Saturday, May 24, 2014

Places to visit in Kyoto (other than shrines/temples)

Recently, I've come across a post on a travel forum about someone who wants to visit Kyoto but doesn't want to visit shrines and temples. That gave me the idea of coming up with this particular blog entry.

When people visit Kyoto, most people visit the many lovely historical shrines and temples in Kyoto.
My favourite places in Kyoto are Kiyomizudera (esp in Autumn) and Fushimi Inari Shrine (got to love those red torii gates).
However, if you are not so much into temples/shrines/historical sites, or you are going with children who may not appreciate temples and shrines, then here are some other places within Kyoto which might interest you.

Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum
(re-opening as Kyoto Railway Museum on 29/4/2016)
(new website)

To get there:
Bus: Take a bus from Kyoto station to "Umekoji Koen-mae" bus stop.
Train: From Kyoto station, take a train on the JR Sagano line to Tambaguchi station (3mins, 140yen), then another 15mins walk from Tambaguchi station.
Walk: About 20mins walk from Kyoto station.

Kyoto Aquarium
This Aquarium is located somewhere between Kyoto station and Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum.

Admission fees:
2050yen (adults), 1550yen (University/Highschool students), 1000yen (Junior High/Elementary School students), 600yen (children)

To get there:
Walk: About 15mins walk from Kyoto station.

Kyoto City Zoo

Admission Fees:
600yen (adult)

To get there:
Bus: Take Bus no. 5, 32, 100 (Raku-Bus) to "Dobutsuen-mae" bus stop.
Train: From Kyoto station, take Kyoto City Subway Karasuma line to Karasuma-oike station (5mins journey), then at Karasuma-oike station, transfer to the Kyoto City Subway Tozai line and then alight at Keage station (7mins). Total fare is 260yen. From Keage station, walk about 5mins to reach the Zoo.

Kyoto Tower
For a 360 degrees panaromic view of Kyoto.

Admission fees:
770yen (adult), 620yen (high school student), 520yen (Junior High/Elementary School student), 150yen (children)

To get there:
Kyoto Tower is located opposite of Kyoto station.

Toei Uzumasa Eigamura (Kyoto Studio Park)
This is an Edo period film set as well as a themepark.

Admission Fees:
2200yen (adult), 1300yen (Junior High/High School students), 1100yen (children)

To get there:
Train: From Kyoto station, take the JR Sagano line train to Hanazono station (10mins, 200yen).
From Hanazono station, walk about 13mins to reach Kyoto Studio Park.

Udon Museum
There are not much English information about this place. But those who loves to eat Udon might want to consider visiting this museum. They do sell small portions of udons from different parts of Japan at the museum for you to try.

To get there:
(Train) From Kyoto station, take the JR Nara line local train to Tofukuji station (3mins). Alight at Tofukuji station and transfer to the Keihan Main line train to Gion-Shijo station (5mins). Total fare is 270yen.
From Gion-Shijio station, walk about 5mins to reach the Udon museum.

Arashiyama area in Kyoto is easily reachable from Kyoto station via a short 15mins train ride onboard the JR Sagano line (alight at JR SagaArashiyama station, train fare costs 240yen).
This area is a nice place to spend half a day if you are visiting Kyoto.

Monkey Park (Arashiyama area) (my blog entry)
This monkey park has a nice view overlooking Kyoto at the summit, however, it would take awhile for you to climb up the summit. Since my speed of walking was pretty slow, so it took me about 40mins to walk from the park entrance to the summit.
Wear comfortable shoes if you plan on visiting, since I won't recommend that you do the walk up in high heels.

Admission fees:
550yen (adult), 250yen (4-15years), Free (below 4yrs old)

How to go:
From Kyoto station, take the JR Sagano line train to JR SagaArashiyama station (15mins, 240yen).
From JR SagaArashiyama station, you can walk (took me about 30mins actually) to reach the entrance of the Monkey park.

Sagano Scenic Railway (Arashiyama area) (my blog entry)
This 30mins train ride is a lovely train ride with nice scenic views throughout the ride.
However, it is not available all year round since they won't operate this train during winter season (end Dec to Early March).

Train fare (1 way):
620yen (adult), 310 (children)

How to go:
You can buy the tickets and board this scenic train from the scenic train's station (Torokko Saga station) located just next to JR Saga-Arashiyama station.
To reach JR SagaArashiyama station, take the JR Sagano line train from Kyoto station to JR SagaArashiyama station (15mins, 240yen).


  1. Some great suggestions, many thanks.
    Melbourne, Australia

  2. Thanks for the review for those who's not really keen visiting shrines/temples

    Need yr suggestions...we are flying in from Haneda to Osaka, 'll be base in Kyoto for 4 days thereafter to Kaga, where else would you recommend to go since we have 10 days in Kansai?


    1. Hmm, Kansai region, there's the usual Nara (but then, u mentioned that u are not really keen on visiting shrines, so maybe Nara's out for u), or Kobe (some shopping, Kobe beef, chinatown, port area, oh and a small zoo called Kobe Animal Kingdom which we went to recently and totally enjoyed it), for Osaka there's shopping in Umeda and Shinsaibashi area, Dotonbori, Osaka castle, Aquarium, and perhaps the Nissin cup noodle museum (there's 1 at Yokohama and 1 at Osaka) if you are into it.

      South of Kyoto, there's Uji area that's supposedly famous for their green tea, and also Fushimi area with sake breweries.

      Are you planning to visit Kaga, as in Kaga onsen area in Ishikawa near Kanazawa? If you are, I strongly recommend the Yunokuni no mori handicraft village where I went a few months ago.

  3. That looks an awesome place. I'm pretty sure me and my family are going to love it. Try to check out Anvaya Cove, you'll love it too. Anyway, Thanks for sharing!