Start your first day by visiting some near-by temples: Heian Jinja and Yasaka Jinja.
Heian Shrine is a big temple near the Kyoto Modern Art Museum and Kyoto National Art Museum. The whole environment at Heian Shrine is very zen; empty spaces all covered with stones. The very nice garden, Shin-en Garden (entrance Fee: 600 Yen) displays two ponds with lilies and plants and a pavilion where you can just sit down and unwind from long walks. Newly weds love to go there for their photo shoots.
The next stop is at Yasaka Temple, a Shinto shrine in the Gion District of Kyoto. Situated at the east end of Shijō-dōri (Fourth Avenue), it was built originally in 656. The shrine includes several buildings, including gates, a main hall and a stage.
Another noteworthy temple is the Kodai-ji temple, located in the Higashiyama mountains (just South of Yasaka temple). Established in 1605 by a noblewoman, Kita-no-Mandokoro in memory of her late husband and samurai, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Its design and exquisite craftsmanship is well renowned all over Japan and thousands of visitors are expected every years during autumn when the foliages and gardens are lit at night and offer outstanding sceneries.
http://www.kodaiji.com Tel. +81(0)75-561-9966
Feeling hungry? A highly recommended Donkatsu restaurant, Katsukura is located in the Sanjo shopping strip of Kyoto. An expert in breaded pork cutlets, they have rapidly expanded with twenty-six branches all over Japan, twelve are readily available around Kyoto. They take pride in serving top premium quality pork loin and fillet cutlet. A specialty, Yuba croquette (¥ 1,550) was a surprising and delicious mix of vegetables and pork filled croquette. A good deal is to order the Sangen Pork Ton-Katsu Zen set (from ¥ 1,280 – 80gr to ¥1,950 – 160gr) which comes with barley rice, miso soup and free-refill pickled vegetables. Served with two different sauces to choose from, it was really tender and perfectly cooked to preserve the meat flavors.
The Kyoto-style interior of the restaurant is very tasteful and reminiscence of a Japanese tavern atmosphere.
After a long day of temple visits, back at the Kyoto Traveler’s Inn hotel, rest your tired feet and immerge yourself into a Japanese tradition at their public baths which opens until midnight. You can get fresh Japanese beers from their vending machines in the hallways (change is available at the front desk).