Best Shrines and Temples in Kyoto, Japan

38 Responses

  1. Eoin Dolly says:

    Japan is so high on my must-visit list I envy you. These temples look amazing! Here Tokyo and Osaka are all on my list!

    • Kiyoko says:

      They’re all amazing places! I had the great opportunity to live in Tokyo for four months through an exchange program. I was able to spend a view days in Osaka, and I went to Kyoto on two different occasions because I loved it so much.

  2. Steph & Zach says:

    What a great post! Love all these ideas. Especially Daigoji, it looks beautiful!

    • Kiyoko says:

      Daigoji was one of my favorite and it amazes me that it isn’t more popular. Despite being an absolutely beautiful place and even an UNESCO world heritage site, when I went to visit, it wasn’t nearly as busy as other shrines and temples like Fushimi Inari and Kiyomizu-dera.

  3. Victoria says:

    Thanks for explaining the difference between a shrine and a temple! I’ve never been to a Japan but hope to visit in 2018 so this is helpful!

    • Kiyoko says:

      Not a problem! I wish I had known the differences before I visited. I didn’t realize the difference until much further into my trip, and I feel like I would have appreciated the different aspects of each more if I had known the differences. I hope you enjoy your trip in 2018! How long are you thinking of going for? Do you know where you are planning to going in Japan?

  4. Lucy says:

    Thank you for explaining the difference between a shine and temple! I never knew! I was in Kyoto years ago and really enjoyed visiting, the day I was there it raining all day! I love to go back and see it on a sunny day.

    • Kiyoko says:

      It stinks that it rained for the day. I lucked out in that it didn’t rain when I was in Kyoto, but it rained plenty of times when I was in Tokyo. I know how hard it is to navigate Japan with an umbrella. I was constantly worried about not banging my umbrella against other peoples’ umbrellas and had a hard time focusing on anything else going on around me, haha.

  5. The temple and shire grounds in Kyoto look so serene and peaceful. I would love to visit Daigoji. And Kinkakuji also looks beautiful.

    • Kiyoko says:

      I absolutely loved them. If you are looking to experience the “zen” atmosphere Japan is often known for, these are great places to start!

  6. Claire says:

    They are all beautiful! I had no idea what the difference was between a shrine & a temple so thank you for clearing that up! I visited a few shrines & temples in Tokyo but would love to go to Kyoto!

    • Kiyoko says:

      Tokyo has some really great shrines as well! I also had the pleasure of visiting a few of the shrines in that area, but after visiting Kyoto, I’d have to say that the shrines and temples in Tokyo pale in comparison to the ones in Kyoto.

  7. Alyse says:

    Thanks for such an informative post! I never quite knew the exact differences between the two so this clears things up. Beautiful photos, by the way!

    • Kiyoko says:

      Glad I could clear it up for you. They’re so similar it’s easy to mix them up, especially if you’re a foreigner from the West where Buddhism and Shintoism isn’t talked about nearly as much.

  8. Tom says:

    First off, thank you for explaining the difference between a temple and a shrine, I never knew that. Japan is very high on my bucket list and one of the reasons are all the religious buildings. I’d love to visit the Daigoji and the Fushimi Inari! A friend of mine is currently in Japan and I’m so jealous of him 😀 Thank you for showing all those great temples and shrines.

    • Kiyoko says:

      Not a problem! Japan was also number one on my bucketlist for a long time, and I had many friends who were able to go to Japan before me. They always came back with such amazing stories and pictures and I’d be so jealous. Don’t worry, your time will come!

  9. carla says:

    I love Kyoto! Would be glad to visit again soon! Loved everything about Kyoto, the food, the people, the Gion and the temples!

  10. Suruchi says:

    A great post and first of all thanks for explaining the diff between temple and shrine. Even I used to think they are same. Japan is already high on our list. Now, the unique architecture, colors, and aura of these shrines and temples have increased our urge. Beautiful post.

    • Kiyoko says:

      I spent a long time dreaming of visiting Japan, and the beautiful pictures of the traditional Japanese culture and the beautiful architecture and colors of shrines and temples were a great pull for me as well. While in Japan, much of my time was spent visiting the various shrines and temples not only in Kyoto, but all over the country because I thought they were just so beautiful and fascinating!

  11. Holly says:

    This was super informative. I always see a few of these places in photos but don’t know too much about them. I would love to see them in person. I am going to have to make a trip to Japan.

  12. Shayne says:

    Greay post, I’ve always wanted to travel to Japan, this blog post will surely help me.

  13. Nancy says:

    Very informative, especially since I’ll be visiting Japan for a month next year and have no idea where to start with the planning! We planned our trip to avoid Golden week too since we heard it’s pretty busy.

    How long did it take for you to see all the temples and shrines?

    • Kiyoko says:

      You can see Most of them in a day, because all of them are fairly close to each other. You can walk between most of them. I split it into two days mainly because I wanted to rent a kimono the one day and getting it on can be a process. Then of course it slows down your progress because it’s kind of restrictive and you can really only take small steps at a time. Personally, I think two days is better just so you don’t feel like your rushing from place to place. Plus, seeing them all at once can make them blur together and you start forgetting what cool things were at which temple. However, if you’re in a time crunch, I definitely think it can be done in a day.

  14. Sarah says:

    Japan is one of the next places I want to visit, your photos are great.

  15. Wow! What a great insight into the intricacy of temples and shrines in Japan. We love Japan and can’t wait to visit again. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Kiyoko says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! I’m also planning another trip to Japan and am so excited to be going back. It’s just one of those places you can never really get enough of!

  16. Ruth says:

    I feel at peace when I see these temples and shrines. By the way, thanks for pointing out the differences between a shrine and temple. I had no idea about the differences. There is a replica of the Byodo-in Temple in the island of Hawaii. It looks exactly like the one you have shown in here. #WeekendWanderlust

    • Kiyoko says:

      I’ve been to both actually! My mom was with me in Hawaii, but not Japan, so I was so excited to show her the Byodo-in replica in Hawaii. It was a way for me to share a little bit of my experiences in Japan with her.

  17. Rhonda Albom says:

    Thanks for your explanation of the difference between shrines and temples. Your photos are stunning. Daigoji temple is my favourite.

    • Kiyoko says:

      I love the bridge on the temple grounds! Its so picturesque, especially for us photographers! Just wish I could have visited in the fall when all the leaves were changing colors.

  18. Love this post! We love both – temples and shrines, and especially those in Japan. The architecture and design is so unique and elaborate. A visit to Daigoji has been on our Bucket List since we first saw a picture of it. Can’t wait to visit Japan and seek out these temples and shrines ourselves! Thanks for sharing on #WeekendWanderlust – we really enjoyed it!

  19. This is a great help for anyone serious about seeing the spiritual centers of Kyoto. I didn’t know the difference between Temples and Shrines before but feel a real kinship with Shintoism.

  20. Thanks for explaining the difference between a shrine and a temple. That is really helpful. I will be heading to Japan in a few months and can’t wait to visit a few of these. Especially Fushimi Inari!

    • Kiyoko says:

      Fushimi Inari was definitely my favorite, probably because I’ve always thought the torii (shrine entrance gates) were so fascinating. Having a couple of thousand of them in one place definitely helped me get my fill of them!

  21. Aimee says:

    Japan is just about the only place I truly want to travel to. Thanks for sharing this fab list. I’ve added Fushimi Inari to my list.

    • Kiyoko says:

      Glad to hear! Going to Japan was the first time I had traveled out of the country, and I had been dreaming of going there ever since I was a little girl. It’s so worth the visit!

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