Gion to Kiyomizu-dera: Walk, bus, train?! Make it a culture walk tour in Kyoto! Yasaka shrine, Chion-in temple, Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slope. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

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.

 

Now…

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

 

1. Yasaka Shrine

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Yasaka shrine in Gion, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

2. Chion-in Temple

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Chion-in Temple or Yasaka Shrine to Chion-in Temple, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

3. Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slope. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

4. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

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:

 

 

Now…

Here’s a bit of what you might see on this Kyoto walk!

 

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera: Walk, bus, train?! Make it a culture walk tour in Kyoto! Yasaka shrine, Chion-in temple, Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slope. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Backpacking Japan travel

 

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

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Yasaka shrine in Gion, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Yasaka shrine in Gion, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Yasaka shrine Gion to Chion-in Temple, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Yasaka shrine Gion to Chion-in Temple, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Yasaka shrine in Gion, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

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.

 

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Chion-in Temple or Yasaka Shrine to Chion-in Temple, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Chion-in Temple or Yasaka Shrine to Chion-in Temple, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Chion-in Temple or Yasaka Shrine to Chion-in Temple, Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

Chion-in Temple

Once you’ve made it to Chion-in Temple, there’s a bit of walking around that you can do here.

 

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Chion-in Temple from Gion or Yasaka shrine. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Chion-in Temple from Gion or Yasaka shrine. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Chion-in Temple from Gion or Yasaka shrine. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Chion-in Temple from Gion or Yasaka shrine. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Chion-in Temple from Gion or Yasaka shrine. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

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.

 

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Chion-in Temple to Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slope. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

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.

 

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slope. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Best Japan souvenirs and gift shopping in Kyoto, Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, from Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Ninenzaka tea ceremony, from Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slope. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Gion to Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slope. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

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.

 

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

You might end up spending 1-2 hours here.

 

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Kiyomizu-dera Temple - otowa no taki waterfall - Pure water temple. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Places to eat near Kiyomizu-dera Temple, cafe - restaurant. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Places to eat near Kiyomizu-dera Temple, cafe - restaurant. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Kiyomizu-dera Temple pagoda. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk: Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Or Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel

 

 

HAPPY WALKING FROM GION TO KIYOMIZU-DERA TEMPLE!

 

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

 



More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

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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 Kyoto
Search 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!

Booking.com

The super fast train in Japan
In 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 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.

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

Best travel guides for Japan
If 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


That's it for now!