Maruyama koen park
Fushimi inari This shrine needs no introduction. Fushimi Inari is an obvious choice among tourists, and has become famous for the hundreds upon hundreds of Torii gates that carve a path along the mountain. What truly stands out in this shrine is this hiking trail, which boasts some of Kyoto’s most scenic spots. This includes a fantastic view at the top! How such a beautiful and popular attraction still remains completely free is beyond me.
Arashiyama It’s not hard to see why Arashiyama has been given the title 'nationally designated place of scenic beauty'. Many flock to the famous bamboo groves (no admission fee!) all year round, but Arashiyama becomes especially popular when the autumn colours are at its peak. Arashiyama is best covered as a day trip, as there is a lot to see and explore, including the surrounding craft shops, food, the beautiful river banks and even a monkey park (which has an admission fee of 550 yen). This green hotspot in western Kyoto is a definite must-see.
Tadasu no mori
This is a natural forest surrounding the Shimogamo shrine that is now preserved as a national historic site. Tadasu no mori is a hidden gem that is actually one of the many UNESCO world heritage sites within Kyoto, and yet draws little to no attention. It is deeply connected to the Shinto religion and is said to have never burned down. Untouched and quaint, this is, in my opinion, the perfect spot for nature lovers travelling to Kyoto.