On our last day in Kyoto, we had about 3 hours to spend between checking out the hotel and the shinkansen travel time. We had 6 days in Kyoto, and had done what we were planning to do, so we decided to look around sites around Kyoto station.
Attractions around Kyoto station.
We stayed at RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto, which is 10 mins walk away from Kyoto station. There is a free shuttle bus service every 15 mins from and to Kyoto station, and they could mind our suitcases after check out, so we left our suitcases and bags at the hotel and went for sightseeing without unnecessary baggage.
We went to Nishi-Honganji Temple, Higashi-Honganji Temple and Shosei-en garden. We had already visited Sanjusangendo temple and Toji temple during our stay in Kyoto, but if you haven’t been they are really special places to visit and close to Kyoto station as well.
What’s around Kyoto station.
Nishi-Honganji and Higashi-Honganji are the Shin Buddhism, or True Pure Land Buddhism’s head temples. They are not as popular to see for sightseeing purposes, but the buildings are historic and spectacular.
This religiously and historically must see temple is a part of the world heritage site of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” along with Kiyomizu-dera temple, golden temple and others.
We could go into the founder’s hall without any fee. It was built in 1636, and it is an impressive wooden building. I want something like that wide wooden smooth bridge with a big balcony at my house.
Although it might be more enjoyable to visit their garden than the actual temple, Goei-do hall is an impressive building with outstanding architecture, the world largest wooden building by area of 76 meters x 58 meters.
This not well known but it is a very pretty Japanese garden and a part of Higashi Honganji temple. It is a good size to walk around without getting tired or feeling it’s too much, but it has all you want to see in Japanese style garden such as a bridge, a pond, a little tea house and well looked after trees. You can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring and red coloured autumn leaves here as well.
We watched a duck trying to dive into the pond putting his tail up continuously was the cutest thing I’ve seen during my stay in Kyoto.
You need to pay to go in, 500 yen per adult, and you can have a nice photo book of the garden included with the entry.
Famous temples around Kyoto station.
There are popular temples for sightseeing very close to Kyoto station as well. You could walk, or there are trains going to each temple. You can visit one for about 1 hour and 30 mins to go there and back to Kyoto station.
Sanjusangendo is my favourite temple in Kyoto, or probably anywhere in Japan. It’s very different from other temples, there are 1001 buddhas on one side of 120-meter hall, it is not crowded, so you can appreciate the atmosphere, and the hall itself tells a story.
All the Buddhas are handcrafted by several buddhas craftsmen and every single Buddha has a different facial expression, clothes and shape. They say there is always a Buddha looks similar to who you want to meet in 1000.
What makes Toji temple special is unique and historic buddhas next to each other in old halls and also a five-level pagoda. The Buddhas are very big and powerful.
When we went there in early March, there was a plum flower in bloom. Walking around the garden is peaceful too.