My top 5 favourite Temples/Shrines in Kyoto

It’s no secret that Kyoto is the centre of Japanese culture. The city was once the capital of Japan, and it’s architecture clearly reflects this. With literally hundreds of Shrines and temples at every other street, it can get difficult to pick and choose which ones to go to, especially with a tight schedule. So here are my personal favourites, to help you plan your trip!

Fushimi Inari
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I've spent a good amount of time rambling on to my family about how much I loved Fushimi Inari. The shrine is an obvious choice among tourists, and for good reason; it's really gorgeous. Yes, this place is insanely crowded, but trust me, it’s worth it.
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For this shrine, the most important thing is to move past the main shrine area quickly (after buying a cute fox charm, of course!) and start the hiking trail, which boasts some of Kyoto’s most scenic spots. This includes a fantastic view at the top!

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Ryoanji is one of Kyoto’s many UNESCO world heritage sites and is easily one of the most beautiful temples I visited during my trip. It’s most famous for its zen rock garden that has a total of 15 rocks, but only 14 can be seen at any given time.
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The part that I enjoyed most though was walking through the magnificent temple gardens (The picture above remains as my laptop wallpaper). This place is definitely worth visiting, especially during autumn as the temple grounds are covered in maple trees.

Kurama dera
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Situated at Mt Kurama at the north of Kyoto city, this mountain temple seems to be ignored by tourists (especially international tourists). There are lots of little shrines along the way to the main temple and the whole area is incredibly mystical.
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It’s a natural, forested area that requires a lot of walking, but even so, this place has a sort of magical charm to it, almost like you’re stepping into the world of spirited away.

Kifune shrine
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At the other end of the kurama hiking trail is Kifune shrine, a pretty shrine with a wonderful view of the river flowing beside it. The atmosphere of the shine is so peaceful and calming.
Like kurama dera there were no crowds at all and the surrounding town is quaint and very beautiful. I really recommend setting aside a day for kuramadera and Kifune shrine, which can be covered together.

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Last but definitely not the least we have probably the most famous temple in Kyoto- Kinkaku-ji. As one of Kyoto's many UNESCO world heritage sites, Kinkaku-ji truly lives up to its reputation as a sight to behold.
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Although the temple is rather crowded, the path designated leads to some really beautiful viewpoints, as well as cute coin tosses. This is also the place to get English fortunes!

Kyoto is probably one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. If you love Japanese traditional culture, this is the place to go and I hope this list helps you figure out which temples and shrines you may want to visit! 

Asha Mehta