Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy - kyoto station to ginkakuji temple to nanzenji temple for testugaku no michi. how much time. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

This path is a famous walk in Kyoto and can be perfect if you’re looking for a nice relaxing day.

Well, a nice relaxing day that includes a lot of walking!

In Japanese, this is called the tetsugaku no michi, aka the path of philosophy.

There are some temples and shrines nearby that you can make some stops at where you’ll be surrounded by nature.

 

If you walk point-to-point from one end of the Philosopher’s Path to the other, it might take around 30 minutes or so.

But it might take you a lot longer if you make stops along the way, and also if you visit the temple grounds that are at both ends of the path.

In short, you can walk the philosopher’s path from near Ginkakuji Temple to near Nanzenji Temple, and make some more temple visits and shrine visits along the way!

 

 

Top places to visit near the Philosopher’s Path

 

1. Ginkakuji Temple (+ tea room)

Philosopher's path walk - Best places to visit: Ginkakuji Temple - how much time to spend. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

2. Eikando Temple

Philosopher's path walk - Best places to visit: Eikando temple - how much time to spend. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

3. Nanzenji Temple

Philosopher's path walk - Best places to visit: Nanzenji temple - how much time to spend. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

 

More temples and shrines

Philosopher's path walk - small temples to visit - honen-in temple. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

There are also a few smaller places to visit along the path that you can stop by too, but Ginkakuji, Eikando, and Nanzenji are the main ones!

For the smaller temples and shrines, you’ll find them by simply following the signs that are along the path!

 

Philosopher's path walk - small temples and shrines to visit - honen-in temple, anrakuji temple. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

How much time do you need at these temples?

The time you spend at each of the temples can really vary depend on how slowly you want to take things.

You could be quick with it by doing a simple walk through the temple grounds in probably 15-20 minutes, or you could also spend a lot longer at each of these temples by taking in your surroundings at a slower pace.

As for how much time of your day to dedicate to the path of philosophy, if you have 5 days in Kyoto, you could make this the only activity of your day.

If you only have 2 days in Kyoto, then maybe go for the Fushimi Inari shrine hike (through 5,000 torii gates!) in the morning, and then make the philosopher’s walk your afternoon activity. In that case, see what your journey may look like for Fushimi Inari to Ginkakuji by train and bus.

 

 

Which direction to go?

Philosopher's path walk - ginkakuji to nanzenji. OR. nanzenji to ginankuji. visit to temples and shrines on path of philosophy, tetsugaku no michi. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

So you can walk…

From Ginkakuji to Nanzenji

OR

From Nanzenji to Ginkaukji

 

I really don’t think there’s much of a difference either way.

But here are some possible things to think about to decide whether to start the philosopher’s path near Ginkakuji or to start near Nanzenji.

 

 

Daimonji-yama hike

Philosopher's path walk - to daimonji-yama hike trail near ginkakuji temple. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

This hiking trail offers up grand city views at the summit.

The start of the trail is right near Ginkakuji Temple.

So maybe you want to do the hike, and then take a stroll along the philosopher’s path (or at least part of it).

On the flip side, maybe you want to end your day with some nice mountain views from the summit.

Pick up some snacks or food from the convenience store near the train station or bus station and make it a picnic with amazing views to end your day!

 

 

Kamogawa River

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji to kyoto station with stop by kamogawa river near demachiyanagi station. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

On a similar note, you may also consider ending up at Ginkakuji Temple so that you will be closer to the part of the river that makes for a nice picnic area.

Kamogawa River near the Demachiyanagi train station could be a nice place to end your day.

There’s a Family Mart convenience store located right nearby to buy food to take with you down to the river.

This also makes for a nice place to end your day after a day trip to Kurama, Kibune, and Ohara, as you can pass by this area as well on your way back to Kyoto station.

 

 

Heian Shrine

Philosopher's path walk - to heian shrine. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

If you might want to see more after your walk on the philosopher’s path, the Heian Shrine is about a 20 minute walk from Nanzenji Temple.

 

 

See day 3 of this Kyoto tourist map for the visual.

 

 

 

Now…

More of what you might see on your walk on the path of philosophy!

 

Visit Ginkakuji Temple grounds

You could easily spend an hour on a visit to Ginkakuji Temple, walking around the temple grounds to see the sand garden and Japanese gardens all around.

If you’re starting your day here, also see what your journey may look like for Kyoto station to Ginkakuji.

 

Philosopher's path walk - Kyoto station to Ginkakuji Temple to philosopher's path (tetsugaku no michi, path of philosophy). Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Kyoto station to ginkakuji entry. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Kyoto station to ginkakuji entry to buy ticket. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit - entry ticket. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit - silver pavilion with japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit - japanese gardens around silver pavilion. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit - sand garden and japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit - nature trail with moss garden. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit - nature trail summit with city views. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit - entry ticket. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Stop by for tea at Ginkakuji

Near the exit is a “tea room” where you can get some matcha green tea.

This little Ginkakuji tea room could be a good place to get a taste for some matcha in a nice outdoor setting. (On your walk from the bus stop to Ginkakuji you’ll also come across a matcha shop that sells all kinds of matcha products too.)

 

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit to tea room for matcha green tea. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple visit to tea room for matcha green tea. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Start the walk on the Philosopher’s Path!

aka Tetsugaku no michi (“path of philosophy”)

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple to philosopher's path start. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple to philosopher's path, testsugaku no michi (path of philosophy), start directions sign. (also nyakuouji-jinja shrine.) Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

So once you’ve finished up visiting Ginkakuji, you can head to the Philosopher’s path!

The path itself is an actual walking trail that’s right along a small river and lined with cherry blossom trees. (This path is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto!)

There’s also a normal road that runs right alongside the walking path, and you’ll also find some shops along this road that you may want to stop at.

There are also little side streets that you’ll come across that may want to wander around.

You’ll also end up walking on normal roads when walking from the Philosopher’s Path to Nanzenji.

Basically, just go wherever looks good to you!

 

Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy aka testugaku no michi, with cherry blossom trees, temples, shrines, river culture walk. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy aka testugaku no michi, with artist, cherry blossom trees, temples, shrines, river culture walk. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy aka testugaku no michi, with small shrines, temples, cafes on side streets - places to visit - honen-in temple, otoyo-jinja shrine, nyakoji-jinja shrine. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy aka testugaku no michi, with stone statues, cherry blossom trees, temples, shrines, river culture walk. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy aka testugaku no michi, with small shrines and temples on side streets - places to visit. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy aka testugaku no michi, with cherry blossom trees, temples, shrines, river culture walk. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Visit Eikando Temple grounds

You can easily spend an hour here.

 

Philosopher's path walk - Ginkakuji Temple, philosopher's path to eikan-do temple and to honen-in temple, directions sign. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - entry to buy ticket. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - shrine and bridge. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - stone statue with moss garden. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - walk inside. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - stone statue with moss garden. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - walk inside. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - walk inside past japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Eikando Temple visit - rest at japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Visit Nanzenji Temple grounds

There’s a sprawling complex surrounding Nanzenji and you could easily spend a couple of hours here.

 

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit - map. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit - entry. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit - climb up to top for views. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit - japanese gardens. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit - climb up to top for views. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

Philosopher's path walk - Nanzenji Temple visit - to more places. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

 

Philosopher's path walk - path of philosophy aka testugaku no michi, with cherry blossom trees, temples, shrines, river culture walk. Backpacking Kyoto Japan

 

HAPPY WALKING THE PHILOSOPHER’S PATH!

 

Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto with the Philosopher’s Path!

 

 



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Food in Japan
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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!

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