Kyoto is surrounded by mountains on three sides and these mountains are latticed with hiking trails. Here, we introduce the five best hikes in or near Kyoto.
The view over Kyoto from the Daimonji viewpoint – image © Chris Rowthorn
Hikes in Kyoto
- Mt. Daimonji-yama Climb
This quick climb up Mt Daimonji (behind Ginkaku-ji Temple) offers the best view over Kyoto. It’s the perfect short hike in Kyoto.
- Shogunzuka and Seiryuden Hike from Chion-in Temple
This relatively easy hike, that starts from Chion-in Temple in Southern Higashiyama, leads up to a stunning viewpoint over the city.
- Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Pilgrimage Circuit
This loop around the shrines around the top of Mt Inari (the mountain of Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine) is a great way to escape the crowds that plague the lower reaches of the shrine. It’s a great half-day jaunt.
Hikes near Kyoto
- Kurama to Kibune Hike
This hike from one village to another in the Kitayama Mountains north of Kyoto, via scenic Kurama-dera Temple, is my favorite half-day trip out of Kyoto. It’s a classic.
- Takao to Hozukyo Hike
This lovely hike in the mountains west of the city takes in two great temples and a lovely stretch of riverside walking. It’s a great day out of the city.
More Kyoto Hiking Information And Ideas
For some background on hiking in Kyoto, visit our Best Kyoto Hikes page.
You may also be interested in hiking the Nakasendo, an old mountain route between Kyoto and Tokyo. You can walk the most popular section, Magome to Tsumago, as a daytrip from Kyoto.
There’s also the Kumano Kodo, an ancient pilgrimage trail in the mountains of Wakayama (south of Kyoto) where you can walk with a light pack from guesthouse to guesthouse for a few days.
There’s some pleasant coastal strolling and great onsens and ryokan in the Tango-hanto Peninsula.
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Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)