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Apr. 01, 2021 UPDATE
Shirakawa River - 白川 -
Traveler Friendly
It is easily accessible, and there are a lot to see nearby such as Yasaka shrine and Nanzen-ji temple. It’s recommended for taking pictures.
Information
Japanese only
Languages spoken
No staff at the location
4481 93 7.7 1 reviews
Apr. 01, 2021 UPDATE

Shirakawa River

- 白川 -
Traveler Friendly
It is easily accessible, and there are a lot to see nearby such as Yasaka shrine and Nanzen-ji temple. It’s recommended for taking pictures.
Information
Japanese only
Languages spoken
No staff at the location
4481 93 7.7 1 reviews
Story & Recommendation
Shirakawa River – Traditional machiya townhouses and stone bridges
The Shirakawa River is one of Kyoto’s main rivers and flows from the Heian Shrine all the way to northern Gion.
Sitting a meer five minute walk from the keihan Gion Shijo Station, the street of Shirakawa Minami is maybe the best place in Kyoto to see the city’s magnificent traditional machiya townhouses as they sit right on the edge of the tranquil little canal.
Continuing to walk north through this area, you’ll come across the Chion-in Temple, which offers an entirely different atmosphere and scenery.
Along the way, you’ll also notice narrow stone bridges at regular intervals down the river. These have been built here so that residents of the area can cross the river as they please.
If you continue to walk north from the Chion-in Temple, you’ll come across the Higashiyama Subway Station. Keep following the river past the station for a few minutes and you’ll be greeted by the monolithic torii gate of the Heian Shrine.
1Highlight
Tatsumi Bridge and the Surrounding Cherry Blossoms
Tatsumi Bridge and the Surrounding Cherry Blossoms
One of the symbols of Shirakawa Minami is the Tatsumi Bridge. This tiny bridge is a wonderful place to take photos and is especially beautiful in spring when the surrounding cherry blossoms make it look like something straight out of a painting. On the other side of the bridge, there’s a café called Gion Komori, famous for their matcha parfaits. If they happen to have seats available, sit down for a delicious parfait and admire the magnificent scenery!
2Highlight
A Relaxing View of the River
A Relaxing View of the River
After walking north of Gion for about five minutes, you’ll come across this part of the river. We would recommend taking a seat at a bench and just listening to the murmurs of the river for a while. In summer, you’ll see neighborhood kids playing by the river and be able to get a glimpse at the everyday life of the locals.
3Good Experiences
Stroll through Shirakawa Minami Street
Stroll through Shirakawa Minami Street
The Tatsumi Bridge – which we showcased above – is located at the tip of Shirakawa Minami Street. If you follow the stone pavement from the bridge down, you’ll reach Kyoto’s famous Kamo River. This captivating street is home to both traditional machiya townhouses and rows of beautiful cherry blossoms. Many maiko (Kyoto’s version of geisha) also commute down the street, so if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a glimpse of one.
4Good Experiences
Walk the Ippon bridge
Walk the Ippon bridge
The Ippon Bridge is a super narrow bridge near the Chion-in Temple. Aside from its unique appearance, the bridge is famous as being the finish line for monks who have undertaken a demanding seven year long pilgrimage. The bridge has no handrails so it’s a bit scary to cross, but that’s also half the fun of it. The unique look of the bridge also makes it an amazing place to snap a few pictures of yourself.
- Manner & Tips -
The area around Shirakawa River is a designated historic preservation area. Please take any rubbish with you and keep the area clean.
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