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Top 15 Instagrammable Places In Kyoto You Should Not Miss

If you are looking forward to checking out Instagrammable places in Kyoto, you have come to the right site. 

Kyoto is a cultural city filled with beautifully-preserved shrines, temples, historical sites, natural splendours, and so much more. 

There are plenty of photo opportunities found within this Japanese city that you might need to upgrade your phone or camera data storage before you showcase your artistic photography skills. 

But where exactly are these unmissable Kyoto photogenic places to visit? 

Make sure to read this detailed article till the end so as not to miss any of the Instagrammable places in Kyoto, how to get there, and useful travel tips! 

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links and I may get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you.

Kyoto Photo Spots: Instagrammable Places

  1. Kinkaku-ji Temple
  2. Philosopher’s Path
  3. Nanzen-ji Temple
  4. Ginkaku-ji Temple
  5. Yasaka Pagoda
  6. Nijo Castle
  7. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  8. Gion District
  9. Fushimi Inari Shrine
  10. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
  11. Togetsukyo Bridge
  12. Arashiyama Kimono Forest
  13. Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple
  14. Kifune Shrine
  15. Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Instaworthy Spots: Best 15 Places

1. Kinkaku-ji Temple

The first Instaworthy spot that made it to this list is none other than Kinkaku-ji Temple

Commonly known as The Golden Pavilion, this beautiful Zen temple is one of the iconic landmarks in Kyoto. 

Every year, Kinkaku-ji Temple attracts lots of visitors and photographers due to the striking golden aesthetics of its two upper floors. 

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And if you are viewing it across the pond, the scenery of Kinkaku-ji Temple surrounded by lush greenery is just so stunning. 

The temple ground also houses a tranquil garden. Visitors can spend some time walking around to soak up the zen vibes and take numerous beautiful shots here. 

After you are done with the photo-taking session of Kinkaku-ji Temple, head over to its teahouse for a short tea break before continuing to the next Instagrammable spot. 

Address: 1 Kinkakujichō, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

Visiting Hours: 9 am-5 pm

Entrance Fee: US$4 (400 yen)

How To Get To Kinkaku-ji Temple

Board a train from Tokyo Station to Kitaoji Station via Karasuma Subway Line for 15 minutes. Then get on a bus with numbers 101, 102, 204, or 205 for about 10 minutes to reach Kinkaku-ji Temple. 

Travel tip: There are two must-have things (unnegotiable) to have when it comes to taking nice Instagrammable photos- reliable camera with great resolution and an Instagrammable spot.

You would not want to miss out either one of them, especially if you fly over all the way to another country spending your hard-earned vacation days exploring the foreign place without any beautiful shots that you can reminisce once you are back to your residence country.

Check out this highly recommended travel camera bundle to take spectacular Instagrammable shots wherever you go like a pro!

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2. Philosopher’s Path

Philosopher’s Path is among the top places in Kyoto for hanami (cherry blossom viewing). 

Thanks to the hundreds of cherry trees planted along the canal, Philosopher’s Path is flocked with visitors to have a snap or two of the beautiful sakura scenery in spring.

With a distance of two kilometres’ long, you can detour any of the restaurants and cafes along Philosopher’s Path for a rest before continuing wandering around.

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This serene path also connects to many other fascinating temples that are equally Instagrammable, including Ginkaku-ji Temple and Nanzen-ji Temple. 

Visiting Hours: Always open

Entrance Fee: Free

How To Get To Philosopher’s Path

Philosopher’s Path starts from Ginkaku-ji Temple to Nanzen-ji Temple. You can reach this site from Nanzen-ji Temple within 10 minutes. 

3. Nanzen-ji Temple

Formerly a retirement villa for Emperor Kameyama back in the 13th century, Nanzen-ji Temple is one of the well-known Zen temples of Japan in current times. 

And this intriguing place of worship is a must-visit Instagrammable place in Kyoto.

The temple grounds house a few other smaller temples, making Nanzen-ji Temple a great place to get awed at those beautifully preserved traditional buildings and architecture

The tranquillity of its Hojo Rock Garden with tall trees as a backdrop attract visitor crowds to immerse in the atmosphere and the serene view quietly on the benches. 

This garden is even more breathtaking in autumn when the tree leaves turn fiery red! 

Another interesting structure you can find within Nanzen-ji Temple is the big aqueduct. This century-old structure was used to transport water and goods between Kyoto and Lake Biwa.  

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If you are a big fan of autumn foliage scenery, make sure to visit other Nanzenji’s sub-temples such as Nanzenin Temple, Konchi-Temple, and Tenjuan Temple

With plenty of photo opportunities within Nanzen-ji Temple grounds, you are bound to have endless Instagrammable shots to boast on your social media accounts! 

Address: 86, Nanzenji Fukuchichō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto 606-8435 Japan

Visiting Hours: 8.40 am-5 pm

Entrance Fee: US$6 (600 yen)

How To Get To Nanzen-ji Temple

Board a train from Kyoto Station to Keage Station via Tozai Line for 20 minutes. Then walk for another 10 minutes to reach Nanzen-ji Temple.

Alternatively, you can walk for 10 minutes from the south of Philosopher’s Path. 

4. Ginkaku-ji Temple

Though known as the Silver Pavilion, Ginkaku-ji Temple is not covered in silver. 

This rather plain Zen temple was built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa who got his inspiration from the gold-covered Kinkaku-ji Temple. 

Nevertheless, there is much to see and admire within Ginkaku-ji Temple grounds offering lots of Instagrammable photo opportunities to visitors. 

The best way to enjoy stunning views of Ginkaku-ji Temple is by following the circular path laid around the temple. 

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As you stroll around, you can find several other traditional temple buildings and two tranquil gardens. 

The combination of these structures and the surrounding lush greenery make the Ginkaku-ji Temple scenery exceptionally charming. 

And it would be a total sin not to take any of the beautiful shots over here! 

Address: 2 Ginkakujichō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8402, Japan

Visiting Hours: 8.30 am-5 pm (9 am-4.30 pm from December to February)

Entrance Fee: US$5 (500 yen)

How To Get To Ginkaku-ji Temple

Take bus number 5, 17, or 100 from Kyoto Station to Ginkaku-ji and reach within 40 minutes. 

Alternatively, you can walk for about 10 minutes north of Philosopher’s Path.

5. Yasaka Pagoda

Being the oldest pagoda in Kyoto, Yasaka Pagoda is difficult to miss when you are wandering around the Higashiyama district. 

This 5-storey wooden pagoda is the last surviving building of Hokanji Temple that was destroyed by fire, war, and natural disaster over the past centuries. 

To preserve the traditional atmosphere of the street and to have an unobstructed stunning view of Yasaka Pagoda, phone poles and power lines surrounding it were removed by the authorities.   

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Most international travellers rent a kimono to have an Instagrammable shot with Yasaka Pagoda as the beautiful backdrop as if they are transported back in older times. 

If you prefer to photograph Yasaka Pagoda with a lesser tourist crowd and a lit-up empty street, your best bet will be after dusk—which is equally spectacular!

Travel tip: If you are lucky, you might have a chance to enter into the wooden pagoda at a fee. 

There are occasions where the pagoda is open to the public. With this, visitors can admire its interior complex as well as overlook the city view from the pagoda’s second floor. 

Address: 388, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

Visiting Hours: 10 am-4 pm (close irregularly) 

Entrance Fee: US$5 (500 yen)

How To Get To Yasaka Pagoda

Take bus number 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station to Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. Then walk for 5 minutes to reach Yasaka Pagoda.

6. Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is another stunning Instagrammable place in Kyoto to get to while you are in this city.  

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Built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, this UNESCO world heritage site has plenty of photo-taking spots within its castle compound. 

After you enter into the castle compound, you will be greeted with the large intricate-looking Karamon Gate where visitors queue up to take photos with it. 

That leads to Ninomaru Palace, a place with nicely-preserved traditional buildings with beautiful interior designs and elements that ought to leave you in awe. 

Just outside of the palace lies Ninomaru Garden where visitors can stroll around the serene Japanese garden with a central pond surrounded by trimmed pine trees. 

If you want a clearer picture of the palace from a high vantage point, make sure to head over to Honmaru Garden

Of all seasons, Nijo Castle is best visited in spring and autumn

Plenty of cherry trees are scattered around the castle grounds and the blooming season typically lasts from late March to April. 

As for autumn, your best bet to enjoy the fiery foliage of maple and ginkgo trees is in mid-November. 

Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8301, Japan

Visiting Hours: 8:45 am to 5 pm (October to June), 8 am to 6 pm (July and August), 8 am to 5 pm (September)

Entrance Fee: US$6 (620 yen)

How To Get To Nijo Castle

Take a 15-minute bus ride from Kyoto Station to Nijo Castle. The bus numbers are 9, 50, or 101.  

7. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, also known as Pure Water Temple, is one of the must-visit highlights in Kyoto especially for avid photographers. 

Founded in 780, this well-known temple attracts a large crowd of visitors to its wooden platform projecting out of its main hall where they can admire the unobstructed panoramic view of the city. 

Besides, this massive no-nail platform is also a great place to enjoy and capture the mesmerising view of the autumn foliage and cherry blossoms on the surrounding hillside. 

Kiyomizu-dera Temple also takes part in the annual Higashiyama Hanataro festival in Kyoto where the temple has special illumination at night and extended visiting hours. 

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Travel tip: Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a UNESCO world heritage site too. 

Address:1-chōme-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

Visiting Hours: 6 am-6 pm

Entrance Fee: US$4 (400 yen)

How To Get To Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Take bus number 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station to Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. It is a 15-minute bus ride. And walk for another 10 minutes to reach Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

8. Gion District

There is no doubt that the Gion district is among the top photogenic places in Kyoto. 

This historical district is home to beautifully-preserved wooden buildings filled with a nostalgic aura that transports you instantly back to pre-modern Japanese times. 

The night view of the quiet alleys in Gion is even more captivating especially when the traditional Japanese lanterns are lit after dusk. 

Gion is also where travellers have a chance to meet geisha on the road while they are walking over to ochaya (traditional teahouses) for work. 

Most visitors start to crowd Gion at about 5.45 pm just to have a glimpse of geisha. Though you are not allowed to speak or touch geisha, you can take a picture of them from afar without interrupting their journey. 

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But if you can’t seem to bump into one, fret not. You can always dress like one!

To fully immerse in the local culture, many kimono rental services are offered to visitors who aim to experience donning traditional Japanese clothing while wandering around the picturesque streets in Gion. 

Traditional wooden buildings with nostalgic elements in kimono—a great recipe for Instaworthy photos to be taken while in Kyoto. 

How To Get To Gion District

Take bus number 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station to Gion bus stop. You can reach Gion within 20 minutes. 

9. Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine is perhaps among the most visited shrines in Kyoto. 

This Shinto shrine attracts visitors from all over the world with the fascinating rows of bright orange torii gates that lead up to Mount Inari. 

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Travel tip: If you prefer not to have anyone photobomb your photos, it is best to head over to Fushimi Inari Shrine early in the morning to skip the massive crowd. 

The shrine’s main building grounds are equally impressive where you will first be greeted with a large Romon Gate that dates back to 1589. 

There are also other smaller sub-shrines and its main hall to explore and make nice photo opportunities.

Another Instagrammable spot within Fushimi Inari Shrine is the torii gates trail that is further up to the Yotsutsuji intersection

The two-way hike itself will take around 1.5 to 2 hours to complete but a worthwhile one. 

As most visitors are concentrated at the lower part of the torii gates, there will be fewer people as you advance up the trail. 

Once you reach the Yotsutsuji intersection, you can simply enjoy the view of Kyoto city while catching up on some fresh air. And of course a picture or two before leaving! 

Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

Visiting Hours: Always open

Entrance Fee: Free

How To Get To Fushimi Inari Shrine

Take a 5-minute train from Kyoto Station to JR Inari Station via JR Nara Line. 

10. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Of course you could not miss out on Arashiyama Bamboo Forest from the list of Instagrammable places in Kyoto. 

This bamboo forest exudes an enchanting atmosphere that attracts a large crowd of tourists to admire its beauty regardless of the season. 

The best time of the day to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is in the early morning or late evening when the crowd is fewer. 

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But for those who want to capture the nicer pictures of green towering bamboo groves and their surroundings, make sure to get there in the morning as there is ample natural sunlight as opposed to nightfall. 

Alternatively, you can sign up for the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest rickshaw tour for a more unique travel experience.  

And who knows, you can even get a nice Instagram photo sitting on the rickshaw with the lush green groove as the backdrop!

Address: 61 Bunkichō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 05-0028 Japan

Visiting Hours: Always open

Entrance Fee: Free

How To Get To Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Take a 15-minute train from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama by JR Sagano Line. Then walk another 10 minutes to reach the bamboo forest. 

11. Togetsukyo Bridge

Another photogenic place that you can find in Arashiyama is the Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo Bridge has a history dating back to 836. This iconic bridge was first constructed with wood before replacing it with the sturdy concrete material in 1934. 

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This Moon Crossing Bridge is particularly crowded in autumn where the visitors come to admire the mesmerising scenery of the bridge with the lush foliage mountainous backdrop

To have a clear shot of the dazzling bridge-mountain views, you can hop onto any of the rental boats for a short cruise down the river while enjoying the breeze. 

Togetsukyo Bridge also attracts a large crowd during the Arashiyama Hanatouro festival in December—which is one of the unmissable things to do in Kyoto at night

During this lively festival, the bridge is lit with dazzling LED lights that make a captivating photo-taking spot.

How To Get To Togetsukyo Bridge

Take a 15-minute train from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama by JR Sagano Line. Then walk for a few minutes to reach Togetsukyo Bridge. 

12. Arashiyama Kimono Forest

Arashiyama Kimono Forest is perhaps one of the underrated Instagrammable places in Kyoto. 

This yet another forest in Arashiyama is referring to the vibrant kimono-displayed pillars lining the entrance pathway to the Keifuku Randen Tram Station and within the station compounds. 

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With about 600 cylindrical pillars scattered around, you can expect to see at least 32 different Kyo-yuzen kimono designs

These eye-catching colours and patterns of the kimonos definitely warrant a non-stop photo-snapping activity!

And if you are still in Arashiyama at night, make sure to drop by Kimono Forest to enjoy the soothing LED illumination of the pillars that lasts from sunset until 9 pm daily.

Address: 20-2 Sagatenryūji Tsukurimichichō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8384, Japan

Visiting Hours: Always open

Entrance Fee: Free

How To Get To Arashiyama Kimono Forest

From Kyoto Station to Nijo Station (JR San-in Line) or Shijo Omiya Station to Keifuku Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Arashiyama Line). The duration is less than 15 minutes. 

13. Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

If you are looking for a lesser-known yet Instagrammable temple in Kyoto, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple is your best bet. 

This unique under-the-radar temple is home to a whopping 1200 Rakan statues, the disciples of Buddha. 

And the unusual thing about these statues is the fact that they were sculptured by visitors back in the 1950s! 

This idea was initiated by Kocho Nishimura, a former temple head who was in charge of transforming the temple. 

As a skilled sculptor, he guided the visitors on carving the statues. You can expect to see a variety of expressions of the Rakan faces decorating the hilly site of the temple ground.

Some of the interesting creations that can be found in Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple are walkman-holding statue, tongue-sticking statue, and drinking buddies statues.

Address: 2-5 Fukatani-cho, Saga-Toriimoto, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8439

Visiting Hours: 8 am-5 pm

Entrance Fee: US$3 (300 yen)

How To Get To Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Take bus number 64, 74, 84, or 94 from Nonomiya bus stop (Arashiyama) to Otagi Dera Mae bus stop.  

14. Kifune Shrine

Kifune Shrine is tucked away in the northern part of Kyoto with impressive views of natural splendour and traditional buildings waiting to be discovered. 

This underrated shrine was built to worship the deity associated with water. 

One of the Instagrammable spots found within the shrine compound is the stairway leading up to the main hall. 

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Lined with red wooden lanterns and shady trees, this tranquil spot is surely difficult to get overlooked while exploring Kifune Shrine.

Kifune Shrine is also extraordinary in a way where visitors can buy an omikuji (fortune-telling paper) for a fee. 

To see what is written, they need to soak the omikuji into the stream near the main hall for the words to appear. 

Travel tip: Fret not if you could not understand Japanese. Simply scan the QR code on the omikuji using your phone and you can read your fortune translated into English. That is just so cool!

And regardless of which season you visit, Kifune Shrine is still dashing in its own way. 

Address: 180 Kurama-kibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 601-1112, Japan

Visiting Hours: 9 am-4.30 pm

Entrance Fee: Free

How To Get To Kifune Shrine

Take bus number 33 from Kibuneguchi Station to the Kibune bus stop and walk for 5 minutes before reaching Kifune Shrine.

15. Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower is the tallest modern landmark in this highly cultural city.

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Nevertheless, this 131-metre tall tower blends well with the nearby traditional temples and shrines showing the true definition of a juxtaposition of old and new elements in a single photograph. 

If you are a big fan of admiring and capturing the pictures of the city skyline, head straight up to Kyoto Tower’s observation deck. You can even see as far as Osaka from the tower on some clear days. 

Address: 721-1 Higashishiokōjichō, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8216, Japan

Visiting Hours: 11 am-7 pm

Kyoto Tower Observation Deck Entrance Fee: US$7 (800 yen)

How To Get To Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower is within walking distance from Kyoto Station.

Top 15 Instagrammable Places In Kyoto: Conclusion

So here you go —the top 15 Instagrammable places in Kyoto that you need to visit for the exceptional Instaworthy shots!

Do you have other Instagrammable spots in Kyoto to recommend that are not mentioned in this article? Share it with me—I would really like to hear from you!

And if you are travelling to Kyoto soon, make sure to save this article for easy reference. Not to forget to share it out on your social media platforms too! 

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