Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

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  • Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom In Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom In Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk Woman Wearing Kimonos

    Philosopher's Walk Woman Wearing Kimonos

  • Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk Kimono Shop in Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk Kimono Shop in Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom in Kyoto

    Philosopher's Walk Cherry Blossom in Kyoto

  • Philosopher's Walk Along Lake Biwa Canal

    Philosopher's Walk Along Lake Biwa Canal

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Facts & Figures

The Philosopher's Walk (Tetsugaku no Michi) is an approx. 2km long pedestrian stone path within the Higashiyama district in Kyoto alongside a branch of the Lake Biwa Canal. The best time for a visit is in spring (beginning of April) during the cherry blossom season (sakura). The cherry trees along the path are very popular for tourists and locals. Best Ryokans in Kyoto Explore Ryokans in Kyoto >
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
Be aware that it can get really crowded, because everyone would love to take a picture of the frail pink sakura petals. The Philosopher's Walk is one of the best Hanami spots in Kyoto. Start this 45 to 60min walk in a nice historical atmosphere at the Ginkaku-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enjoy the beautiful scenery with little stone bridges, willow trees, colorful carps (koi), cute shops and restaurants. You will pass by at the Eikan-do Zenrin-ji Temple, Anraku-ji Temple, Honen-in Temple, Reikan-ji Temple, Ōtoyo Shrine, Kumano Nyakuoji-jinja and the path ends near Nanzen-ji Temple. Another highlight is a visit during fall, when the beautiful maple foliage of the surrounding mountains creates a unique atmosphere.

My tips for local activities

Explore the best parts of my favourite city Kyoto with a local guide. The tour takes approximately 3,5hrs. Check out this page > for more details.

History

The Philosopher's Walk got its name from Nishida Kitaro (1870 - 1945), a Kyoto University professor and one of the most famous philosophers in Japan. He used to walk here with his friend Hajime Kawakami (1879 - 1946), a Professor of Economy, along the canal for his daily meditation. The construction of the path at the foot of the Higashiyama Mountain Range was completed in 1890. In 1912 the Philosopher's Walk was extended further south. Thanks to the great support of the local people the passage was completed as a walking trail in 1968 between Jodoji Bridge till the end at Nyakuoji Bridge. In 1986 the Philosopher´s Walk was selected for the 100 Best Japanese Roads list.

Location

Map of Japan

The path starts near the Ginkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto.

How to get to Philosopher's Walk?

  • 35min from Kyoto Station to Ginkaku-ji Temple by bus 5, 17 and 100

Sightseeing spots

along the Philosopher's Walk:

Ginkaku-ji Temple - also called the Silver Pavilion is a Zen temple (from 1490)...Read more

Eikan-do Zenrin-ji Temple - head temple of the Jōdo-shū Buddhists...Read more

Hōnen-in - small Zen Buddhist temple (from 1681)...Read more

Reikan-ji Temple - is part of the Nanzen-ji School of the Rinzai Zen sect...Read more

Ōtoyo Shrine - this shrine was built during the Heian period in 887

Kumano Nyakuoji-jinja - the Shinto shrine marks the end point of the famous Philosopher's Walk...Read more

Nanzen-ji Temple - established in 1291 by Emperor Kameyama...Read more

Kitaro Nishida's memorial - It is a stone with the following message engraved - You are you, and I am I, and I will live as I believe.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

April

Cherry Blossom (Hanami) (beginning of April)
Take your time to walk along hundreds of cherry trees.

May

Aoi Matsuri (15th)
The highlight of this festival is a large parade from Imperial Palace through Shimogamo Shrine to the Kamo Shrines. More than 500 people wearing aristocratic costumes from the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Aoi Matsuri belongs with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri to the three most famous festivals in Kyoto.

Arashiyama Mifune Matsuri (third Sunday of May)
The first part is held at the Kuramazaki Shrine. Later a procession is leading to the Oi River, where more ceremonies and traditional dances (Funa Asobi) are held. The Arashiyama Mifune Matsuri started in 1914.

July

Gion Matsuri (whole month)
The month July is full of different events like the Yoiyama - Kyoto's Magical Night (locals in kimonos look at the giant Gion floats the day before the parade) or the famous Yamaboko Junko (float procession on the 17th of July).

October

Jidai Matsuri ("Festival of Ages") (22nd)
People celebrate with a large parade between Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. App. 2000 participants wearing historical costumes from different time periods. Enjoy this great festival which last around 2 hours.

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Yokohama Street Scene

I have visited Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
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