One of Kyoto’s – and indeed, Japan’s – best preserved historical districts, Higashiyama has welcomed travellers for hundreds of years. The well-maintained wooden merchant buildings, along renovated repaved streets, are a delight to meander, with the main pedestrian thoroughfares of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka linking some of the area’s most iconic treasures. Traditional shops selling teas and sundries, local crafts and keepsakes, are juxtaposed with modern souvenir vendors and quaint cafes – a delightful step back in time for the 21st century pilgrim.
Yasaka Pagoda, one of the most memorable sights in this region, is the perfect places to begin your day of walking, shopping and sightseeing. Passing by the landscaped gardens and teahouses of Kodaiji temple on your way up the slopes of Kyoto’s eastern mountains, you will eventually reach the crowning glory of the area – Kiyomizudera, the ‘Pure Water Temple’. The temple is best known for it’s majestic wooden stage that juts out over the hillside – where brave warriors of the past would leap from to show their merit – but is best enjoyed now with feet firmly planted, to enjoy a commanding vantage point over the surrounding trees.