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Top 7 Free Things to Do in Kyoto

Free Walking Tour in Kyoto
(Gion | Image Courtesy of Han Min T / Unsplash)

Top 7 Free Things to Do in Kyoto

You don't have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a place.

There are a lot of free things to do in Kyoto, and if you're still wondering which these are, you can take free walking tours, day tours and a lot of other free tourist attractions in Kyoto.

The only key here is to know the schedule of the tours and be on time when it happens. However, if you're not the kind of the "tour with a group" kind of person, you can absolutely just do a walk around and do it yourself. With that, here are the top 7 free things to do in Kyoto:

1. Visit Fushimi Inari

Free Walking Tours in Kyoto
(Fushimi Inari Shrine | Image Courtesy of Eleonora Albasi / Unsplash)

Inaris are probably the best options to go to if you're on a budget. You'll not only get to feed your eyes with the wonderful site of these shrines, but it will also enable you to learn the history behind it. It's like hitting three birds in one stone (yes, that's actually possible), you learn, enjoy and do it all for free.

The walk up to the Fushimi Inari is also quite interesting, too. The view from the top of the mountain may be a bit rough and tough for some people but it's also worth the climb as well. If you're extra lucky, you'll also get to experience some of the festivals that are hosted in Fushimi Inari. One example of this is the Kenka sai which you can visit during the spring season.

2. Looking around the Nishiki Market

Free Walking Tours in Kyoto
(Nishiki Market | Image Courtesy of David Stanley / Flickr)

Going to and looking around the Nishiki Market is always free. Tourists actually flock this place not only because of the shops but it is also considered to be a 400-year old well-known traditional market. This is perfect for you especially if you would really want to experience the Japanese culture up until its very core. There isn't a single thing you cannot find in this area. Boasting over 100 small specialty shops and restaurants, everything you're looking for to buy or to eat are most probably present in the market. Nishiki Market is worth to visit, even if you're not planning on buying anything. The wonderful thing about this place is you can see firsthand how the people of Japan interact with the tourists and locals alike.

3. Meditate at Philosopher's Path

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

A path that is located just near a canal and is currently lined up with hundreds of cherry blossoms, Philosopher's Path is truly a magnificent sight. Not only it's free, but you can also take hundreds of pictures for it to serve as your souvenir. The serene and comforting vibe of the path is perfect for the origin of its name - it's actually really great for meditation and when you're searching for inner peace. There's a two-kilometer whole stretch of the path which you ought to enjoy in peace.

4. Enjoy the cherry blossoms at Maruyama Park

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

Maruyama Park is open to the public and it is a site wherein you can see the beauty of cherry blossoms in full bloom. The park is relatively new compared to the other ones in Kyoto, but it doesn't mean that it makes it less valuable than the others. The designer of the park, Jihai Ogawa, made sure to incorporate the traditional Japanese park style complete with walk paths, ponds, bridges, and statues. The location of the cherry blossom trees only made it more perfect and gave it more with the traditional Japanese vibe. The centerpiece of the Maruyama Park is the large cherry blossom tree, a stunning display when it is in full bloom. Since it's a public park and opens for all, there are usually festivals and events that are happening in this place.

5. Give the Kyoto Station a shot

Free Walking Tours in Kyoto
(Kyoto Station | Image Courtesy of Kanonn / Flickr)

Think of the Grand Central Station in New York wherein it attracts tourists and locals all over the place. This is just like the Kyoto Station in Japan, only it's less grand and not hyped enough. That makes it a perfect place for you to go and visit. It's clean and it has a great view even if you're just standing along its platforms while waiting for a train to arrive. Some people forget the beauty of such simple places that we almost instantly take it for granted. But if you actually give some time to take the surroundings all in, you can see how the sky garden at the 15th level is such a fantastic view. Sometimes, the fountains and stairs of the station are lit up with themed displays, depending on the time of the year.

6. Take a look at the Kimono fashion parade

Free Walking Tours in Kyoto
(Kimono Fashion | Image Courtesy of David Stanley / Wikimedia Commons)

If you want to experience the authenticity of how a real-life kimono looks like, then you have to catch a Kimono fashion parade. It's considered to be an elegant traditional dress and you can still see Japanese locals sporting the Kimono look during special locations. During parades and festivals, there's a high chance that Japanese locals are wearing a Kimono to further showcase the tradition of Japan.

7. Walk around Gion at night

Free Walking Tours in Kyoto
(Gion | Image Courtesy of Han Min T / Unsplash)

Even though Kyoto is known to be a traditional place in Japan, the nightlife in this area is alive as it could be. If you want to see how the Japanese locals work at night to give their tourists a full show, then you must drop by Gion. The whole of Gion is filled with shops and restaurants which you can enjoy going to. There are also some restaurants in Gion that offer a low-price geisha experience.

Again, this guide goes to show and prove to you that you don’t need to spend so much just to enjoy what Kyoto has to offer Kyoto is a place where nature and urbanization coexist, and that simply means that you can still get stuff for free!


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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