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The Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

A scenic walk along a cherry-tree-lined canal connecting three of Kyoto's great temples
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.74 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  The Philosopher's walk is a classic walk in Kyoto that connects several ancient temples via a meandering, paved trail. This attraction... more »

Tips:  * The Philosopher's Walk can be walked any time of the year, but the cherry blossom season (roughly the month of April) is the best... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Drop-off point

Arrange a drop-off at the Ginkaku-Ji temple. Most taxi drivers know where this is. It is a 20-minute drive from the city center.

After you get out of your car, head towards the Ginkaku-Ji temple, your first temple of the day. To get there, enter the slightly sloping alley lined with teahouses and shops. Follow it all the way to the end (perhaps ... More

The Ginkaku-Ji Temple means the "Temple of the Silver Pavilion". It is a Zen temple with a beautifully landscaped garden. Follow the path towards the Japanese Rock Garden, across the bridge towards the hill. The path loops back to the start of the temple.


After completing your visit to the Ginkaku-Ji head back down the alley (sit down at one of the teashops if you like), and turn left after crossing the canal. This is where the actual Philosopher's walk starts. Just follow the canal until you reach the Eikan-Do Temple. Enjoy!

The Eikan-Do temple is your next stop. It is located on the left side of the walk (assuming you follow the Philosopher's Walk North to South).

Eikan-do (also named Zenrin-ji) is the head temple for the Seizan branch of Japan's Jōdo shū (Pure Land) Buddhist sect. The temple is leaning against a steep hill. Follow the wooden walk ways, while... More

Nanzen-Ji is situated at the Southern end of the Philosopher's Walk. It is another Zen Buddhist temple, but it is less garden-centric than the Ginkaku-Ji temple. Nanzen-Ji consists of several tallish buildings with Pagoda's.

From here you can catch a taxi back to the center of Kyoto.