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Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka
The area along Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka slopes keep the atmosphere of traditional old Kyoto and are regarded as one of the best sightseeing spots in Kyoto. The stone pavement originally built as the approach to Kiyomizu-dera is now lined with a lot of souvenir shops. The scenery of the winding narrow lanes and traditional-style buildings is designated as a Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings and filled with a lot of tourists all year round.
- Kodaiji, Higashiyama, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
- Contact No.
- From Kyoto station, take a city bus on route 100 or 206. Ride for 15 minutes and get off at the bus stop "Kiyomizumichi". Walk 5 minutes.
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 30 minutes
- Admission fee
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
The Row of Traditional Kyoto-style Houses in Ninenzaka
The best thing of Ninenzaka is the atmosphere of this town. This slope lined with tasteful, traditional houses invokes a feeling of good old Kyoto. The slope at night is lit up and looks as great as it does during the daytime. It is a great place to stroll around.
Sannenzaka filled with the Atmosphere of Kyoto
Sannenzaka stretches from the top end of Ninenzaka and is also called “Sanneizaka.” The gently curving 150 meters slope with stone stairs and pavement has served as an approach to the temples and shrines near here from the old times. The old machiya townhouses from Edo to Taisho era are preserved alongside the slope to give a historic and Kyoto-like atmosphere. There are many old souvenir and long-standing shops. Even the stone stairs are lined with old machiya townhouses. The view of this slope is so amazing that it was used as a photo shooting spot for TV commercials and posters.
Remains of The Residence of Yumeji Takehisa
Yumeji Takehisa, widely known as a painter of lyric bijinga (portrait of a beautiful woman) is one of the most famous leading painters during the Taisho era. The residence he temporarily lived with his lover Hikono, also a model of his paintings, was located on half way up the slope. Today, there stands a shop that sells woodcut prints, postcards, goods related to Yumeji’s paintings, and Kintsuba (Japanese sweets).
Various Shops along the Slope
Souvenir shops selling Kyoto original goods like dolls and Japanese fans, Japanese restaurants using the reconstructed merchant’s house, and ceramic shops stand side by side along the slope. The neighboring famous temples and shrines also help attracting people to this place. Time you spend here might pass quickly while visiting many shops as you think what to choose.
Great Spot to run into Maiko
This area has many tea houses. So some “Maiko” (apprentice geisha) can be seen going to the tea houses to add fun to a drinking bout with their dances and songs. It is more likely to run into them going to work in the evening.
Maiko Makeover Experience!
There is a place you can experience being a Maiko with a rental kimono and a wig with all the help from the staff with the makeup and donning of kimono. After the photo shooting in Maiko attire, you can go out to stroll around this area. It will be a good memory in Kyoto.
Seiryuen: a commercial complex
A commercial complex located on the way up Sannenzaka, Seiryuen has many famous stores in Kyoto. Its vast premises were originally used for a long-established restaurant. There is even a Japanese garden with a tea house at the back of the shop. It is a popular sightseeing spot where you can enjoy shopping while appreciating the beautiful architecture of kura warehouse style and machiya townhouse style.
Jishu Jinja is a shrine of matchmaking located at about 10 minutes’ walk from Ninenzaka. The shrine buildings including the main hall reconstructed by the Tokugawa family are designated as national important cultural properties and also as a world heritage site. The most famous thing here is “Koiuranai-no ishi”(love rocks) that is believed to have the power to tell fortunes about love. You will always see a line of people before the rocks.
Kiyomizu-dera is a temple located at 20 minutes from Ninenzaka. It is one of the most celebrated temples in Kyoto designated as a World Heritage Site. It has a magnificent view of the city of Kyoto from the stage on the cliff. There are many spots worth seeing in the premises such as a three-story pagoda designated as an important cultural property, “Otowa waterfall” believed to have divine favor in longevity, health and literature, and “Koyasu Tower” where people pray for safe delivery.
The 46-meter-tall pagoda standing in the old street is regarded as a symbol of Higashiyama area. The legend of the temple says that Shotoku Taishi built this pagoda following a divine revelation in a dream. It stands on Higashiyama hill and looks very beautiful from the streets in Higashiyama area both during the day and at night.
Kodai-ji is a temple located about 30 minutes on foot from Ninenzaka. This temple was built to pray for the repose of Hideyoshi Toyotomi at his death by his wife. The highlights of this temple is not only the superb buildings but also an exquisite garden and a tasteful tea house. It is also well known for its cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.