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  • Ginkakujiyama
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  • Kiyomizu Dera Temple Main Hall
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  • Garden of Ginkakuji Temple
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  • Philosopher's Walk
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  • Nanzenji Temple Sanmon Gate
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Higashiyama Recreation Forest


Elevation  70–240m

The mountain that provides the backdrop to the traditional Japanese gardens of shrines
and temples from Kitashirakawa to Kiyomizu

The mountain that provides the backdrop to the traditional Japanese gardens of shrines and temples from Kitashirakawa to Kiyomizu

Newest information
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Kinki Chugoku
Flower-viewing (Outside the forest) Birdwatching Picnics (Outside the forest) Kyoto Trail (part thereof)
Geographical/topographical features
Higashiyama Recreation Forest is made up of national forests (including Ginkakujiyama and Kodaijiyama) located to the east of downtown Kyoto and spans 14 of Higashiyama's 36 peaks. Visible from the city center, the gently undulating slopes of Higashiyama have become a symbol of Kyoto City.
Historical/cultural features
Until it came under government control in the Meiji period, the territory on which Higashiyama Recreation Forest stands was owned by local temples and shrines, helping to sustain them economically through the production of timber and various byproducts. The majestic sylvan landscape amid which the temple and shrine precincts stood also played a religious role, so many temples and shrines were built at the foot of the mountain, along with the villas of various aristocrats. Ashikaga Yoshimasa's Ginkakuji Temple is one of these. Today, managed as a national forest and playing a key role in preserving the local landscape, it serves as a much-loved backdrop (borrowed scenery) to the historically and culturally important temples and shrines of Ginkakuji Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka Shrine, and Nanzenji Temple.
Climate, flora and fauna
In Ginkakujiyama National Forest, akamatsu, Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) grow along the ridge line, while deciduous broad-leaved trees are distributed throughout the rest of the forest. In Kodaijiyama National Forest, a mixed forest of hinoki, Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) and shii, chinquapin (Castanopsis) grows on the slopes behind Kiyomizu-dera Temple, while the Shogunzuka area and the foot of the mountain are home to evergreen broad-leaved trees, principally chinquapin. Both deciduous and evergreen broad-leaved trees grow throughout the rest of the forest.
To keep and promote scenic beauty and coziness of these forests, the Council for Kyoto Traditional Forest Culture has been carrying out thinning of overcrowded shii trees and planting of Japanese mountain cherry and Japanese maple trees, and also cutting the trees along the walking-trails. (External Link)
Kyoto Trail paths and other footpaths crisscross the length and breadth of Higashiyama Recreation Forest, which people visit for the purpose of exploring historic sites, nature observation, and birdwatching. From Ginkakujiyama National Forest, visitors can climb to the Daimonji bonfire site ― a key location in the Kyoto Gozan no Okuribi bonfire festival ― which offers a spectacular panoramic view over the city. Kodaijiyama National Forest also offers sweeping vistas of the city from the Higashiyama Summit Park observation platform, next to which is located Shogunzuka Seiryuden Temple. Shoren-in Monzeki Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and Chion-in Temple can all be reached on foot from Higashiyama Summit Park.
Maps of the Kyoto Trail can be purchased from Kyoto Tourist Information Center (2F, JR Kyoto Station Building) and other retailers.
Latest Information
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Opening seasons and hours
There are gates at the entrances from the footpath to Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Chion-in Temple.
Opening hours: Kiyomizu-dera Temple gate: 06: 00–17: 30; Kiyomizu Dera South gate:06: 00-17: 00; Chion-in Temple gate: 06: 00–16: 00
Accommodation options
Visitors can choose from a wide array of accommodation options in downtown Kyoto.
Toilets and drinking fountains (Outside the forest) Walking trail Parking lot (Outside the forest) Observation platform Vending machine (Outside the forest) Shop (Outside the forest) Restaurant (Outside the forest) World Heritage Site / Cultural asset (nationally designated) (Outside the forest) Accommodation facilities (Hotels/Japanese inns) (Outside the forest)
Kodaijiyama National Forest: Amidagamine-cho, Seikanji Kiyomizu Kamiyama-cho, Awataguchi Kodaijiyama-cho, etc.,
Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi Ginkakujiyama National Forest: Jodoji Oyama-cho, etc., Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Kodaijiyama National Forest (Higashiyama Summit Park): 30 minutes on foot from Higashiyama subway station via the Kyoto Trail; 50 minutes on foot from Keihan Bus Seikanji Yamanouchi-cho bus stop via the Kyoto Trail. Buses run to Shogunzuka Seiryuden Temple from Sanjo Keihan on weekends
  • Ginkakujiyama National Forest: 20 minutes on foot from Kyoto City Bus Ginkakuji-michi bus stop; 15 minutes on foot from Kyoto City Bus Ginkakuji-mae bus stop
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Kyoto Station (Karasuma Subway Line: 5 minutes) → Karasuma Oike (Tozai Subway Line: 5 minutes) → Higashiyama Station
  • Kyoto Station (Karasuma Subway Line: 4 minutes) → Shijo; Shijo Karasuma (Keihan Bus) → Seikanji Yamanouchi-cho
  • Kyoto Station (Kyoto City Bus Kyoto Eki-mae: 40 minutes) → Ginkakuji-michi or Ginkakuji-mae
By car
  • Kodaijiyama National Forest (Higashiyama Summit Park): Hanshin Expressway Route 8 Kyoto Route Kamogawa-nishi exit → Route 24 → Gojo-dori(Route) (7 km)
  • Ginkakujiyama National Forest: Hanshin Expressway Route 8 Kyoto Route Kamogawa-nishi exit → Route 24 → Kawaramachi-dori → Imadegawa-dori (approx. 9 km)
<Car parking capacity / parking charges>

Kodaijiyama National Forest:Parking is available in Higashiyama Summit Park. Space for 34 vehicles Free of charge
Ginkakujiyama National Forest: No parking available
Central Kyoto City is prone to traffic jams, so we recommend that visitors use public transport.

Nearby tourist facilities
  • Ginkakuji Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka Shrine, Chion-in Temple, Kodaiji Temple, Shoren-in Monzeki Temple, Nanzenji Temple, etc.
Management office contact details
Kyoto/Osaka Forest Administration Office
TEL : 075-414-9822
Official Tourist Information
Kyoto City Official Travel Guide [External link]
Kyoto City Tourism Association [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Shoren-in Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kodaiji Temple, Gion Shopping Street Promotion Association

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