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Central Kyoto

Introducing Central Kyoto

The area we refer to as Central Kyoto in this guide is not so much a distinct neighbourhood as it is a vast swath of the city that surrounds the better known sightseeing districts of Downtown Kyoto, the Kyoto Station Area, Southern Higashiyama and Northern Higashiyama. Central Kyoto runs from the hills that form the northern border of the city proper to the flat suburbs south of Kyoto Station. As such, it is not an area that one would attempt to explore in one day.

The best way to enjoy Central Kyoto is to choose one or two sights that are relatively close to each other and focus on them. You can often link sights in Central Kyoto up with sights in other nearby sightseeing districts, like Downtown Kyoto or the Southern Higashiyama area.

There are many possible routes that take advantage of the offerings here. For example, you could start in the southeast region of the area with a visit to Fushimi-Inari-Taisha and Tōfuku-ji, then head north into the Southern Higashiyama area. Or, you could visit the sights in the Northern Higashiyama Area, like Ginkaku-ji, and continue north to the lesser visited sights of Manshū-in and Shisendō.

Likewise, you might pay a visit to the walled-in Zen world of Daitoku-ji, with its wonderful subtemples, and then continue into Northwest Kyoto to visit the shining apparition of Kinkaku-ji – the famed Golden Pavilion.

Needless to say, because of its size, this area lends itself to being explored by bicycle.