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This is a trail covering historic monuments of ancient Kyoto, starting with 下鴨神社, Shimogamo-jinja, dating back more than 2000 years. Take buses 205, or rent bicycles to get to the first pit stop. This trail brings you to Kamigamo, known for its Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival), one of Kyoto’s three big festivals. Thence to Kozan-ji, an ancient temple said to have been established in the 8th century. The trail carries on to Tenryū-ji, next to the popular bamboo grove in Arashiyama. Next, to Nishi Honganji featuring magnificent architecture, carvings in the wood flooring and its huge 400 year old Ginkgo tree. Last stop is at Toji Temple with its magnificent 5-storey pagoda.

Total Round Trip Distance = 48km.

Explore Ancient Kyoto

1 Shimogamo Shrine (8.1km from iShinChi Nishi-Ume)

Allow at least 45 minutes here.

Legendary 2,000-year-old shrine & excavation site set in a tranquil, riverside forest.

25 minutes by car (or 50 minutes by other transit)

Kamigamo-jinja (4.4km from Shimogamo Shrine)

Allow at least 30 minutes here.

This historic 7th-century Shinto shrine complex is full of trees & set on the banks of a river.

20 minutes by car (or 35 minutes by bus)

Kōzan-ji  (13.1km from Kamigamo-jinja)

Allow at least 1.5 hours here.

Secluded Buddhist temple housing a famous collection of historic scrolls, drawings & artefacts.

40 minutes by car (or 1 hour by bus)

Tenryū-ji  (9.5km from Kōzan-ji)

Allow at least 1 hour here.

Tenryū-ji —more formally known as Tenryū Shiseizen-ji —is the head temple of the Tenryū branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, located in Susukinobaba-chō, Ukyō Ward, Kyoto, Japan.

25 minutes by car (or 55 minutes by other transit)

5 Toji Temple (10.1km from Tenryū-ji)

Allow at least 1 hour here.

Historic Buddhist temple with a 5-story wooden pagoda & sculptures of dieties from the 8th century.

33 minutes by car (or 1 hour by transit)

Nishi Honganji  (1.8km from Toji Temple)

Allow at least 45 minutes here.

Temple dating to the 16th century & headquarters of the Hongwanji sect of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.

6 minutes by car (or 17 minutes by transit)

It’s 1km, or 9 mins walk back to iShinChi Nishi-Ume from the Nishi Honganji Temple.


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