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Northwest Kyoto

Introducing Northwest Kyoto

In this guide, Northwest Kyoto comprises the section of the city that runs from Kyoto’s main castle, Nijō-jō, all the way to the base of the mountains in the northwest corner of the city, where you will find Kinkaku-ji, Ryōan-ji and Ninna-ji. Like the Central Kyoto area, the sights here are quite spread out and you shouldn’t try to cover them all in one day. Rather, pick a few that are clustered close together and visit them in half a day, then consider spending the rest of the day in an adjoining sightseeing district.

Many people visit Kinkaku-ji and Ryōan-ji in the morning, then continue by taxi down to the Arashiyama and Sagano area, which is also on the west side of the city.

With the exception of sights in the inner part of this district (like Nijō-jō, which is on the Tōzai subway line), it’s a bit time consuming to see the sights in Northwest Kyoto. Most sights are best accessed by city bus. Myōshin-ji and nearby sights are also served by the JR line and by the private Randen line. If you’re a keen cyclist, you can also explore the area on a bicycle, but keep in mind that there are some hills around Kinkaku-ji and Ryōan-ji, so you’ll work up quite a sweat in summer months.