Where to Find the Best Views in Kyoto
With more than a thousand temples, ancient shrines, and peaceful Zen gardens, Kyoto—surrounded by mountains on three sides—is one of the most scenic cities in Japan. From venerable structures to modern skyscrapers, here’s where to find some of the best views in Kyoto.
Rising 430 feet (131 meters), Kyoto Tower is the tallest structure in the city and the world’s tallest nonsteel structure. Head to the observation deck on level five of the spire for 360-degree views of the city from 328 feet (100 meters) up. Alternatively, visit Sky Lounge KUU on level three, and take in the still impressive view while sipping a drink.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
A popular Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari is famous for the thousands of orange torii gates that line paths snaking up the mountainside. While the shrine itself is photogenic, it also offers sweeping views of Kyoto. Find one of the best spots about halfway up the mountain, at the Yotsutsuji intersection.
Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-ji Temple)
Despite its name, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ginkaku-ji Temple isn’t actually made out of silver. An elegant temple set among beautifully landscaped grounds, it offers superb views from its observatory. Follow the trail at the back of the garden for sweeping views over the entire temple complex, the city, and beyond.
Views over the city.
One of the most popular temples in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera Temple is best-known for the wooden balcony that extends from the main hall, which offers wonderful views of the cherry and maple trees below the temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto in the distance. Facing west, the temple is also a great spot to catch the sunset.
Sights and sounds combine.
The ultramodern and futuristic architecture of the station offers a nice contrast to the traditional temples and architecture that dominate the rest of the city. Enjoy superb views of Kyoto and the surrounding mountains from the open-air observation deck on the roof.
Bamboo Forest and Monkey Park, Arashiyama
Fantastic flora and fauna.
A suburb of Kyoto, Arashiyama is famous for its towering bamboo forest, one of the most photographed spots in the area. There are also plenty of serene temples nearby. Iwatayama Monkey Park, at the top of the highlands, offers panoramic views over Kyoto—and an up-close look at Japanese macaques.
Get the best Kyoto views