Best places to visit in Ancient Kyoto
UNESCO calls the world heritage sites of Kyoto collectively as the historic monuments of ancient Kyoto.
These historic sites encompass the cities of Kyoto, Uji, and Otsu.
List of world heritage sites in Kyoto
Kyoto is a former capital city of Japan. This means it’s a city full of history and culture.
With nearly 20 sites that includes temples, shrines, and a castle on the list of UNESCO designated historically and culturally important places in Kyoto, how to choose which of them to go to when you have limited time?!
The most popular of these sites are popular for a reason.
But that doesn’t mean the others don’t deserve a look too.
Most of these top places to visit in Kyoto have grounds that you can roam around. They are more than just a single structure.
You can get a feel for a different type of architecture than is found in the West, and many have nice Japanese gardens and landscaping on the temple grounds that make for a nice nature walk too.
So if you’re looking to experience a bit of history and culture in Japan, Kyoto is one of the best cities you can visit with so much to see.
Another good place to visit for the same reasons is Nara, which is also famous for being a former capital city of Japan.
This means that Nara has a few world heritage sites too. It’s also famous for deer!
Nara can make a perfect one day trip from Kyoto.
World heritage sites as a part of a one day Kyoto itinerary
I made 4 world heritage sites a part of my day with an unlimited one day Kyoto bus pass:
- Nijo Castle (UNESCO site)
- Kinkakuji Temple (UNESCO site)
- Ryoanji Zen Temple (UNESCO site)
- Yasaka Shrine
- Chion-in Temple
- Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple (UNESCO site)
First, a map of Kyoto so you can make plans to visit these historical and cultural places.
Then, a list of some of the world heritage sites that are also among the most visited spots in Kyoto.
After that, some more world heritage sites for you to explore.
Map of UNESCO world heritage sites in Kyoto
Better plan out your days in Kyoto based on where these temples and shrines are located.
Have a look at the map of Kyoto’s world heritage sites.
If you’re coming from Pinterest mobile, open up this page in your browser to view the map! Then you can also view this Kyoto map on your Google maps app too.
Top Kyoto attractions: List of places to visit in Ancient Kyoto
Listed entry fees are approximate and are subject to change!
1. Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
Cost: 400 yen (US$4)
2. Nijo Castle
Cost: 600 yen (US$5)
Visit the teahouse at Nijo Castle!
Cost: 500 yen (US$4) for temple grounds – 300 yen (US$3) to enter temple
4. Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion)
Cost: 500 yen (US$4)
Visit the tea room at Ginkakuji!
5. Ryoanji Temple (Zen Temple)
Cost: 500 yen (US$4)
6. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Cost: 400 yen (US$4)
List of historic monuments of ancient Kyoto
- Kinkakuji Temple
- Nijo Castle
- Tenryuji Temple
- Ginkakuji Temple
- Ryoanji Temple
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- Toji Temple
- Saihoji Temple (Moss Temple)
- Nishi Honganji Temple
- Ninnaji Temple
- Shimogamo-jinja Shrine
- Enryakuji Temple
- Byodo-in Temple
- Daigoji Temple
- Kamigamo-jinja Shrine
- Kozanji Temple
- Ujigami-jinja Shrine
HAPPY HISTORIC KYOTO TRAVEL PLANNING!
Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto with some world heritage sites!
- Day 1: Top tourist spots with one day bus pass (with Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, Kiyomizu-dera!)
- Day 2: Fushimi inari shrine hike through 1,000 torii gates
- Day 3: Philosopher’s Path walk (with Ginkakuji!)
- Day 4: Arashiyama and Sagano (with Tenryuji!)
- Day 5: Kurama Kibune Ohara with one day pass
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)