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7 Coolest Spots to See on Free Walking Tour in Kyoto

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

Free Walking Tour in Kyoto
(Pontocho | Image Courtesy of Florian Pagano / Unsplash)

When it comes to sightseeing in Japan, there's really no need to bring a car or any vehicle of some sort with you. Although Japan is known to be the home to much technological advancement, it's also a country of heritage, tradition, and culture. Kyoto, its old capital, is one of the many places in Japan that you should visit by foot.

There are a lot of free walking tours in Kyoto you can avail. It's pretty actually to incorporate it with your itinerary. All you have to do is to check online or ask the locals for the schedule of Kyoto free walking tours, show up on the scheduled time and you're good to go.

Among all the places that offer Kyoto free walking tours, here are the 7 that you shouldn't miss going to.

1. Yasaka Shrine

Walking Tours Kyoto
(Yasaka Shrine | Image Courtesy of Luca Florio / Unsplash)

Yasaka Shrine, also known as Gion Shrine, is located between the two popular districts in Kyoto--Gion and Higashiyama. In terms of trying to see where the location of the shrine is at, you won't have any problem because the mode of transportation to get to the place is fairly accessible. Yasaka Shrine is a must-see place because of its heritage roots and history. Since it was found over 1350 years ago, it has gained its reputation to be a tourist walking site that's located between the two districts.

The main hall includes both honden (inner sanctuary) and haiden (offering hall). The honden and the haiden are enclosed in one building wherein there's also a dance stage that is decorated with lanterns which attract tourists mostly because of the wonderful colors these make at night. The lanterns are personalized, each bearing the name of a local business in return for their generous donation.

Yasaka Shrine is most well-known for its summer festival called Gion Matsuri. It’s celebrated in July and is considered to be the most famous festival in Japan. You can witness large floats parading all over the place with hundreds of participants. The place is also famous during cherry blossom season because it's located near the Maruyama Park, a popular cherry blossom spot in Kyoto.

2. Maruyama Park

Walking Tours Kyoto
(Maruyama Park | Image Courtesy of Daniel Julie / Wikimedia Commons)

Maruyama Park is open to the public and it's located just across Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama. The park is known for having one of the best cherry blossom views, especially around the first half of April. There are cherry blossom viewing parties or hanami you can attend to while you're also on your walking tour. The main point of the park is a tall shodarezakura or a weeping cherry tree which captures the attention of everyone in the place because it gets lit up at night.

3. Sannei-zaka

Walking Tours Kyoto
(Sannei-zaka | Image Courtesy of Wei-Te Wong / Flickr)

Sannei-zaka is actually a street that leads up to the gates of a temple. The place, however, wasn't originally intended to be a tourist site. It's only 1,200 years ago that this place is opened for businesses. Sannei-zaka is actually intended for pilgrims as it’s near Yasaka Shrine.

4. Kyoto Tower

Walking Tours Kyoto

The Kyoto Tower can be seen all over downtown Kyoto as it gloriously stands 131 meters tall. With this height, it's considered to be the tallest structure in Kyoto. The tower was completed in 1964 which was just in time for the Shinkansen and the Tokyo Olympics. If you want to enjoy the view of the whole of Kyoto, there is a viewing platform you can go and see a 360 full view of Kyoto and Osaka during clear days.

5. Kodaiji Temple

Walking Tours Kyoto
(Kodaiji Temple | Image Courtesy of 663highland / Wikipedia)

Kodaiji Temple is probably the most outstanding temple in Higashiyama, and it's only fitting to be so because of its rich history. The temple was built in memory of one of Japan's greatest historical features, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The whole temple is generously decorated with detailed interiors and is surrounded by Zen gardens.

If you're going to visit Kodaiji Temple, make sure you drop by the temple's main hall or Hojo which was originally covered in gold but was stripped down due to a fire in 1912. If you're lucky then you can see the gardens fully lit-up during shows in spring and autumn. The temple also houses the remains of Hideyoshi and his wife, and you can also visit their mausoleum. There is also a small museum inside the temple which exhibits the treasures of the late couple.

6. Philosopher's Path

Walking Tours Kyoto
(Philosopher's Path | Image Courtesy of Pablo Padierna / Flickr)

The Philosopher's path is a stone path that's located at the northern part of Higashiyama. The path is near a canal lined with hundreds of cherry blossom trees. The whole path is approximately two kilometers long and it's named after Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan's most famous philosophers. Legend says that he has always practiced meditation in this place during his daily commute to Kyoto University. This is only fitting because you will feel the peaceful vibe of the place, plus it's also surrounded by the natural beauty of nature.

7. Pontocho

Walking Tours Kyoto
(Pontocho | Image Courtesy of Florian Pagano / Unsplash)

Pontocho is well-known for the ambiance it gives when it comes to dining. It's just a simple narrow alley that's packed with restaurants and bars. If you're looking forward to eating some high-end Japanese food or even the budget meal ones, you have many places you can eat at along the street of Pontocho.

If you are looking forward to enjoying the full view of Kyoto, then it’s recommended that you take the walking tours instead. Not only that it’s free, but you get to appreciate the beauty of the city a little bit more.


Kyoto is the heart of Japan and has rich history and culture. Our walking tours will show you why. On our Walking Tours you will learn about the Old and New Kyoto, tradition, religion, history, food, and culture. Free Walking Tours in Kyoto | Kyoto Walking Tours. Book your free walking tour of Kyoto today.


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