Photogenic Spots in Kyoto

May 17, 2019

By Hanami Yanagi, Saya Ishida, Tomoka Yamazaki

Recently in Japan, photogenic spots are getting a great deal of attention. Such spots are increasing dramatically. There are many attractive places in Kyoto. Therefore, we would like to introduce a few specially selected locations in Kyoto that are very good for taking photographs. Not only Japanese, but foreign tourists can come to these spots. Tourists enjoy visiting these locations, taking lots of photographs and then upload their favorite images to SNS. We chose three spots to recommend and introduce them here.

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine

Access: 7 minutes’ walk to the east of the Inari Taisha-mae bus stop on the Minami 5 line

Right next to Inari Station on the JR Nara Line (2 stations/5 minutes from Kyoto Station) 5 minutes’ walk to the east of Fushimi-Inari Station on the Keihan Main Line

Business hours: Always open

Closed: No closing days

Admission fee: Free

Also known as “O-inari-san”, the Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine is very famous in Kyoto. In the 1300 years since its establishment, people have gathered here to pray for good harvests, ecomnomic prosperity, the safety of their home and the health of their family. They may pray for many other things as well, such as finding a good partner, safe travels and good scores on examinations. And Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine has recently become famous as a photogenic spot.  There is “Senbon-Torii” in the shrine, or a thousand toriii gates, They are painted bright vermilion.


They are placed next to each other and so form tunnels up the mountain. In the winter, snow accumulate on them, and you can take beautiful pictures that are different from the usual.  Many people enjoy taking pictures there every day, but if you want to take especially good pictures there, we recommend you to go to the shrine in the early morning.

Senbon-Torii in winter


Access: Near to the Kyoto City 5 Bus Stop ‘Nanzenji-Eikando-michi Station’ stop.

Near to Keage Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Continue on foot about 10 minutes to reach Nanzen-ji.

Business hours: 8:40~17:00 (until 16:30 from December to February)

Closed: December 28 to 31

Admission fee: Sanmon Gate and Hojo is 500 yen, Nanzenin is 300 yen, Tenju-an and Konchi-in are 400 yen each.

Nanzen-ji is one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan. Emperor Kameyama loved this beautiful place so much that in 1264 he built his detached palace here. The temple is especially beautiful in the autumn because of the many yellow and red maples trees on its grounds.


We especially recommend “suirokaku”. Suirokaku is near Nanzen-ji. It is an aqueduct that was used to carry water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto in the Meiji-era. During this age Japan was rapidly modernizing and taking in a lot of Western culture. It is said that its design is based on the ancient aqueducts of the Roman age. It is very wonderful scenery and a photogenic spot. Therefore, there are always many people there taking photos, especially in recent years.


Shouju-in Temple

Access: Near to the ‘Okuyamada station’ stop

Business hours: 9:00~16:00(November 16 to March)8:00~17:00(April to November 15)

Closed: December 26 to January 4

Admission fee:400 yen

The Shoujuin temple was founded in 1291, about 800 years ago. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and fresh green. This temple treats visitor very kindly. Therefore, you can make special memories here.  The most recommend spot within the Shouju-in temple grounds is the window called ‘Inome-mado’.


It is a heart-shaped window because it is based on the shape of a boar’s eye. Boar is an animal regarded for its ability to expel evil and avert fire hazards. Moreover, it brings happiness. Of course, you can enjoy seeing it. However, we want you to see the heart-shaped pool of light. You can see it between 3:00 to 4:00 pm. You must take a picture it. There are many more beautiful things here. For example, the roof has a beautiful picture. You can feel the artistry of Japan traditions at this temple.

“Photogenic” is buzzword and popular all over the world nowadays.  Kyoto is famous area for photogenic spots.  In fact, there are a lot of spots in Kyoto that we haven’t introduced here.  We want you to go photogenic spots in Kyoto and take good pictures!

New Tourist Spot: Shouju-in

by Natsumi Endo and Momoyo Matsuoka

Shouju-in is a temple that is located in Uji-tawara, which is famous for green tea in Kyoto. The place is cooler than Kyoto city because it is at a higher altitude.

Shouju-in’s origin is not clear. Shouju-in was built in Kamakura era (1185-1113). In addition, the principal image in the temple is the Eleven-Headed Kannon. This is a secret statue, so we can see it only once every 50 years. The Eleven-Headed Kannon was made in Muromatchi era (1336-1573), and it escaped burning down from two times of fire in SenGoku era (1476-1603) and Edo era (1603-1867).

Shouju-in has become a famous photo spot among young tourists, because there are many places to take beautiful photos to post on Instagram. One of them is the “Inome-Window” and it is probably the most popular photo spot within the temple. “Inome” is one of the old traditional designs in Japan. “Inome” means heart-shaped in English, and the kanji, or Chinese character, for it is 「猪目」(eyes of a wild boar). Old Japanese thought this heart shape looked like the eyes of a wild boar, so it was named like that. The shape is said to prevent trouble and bring good luck. Through this of heart-shaped window, we can see seasonal views of cherry blossoms in spring, rich green trees in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and a snow scene in winter. You can take nice photos whenever you visit there. In the same room as the Inome-window, 160 paintings of flower and scenes of Japan are painted on the ceiling. The picture designs are of Japanese traditional flowers, Japanese traditional patterns, and maiko. They are really colorful and will make you warm inside.

Not only that, there are some events. While viewing nature, you can experience yoga, sutra copying, and making a Buddhist rosary. If you are interesting in it, I recommend you to make reservation with them at first. You can forget daily life while feeling rich nature.

One of the seasonal events is the display of some 2,000 wind chimes that give a warm welcome to people who visit Shouju-in from July to September. There are various types, colors, and tones of wind-chimes. In back of the wind-chimes is bamboo, so you can enjoy a mixture tones of bamboo and wind-chimes. In this season, you can design your own wind-chime.

In Shoujuin, you can experience not only rich nature but also Japanese culture. In addition, you can enjoy Japanese seasonal things there. Shoujuin is the place you can relax anytime you visit.


Open hour: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission fee: 400 yen (including tea fee)
Address: 149, Kawakami, Okuyamada, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-3601

Also, there are a lot of fascinating things: history of green tea, shrine, nature and important cultural property.

Nagatanisouenseika (Uji-tawara Green Tea)

Uji-tawara town is famous for green tea because the birthplace of the green tea is in Uji-tawara town. In 1738, a man who was called Nagatani Soen found out how to make beautiful green tea. Until he discovered it, Japanese drank tea that looked black, not green. It means he led a big change in tea industry in Japan.

If people go to his house: Nagatanisouenseika, they can know more deeply about green tea history.


Period: fixed days off (people can enter the house only weekend and holiday)
Open hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission fee: 100 yen
Address: Yuyadani, Ujitawatachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-6638

How to get: From Kyoto station, get on JR Nara Line; for Nara, to Uji station. After that, get on Keihan bus; for Kougyodanchi, to Kougyodanchi. From the bus stop, it takes about 30 minutes on foot.

Sarumaru shrine

Enshrined deity of Sarumaru shrine is Sarumaru Daifu. He was a famous tanka poet in the Heian era (794-1185). There are cute ema, a votive tablet used as an offering at a shrine. If people pay 500 yen for ema, they can draw a monkey’s face freely.


Open hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission fee: free.
Address: 44, Makitani, Zenjyoji, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-3782

Zenjo-ji Temple

Zenjo-ji Temple was built by Shonin Heiso in 991. People can be relaxed when viewing a Japanese garden.

When people enter the Zenjo-ji, beautiful Japanese garden and the main building of a temple with a thatched roof that jump into their eyes. Then, people can see dots on the thatched roof. The dots are shell of abalone for driving off bad luck and repelling bard. Also, there is disaster prevention wall at back of main building. There is big wall painting: “Great Nirvana” printed on the wall. Great Nirvana was painted in memory of the Zenjo-ji in commemoration of its 1,000th anniversary. In addition, in this temple’s storehouse, there are the Buddha which was made in Heian (794-1185). These Buddha are important cultural properties.


Open hour: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission fee: 500 yen

Address: 100, Zenjyoji, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto

TEL: 077-488-4450