For those who are thinking,
「What is Kinukake Road？」
「I want to know a reccomended touring pattern！」
then this article is for you!
Hello! WABI SABI here, to give useful information to foreign visitors so that you can enjoy Japan even further!
What we, the information brokers of Japan, would like to introduce to you in this article is the path that is most efficient in visiting three World Heritages: Kinkakuji • Ninna-ji • Ryoan-ji.
There are many tourist locations in Kyoto and there is a course that is just perfect for trying to see the most popular among them!
The courses name is [Kinukake Road].
Let’s look right into it!
There are areas in the city that have the tourist spots gathered up. There is Kiyomizu-dera, the Higashiyama area around Enyama Park, the Road of Philosophy that goes from Nanzen-ji to Kinkaku-ji, Sagano Arashiyama, and the Umekoji area where the Kyoto museum and aquarium are situated.
There is the Kitano area in the north west part of the city that, from the east has Kinkakuji, Ryoan-ji, and Ninna-ji situated in it. The pathway that goes through all of these WH is the “Kinukake Road”!
It’s full length is about 2.5km and even if you walk at a slow pace it wouldn’t take you an hour. This is a very miraculous pathway, that is short in length and with 3 international famous temples.
The History of the「Kinukake Road」
Due to the 59th emperor, Emperor Uda(the emperor now is the 126 generation), wanting to see snow in the middle of summer, white silk(Shiroginu), was spread(kakeru) along the side of the path. This is where the name “Kinukake” comes from.
During the Heian period, Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji did not exist yet, with only the Ninna-ji existing.
【Useful Information】A Must Read For Before Going Touring!
For those who are planning to tour around the Kitano area, it is recommended that you go along the Kinukake Road to see the WH temples.
If possible, why not try and walking along the Kinukake Road like that of Emperor Uda himself?
Kyoto city is very hot during the summer, but the Kitano area, compared to the middle of the city, has many days where the temperature is lower and easy to spend time in.
Ryoan-ji and Ninna-ji can be accessed by going south-west from Kinkaku-ji, which is located at the north-east end of Kinukake Road, on the turn corner of Nishio-ji and Kitano-ji.
The walking time from Kinkaku-ji to Ryoan-ji takes about 18 minutes and the time from Ryoan-ji to Ninna-ji takes about 11 minutes.
If the weather is fine, it’s a good distance to walk around.
This route has a walkway implemented so you can walk around safely.
There is the Ritsumeikan University Kinugasa campus between Kinkakuji and Ryoanji, and there is a museum (International Peace Museum) on campus.
Outside of the campuses lunchtime, you can take a break at the university student cafeteria.
After lunch, Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji are crowded with many foreign tourists, so be sure to visit as early as possible in the morning.
Ninna-ji Temple has fewer tourists than the other two temples, so it is recommended that you start from Kinkaku-ji Temple early in the morning and arrive at Ninna-ji Temple in the afternoon.
On the south side of the road are the Myoshin-ji and Toji-in Temple, and across Nishio-ji Street are Hirano Shrine and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.
There are many sightseeing spots in the Kitano area, and the recommended time to visit is during Spring and Autumn.
In spring, you can enjoy cherry blossoms in full bloom at Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, and Toji-in.
The famous Omuro cherry blossom tree is planted in the precincts of Ninna-ji, and you can see the flowers blooming in the short cherry trees.
During the autumn leaves season, you can enjoy the different autumn leaf sceneries at each of the temple gardens.
The autumn leaves of Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji are famous around the world, but the scenery of the autumn leaves in the precinct of Ninna-ji is also a sight to see.
There is a straight and wide path in Ninna-ji which goes from Niomon to the national treasure, the Golden Pavilion of the main hall, but when late autumn comes, the maple trees turn bright red creating a dynamic autumn leaves scenery.
The autumn leaves at Ninna-ji aren’t as popular as those of Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji so not many tourists come to visit. Due to this though, this becomes one of the best secret spots to enjoy the autumn leaves scenery in a calm atmosphere.
There is a “Omura Kaikan guest house” that is in the precinct of Ninna-ji, where you can stay.
When you stay at the Omuro Kaikan, you can get a free “Ninna-ji palace viewing” ticket and participate in the reading of scriptures in the morning.
Staying at the Omuro Kaikan is also the only way that people other than those affiliated with the temple can go to see the national treasure: The Golden Pavilion.
During winter, you can enjoy the different feel between spring and autumn when you got to the Kitano area.
When it becomes winter, you can enjoy the 1500 yen “Shichigusayou-tofu” in the precinct of the Ryoan-ji.
The “Shichigusayou-tofu” is a vegetarian dish that is said to have come from China during the Muromachi period. It is a simmered tofu dish with vegetables sprinkled on top.
At Omuro Kaikans Japanese restaurant, 梵(Bon), at Ninna-ji, the healthy Yuba menu is recommended.
When winter comes by, the middle of Kyoto city to the Kitano area becomes very cold, so why not eat the hot-simmered tofu while walking around and enjoying the Kinukake Road.
Useful Information About Kinkaku-ji, Ninna-ji, and Ryoan-ji
Accessing The Area
Concerning the access method to the Kitano area, if you start walking from Kinkaku-ji and head towards Ninna-ji, it would be most convenient to get off at the “Kinkakujidou” bus stop that is located along the Nishioji road.
If you are going from either Kyoto station, Umekoji Kyotonishi station, or the Hankyu Sai-in station, then we recommend that you ride the 205 city bus that is bound for the Kitaoji Bus Terminal via Nishioji.
Taking the Kitano line Kyofuku electric railway from the Arashiyama district is convenient. As the Kitano line Kyofuku electric railways Omuro Ninna-ji station is very close to Ninna-ji, you can also go to Nishioji Road or Arashiyama!