Kyoto’s Higashiyama district is a happening area with souvenir stores, cafes, restaurants galleries and more. Yes, it is very touristic, but try not to apply a regular tourist stop mentality that one dons in other counties. Everything is priced accordingly to quality .
Guidebooks (and the actual guides) fail to give good directions on how find this district (1 of 11 in all Kyoto). They all seemed to claim ‘no definite address‘! After butting heads with taxi drivers and walking and walking and walking … we came to the conclusion the best way to get there is asking directions to The Ryōzen Kannon; a war memorial and giant white concrete statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Across the main street entrance to the memorial is an uphill walking street. This is the best place to start your walk. See map at the end of the post. (In our opinon, The Ryōzen Kannon is not worth the time in a city of more interesting temples and shrines.)
Start early before the crowds arrive at Kōdai-ji. Take a taxi to The Ryōzen Kannon – walk up and around the Higashiyama district streets, stop for lunch wherever catches your eye (or just enjoy all the street samples!). Follow this with a short walk to the Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda) and walk back uphill and continue to Kiyomizu-dera for the astounding evening lights.
I you want to do something fun you can rent a Kimono (his & hers) at Kyoto Kimono Rental at the beginning of the Higashiyama walk . Most Japanese woman and a few men rent Kimonos to tour Kyoto and other historical cities. It is super cute, lends to wonderful photos! The rental house will also do your hair and accessorize! Returns are very easy.
Highly recommended is the the ume boshi store. It is one of the best we found in all Japan. We didn’t purchase enough at the cheaper tourist price and found the same brand at the Ginza Mitsokishi department store, but at a higher price.
Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda)
Visitor Info: Higashiyama District
Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0825, Japan