If you want to see a bit of “classic Japan” or “classic Kyoto,” then walking the streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka is something you will probably want to highly consider!
And if you’ll be headed to the UNESCO world heritage site of Kiyomizu-dera Temple…
Then these famous streets are also worth a visit.
From the temple, it’s about a 5-10 minute walk, so you might as well check it out!
This area can be good for seeing some traditional Japanese architecture, finding some Japan souvenirs and gifts, and you can even take part in a tea ceremony.
This area is not that big, so if you were doing a point to point walk, you could probably do it in 15-20 minutes.
It’ll probably take you longer since you might want to make some stops along the way.
But if you’re planning out your Kyoto itinerary and you’re wondering how much time you might spend at Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, it can be good to give yourself at least 30 minutes, possibly a lot longer depending on what you want to do!
You may also consider going to these streets along the way on a walk from Gion to Kiyomizudera Temple, or in the opposite direction!
Japanese language tip: SLOPE or HILL
On its own, saka in Japanese means slope or hill.
In this case of attaching to another word, saka usually becomes zaka.
So the zaka part of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka means slope.
And, you really will be walking up or down a hill when doing this walk!
Ninenzaka slope and Sannenzaka slope as part of a one day Kyoto itinerary
I made Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka a part of my day with an unlimited one day Kyoto bus pass:
- Nijo Castle (+ teahouse)
- Kinkakuji Temple
- Ryoanji Temple
- Yasaka Shrine
- Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk (with Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka)
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Here’s a bit of what you’ll see walking the slopes of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka!
Tea ceremony in Kyoto
If you’re wanting to be a part of a tea ceremony when you’re in Kyoto, this area can be a good place to do so as well.
How much does a tea ceremony cost?
The prices for a Nagomi tea ceremony can range from 2,000 yen to 2,500 yen (US$20-25), depending on how many people are in your group.
These prices are as of summer 2018.
You can also have a tea experience in Kyoto at the Nijo Castle teahouse! This could be a cheaper option if you just want the experience of mixing your own tea drink if you already have plans to visit the Nijo Castle. It would be a do-it-yourself kind of thing.
Where to buy your Japan souvenirs and gifts in Kyoto
There are shops along Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka that can also make this area the PERFECT place to shop for your Japan souvenirs!
You’ll be able to find lots of places that sell traditional Japanese items just by walking on these streets.
HAPPY WALKING THE NINENZAKA AND SANNENZAKA SLOPES!
Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto with Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka!
- 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!
Shoes for JapanFor summer travel, hiking sandals can be perfect for walking around cities and for many of the short day hikes! See travel sandals like these for women and these for men.
Japan is a mountain country so be sure to get in some hikes!
See trail running shoes too (for women - for men) for other solid hikes including climbing Mt Fuji.
Speaking of hiking, I love this daypack.
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.
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.
Cheap(er) flights to JapanI used this website to find the cheapest flight and to book my recent flight to Japan.
Sometimes it makes sense to book direct - my preferred way!
But this booking site will search a combination of airlines, including those who aren't partner airlines, which means that they can help you find cheaper flights by booking individual flights for you as part of one flight itinerary. This can be especially helpful if you're not flying out of a major hub with direct flights to Japan.
I've missed a flight booked through them and it was taken care of with hotel and new flight.
See more tips for finding cheap flights to Japan.