Kyoto Day Trip Around Kiyomizudera Japan The Social Travel Experiment

I have visited Kyoto multiple times before, and it is by far my favorite city in the world. My most recent trip was a very short two day trip from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train. One day there, next day back. So it was basically a Kyoto day trip. And because it was such a short trip I wanted to make the most of it and visited one of my favorite areas: The mountains around Kiyomizudera temple.

If you only have one day in Kyoto this is the place to go. And if you need inspiration what to do there this is the post for you. But I hope that you will have more time to explore because there are many amazing things to do in Kyoto, (enough for 2 to 4 days in Kyoto) and of course also the rest of Japan. If you are looking for the perfect 2 weeks in Japan itinerary I got you covered.

The streets in Kyoto in summer are dotted with people wearing beautiful Yukata (summer Kimono).
You can rent one quite cheaply for one day. It will cost you about 3000 Yen and you will be able to choose your design and Obi (belt) from a wide variety of beautiful designs. Some traditional and some more modern.
They will help you put it on (it’s actually quite difficult  to do it alone) and you can walk all around Kyoto for a day feeling like a character from “Memoirs of a Geisha”.
If you want to make sure you get one then I recommend you make a reservation in advance via
The shop called Yumeyakata is one the way between Kyoto Station and Gion (the start of my recommended route). Just take a bus from Kyoto Station to Gojo Karasuma and from there it is only a short walk.
Wearing a Yukata makes for beautiful pictures and memories about your Kyoto day trip!
And if you are a stalker like me you also take dozens (not to say hundreds) of pictures of other people wearing Yukata. Or maybe even a couple together with strangers.

To Gion by Bus

If you are planning on renting a Yukata take a bus from Gojo Karasuma to Gion. In case you want to go without just take a bus directly from Kyoto Station or from your accommodation in Kyoto to Gion. If you are planning on taking a bus more than three times you should buy a day ticket for 500 Yen (5$) because a single ride will cost you 210 Yen. You can buy it from ticket machines in front of Kyoto Station or from your bus driver (when you get out of the bus the first time). Check this website for more information about getting around Kyoto.

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First Stop Yasakajinja Shrine

Yasakajinja in Kyoto
Our first stop was Yasakajinja Shrine which used to be called Gionjinja. This shrine, founded in 656, is where the famous Gion Matsuri originates. The Gion Matsuri which takes place each year in July is one of the three great traditional festivals in Kyoto.
From there we walked the streets of Higashiyama, leading all the way to the famous Kiyomizudera Temple.
Maiko in Kyoto

On our way we not only saw a lot of people wearing beautiful Yukata but also these two tourists dressed as Maiko. They sure drew a crowd. You might be wondering how I know they aren’t real Maiko. Well, I didn’t. I was told by someone. But they sure looked amazing.

Eating Matcha Soba for Lunch

Matcha Soba in Kyoto
We had lunch in one of my favorite matcha  (green tea) shops called Gion Tsujiri.
Usually, I buy a matcha float to go, but this time we sat down and had some green matcha soba in the air-conditioned small restaurant.
If you want to find it on Google Maps you can have a look here.
Gion Tsujiri is a chain restaurant and you can even find it in Tokyo if you can’t make it all the way to Kyoto.
You can find more information about Gion Tsujiri in Tokyo.
Matcha float in Kyoto
Of course I couldn’t leave without buying the matcha float as our dessert. To Go, as always. I wouldn’t want to break with tradition. By the way I love eating soft serve ice cream like this float everywhere in Japan.

The Streets Around Kiyomizudera

Streets of Higashiyama in Kyoto
The way from Yasakajinja to the Kiyomizudera is not too long, but because of the heat, we went from shop to shop. From air-condition to air-condition.
When leaving the shops, the heat and humidity hit you like a truck, and you just want to go somewhere to cool off again. That is summer in Japan for you.
All the shops on the street are either souvenir shops or shops selling various foods from ice cream to meat dumplings and Kyoto sweets.
So we had a taste of all the different sample in every shop. Umeboshi (sour plums) and Tsukemono (pickled vegetables) and also matcha Baumkuchen and other Kyoto style sweets like Yatsuhashi (little triangle shaped rice cakes with different flavor filling). Yatsuhashi are great as gifts for your family and friends. Unfortunately they are only good for about one week so if you are planning on traveling longer than that better buy them at the airport before you leave Japan.

The Kiyomizudera

Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto
At around 4 p.m. we arrived at Kiyomizudera (which is one of 100 things to do in Kyoto). Unfortunately, it is currently under construction until March 2020 so we didn’t go inside. But even with the main hall covered up it is still an amazing place to visit and totally worth the 500 Yen entrance fee. I have been inside countless times (I tried to count just now and I remember about 6 to 7 times) and it is definitely worth a visit if you are there for the first time.
You can walk back down the mountain using a different route and hop on the bus to your next stop from Kiyomizudera bus stop at the foot of the mountain.

In Conclusion

The whole trip will take about 4 to 5 hours depending on how fast you look, shop and eat. There are multiple temples and shrines along the way, and if you want to visit more of them it will take even longer. If you want to wear a Yukata plan for another hour. So it is a perfect little Kyoto day trip all in all.
But I believe one day can never be enough to explore Kyoto and encourage you to stay longer. How about having a look at this 4 day Kyoto itinerary for inspiration.
For a trip without regrets read this list of 10 things to do at every destination. With this Kyoto one day itinerary you have 5 out of 10 already.

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Don't miss this experience when you visit Kyoto. A day trip walking around Higashiyama around Kiyomizudera is one of the Kyoto highlights. You can experience a lot of Japanese culture and history, eat delicious food, do some shopping and enjoy the traditional wooden architecture of Japan all in one place. The perfect place to spend a day in Kyoto. #JapanTravel #Walkingtour #TravelItinerary
Kyoto Day Trip around Kiyomizudera | Short trip to Kyoto | Temples and Shrines in Kyoto | Best places to visit in Kyoto | What to do in Kyoto | Kyoto Itinerary | Yukata Rental in Kyoto | #JapanTravel #KyotoTravel


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Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
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