Takao is a lovely village in the Kitayama Mountains about 15 kilometers northwest of Kyoto. It rivals Kurama & Kibune as the single best daytrip out of Kyoto for nature lovers.
Jingo-ji Buddhist temple: NH / Shutterstock.com
Takao Area Description:
About one 50 minutes northwest of Kyoto by bus, Takao feels like worlds away. It’s a small village that’s home to three superb temples: Jingo-ji, Saimyo-ji and Kozan-ji. The first two easily rank among my most favorite temples in the Kyoto area. Best of all, you can do a brilliant hike from Takao down to Hozukyo (on the JR Sagano-San-in Line).
Things To Do And See in Takao
- Jingo-ji Temple
Easily one of the most beautiful temples in the Kyoto Area, Jingo-ji Temple makes the perfect half-day or day-trip out of the city
- Saimyo-ji Temple
A short distance up the river from Jingo-ji Temple, this fine (and free) pocket temple is a real charmer and should not be missed
- Kozan-ji Temple
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kosan-ji Temple is the least appealing of the three main temples in Takao, but it’s still worth a visit for the huge cedars that line the approach
- Hiking from Takao to Kiyotaki or Hozukyo
The hike from the hamlet of Takao down through the mountains west of Kyoto to the train station at Hozukyo is one of the best day hikes near Kyoto. It includes two superb temples, a crystal-clear river and a magical waterfall.
Places To Stay in Takao
- Momijiya Annex Kawa-no-iori
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
Momijiya Annex is a magical riverside retreat with private cabins and private outdoor bathtubs. It’s a fantastic choice for a one- or two-day retreat from the world.
Getting to Takao
- By bus from Kyoto Station: Take a JR bus from the stand outside Kyoto Station and get off at the Yamashiro Takao stop (50 minutes, Y500). From the bus stop, walk down the steps about 50 meters before the bus stop.
- By bus from Nijo Station: Take Kyoto City Bus #8 and get off at Takao. From the bus stop, walk down the steps about 50 meters before the bus stop.
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
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)