Located in Kyoto’s (京都) eastern Higashiyama (東山) district, the Philosopher’s path is a roughly two kilometers long walkway along the lake Biwa canal.
It’s named after the famous Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro who is said to have used this path as a routine meditation destination on his way to Kyoto University.
The Philosopher’s Path is especially pleasant in late March/early April, during the Cherry Blossom season.
Hundreds of Cherry trees are lined up on either side of the canal, creating a breathtaking scenery. I was first there in summer 2017 when the trees are not in bloom.
Still, it is very impressive during that time, visiting it at any other time is worth it as well.
Visiting the Philosopher's Path
A big advantage of the Philosopher’s Path is its convenient location. It lies just next to Ginkakuji (銀閣寺), so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to visit both in one go. Additionally, starting from Ginkakuji, following down the path will lead you through the Higashiyama district to Nanzenji temple south of the path.
If you’re keen to walk a little more, you can head southwest towards Maruyama Park.
Walking through that and exiting south again, the famous temple Kiyomizudera (清水寺) is not far.
All-in-all this path makes for a nice combination of sites along the eastern area of Kyoto, which is exactly what I plan on doing on my next trip to Kyoto.
As this is a natural path everyone can go to, there are of course no entrance fees or opening hours.
How to get to the Philosopher's Path
Kyoto’s main method of travel is the bus. There are two possibilities to reach the Philosopher’s Path (starting from Kyoto Station).
- Take Bus Number 5 in front of Kyoto Station heading towards Shinnyodomae Bus stop. The ride takes about 36 minutes and costs 230 Yen.
- If you are planning to go to Ginkakuji anyway, take bus number 17 towards Ginkakuji-michi bus stop. After finishing with the temple, you can walk down the Philosopher’s Path which is right under it.
The Philosopher’s Path allows for a nice noon/afternoon stroll in combination with other sites such as Ginkakuji or Kiyomizudera.
If you want to experience it in its full glory, you should come here in early April during the Cherry Blossom season.
Be warned though, as with every popular viewing spot, this place will get pretty crowded during that time.
Definitely a nice area to check out for free and take a relaxing walk.
Who knows, maybe you also find yourself in peace here, just like Philosopher Nishida Kitaro.
Thank you very much for reading this article, I appreciate it!
See you there!