Kyoto Area Guide: Philosopher's Walk 哲学の道
Running from Nanzenji Temple to Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) in the northeast of Kyoto, the Philosopher's Walk is a roughly 2km path that follows the beautiful Shishigatani Canal lined with many cherry trees, maples, and camellia.
Known in Japanese as "Tetsugaku no Michi," it is most visited when the cherries blossom in late March or early April, on hot summer evenings for its fireflies and again in November when the leaves turn color.
There are some shops and restaurants and stores selling the local ginger cookies, but for the most part it has remained understated. Most of the buildings along the path are private homes.
In addition to the temples and shops on Philosopher's Walk, there are a few galleries and craft shops.
The path, which is closed to cars and motorcycle traffic, gets its name from Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945), a Kyoto University professor of philosophy, who used to stroll and meditate on the path.
In addition to the Silver Pavilion and Nanzenji, other temples and shrines can also be found along the path. They include Eikando, Kumano Nyakuoji Shrine, Reikanji, Anrakuji Temple, Otoyo Jinja and Honen-in.
Locals also often use the path, and it is popular among the dog-walking set, older people, and lovers both young and not so young.
Philosopher's Walk Access (from Silver Pavilion)
From Kyoto Station, take bus #5 or the Raku Bus #100. About 25 minutes. The fare is 220 yen.
Demachiyanagi Station on the Keihan Line is the nearest train station, but it is about a twenty-minute walk. From the Station, go out to Imadegawa Dori (street). Walk away from the river, toward the mountains in the distance. Walk straight up the street, passing Kyoto University on your right. You will see signs after you cross Shirakawa Dori and continue straight.
Tel: 075 771 5725
2 Ginkaku-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto.
Philosopher's Walk Access (from Nanzenji)
A short walk from the Keage subway station (Tozai Line).
Tel: 075 771 0365
Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-city.
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