!
For the visual of this walking route, have a look at this map.
Starting in Gion
So for the purpose of this walk, we’ll start at Yasaka Shrine as a convenient landmark!
Yasaka Shrine to Chion-in Temple
By going to the Chion-In Temple, you’ll be forced to backtrack a little bit.
But this is pretty close to Yasaka Shrine so it’s not too much backtracking.
This might be about a 5 minute walk.
You might also consider stopping by Maruyama Park on your way to the temple.
Once you’ve made it to Chion-in Temple, there’s a bit of walking around that you can do here.
Chion-in to Ninenzaka
Once you’ve finished up walking around the grounds of Chion-in Temple, you can start making your way to the narrow streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka!
It’ll probably take around 10-15 minutes to get there.
Ninenzaka slope and Sannenzaka slope
These 2 streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka are located right near one another.
They are located on a hill, and going from Gion to Kiyomizu-dera, you will be going on a slight incline.
This area can be a good place to do some souvenir shopping or gift shopping with all the little shops around.
It can also be a good area to take in a tea ceremony!
These streets aren’t that long, so if you were to walk straight from the around one end of Ninenzaka to the other end of Sannenzaka, it might take about 5-10 minutes without any stops.
Sannenzaka to Kiyomizu-dera
And then finally, once you’ve made it past Sannenzaka, off you go to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple!
This will be about a 5-10 minute walk.
You might end up spending 1-2 hours here.
HAPPY WALKING FROM GION TO KIYOMIZU-DERA TEMPLE!
Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto!
- Day 1: Top tourist spots with one day bus pass
- Day 2: Fushimi Inari Shrine hike through 1,000 torii gates
- Day 3: Philosopher’s Path walk
- Day 4: Arashiyama and Sagano
- Day 5: Kurama Kibune Ohara with one day pass
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
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.
Hotels in KyotoSearch for deals on Kyoto hotels here.
For hostels across Japan, try this top backpacker's hostel chain.
Kyoto can also be a good place to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan, like this one. Or if you're on more of a budget, try this one.
Also use the map below to see more hotels in Kyoto!
The super fast train in JapanIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it.
See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
See an example of traveling by the fast train from Tokyo to Kyoto.
NEW way of buying individual shinkansen train tickets online!I will start by saying I have NOT bought train tickets online this way (yet!) to verify this! (But it's on my list for my next trip to Japan!)
There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.
You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)
I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!
The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.
So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.
Search for popular routes in Japan here. For example, Tokyo to Kyoto.
If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, 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.
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
Best travel guides for JapanIf you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.
For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.
See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.
Create your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan