You cannot fault Japan for drawing travellers from around the world to its picturesque villages, cities and landscapes. In particular, the former capital of Japan – Kyoto – is one such city that offers what seems like a never-ending array of photo spots. We couldn’t list them all but here are eight of the best photo spots in Kyoto for you to visit, armed with your phone or camera.  

1. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine 

Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine
Photo by @sugarhood on Instagram

Let’s start our list off with one of the most photographed places not just in Kyoto, but in Japan, too. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is recognised at first glance for its thousands of brightly coloured torii gates. These shroud the path up to the summit of Mount Inari. To take advantage of less people, we recommend arriving early morning to beat the rush. There are plenty of photo stops along the path at lookout points, cafes and restaurants.  

2. Higashiyama District 

Ninenzaka street, Higashiyama
Ninenzaka street
Photo by @lynx_photo_graph on Instagram

The Higashiyama District feels like you’ve stepped back in time as soon as you step foot on one of its narrow streets. This well-preserved historic area is simply picture perfect. Its streets are lined with traditional wooden houses that are now used as shops, teahouses and restaurants. They can fill up quickly with tourists however Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka Streets are ideal for a photo that captures a formerly traditional Japanese area. Bonus points if you get Yasaka Pagoda in the background of your photo! Standing at five stories high, the pagoda has been around since 1400 and survived a fire that destroyed its connecting Hokanji Temple.  

3. Kifune Shrine 

Kifune Shrine
Photo by @guiotan on Instagram

Whilst found in the northern area of Kyoto, a visit to the charming Kibune Village is well worth it and only 30 minutes away. The village developed itself around its revered Kifune Shrine, dedicated to the god of water and rain. The main entrance is simply magical – stairs lined with red lanterns at every step on the path to the shrine’s main hall.  

4. Nishiki Market 

Nishiki Market
Photo by @visitjapan.latam on Instagram

Nishiki Market may not jump to the front of your mind when thinking of photo spots in Kyoto. However, the affectionately known ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ and its hustle and bustle provides a fun alternative to beautiful temples. Photos of the some-100 stall vendors working their magic and all the food details will be a core memory for years after your holiday. While Nishiki Market is predominantly a seafood market, you can also try fresh produce, donuts and other traditional snacks.  

5. Suiro-kaku Water Bridge 

Suiro-kaku Water Bridge
Photo by @madluvhhss on Instagram

Often overlooked by many of Kyoto’s other hot spots, the Suiro-kaku Aqueduct offers a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This aqueduct was built in 1890 and it still in use today! It transports water from Biwako Lake to Kyoto, providing water for the city, electrical power plant and irrigation. Lace up your shoes for a lovely walk from Keage Subway Station to Nanzen-ji Temple, taking you alongside the waterway.  

6. Gion District 

Photo by on Instagram

The Gion District is famous for being the neighbourhood to see geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha) on their way to, and from, work. Just remember that it is considered rude to ask for a photo of them, however you can admire (and photograph) from a distance. Gion is great to visit during both the day and night. By day, the streets have a real buzz to them; and by night, the traditional wooden merchant houses, shrines and temples come to life. If you find yourself a little peckish, head to nearby Yasaka Shrine which holds a food market most evenings. If you time it right, you might witness a spectacular sunset overlooking the city from here.  

7. Kiyomizudera Temple 

Kiyomizudera Temple
Photo by @s_jin_34 on Instagram

The magnificent 1,200-year-old Kiyomizudera Temple is one of Kyoto’s best photo spots, especially with several different vantage points. Built at the foot of Mount Otowa, the temple is beautiful at any time of year. Plus, it’s an incredible feat that it was built and assembled with no nails yet is still earthquake resistant! Prime photo spots are from below the temple to take in all its glory; the open-air wooden terrace for a panoramic view of Kyoto; and a short path that takes you away from the main grounds. Look back towards the temple and you’ll see why this vantage point is popular.  

8. Arashiyama Kimono Forest 

Arashiyama Kimono Forest
Photo by @inaba_marie on Instagram

While Arashiyama’s nearby Bamboo Forest often trumps it, we think the Kimono Forest is equally worthy of a visit. The Kimono Forest is filled with approximately 600 colourful poles, each displaying different patterns of Kyo-Yuzen – Kyoto’s traditional kimono dyeing technique. There are 32 patterns on display, creating a world of colour for your photos. While daytime brings the colours to life, night time is also magical with all the poles lit up. 

Planning a trip to Japan? We hope that this is a handy starting point for you when compiling a list of places and photo spots in Kyoto. Take a look at a tour through Japan with Globus, Cosmos or Independence by Globus today.  

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