Top things to do

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Southern Higashiyama

Kiyomizu-dera

A buzzing hive of activity perched on a hill overlooking the basin of Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera is one of Kyoto's most popular and most enjoyable temples. It may not be a tranquil refuge, but it represents the favoured e…
Top Choice Area in Southern Higashiyama

Gion

Gion is the famous entertainment and geisha quarter on the eastern bank of the Kamo-gawa. While Gion’s true origins were in teahouses catering to weary visitors to the nearby shrine Yasaka-jinja, by the mid-18th cen…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Southern Higashiyama

Chion-in

A collection of soaring buildings and spacious courtyards, Chion-in serves as the headquarters of the Jōdo sect, the largest school of Buddhism in Japan. It's the most popular pilgrimage temple in Kyoto and it's alw…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Southern Higashiyama

Shōren-in

This temple is hard to miss, with its giant camphor trees growing just outside the walls. Fortunately, most tourists march right on past, heading to the area's more famous temples. That is their loss, because this i…
Top Choice Fashion & Accessories in Southern Higashiyama

Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu

This company has been making its canvas bags for over 110 years and the store is often crammed with those in the know picking up a skillfully crafted Kyoto product. Originally designed as ‘tool’ bags for workers to …
Top Choice Kaiseki in Southern Higashiyama

Kikunoi

One of Kyoto's true culinary temples, serving some of the finest kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) in the city by famous Michelin-starred chef Mutara. Located in a hidden nook near Maruyama-kōen, this restaurant has …
Top Choice Dance in Southern Higashiyama

Miyako Odori

This 45-minute dance is a wonderful geisha performance. It’s a real stunner and the colourful images are mesmerising. It’s held throughout April, usually at Gion Kōbu Kaburen-jō Theatre, on Hanami-kōji, just south o…
Top Choice Noodles in Southern Higashiyama

Omen Kodai-ji

Housed in a remodelled Japanese building with a light, airy feeling, this branch of Kyoto’s famed Omen noodle chain is the best place to stop while exploring the Southern Higashiyama district. Upstairs has fine view…
Top Choice Theatre in Southern Higashiyama

Minami-za

This theatre in Gion is the oldest kabuki theatre in Japan. The major event of the year is the Kaomise festival in December, which features Japan’s finest kabuki actors. If the theatre is still closed for renovation…
Top Choice Teahouse in Southern Higashiyama

Kagizen Yoshifusa

This Gion institution is one of Kyoto’s oldest and best-known okashi-ya (sweet shops). It sells a variety of traditional sweets and has a lovely tearoom out the back where you can sample cold kuzukiri (transparent a…