Sumiyoshi Taisha

Sumiyoshi-taisha (住吉大社), or the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, is Osaka’s most famous shrine. It is the headquarters of over 2000 Shinto shrines across Japan and believed to enshrine 3 gods, for protecting the nation, sea voyages and waka (31-syllable) poetry. Registered as a national treasure, it also has a few unique aspects to it. The most interestingContinue reading “Sumiyoshi Taisha”

Shimogamo Shrine

Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社), linked to the northern Kamimono Shrine, is part of the world heritage sites in Kyoto. It is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, thought to be dating back to the 6th century. Not one of the most popular shrines, but worth visiting if you have done the most famous ones alreadyContinue reading “Shimogamo Shrine”

Kamigamo Shrine

Kamigamo Shrine (上賀茂神社), twinned with Shimogamo Shrine to the south, is an important Shinto shrine in northern Kyoto. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known across the country for its iconic Tatesuna & Saiden sand cones. The shrine is also surrounded by a picturesque primeval forest. Budget travel tips Visiting shrines can getContinue reading “Kamigamo Shrine”

Daigoji Temple

Daigoji Temple (醍醐寺) is a picturesque Buddhist temple in south Kyoto. While a bit run down in places, the main pagoda and red bridge are iconic sites that set Daigoji Temple apart from all the other countless temples in Kyoto. It is also quieter than the other ones, due to being about 30 minutes fromContinue reading “Daigoji Temple”

Mount Shosha

Mount Shosha (書写山) is a 371 metre tall mountain near Himeji, the top of which is full of Buddhist temples of the Tendai sect. The most famous is Shoshazan Engyō-ji (書寫山圓教寺), which is often used when filming historical movies and dramas due to it’s authenticity and total lack of modern blemishes. Mount Shosha offers an excellent chance to getContinue reading “Mount Shosha”

Ninna-ji Temple

Ninna-ji Temple (仁和寺) is yet another awesome World Heritage listed temple in Kyoto. The temple was founded in 888 by the reigning emperor and has many interesting features. Highlights include a five story pagoda and elegantly painted Japanese doors and walls in the head priests building. Top Tips Ryoanji temple is only a short walk or bus away,Continue reading “Ninna-ji Temple”

Daikaku-ji Temple

Daikaku-ji (大覚寺) is a quiet temple in northern Kyoto. Not many people come here compared to others in Kyoto, and while it won’t blow you away it is a great contrast to others. Budget travel tips Just behind Daikaku-ji Temple is the free Gosha-myojin Shrine (五社明神), which is shown above. Take a right before the entrance, thenContinue reading “Daikaku-ji Temple”

Tenryuji Temple

Tenryuji Temple (天龍寺) is ranked as one of Kyoto’s top temples and a World Heritage site. The large, but fun to navigate complex houses a beautiful pond surrounded by well manicured gardens and stone decorations. Budget travel tips Combine a trip here with the bamboo forest next door. Make sure you get a ticket for the gardens and buildings,Continue reading “Tenryuji Temple”

Sanjusangendo Temple

Sanjusangendo Temple (三十三間堂) is a completely breathtaking temple containing one thousand life-size, golden Kannon statues. This place really has to be seen to be believed, and of course photos are prohibited! Budget travel tips If you don’t have a Kyoto bus pass, you can walk here (see below). Come early to avoid the tour buses.Continue reading “Sanjusangendo Temple”

Toji Temple

Toji Temple (東寺) is one of the two ‘guardian temples’ that was built when Japan’s capital was moved from Nara to Kyoto. Toji translates as ‘east temple’. It is a World Heritage listed Buddhist temple, famous for its grand 5 story, 54.8 m high pagoda, which is the highest wooden tower in Japan. Budget travel tips Walk to the temple from Kyoto stationContinue reading “Toji Temple”

Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺), meaning The Temple of the Dragon at Peace, is a World Heritage listed “dry landscape” garden and temple. It is considered to be one of, if not the best, examples of these in Japan.This garden style features large rock formations with pebbles raked in linear patterns to help in meditation. Budget travel tips Note thatContinue reading “Ryoanji Temple”

Uji

Uji (宇治) is a popular tourist spot known for it’s many centuries old shrines and temples, 2 of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. While it is famous for these sites, Uji has also been blessed with amazing nature and is a good place to come for an easy walk or hike. BudgetContinue reading “Uji”