Kinkakuji Hi,I’m Keiko from Osaka!

Kyoto’s winter offers dignifying and quaint atmosphere to visitors, compared to gleams of Spring or Autumn.

The air is crisp and clean, and you see the locals being excited for the festivities of the winter.

I’d like to introduce you 5 wonderful ways to beat the chills and enjoy the magical season of winter in Kyoto!

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Local tells 5 Things to Do in Kyoto in Winter!Enjoy the magical season !

1.Enjoy Hot Natural Spring

Onsen After walking around all day in cold weather, dipping in nice hot spring, or onsen, would be the classic Japanese experience as well as a great treat for your tired body.

In particular, rotenburo in winter is an absolute must try! Rotenburo is an onsen that is situated outside.

Soaking in mineral-packed hot spring water in cold air is an experience beyond any word can describe.

Though Kyoto is not known to be a major onsen destination in Japan, there are a few great areas that offer onsen within the convenience of the city.

One such place is Kurama Onsen, which is located in the quaint mountain located only one hour away from the middle of Kyoto

Kurama Onsen offers both inside and outside hot spring baths.

Another option would be Arashiyama area.

Tenzan-no-yu Onsen, for example, offers a spa-resort like facility where you can spend a whole day, with many themed baths, sauna, restaurant, etc.

1.Kurama Onsen
Address:520 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Location:12 minutes walk from Eizan Dentetsu train Kurama station
Phone: 075-741-2131
Opening hours:Everyday:10:00〜21:00 (the open-air bath closes at 20:00 during winter)
Meal orders: 11:00〜20:00 (subject to change depending on availability of supplies)
Fee:Day trip course Adults:2,500 yen,Child(4-12 years) :1,600 yen
Others:Free Shuttle Bus is available.You must reserve in advance.
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2.Tenzan-no-yu Onsen
Address:55−4−7 Miyanomoto-cho, Sagano, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Location:5 minutes walk from Keifuku dentetsru(Randen)Arisugawa station
Phone: 075-882-4126
Opening hours:Everyday:10:00〜1:00a.m.(final acceptance at midnight)
Fee:Adults:1,050 yen,Child(4-elementary school students):500 yen
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2.Hanatoro — Festival of Lights and Flowers in Arashiyama

hanatouro Arashiyama Arashiyama Hanatoro is an annual celebration of lights and flowers, where 2,500 lanterns illuminate the scenic streets of Sagano and Arashiyama.

Togetsukyo wooden bridge, which is a central landmark in Arashiyama, as well as paths around the famous bamboo grove are romantically illuminated to welcome visitors.

Temples in the surrounding areas, such as Tenryuji temple and Jojakkouji temple, will also be lit up and open to the public at night.

There are also beautifully arranged flowers along the paths.

You can take the JR Train Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station, or take Hankyu Line to Arashiyama Station to get to the area and start following the lantern-lit path.

Arashiyama Hanatouro in 2017
Location:10 minutes walk from Hankyu Arashiyama station
Phone:075-212-8173(Weekday 10:00〜18:00)
Dates‎: ‎From 8th December to 17th December,2017
Illumination hours during Hanatouro period:17:00〜20:30
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3.Night Illuminations in Kyoto Station Building

Kyoto station One of the most popular illumination spots in Kyoto exists right in the middle of Kyoto, at Kyoto Station Building.

In the winter season between November to February, approximately 15,000 LED will light up various places in Kyoto Station Building.

The most popular site of all would be the “graphical illumination” of the grand staircase, which portrays various seasonal images.

During the Christmas season, a 22m-tree will appear as a centerpiece of the station. Illuminations can be viewed picturesquely from the Skyway (11th floor).

From the top of the grand staircase or Skyway, you can see the Christmas tree as well as the illuminated Kyoto Tower, which stands next to the Station Building, pictures of which are truly magical.

Best part of all is that this is absolutely free!

Kyoto Station Building
Address:901 Higashishiokoji-cho, Karasuma-dori, Shiokoji sagaru, Shimogyo-ku,Kyoto
Location:1 minute walk from JR Kyoto station
Phone:Kyoto Station Building Information:075-361-4401
Dates‎: ‎From early November to 25th December,2017
Illumination hours:17:00~22:30
Admission fee:Free
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Next,let’s enjoy plum viewing in Kyoto!

If you’re looking for unique activities and experiences in Kyoto,you can find them here:

4.Plum Blossom Viewing

jyonangu In Japan, Hanami (flower viewing) is strongly associated with cherry blossoms in mid-spring.

However, it is believed that hanami tradition in Japan started by admiring plum blossoms.

Plum blossoms continue to be important to the Japanese, signifying the first sign of Spring, as plum trees blossom before cherry.

From end January to mid March, you will see beautiful blossoms of white to reddish pink, sometimes even covered with snow.

There are several spots that are known for plum blossoms in Kyoto.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, packed with around 1,500 trees, is one of the perfect places to view plum blossoms, from the beginning of February to the end of March.

Another great place is Kyoto Imperial Palace, with its grand park hosting various kinds of plum trees. Tourists can start to admire the plums there from the end of January to mid March.

Jonangu Shrine, famous for its gorgeous weeping plums, hosts a plum blossom festival from mid February to mid March.

I’ve been to Jonangu Shrine last Feb, and it was amazing.

This is a must visit shrine if you like plum blossom with beautiful garden.

1.Kitano Tenmangu Shrine Plum Blossom Viewing
Address: Bakurocho, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto
Location: 1 minute walk from Kyoto City Bus Kitanotenmangumae stop
Phone: 075-461-0005
Opening hours:10:00〜16:00
Admission:Adult 700 yen,Child 350 yen
Plum blossoms viewing period:Early February to late March
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2.Jonangu Shrine Plum Blossom Viewing
Address:7 Tobarikyu-cho Nakajima Fushimi-ku Kyoto
Location: 3 minutes walk from Kyoto City Bus Jonangu Higashiguchi stop
Opening hours:9:00~16:30(Last Admission 16:00)
Admission fee of the garden:600 yen (High school student or older), 400 yen (Elementary / Junior high school student)
Plum blossoms viewing period:Mid February to late March
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5.Visitiong Golden Pavilion Temple

Kinkakuji The Temple of Golden Pavilion, or commonly called Kinkakuji Temple, is a Zen temple structure whose 2nd and 3rd floors are covered completely with pure gold leaf.

It is one of the most popular structures not only in Kyoto but in Japan.

Officially named as Rokuonji Temple, the temple is a World Heritage Site, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

The temple, was a retreat villa originally built in 1397 for a famous shogun in the area.

After his death, it was converted to a Zen temple according to his death wish.

It suffered numerous fires since then, and the current structure dates back to 1955.
If it snows in Kyoto, this is the place to visit.

Snow covered Golden Pavilion, is a true treasure.

The gold color contrasts very well in pure white snow: It is magnificent yet so serene, people say that they forget the winter chills.

Kinkakuji is accessible by City Bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto Station (around 40 minutes), or you can take a Subway Karasuma Line to Kitaoji station (15 minutes) then take a bus (#101, 102, 204, 205) to Kinkakuji Temple.

Golden Pavilion Temple
Address:1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Location: 3 minute walk from Kyoto City Bus Kinkakuji-michi stop
Phone: 075-461-0013
Opening hours:9:00〜17:00
Admission:Adult 400 yen,Child (Junior High-Elementary School students):300 yen
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5 Things to Do in Kyoto

  1. Enjoy Hot Natural Spring ・・・Kurama Onsen and Tenzan-no-yu Onsen are highly recommended.
  2. Hanatoro in Arashiyama・・・ You can enjoy annual celebration of lights and flowers.
  3. Night Illuminations in Kyoto Station Building・・・The most popular site of all would be the “graphical illumination” of the grand staircase
  4. Plum Blossom Viewing・・・You will see beautiful blossoms of white to reddish pink, sometimes even covered with snow.
  5. Visitiong Golden Pavilion Temple・・・Snow covered Golden Pavilion, is a true treasure.

I hope you enjoy the beautiful winter time in Kyoto!

For your information
If you’re looking for unique activities and experiences in Kyoto,you can find them here:

There are also a variety of unique food tours in Japan.

If you are a foodie looking for a nice hang-out plan out in the city with the locals, these tours will truly delight you!

Kyoto Bar Hopping Night Tour:

Osaka Bar Hopping Food Tour in Namba:

Classic Food Tour in Shinjuku

Click here for related information:
Local Guide:Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto! Top 5 Must see spots!

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