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11 Best Things to Do in Kita, Kyoto

Updated: May 13

Wondering what to do in Kita, Kyoto? This guide highlights the best things to do in Kita, Kyoto you can include on your itinerary.

Kita Ward is a hotspot of cultural and historical gems, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of Kyoto's city center. Compared to the busier southern areas of Kyoto, Kita offers a more relaxed and local vibe. You'll find charming neighborhoods with traditional wooden houses and serene gardens.

Kita is home to some of Kyoto's most famous attractions, including the shimmering Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and the serene Ryoanji Temple with its rock garden. You can also find lesser-known temples and shrines like Daitoku-ji Temple, renowned for its Zen gardens, and Kamigamo Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto.

If you’re wondering what’s food scene in Kita is like, it boasts a fantastic selection of local restaurants serving authentic Kyoto cuisine. 

Without further ado, here are the top 11 things to do in Kita, Kyoto:

1. Witness the Golden Pavilion's Majesty at Kinkaku-ji Temple

Undoubtedly Kita's most renowned landmark, Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is a stunning sight to behold. The three-story Zen temple, adorned with gold leaf, shimmers on the Kyoko pond, creating a picture-perfect scene. Visit Kinkaku-ji and learn more about this retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

2. Explore the Tranquil Grounds of Daitoku-ji Temple

Comprised of over 60 sub-temples, Daitoku-ji Temple is a sprawling complex steeped in Zen philosophy. Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere as you wander through the serene temple gardens, many designed by renowned landscape architects.

3. Savor Local Flavors at a Traditional Tea House

Indulge in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony at a tea house in Kita. Experience the meticulous process of preparing matcha tea and savor the delicate flavors alongside seasonal Japanese sweets.

5. Take a Stroll Through Kamogawa Park

A scenic riverside park, Kamogawa Park is a haven for locals and tourists alike. Enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride under the shade of willow trees, or rent a boat and explore the serene waters of the Kamogawa River. It’s one of the best hanami spots in Kyoto!

6. Seek Serenity at Kamigamo Shrine

One of Kyoto's oldest Shinto shrines, Kamigamo Shrine holds an air of ancient mystery. Dedicated to protecting Kyoto, the shrine's vast grounds offer a peaceful escape, especially during the serene morning hours. Visit Kamigamo Shrine and feel the serenity of the place.

7. Take a Cooking Class and Learn to Make Kyoto Cuisine

Immerse yourself in Kyoto's culinary traditions by taking a cooking class. Learn how to prepare delicious local dishes like Kyo-ryori, a multi-course meal known for its delicate flavors and artful presentation.

8. Immerse Yourself in Art at the Kyoto University of Art & Design

Explore the Kyoto University of Art & Design's on-campus museum, which showcases a collection of modern and contemporary art. The university itself is a beautiful campus with traditional architecture, offering a glimpse into Kyoto's student life.

9. Offer Health Prayers at Imamiya Shrine

Imamiya Shrine is a thousand-year-old Shinto shrine located in northwest Kyoto, known for its prayers for good health and recovery from illness. The shrine features a magnificent two-story vermilion gate, a peaceful atmosphere enhanced by a forest of trees, and interesting features like sub-shrines and a "magic stone" said to grant wishes.

10. Watch Cherry Blossoms at Hirano Shrine

Steeped in history and renowned for its springtime beauty, Hirano Shrine boasts over 500 cherry trees of 60 varieties. Founded in 794, the shrine held Kyoto's longest-running cherry blossom festival for over a thousand years, attracting both the Imperial family and revelers. Its vast gardens transform into a sea of pink blossoms every spring, making it a must-see for any Kyoto visitor.

11. Indulge in Local Flavors of Kyoto

Savor the distinct flavors of Kyoto cuisine.  Sample yuba (thin tofu skin), a local specialty often served in hot pot dishes.  Explore Nishiki Market, a vibrant food market overflowing with fresh produce and local delicacies. In the evening, delve into the world of izakayas, casual Japanese pubs, for a taste of local nightlife.

Kita Ward offers a unique blend of cultural experiences, historical significance, and natural beauty. Whether you're seeking spiritual enlightenment, artistic inspiration, or a tranquil escape, Kita has something to offer everyone.


Looking for a fun food tour in Kyoto? Come join us for our Nishiki Market Kyoto Food Tour, where we bring you around the best food spots at Nishiki Market and feast on various delicious dishes.

Sign up today! Limited slots only.

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