Kyoto sightseeing – 4 least visited places

As you’ve probably guessed from the topic, we decided to do a different take on the places you should visit on your trip to Kyoto, Japan. Kinkakuji ( The Golden Pavillion), Kiyomizudera ( Kiyomizu temple) and many such places are a must visit because they are really are beautiful. Some of these places can be covered in 2 days time. But because of them, some other equally beautiful places have been overshadowed. We don’t really blame people. In a country where you most probably don’t know the language, you’d wanna go somewhere where others have already been – so it’s easier to get more information when you research. But, for all those people who are visiting Kyoto – please don’t forget to check out the ones we’re going to talk about now.

1. The Kimono Forest :


Most of you have probably heard of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. It’s quite famous – and rightly so – and very peaceful. But, tucked away, very close to it, is the Kimono Forest. The kimono Forest does not have Kimonos. However, it has about 600 poles lined on either sides of a pathway and at some other places, and all these poles have  kimono fabric lined on the inside.  They’re quite colorful in daylight but they’re breathtaking during the night. These poles are lit up during the night and it brightens up the whole place. It’s right next to Arashiyama station, so if you are not up for walking, you could just sit on a bench in the station and view it till about 11 p.m.

Map :

Business hours :      They are lit from 15:00 – 23:00.

Entrance Fee :         None

Access     :                   Next to Arashiyama station

2. Otagi Nenbutsu-ji:

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

Image by Mungo Binkle

You probably know of the Sanjusangendo. No? Well, it’s a place filled with 1000 life-sized statues of warriors.  The Otagi Nenbutsu-ji however, has 1200 statues of Buddha’s disciples – in different poses. It’s quite sad that Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is so under-appreciated. I believe that both these places should be equally famous. The statues of Otagi Nenbutsu-ji are no samurai but they have their own charm.  Don’t skip this place on your trip to Kyoto!


Business hours :      8:00-17:00(Gate closes at 16:45)

Entrance Fee :         300 yen

Access     :                   Take Kyoto city bus and get off at Otagidera-mae Bus Stop

Parking  :                   Available (10 cars)

Website :          

3.  Saiho-ji :

moss bridge

Image by Garrett Miller

This is a Zen Buddhist temple also known as Koke-dera or moss temple. It’s famous for its moss lawn, which grew on its own accord in the Meiji-era , according to Wikipedia. Now, going to see moss doesn’t seem like an exciting prospect. So another reason to visit is that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s probably a good idea to visit during the rainy season in Kyoto, around June, because the moss is particularly beautiful. Be warned though,  you need to send an application to the temple which should reach at least 7 days before you arrive. For applications from within Japan and for international applications, you have to send a prepaid postcard to the address given below.  In the postcard, you must mention the number of people in your group and the date you prefer. However, for International applications, you can apply using international reply coupons.  All of these steps were added to reduce the amount of tourists so as to preserve it. It’s one of the most difficult places to visit but it’s a must visit place for deeply spiritual people.

Address :

Saihoji Temple
56 Jingatani-cho, Matsuo
Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 615-8286, Japan

Map :

Business hours :     You will be sent a return self-addressed prepaid postcard to your address ( hotel, apartment, guest house etc.) in Japan, which    will tell you the time when you can visit.

Entrance Fee :         3000 yen ( highest in Kyoto)

Access     :                   From Arashiyama station, take bus no. 63 or 73

Website :            –  This website can help you with your reservation. However they are in no way connected to the temple so they cannot guarantee entrance. Also, using this website may cost you extra.

4. Mount Kurama :

On top of Mount Kurama

Image by Jens Schott Knudsen

Now, this one is not exactly in Kyoto, its more to the north-west of Kyoto. Mount Kurama is the birthplace of Reiki, which is a spiritual healing practice. It is also considered the home of the king of Tengu, which are legendary folk creatures which take birdlike form. You could also visit the Kurama-dera ( Kurama temple) while visiting the mountain. In October, you can see the Kurama fire festival which is celebrated annually. This is again, a must visit for spiritual people and for people who are interested in the Tengu.


Business hours :      9:00-16:30 ( temple), 8:30 – 17:30 (cable car)

Entrance Fee :         For the temple – 200 yen, cable car – 100 yen

Access     :    30 minutes from Demachiyanagi station in Kyoto via the Eizan Railway


 Your thoughts…

Have you visited any such places in Kyoto that are not very popular among tourists? We’d love to know!


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2 Responses

  1. Natalie says:

    Do you know if these places are any good in early September?

    • Nimi says:

      It would be best to visit Mount Kurama in Autumn to get a view of the autumn foliage.
      The others are good anytime of the year I think. :)

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