Spontaneously Spiritual – Things to do & Temples to see in Kyoto

Get a Quote

Spontaneously Spiritual – Things to do & Temples to see in Kyoto

Things to do in Kyoto Japan

At one time the capital of Japan, Kyoto sits on the island of Honshu and is surrounded on three sides by majestic mountains. A place where the seasons are infinitely definable and where various blossoms dominate the landscape in predictable succession, year in and year out, there are so many things to do in Kyoto, particularly if you want to experience the Japanese lifestyle.

A Spiritual Place

Kyoto is home to countless Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, each with its own particular personality but all with the same respectful mood that inspires contemplation among all who visit them. For some visitors, the emphasis is on worship and paying respects. However for others, it’s about the stunning gardens or the impressive architecture.

Buddhist Temples

Characterised by a ‘sanmon’ gate where you may show your respect by saying a little prayer before entering, temples are places for the storage and display of sacred objects for Buddhists. Travellers often erroneously think that they are like churches where a congregation goes to worship. Buddhists do pray at their temples, usually in front of or close to the sacred objects, but it is not the main reason for being.

Shinto Shrines

Characterised by a ‘torii’ entrance gate, there is a purification fountain where visitors take one of the provided ladles, scoop up some fresh water and rinse their hands with it. The water is not for drinking. If you intend on saying prayers, then you would do this at the altar where you would firstly place a coin in the offertory box, bow deeply twice, clap your hands together two times, bow again once more and then continue to pray for a short time. You may even ring the gong once if there is one nearby.

Protocol to observe at Kyoto’s temples

Kyoto Temples

There are certain things you must not do when visiting the temples in Kyoto, or anywhere else in Japan for that matter. There are also things you should do, in order to demonstrate your respect:

Must-see Kyoto temples

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Depending on your tastes and spiritual inclinations, there are different temples for different people:

Must-see Kyoto shrines

Kyoto Shrines

From Japan’s most historically important to a rock to which visitors attach their relationship wishes, Kyoto shrines vary dramatically. Here are three.

Book in Advance so you don’t miss out

Kyoto City

Like most other tourist destinations, you can book ahead for many things to do in Kyoto and even pay online. Equipped with good travel insurance*, you needn’t be concerned if your plans are cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances as your expenses will usually be covered. Be sure to check your policy’s PDS before making any concrete plans.

Today we have just scratched the surface of the countless Kyoto temples and shrines you could visit, in the hopes of inspiring you to further explore what to see and do while you’re there. Whether you are religious or not, it can never hurt to say a quiet prayer of thanks and you’ll almost surely feel compelled to do so in the majestic surroundings you’ll visit.

Reference sites: