Essential Kyoto: Philosopher’s Path

Tour Creator

Anna studied philosophy and the liberal arts at Doshisha University. She has since continued her work on Kyoto’s heritage and museum sector as an Ishibashi Fellow. Anna is a frequent…Read More Bio »



Remote Tour Included



Our tour will take you from the bustling streets of the Silver Pavilion to Eikando – the home of one of Japan’s most mysterious Buddha statues. We will follow the Philosopher’s Path along the stunning Shishigatani Canal and learn about its eponymous philosopher, Nishida Kintaro, immersing you in the mysterious legends of Japan’s ancient capital.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional travel writer

Written by a frequent contributor to many publications in the Kansai area, such as the Kyoto Journal, specializing in the history and culture of Kyoto.

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

The Silver Pavillon, Shiawase Jizo and Eikando

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home


Essential Kyoto: Philosopher’s Path

  1. The Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji) - The sister temple to the glittering Golden Pavilion that never received its silver coating. We'll enter the world of zen and explore Ginkakuji’s mysterious ‘sea of silver sand.’
  2. Shishigatani Canal - A stunning canal and the innovative source of Kyoto’s legendary water. Where does the water come from and why is it so important to Kyoto cuisine and culture?
  3. Shiawase Jizo - Take a break at this hidden temple to learn about Jizo, and why this deity will make you happy.
  4. Hōnen-in Temple - Step through the magical Byakusadan sand mounds at this quiet moss-covered temple.
  5. Nishida Kintaro’s Poem Stone - A stone with an engraved poem by Nishida Kintaro, the eponymous philosopher of this beautiful path.
  6. Mausoleum of Emperor Reizei - 1. The grave of Emperor Reizei, an absent emperor controlled by his usurping uncle
  7. Otoyo Shrine - Discover Shinto, Japan’s native religion, at this serene shrine in the heart of nature. We'll also meet the unusual animal guardians of Otoyo Shrine.
  8. The Cats of the Philosophers Path - Meet the cats of the path, and learn why some think they are benevolent protectors, or even sneaky spirits.
  9. Nyakuoji-Jinja Shrine - Enjoy this peaceful shrine and learn why a visit might help you to succeed in business or academics. We'll also discuss the mythical three-legged raven messengers of Nyakuojinja’s god.
  10. Nyakuoji Mountain - The path to Niijima Jo’s grave – Japan’s first runaway samurai. Who was Niijima Jo, and why was his daring escape from Japan so important to the development of Japanese academia, philosophy and culture?
  11. Eikando- A sprawling temple home to the mysterious Mikaeri Amida.
  12. Tahoto Pagoda - We'll explore the Tahoto Pagoda and discover its hidden treasures. We'll discuss the unusual Suikinkutsu water drop koto and its magical music.

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