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!
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