The strolling story continues as we leave Kiyomizudera Temple and head to Sannenzaka and Nene no Michi.

There’s a bit of a travel paradox in Kyoto. Buses seem like the best way to get around, as there are far more bus stops close to the city’s shrines and temples than there are nearby stations on Kyoto’s rather limited rail network. Kyoto’s buses, though, can get very crowded, sometimes packed with so many tourists that there’s no room to get onboard, forcing you to keep waiting at the stop for the next bus to come by with your fingers crossed that you’ll be able to squeeze inside.

But there’s an alternative to taking the bus or the train in Kyoto: walking. It’s actually amazing how many famous tourism attractions you can get to pretty easily on foot in a single day, with some lesser-known hidden gems along the route too.

In the first part of our Kyoto no-bus walking tour guide, we strolled from Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari Shrine, and then from there up to Kiyomizudera Temple, so in this article we’re jumping back in at the third segment of our route.

● Section 3: Kiyomizudera to Nanzenji Temple

We’d started our walk at 7 a.m. and arrived at Kiyomizudera (pictured above) at 8:30. As we mentioned in the first part of this guide, we’re focusing on the walking route itself, and not heading inside the sightseeing attractions on the way, since there are so many that you’d need several days to check them all out, and each individual traveler will have their own preferences as to which to see.

Kiyomizdera is situated in the foothills of eastern Kyoto, so from the temple we walked down Sannenzaka, also known as Sanneizaka, a picturesque pedestrian stairway that feels like you’re stepping back through time with its traditional atmosphere.

▼ Walking route from Kiyomizudera to Sannenzaka

Hanging a right at the bottom of the stairs will take you to Honzan Koshoji Temple (本山興正寺).

A quick U-turn back to the intersection at the base of the Sannenzaka path, and then heading north from there, will treat you to one of the absolute best views in Kyoto as you come upon the Yasaka Pagoda (八坂の塔).

Anther short bit of backtracking will lead you into Ninenzaka. Like Sannenzaka, it’s a captivatingly quaint stone staircase.

Heading east from here will take you to Gokoku Shrine (護国神社), where the tomb of famous samurai and political reformer Sakamoto Ryoma is found.

As we continue to make our way gradually north, we reach Nene no Michi, or Nene’s Road, a lovely stone path with preserved architecture named for Nene, also known as Kodai-in, the wife of feudal era samurai lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Among the temples along Nene no Michi are Entokuin (圓徳院)…

Gesshinin (月真院)…

…and Daiunin (大雲院).

Heading east from the midpoint of Nene no Michi will get you to Otani Sobyo (大谷祖廟), a temple and mausoleum famous for its flower offerings and displays.

Return to Nene no Michi and follow it to its northern end, and you’ll reach the edge of Maruyama Park, inside which is Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社), which was founded over 1,300 years ago.

Exiting the north side of Maruyama Park will get you to Chionin Temple (知恩院)…

…which is just south of Shorenin Temple (青蓮院).

Continuing to make our way north, while scurrying down side streets into the base of the foothills, takes us to Kurita Shrine.

Next we pass though Bukkoji Temple (佛光寺本廟)…

…and on to Nejirimanbo (ねじりまんぽ), a tunnel with optical-illusion brickwork that makes it look like the passage is twisting.

North of here is the Keage Incline (蹴上インクライン), a uniquely beautiful part of Kyoto.

The Keage Incline is a decommissioned railway line that’s become a lovely walking path. Flanked by cherry blossom trees, it can get crowded in sakura season, but on the day of our visit, we practically had the whole place to ourselves.

Finally, heading east once more brings us to Nanzenji Temple (南禅寺). Nanzenji is the head temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, and its sprawling grounds contain a gigantic stone garden, numerous subtemples, and even a historical brick aqueduct.

As you can see from photos, even with all this, we’ve still got plenty of daylight left, so we’ll be back soon with Part 3 of our no-bus Kyoto walking guide!

Photos ©SoraNews24
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