2-Day Kyoto Itinerary for Beginners – Univers Japan Shop

In this article, we will introduce a perfect 2-day Kyoto itinerary that is especially recommended for beginners. This itinerary suggests how to best enjoy the city of Kyoto in 2 days with the best highlights such as temples, shrines and other must-see places in this beautiful old town.

Day 1: Explore the east side of Kyoto

10 a.m. Fushimi Inari Shrine

Let’s start your trip to Kyoto from the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, where you can see thousands of red torii gates. It is one of the most photogenic places in Kyoto.
As it is a popular tourist spot, it is also recommended to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine early in the morning.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is located on Mount Inari, and the mountain itself is considered a shrine compound. You can enjoy a pilgrimage as you walk up the 233-meter mountain. It takes about 2 hours to reach the top.

11:30 a.m. Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Kyoto

The next stop is Kiyomizudera (or Kiyomizu Temple), one of the most famous temples and tourist sites in Kyoto. Near the temple, there are areas called Sannen Zaka and Ninen Zaka that have a traditional feel with well-preserved buildings. We recommend stopping by and having udon noodles for lunch!
Recommended Private Guided Tour to Kiyomizudera Temple and More

13:00 Yasaka Shrine Area

yasaka kyoto

Around Yasaka Shrine there is a very beautiful area and there are several notable sites such as Ishibei Koji Street, Yasaka Tower and Kodaiji Temple. This area is less crowded than Kiyomizu Temple, so you can feel the calm and friendly atmosphere of traditional Kyoto.

15:00 Ginkakuji Temple and Philosopher’s Path


And if you visit the Ginkakuji temple? It is a sophisticated temple with a Zen atmosphere. And the gardens are beautiful too! After Ginkakuji Temple, you can take a relaxing walk along Tetsugaku no michi (Philosopher’s Path). You will find hidden sanctuaries, small cafes and restaurants along the way.

17:00 Explore the Gion area

Gion Kyoto

The Gion area is a well-known place for Maiko and Geiko (or Geisha) because there are many Ozashiki where do they play! If you are very lucky, you can see Maiko walking through the streets of Gion.
If you want to be sure to see them, watch their performance at Le coin de Gion or book the tour.
?? Recommended Walking Tour in Nishiki Street and Gion Area

19:00 Dinner at the Pontocho Alley

Kyoto has its own unique food culture and there are exclusive dishes like Yuba, Kaiseki, Hamo, etc. If you already travel to Tokyo, you must try the local cuisine to see the difference between Tokyo and Kyoto dishes. In the Pontocho neighborhood there are many restaurants and bars with a pleasant atmosphere where you can enjoy the evening.

We also recommend taking a pub crawl led by local experts! You can explore and skip various restaurants and bars where the locals often hang out. You may not find these places without local guides as they are usually not listed in guidebooks. Check out the link below for more information on the tour!
Recommended food and drink tour in Pontocho

Day 2: Explore the west side of Kyoto


Kinkakuji Temple is another of Kyoto’s most famous landmarks, also known as the Golden Pavilion. When you investigate Kyoto, you have probably seen a picture of this magnificent temple! Although the place is usually very crowded, it is definitely worth going and seeing it with your own eyes. On a snowy or fallen leaf day, it could be even busier.

10 a.m. Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji is very famous for its 15th century Zen garden. There are 15 rocks in the garden, but there are only 14 anywhere. It is said to indicate that nothing is perfect.

13:00 Togetsukyo Bridge

Next, let’s move on to the Arashiyama area. There is a very famous bridge called Togetsukyo Bridge. It is one of the most picturesque places in Kyoto. The view from the bridge over the Oigawa River is very beautiful!

Tip: on the other side of the bridge, there is a monkey park. You could see over 100 monkeys!
Recommended Food and Drink Tour in Arashiyama Area

2:00 p.m. Tenryuji Garden

In Tenryuji Garden, there is another beautiful Zen garden. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto and Japan’s first significant national property. You can even do meditation while looking at the beautiful garden!

15:00 Bamboo


Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is also a very famous place in Kyoto. Have you seen the photos with the bamboo? There are thousands of bamboo trees and you can feel the nice and fresh air inside the bamboo forest.

This is our suggested 2-day Kyoto itinerary, covering most of the highlights. But of course there is much more to see and do in Kyoto. You can easily spend a whole week alone in this city! But chances are you won’t have that much time to spend in Kyoto. Having a local guide on this route would make your days more enjoyable and make the most of your trip to Kyoto! We have expert local guides to make your trip better. If you are interested in our tour, please refer to the following link.
??Total Kyoto Experience: Private 10-Hour Walking Tour

Is it difficult to come to Japan right now?
You can join our home tour and learn more about Kyoto before you come to Japan! Explore 5 locations including Kinkakuji, Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, and more. while the local guide tells you the small history of the region.
Kyoto Highlights Virtual Tour

Recommended stays in Kyoto

high class hotel


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We wish you a wonderful stay in Kyoto!

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