May. 05, 2023 UPDATE

Spend a day in the historical Nijo area of Kyoto

A perfect itinerary for your day in the historic Nijo area! See, eat, and enjoy!
A perfect itinerary for your day in the historic Nijo area! See, eat, and enjoy!

Besides the all too famous Kiyomizu Temple, Gion, and Fushimi Inari Shrine, there is also the area around Nijo Castle in Kyoto where you can truly feel the history of this ancient capital of Japan. The traditional textile area of Nishijin is also close, so when walking here, you can almost feel like you were back in time in the Edo period. Of course, you can’t forget about local delicacies when traveling, so I have some great restaurants in this itinerary too. So, now it is time to head for Nijo Castle!

9:30 a.m. Nijo Castle, the former residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Nijo Castle

This Japanese castle is a World Heritage Site, and it was built as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, a shogun of the Tokugawa clan, and because of its history, it is a sight everyone with even the slightest interest in history has to visit. 

Address 541, Nijojo-cho, Nijo-dori Horikawa Nishi iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8301
Open Hours 8:45am - 4pm (the castle closes at 5pm) *Ninomaru Palace viewing hours: 9am - 4pm 【July・August】 8am - 5pm(the castle closes at 6pm) 【September】 8am - 4pm(the castle closes at 5pm)

11:30 a.m. Delicious lunch

After seeing the castle, it is time to have lunch. There are many great restaurants in the Nijo area, many of them offering lunch, but this time I have chosen for you two out of the many that I feel like are especially good. So, time to have some great Japanese lunch!

1Shinrin Shokudo 

Shinrin Shokudo

Here you have two kinds of curry on your plate, and some black rice with an al dente feel to it, and this combination brings forth an interesting taste. The chicken curry and the spinach curry are the classics, and almost all of the people in the restaurant seem to order this dish. The spices and the way the curry also gets a taste from the chicken juices make this curry something really moving, something you have to experience. 



Syakariki is famous for their tsukemen dipping ramen noodles which have a fish-based broth, and are then topped with some char siu pork, and have the fragrant smell of sesame. The noodles are a bit on the al dente side, and after you dip them and put them in your mouth, they instantaneously explode with the taste of the fish-broth and sesame. This is the taste many Japanese people long for after a long workday. 

1:00 p.m. Yoshiro’s Kyoto Style Confectionary Class

Yoshiro’s Kyoto Style Confectionary Class

After having lunch, it is time to test your skills in something very Japanese! You get to try making Japanese sweets, something Kyoto is really famous for, and you get to eat them afterward, of course with a cup of matcha. You get taught by a professional sweets maker, so there should be no better way to enjoy some culture in Kyoto first hand than this! 

4:00 p.m. Seimei Shrine and the pentagramt

Seimei Shrine

After enjoying your sweets, it is time to walk for a bit. Close by you can find Seimei Shrine, the shrine of the famous onmyoji Abe no Seimei, a practitioner of the esoteric art of onmyodo, Seimei Shrine. There is a movie about Abe no Seimei, which is why lately many fans of the movie go to this shrine as a kind of pilgrimage. 

Address 806, Seimeicho, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 602-8222
Open Hours 9am - 6pm ※The open hours was changed. 9am - 4:30pm

5:00 p.m. Nishijin district: a traditional area full of traditional atmosphere

Nishijin district

Nishijin district is the home of the high-quality kimono fabric Nishijin-ori, and the district has kept its façade extremely well through the ages. You can still hear the sound of the looms if you are lucky, and it almost feels like time itself has stopped in this place. The old streets of this part of the city have a nice atmosphere to them, and make for a great backdrop for some photos, and this is also a nice place for a date. 

Address Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
Open Hours Does not close

6:30 p.m. Enjoy some Kyoto cuisine at Kyo-Yuba Seike Nishijin

Kyo-Yuba Seike

After a day of walking around the Nijo area, it is time to have some traditional Kyoto cuisine! This restaurant is in a renovated Kyoto town house with tatami mats, and they offer delicious yuba, tofu skin. The hostess of the restaurant is incredibly kind, and the food good; what else could you want?

The Nijo area is a quiet area, where there are not that many people if you walk in the alleys. Nishijin District is famous for its traditional culture and crafts, and the skill of the craftsmen here is so great that it makes you speechless. There are also many great restaurants in this area; I recommend you include this area on your Kyoto itinerary and come explore this historic area! 

Vanessa[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
Nijo area is a place where you can feel the weight of history on your shoulders, and because of this culturally and historically important background, you almost feel as if you went back in time when you walk in the streets here. There are also many famous kaiseki restaurants in this area offering the best haute cuisine in Japan, so if you have the time and money, you can also try experiencing this part of Japanese culture.
Related keywords
All Things To Do All Things To Do All Restaurants Nijo Castle & Kitano Tenmangu Nijo Castle & Kitano Tenmangu

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