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7 Things to Do in Higashiyama, Kyoto

Wondering what to do in Higashiyama, Kyoto? In this guide, we highlighted the 7 Best Things to Do in Higashiyama!

Higashiyama is a historic district, popular for its well-preserved traditional architecture, picturesque streets, and numerous temples and shrines. It offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for first-time visitors to Kyoto.

With its beautiful temples, shrines, gardens, and traditional streets, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this historic district. These are just a few of the many things that you can do in Higashiyama:

1. Visit Kyoto’s Most Iconic Landmarks

Higashiyama is home to many of Kyoto’s most iconic landmarks. Visiting them will give you a glimpse of Kyoto’s rich history and religious past.

  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple: This is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto, and for good reason. The main hall is perched on a hillside, offering stunning views of the city. There is also a beautiful three-storied pagoda on the grounds.

  • Kodaiji Temple: This Zen Buddhist temple is known for its serene gardens and beautiful architecture. The temple was originally built in 1606, and it has been carefully restored over the years.

  • Yasaka Shrine: This is the head shrine of the Yasaka and Gion shrines in Japan. The shrine is located in the Gion district, and it is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

  • Yasaka Pagoda: This five-storied pagoda is part of Hokanji Temple. It is a beautiful example of traditional Japanese architecture.

  • Maruyama Park: This park is located in the heart of Higashiyama. It is a popular spot for locals to relax and enjoy the outdoors. There is also a shrine and a pond in the park.

2. Explore Gion at night

Gion is a traditional entertainment district that is home to geisha houses, tea houses, izakayas, and restaurants. It is a great place to experience Japanese culture. But there are so many things to do in Gion, including observing geishas and maikos, dressing up in traditional kimono, and visiting Kennin-ji Temple and Yasaka Shrine, among other things. You may also walk down the streets of Hannamikoji Street for shopping and food crawl.

3. Visit Kyoto’s Most Iconic Streets

Every tourist is most likely heading to Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka—two narrow streets that are lined with traditional wooden shops and restaurants. They are a great place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere.

4. Go Bar-hopping on Pontocho Alley

If you’re looking for the best nightlife in Kyoto, head over to Pontocho Alley. Lined with traditional bars and restaurants, this is a great place to experience Kyoto's nightlife and at the same time get a glimpse of what the old Kyoto was like. From upscale bars to traditional izakayas, Pontocho Alley is a must! Kamogawa River runs along Pontocho, so you can also take a walk, go for a boat ride, or just relax and people-watch.

5. Try Kyoto’s Famous Desserts

Kyoto is known for its sweets, and Higashiyama is no exception. There are many shops and cafes in the area that sell traditional Japanese desserts, such as mochi and taiyaki.


Looking for a fun food tour in Kyoto? Come join us at 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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