If you go to Kyoto with your children, you don’t want to miss visiting famous places. For those places that you have always wanted to visit at least once in your life, you wonder if it would be fun to go with your child. For those of you who have thought something like this, a local mom will tell you the best places to go with your family, especially if you will be going with kids.
1. Fushimi Inari Taisha
Possibly the most famous place in Kyoto these days, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, famous for its Senbon Torii (thousand torii gates), is a sightseeing spot in Kyoto that you want to visit at least once. The sight of the vermilion torii gates lined up is like looking at a masterpiece! There are over 10,000 torii gates on the grounds. In Fushimi Inari Taisha, there are foxes which are said to be used by a god. There are foxes in various styles, so it is fun for children to spot them as you are walking at the shrine. If you are with an older child, we recommend climbing the mountain along with the torii gates for about 30 minutes to reach the top of Mt. Inari. It is said that there is a god at the top, so if you climb to the top you can pray for your wishes to be fulfilled! The main shrine is very crowded, but as you climb, the number of people decreases, so you can enjoy the red torii gates that seem to go on and on while also enjoying the beautiful nature.
For more information on Fushimi Inari Taisha:
Fushimi Inari Taisha – Information
- JR Nara Line – in front of Inari Station.
- Keihan Line – about a 5-minute walk from Fushimi Inari Taisha Station.
- City bus No. 5 – about a 7-minute walk from the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine stop.
Hours: Shrine is open 24 hours
Address: 68 Yabunouchi-cho Fukakusa Fushimi-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都市伏見区深草藪之内町68
2. Toji Temple
The second famous place in Kyoto that you must visit is Toji Temple. Toji Temple is a World Heritage Site and another place you don’t want to miss when you visit Kyoto. Founded in 796, Toji Temple is over 1200 years old and considered by many to be a symbol of Kyoto. Its most distinguishing feature is its five-storied pagoda and just as you are about to arrive in Kyoto by bullet train from Osaka, you can catch a glimpse of the pagoda from the right side of the train. It is conveniently located within walking distance of Kyoto Station, taking only about 15 minutes. It may take a little longer if you are walking with younger kids. It is very spacious and not usually as crowded as other famous places around Kyoto. Exceptions are when there are special events such as the night time viewing of cherry blossoms or autumn leaves. Because of the space, it is great for visiting with kids because they have some room to run around. There is also a pond which has koi swimming in it and sometimes you can see turtles. Kids are always excited to see the pond and look for the fish. Just inside the entrance to the temple grounds is a small shop where you can get various treats including vanilla or matcha flavored soft-serve ice cream. There are several benches near the shop so you can sit and enjoy your treats while surrounded by the ancient history of Toji Temple.
For more information on Toji:
Toji Temple – Information
- From Kintetsu Line Toji Station – about a 10 minute walk
- From JR Kyoto Station Hachijo Exit – about a 15 minute walk
- Bus stops: Toji Minamimon-mae, Toji Higashimon-mae, Kujo Omiya, and Toji Nishimon-mae
Address: 1 Kujo-cho Minami-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都市南区九条町１
Website: https://toji.or.jp/en/global.html (You can choose language from this page.)
3. Heian Shrine
Heian Shrine, the third famous place on our list, is just beyond a big towering torii gate. Because it is close to the center of Kyoto and the Kyoto City Zoo, it is a spot that you can enjoy with your children. As you walk onto the grounds, the first thing you will see is the white gravel and vermilion buildings. This fantastic sight is one that cannot be seen anywhere else. There is also a Handicraft Center nearby, where you can experience handmade Japanese crafts.
For more information on Heian Shrine:
Heian Shrine – Information
- From JR Kyoto Station – take city bus 5, 100 or 110 to Okazaki Koen, Bijutukan, Heian Jingu-mae, walk about 5 minutes.
- From Keihan Kawaramachi take city bus 5, 46, or 32 to the same station listed above or Okazaki Koen, Rohm Theater Kyoto, Miyako Messe-mae, walk about 5 minutes to the north.
- From Gion or Kiyomizu Temple area – take city bus 201, 203 or 206 to Higashiyama Nijo, walk about 5 minutes to the east.
- From the Tozai Line of the subway, get off at Higashiyama Station and walk about 10 minutes.
- Dec 31 to Jan 1: all night on the 31st until 8:00 pm on the 1st
- Jan 2 & 3: From 6:00 am to 7:30 pm
- Jan 4 to 6: From 6:00 am to 6:30 pm
- Feb 15 to Mar 14: From 6:00 am to 5:30 pm
- Mar 15 to Sep 30: From 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Oct 1 to Oct 31: From 6:00 am to 5:30 pm
- Nov 1 to Feb 14: From 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
Address: Nishitenno-cho Okazaki Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都市左京区岡崎西天王町
Website: http://www.heianjingu.or.jp/index.html (Japanese only)
4. Kyoto Imperial Palace Park
The next famous place I’d like to introduce is the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park. From 1331 to 1869 the emperor of Japan lived here and performed rituals and public duties from this location. Now, the Kyoto Imperial Palace and its surrounding area is a nature-rich park. In addition to being able to see inside the palace, the park has a playground where kids love to play. It is a great spot to take some lunch for a picnic. As it is within walking distance from a subway station, it is easily accessible.
More about Imperial Palace Park:
Kyoto Imperial Palace Park – Information
Address: 3 Kyotogyoen Kamigyo-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都市上京区京都御苑３
5. Kamigamo Shrine
The next famous place, Kamigamo Shrine, has the oldest history in Kyoto. It is also registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a “Cultural Property of Ancient Kyoto”. There are power spots which are fun to walk around and see with your children and rivers which cool the air around the temple grounds. Kamigamo Shrine’s specialty, “yakimochi” is a Japanese dessert that you should eat with your children.
See here for more about Kamigamo Shrine:
Kamigamo Shrine – Information
- From Kyoto Station – take city bus 4, get off at Kamigamo Shrine.
- From Kyoto Station – take city bus 9, get off at Kamigamo Misonobashi and walk about 3 minutes.
- From the Karasuma Line on the subway – about a 20-minute walk from Kitaoji Station or about a 15-minute walk from Kitayama Station.
Hours: From 5:30 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: 075-781-0011 (Japanese only)
Address: 339 Motomachi Kamigamo Kita-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都市北区上賀茂元町339
6. Shimogamo Shrine
Shimogamo Shrine, like Kamigamo Shrine, is a World Heritage Site. Shimogamo Shrine’s history dates back to 90BC and it, therefore, has long been a place of worship for the Japanese people. Many people visit this shrine, but as it is quite spacious, it doesn’t feel so crowded. There is a primeval forest full of nature where you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in the fall. There is also a flowing stream which children can enjoy playing in if the weather is warm enough.
For more about Shimogamo Shrine:
Shimogamo Shrine – Information
- Take the Karasuma Line Kitaoji Station, then take the city bus 1 or 205 to Shimogamo Shrine-mae.
- From Kyoto Station, take the city bus 4 or 205 to “Shimogamo Shrine”.
- From Hankyu Line Kawaramachi Station – about 5 minutes walking.
- From Keihan Line Gion Shijo Station – about 12 minutes walking.
Phone: 075-781-0010 (Japanese only)
Address: 59 Izumikawa-cho Shimogamo Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都市左京区下鴨泉川町59
7. Saga Arashiyama
Rounding out our list of famous places to visit with kids in Kyoto is the Saga Arashiyama area. Arashiyama is a popular tourist destination in Kyoto. Unfortunately, the area near Arashiyama Station is a little crowded with tourists recently, and it may not be very fun with children. But if you go a little further, there are spots where children and adults can enjoy the nature of Kyoto while also enjoying adventure. The Torokko train and the Hozu River descent are two things we recommend. The Trolley train is a retro-style train and runs through mountains abundant with nature. The Hozu River descent is a thrilling ride in which you go down the river on a boat. Both of these are sure to be fun for the whole family!
For more information on Saga Arashiyama:
Saga Arashiyama – Information
Sagano Torokko(Trolley) Train
- From JR Kyoto Station, take the JR Sagano Line and get off at Saga Arashiyama Station, from there it is about a 5-minute walk to Sakai Station where you can board the Torokko train.
- From Sagano Trolley Station to Kameoka Trolley Station – trains run from 9:02 am to 4:02 pm
- From Kameoka Trolley Station to Sagano Trolley Station – trains run from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Hozu River descent
- 8 minute walk from JR Kameoka Station.
- From Kameoka Station ride the Keihan Kotsu bus for about 15 minutes or a horse drawn wagon for 25 minutes.
- From Hankyu Katsura Station ride the Keihan Kotsu bus for 40 minutes.
The time changes depending on the time of year. Please see the link below for more information.
Address: 2 Shimo-nakajima Hozu-cho Kameoka-shi, Kyoto
(Japanese address) 京都府亀岡市保津町下中島２
How to enjoy famous spots in Kyoto
There are many famous spots in Kyoto that you want to visit with your children. You can see many families at these spots with their children, so I am sure it is possible to enjoy them as a family. However, if you would like to occasionally enjoy sightseeing without kids, or if you would like to go somewhere where you can’t take kids, you can use Kyoto with Kids Babysitting or Kyoto with Kids Club. By using one of these services, you can ensure that both the parents and the kids have a great time!
If you want to discover local Kyoto with your family, our Kyoto with Kids Family Tours. We hope you can make an unforgettable family memory in Kyoto!
Some pictures provided by https://photo53.com/