Introducing Northern Higashiyama
Running along the base of the Higashiyama (Eastern Mountains) from Sanjō-dōri in the south to Imadegawa-dōri in the north, the Northern Higashiyama area is one of Kyoto’s most important sightseeing areas. It comprises a fairly large area and can be explored on foot, mostly over car-free walkways, making it one of the most pleasant areas for sightseeing in Kyoto.
Northern Higashiyama can be divided into two main sections: the strip of temples located directly at the base of the mountains, most of which are accessible from the lovely Path of Philosophy and the museums/shrine district known as Okazaki-kōen (Okazaki Park), which occupies a wide swath of the area between the mountains and the river.
You can explore each section of Northern Higashiyama in about half a day, but a full day allows a more leisurely pace.
Many people use Kyoto city bus 5 to access this area – and this is certainly convenient since this bus traverses the entire district – but keep in mind that this bus is often crowded and it can be slow. If coming from Kyoto Station or Downtown, it’s probably better to take the subway here. The Tōzai subway line will get you to Higashiyama Station, which is convenient for Okazaki-kōen, and Keage Station, which is convenient for Nanzen-ji and sights north.
Unfortunately, there are no trains or subways convenient to the northern end of this district. A variety of buses will take you to Downtown and Kyoto Station.
This is the best area in Kyoto for bicycling and a rental cycle is one of the best ways to explore Northern Higashiyama.