If you visit Kyoto, you must go to Katsura Imperial Villa and Saihoji Temple which is called Kokedera. These places are well known in the world. It’s really worth seeing them when you are in Japan. If you visit the both of them while you’re at them, I would highly recommend visiting Suzumushi Temple and Jizo-in Temple. Thses small temples have a very unique atmosphere and popular among local people. The location is near Saihoji Temple. Please note that when you visit Katsura Imperial Villa and Saihoji Temple, you need pre-reservations from each web site. If it’s fully booked at that time, you might want to try some time. You may get it if you are lucky because some people often cancel at the last minute. You may feel it’s too much hassle to apply a few months in advance. However you won’t regret it.
A. Let’s start from Kyoto station. Go to the bus stop terminal in front of Kyoto station. Then find the bus stop C5. Get on the bus No.33. *Time Table If you get a TAXI from Kyoto station to Katsura Imperial Villa, it costs from 1,500yen to 2,000yen. It would depend on traffic conditions though. It takes approx.30min from Kyoto station.
B. After cross the Katsurao Bridge, you can see Katsurarikyu Mae bus stop on the left side. Get off at the bus stop.
C. Approx.10min walk from the bus stop to Katsura Imperial Villa. The time it takes to visit on-site is aounrd 60min. Admission fee is free.
D. After visiting the villa, go to Saihoji Temple by TAXI. *Approx.1,200yen If you take a bus, you have to change 2 times. It seems such a waste of time. You might want to get a TAXI unless you are a local. When you enter into the temple, you pay an admission fee 3,000yen per person. The time it takes to visit the villa is approx.60min.
E. After visiting Saihoji Temple, go to Suzumushi temple. 10min walk from Saihoji Temple.
F. After visiting Suzumushi temple, go to Jizo-in temple which is also called Takeno temple. 15min walk from Suzumushi Temple.
G. After visiting the temple, go to the nearest station which is called Kami-Katsura station. It takes 15min on foot.
Around here is a residential area, therefore there is few restaurants. After the half day trip, if you have for lunch, coffee break or dinner, you might want to move to Arashiyama nearby or somewhere. I hope you enjoy my recommended route in Kyoto!