Some of the best photography locations in Kyoto are spread out all over the city. From towering temples over the city to historic districts that are tucked away, Kyoto has a lot to uncover.
Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been before, the city is constantly changing. Take a look at this Kyoto city guide to see where to stay and eat — it has all of my recommendations. For those who are visiting Japan and want to find an itinerary, this two-week itinerary covers some of the best destinations in Japan for your first trip. And of course, if you’re a foodie like me, you won’t want to miss these 20 best restaurants in Kyoto.
So in between the incredible food and experiences in Kyoto, here is where I’d go to snap some photos.
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The Best Photography Locations in Kyoto, Japan
Gion Historic District
If you’re an early riser then Gion Historic District is often all yours before the rest of the crowds get up. I love the traditional architecture here and it is truly a gem for experiencing Kyoto’s rich tradition.
Don’t forget to book your Japan Rail pass before you arrive!
Getting out of the center of the city means you’ll have most places pretty solo. One of the gems that are not too far is the Philosopher’s path which follows along a small stream. It’s lush and hidden, and along the way, you’ll find some incredible boutiques.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
A must-photo location, is the towering bamboo grove of Arashiyama. Get here as early as possible to get the bamboo on its own. I’d recommend right at sunrise, and be sure to explore further back where the bamboo grows higher.
For a traditional alley, Ishibe is the spot to capture Kyoto’s wooden houses.
I love this temple as it has massive grounds to walk and explore. It has an incredible view as well, so I’d time it with sunset where you can see the sight and (respectfully) snap a few photos over Kyoto.
The main landmark of the Higashiyama District, this Pagoda towers over the neighborhood. The roads that lead up to it create a beautiful, classic Kyoto scene.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Those famous red gates of Fushimi Inari. It’s a classic stop on any photographer’s list when in Kyoto. This is another spot to get early before the crowds.