Best places to visit in Ancient Kyoto

Must-visit in Kyoto. List and map of best UNESCO world heritage sites in ancient Kyoto. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

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.

 

Best UNESCO world heritage places to visit in ancient Kyoto. Backpacking Japan

 

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?!

 

Best UNESCO world heritage places to visit in ancient Kyoto. Backpacking Japan

 

The most popular of these sites are popular for a reason.

And you can make some of them a part of your Kyoto itinerary, whether you have one day, 2 days, or 5 days in Kyoto.

 

Best places to visit in Kyoto. List and map of best UNESCO world heritage in ancient Kyoto. Backpacking Japan

 

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.

 

Best UNESCO world heritage places to visit in ancient Kyoto. Backpacking Japan

 

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:

 

 

Now…

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

 

Must-visit in Kyoto. List and map of best UNESCO world heritage sites in ancient Kyoto. Backpacking Japan

 

Listed entry fees are approximate and are subject to change!

 

 

1. Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Cost: 400 yen (US$4)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Kinkakuji Temple. Golden Pavilion. Japanese garden. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Kinkakuji Temple. Golden Pavilion. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Kinkakuji Temple. Golden Pavilion. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Kinkakuji Temple. Golden Pavilion. Japanese garden. Backpacking Japan

 

 

2. Nijo Castle

Cost: 600 yen (US$5)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Nijo Castle. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Nijo Castle. Japanese garden. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Nijo Castle. Japanese landscape. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Nijo Castle moat. Japanese landscape. Backpacking Japan

 

Visit the teahouse at Nijo Castle!

 

 

3. Tenryuji Temple

Cost: 500 yen (US$4) for temple grounds – 300 yen (US$3) to enter temple

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Tenryuji Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Tenryuji Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Tenryuji Temple. Japanese garden. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Tenryuji Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Tenryuji Temple. Backpacking Japan

 

 

4. Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion)

Cost: 500 yen (US$4)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Ginkakuji Temple. Silver pavilion. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Ginkakuji Temple. Japanese sand garden. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Ginkakuji Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Ginkakuji Temple. Japanese sand garden. Mt Fuji symbol. Backpacking Japan

 

Visit the tea room at Ginkakuji!

 

 

5. Ryoanji Temple (Zen Temple)

Cost: 500 yen (US$4)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Zen Temple rock garden. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Japanese landscape. Backpacking Japan

 

 

6. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Cost: 400 yen (US$4)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Kiyomizudera Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Kyoto. Ryoanji Temple. Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Backpacking Japan

 

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

 

Best UNESCO world heritage list of places to visit in ancient Kyoto. Backpacking Japan

 

HAPPY HISTORIC KYOTO TRAVEL PLANNING!

 

Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto with some world heritage sites!

 



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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.

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