Kyoto is one of the most popular tourist spots in Japan without a doubt. Known to be a place saturated with Japanese culture, tradition and nature, many experience the best of Japan in Kyoto. It is also one of the places where couples visit together, and here are the top 20 best dating spots in Kyoto!
1. Picnic and play at the river at Kamogawa Delta
Kamogawa is a river that flows through Kyoto. It is one of the more famous rivers in Kyoto as it flows through various famous spots in the Sanjo and Yojo area. It starts out from the mountain called Sajikigadake, and one of the well-known places to visit in the Kamogawa Delta area. A small and quiet park is located at the delta area, with benches and grassy spaces around which serve as a great picnic spot. You can also spend a great time at the river, hopping across the jumping stones there.
Address: Imadegawadori, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 3 minute walk from Eizan Electric Railway Main Line, Demachiyanagi Station
2. The breathtaking scenery of Arashiyama
Arashiyama is a place that used to be a villa of aristocrats in the past, and is today a famous tourist spot in Kyoto. At Arashiyama, many visit this particular bridge called the Togetsukyo Bridge. This bridge provides one of the most amazing views of Arashiyama. Bright pink Sakura flowers can be enjoyed in spring, while the mountain transforms to shades of orange and red in autumn.
Arashiyama, Togetsukyo Bridge
Address: Saganakanoshimacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 6 minute walk from Keifuku Electric Railway Arashiyama Main Line, Arashiyama Station
3. A stroll through the Bamboo Forest
Sagano Road of Bamboo Forest was opened in 2015. Located slightly north of Nonomiya Shrine, this cooling and almost spiritual bamboo forest will allow you to enjoy one of Japan’s most iconic scenes. Opened from 9 am to 5 pm daily, this forest can be enjoyed all year round.
Sagano Road of Bamboo Forest
Address: 1-1-13, Sagatenryujitateishi-cho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 2 minute walk from Sanin Main Line Torokko, Arashiyama Station
4. The panoramic view from Shogunzuka Seiryuden
Shogunzuka Seiryuden is a temple that was opened in 2014. The temple compounds can be accessed and you can learn some of the history of Kyoto there. One of the greatest appeals of Shogunzuka Seiryuden is the fantastic panoramic view offered from the viewing point there. Not only will you get to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Kyoto, you can also see many of Kyoto’s famous spots such as the Kizomizu Dera, as well as the beautiful mountains surrounding the prefecture.
Address: 28, Zushiokukacho-cho, Yamashina Ward, Kyoto
Access: 35 minute walk from Subway Tozai Line, Keage Station
5. A spiritual time at Kiyomizu Dera
Kiyomizu Dera Temple is undeniably on of the most famous spots in Kyoto, making it to the itinerary of many tourists. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple is named after a waterfall with a history of over 1,200 years. A total of 3 waterfalls are found within the Kiyomizu Dera Temple, each thought to provide spiritual powers for “studies”, “love” and “health” when you drink the water from them.
Address: 294, 1-Chome Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Access: 30 minute bus ride from Kyoto Station to Shimizumichi Bus Stop, followed by a 10 minute walk
6. Meet the God of Love at Jishu Shrine
Kyoto is known to have a lot of temples and shrines, but one of the most famous shrines for Love Luck is Jishu Shrine. In front of the main shrine compound, there are 2 rocks placed about 10 meters (33 feet) apart, called the “Koiuranai no Ishi” which means the stones of love. It is said that if you are able to walk from one stone to another with eyes closed, you will have good love luck.
Address: 317, 1-Chome Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Access: 30 minute bus ride from Kyoto Station to Shimizumichi Bus Stop, followed by a 10 minute walk
7. The path to Kiyomizu temple to Kizomizu slope
Kiyommizu Zaka (slope) is not only a road that connects to the famous Kiyomizu Dera (temple) introduced earlier, but is also one that serves as the “main street” for tourism in Kyoto. There are many shops that line the street where you can purchase souvenirs and great local food, be it traditional dishes or sweets. The old, quaint atmosphere of the street makes you feel like you’ve jumped through time into the past! Read more about the interesting facts about Kiyomizu temple in here
Address: 2-Chome Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Access: 20 minute bus ride from Kyoto Station to Karasuma Nanajo Bus Stop
8. A cathartic time at Kyoto Kaleidoscope Museum
Kaleidoscopes are mysterious and sometimes extremely cathartic to look at. They were invented in 1816 and introduced to Japan in 1819, spreading through the country as people got allured by them. Various kaleidoscopes from different eras can be enjoyed at the Kyoto Kaleidoscope Museum. Not only that, there are also courses available to make your very own kaleidoscope.
Kyoto Kaleidoscope Museum
Address: 706-3 Dongeinmaecho Ayakoji, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 5 minute walk from Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line, Karasuma Oike Station
9. Experience Kyoto via Shirakawa River
Just like Kamogawa River, Shirakawa River is another that flows through the prefecture and many people begin their stroll from Heian Shrine. It then connects to the Sanjo area where various popular tourist spots are located. It is especially recommended to take a stroll along the river in spring as the Sakura flowers will bloom, creating an amazing scenery along the river. Great sunsets can also be viewed here too.
Shirakawa River (start from Heian Shrine)
Address: Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 15 minute walk from Keihan Oto Line, Jingu-Marutamachi Station
10. Walk along the Path of Love at Kifune Shrine
There are over 100 power spots in Kyoto known to provide good love luck, and Kifune Shrine is also one of the more popular ones. Here, people pay respect to the God of Water Takaokaminokami. The staircase that leads up to the main shrine compound is named “Koi no Michi” which literally translates to “Path of Love”. The climb will take about 30 minutes but is definitely worth it!
Address: 180 Kuramakibunecho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 5 minute drive from Eizan Electric Railway Kurama Line, Kibuneguchi Station
11. Café hopping along Tetsugaku no Michi
Tetsugaku no Michi literally translates to “Road of Wisdom”. It is named as such as a tribute to Nishida Kitarou – a renowned philosopher from Kyoto University who used to frequent this path. The path begins from Kumanyakuouji Shrine to Ginkakuji Shrine along a river. You can take a relaxing stroll along the road, enjoying the scenery and various nature that can be enjoyed. In summer, fireflies can be seen at the river too! Various cafes are located along the path that will serve as fantastic resting spots. One of the recommended cafés is Yojiya Café, where the Macha Cappuccino is extremely popular.
Address: Shishigatani Honenin Nishimachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 20 minute walk from Subway Tozai Line, Keage Station
12. Pay tribute to the God of your Zodiac at Shimogamo Shrine
Shimogamo Shrine was built in Kyoto in the year 794 and is one with a very long history. Here, apart from the main shrine compound, a total of 31 buildings are registered as Important Cultural Property of Japan. You can pay respect to the 12 Zodiac Gods at this shrine. Within the shrine compound, a quiet stream is located called the Mitarasi no Yashiro, which is thought to have spiritual powers to chase away bad luck.
Address: 59, Shimogamo Izumigawacho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 20 minute walk from Eizan Electric Railway Main Line, Mototanaka Station
13. Enjoy art work at the Garden of Fine Arts
The Garden of Fine Arts is an interesting museum which integrates the concept of walking through a garden and enjoying art pieces together. Various famous art work such as “The Last Judgement” by Michelangelo can be viewed there. Appreciating art in the Garden of Fine Arts is like no other. For example, “The Last Judgement” is placed at the end of a downward slope, and as one walks down the slope, the art work gradually appears bigger and thus creates a more dramatic and unique experience. While the Garden of Fine Arts might not show the cultural or natural side of Kyoto, this is definitely a place worth visiting for couples who love art!
Garden of Fine Arts
Address Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 1 minute walk from Subway Karasuma Line, Kitayama Station
14. Appreciate the beauty of nature at Kyoto Botanical Garden
Kyoto Botanical Garden is conveniently located just 5 minutes from Kitayama Station of the Subway Karasuma Line. With over 90 years of history, it is a place loved by tourists and locals alike. Kyoto Botanical Garden can be enjoyed all year long and various seasonal flowers are on display such as Sakura in spring.
Kyoto Botanical Garden
Address: Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 5 minute walk from Subway Karasuma Line, Kitayama Station
15. A must visit street in Kyoto - Sanjo Dori
Sanjo Dori is one of the most popular streets in Kyoto. This shopping street has been a famous one since the Meiji Era (1868 to 1912) and is today a street filled with both traditional and modern culture. Historical buildings are found along the street such as the former compound of the Bank of Japan Kyoto Branch, which is today one of the buildings for the Museum of Kyoto. Apart from that, you can also visit the oldest clock shop in Sanjo Street which was opened in 1890. Cafès and clothes shops can be enjoyed here as well, allowing you to experience both the old and new Kyoto!
Address: Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 3 minute walk from Keihan Oto Line, Sanjo Station
16. The street lit up by lanterns - Pontocho
Pontocho is one of the best places to visit after sunset. This street is where many Maikos and Geikos belong to, and you will be able to watch the traditional Japanese performances at the theaters there. Also, various stores line the street where great local food is served. Lit by lanterns, this is definitely one of the must-visit places for a great dinner and traditional Japanese performances.
Address: 192, Shimokorikicho, Nakagyo, Kyoto
Access: 3 minute walk from Hankyu Ktoyo Line, Kawaramachi Station
17. Enjoy the deep blue sea in Kyoto Aquarium
Kyoto Aquarium was opened in 2012 and is the biggest inland aquarium in Japan. Over 250 species of marine life are exhibited at the Kyoto Aquarium such as penguins, dolphins and seals. There are various shows that can be enjoyed at Kyoto Aquarium too. One of the highlights of Kyoto Aquarium is the African Penguin exhibit, located near the entrance, where you can watch the cute birds swimming above you!
Address: 35−1, Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 6 minute bus ride from Kyoto Station to Shichijoomiya Kyotosuizokukanzen Bus Stop, followed by a 6 minute walk
18. A fun time at Kyoto City Zoo!
Kyoto City Zoo was renewed in 2015 and is a popular spot amongst families and couples. One of the appeals of Kyoto City Zoo is the close proximity you can enjoy with the animals. Many of the animals that one would usually see far away such as lions and tigers can be seen up close with just the glass panel in between.
Kyoto City Zoo
Address: Okazaki Hoshojicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 7 minute walk from Subway Tozai Line, Keage Station
19. Visit the new Heisei Exhibit at Kyoto National Museum
There are two buildings in Kyoto National Museum - the Meiji Koto-kan and Heisei Chisiki-Kan. The former is the main building while the latter was opened in 2014. Here, various art work and historical artefacts of Kyoto can be appreciated. There are also cafès and restaurants in the museum where fantastic lunch and dinner can be enjoyed!
Kyoto National Museum
Address: 527, Chayacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Access: 6 minute walk from Keihan Main Line, Shichijo Station
20. Appreciate the beauty of art and nature at Garden Museum Hiei
Garden Museum Hiei is located at the top of Mount Hiei, which can be accessed via a ropeway from Hiei Station. This garden is an interesting one that replicates various famous artwork, such as “Sunflowers” by Van Gogh and “Water Lilies” by Monet. The unique atmosphere in Garden Museum Hiei allows one to appreciate the beauty of art – in real life!
Garden Museum Hiei
Address: 4 Shugakuin Shakuragatanishi Megadake, Sakyo ward, Kyoto
Access: 5 minutes ropeway from Hiei Station
Open hours: Summer term: 10 am - 5 pm / Special summer term (weekends from 22nd July to 27th August) 10 am - 8 pm
Map: Garden Museum Hiei
So many to choose from!
From modern culture and fantastic museums, to great nature and tradition, all of Japan can be enjoyed in Kyoto. Plan your trip well to enjoy the best vacation together with your date!
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