Japan - Avoiding the rushed 'Eastern Kyoto Full Day' itinerary

 
Don't do this!
 

This proposed itinerary from japan-guide covers about 8Km, not including distance walked inside each area, and takes "8 hours" to be complete point to point. It does not, however, include all east Kyoto (it is missing 1Km further south), and aside from the already pointed "extra points of interest" marked in blue, misses around 10 must-see places, as well ignores a few needs. Without going into details, since we will cover most of why this is so wrong and why you can do a lot better, let's just say no, don't do it - not because it is or isn't rushed, but because there are better uses of your time to do a proper eastern Kyoto itinerary, as below:

A (impossible) complete eastern Kyoto overview.

While certainly still not complete, this would be a lot more complete itinerary with every bit of eastern Kyoto you can imagine, although it is impossible to be done in one day, even with a bike. This is a heavy itinerary covering easily 15h of your day. Needless to say, it cannot be done (the sun will be down and temples and parks closed long before you are near the end), but let's explore all that eastern Kyoto have to offer it nevertheless, if you just want to see the better route proposed, skip this:

complete eastern Kyoto

 

Totals for this itinerary, which is also "medium pace" (I think it is rushed)?

Note: in red, places not included in neither Japan-guide nor out proposal.

  • Breakfast and commute to Yoshida-Shrine: 1:15h
  • Total walking time: 15Km, to a total of 5h (this includes 30 minute slow pace in Yoshida)
  • Yoshida Shrine and mount: 15 extra minutes from walking for pictures and wonder (from now on marked as "extra")
  • Ginkakuji: 30min
  • Philosopher's Path: 5 extra minutes
  • Honenin: 15min
  • Anrakuji and Reikanji: 20min
  • Kumano Nyakuoji: 10min
  • Eikando: 30min
  • Nanzenji, Shinjoin and Aquaduct: 30min
  • Keage Incline: 5 extra minutes
  • Kuradani Temple and cemitery: 20min
  • Heian Shrine (outside): 15min
  • Heian Garden: 30min
  • Chionin, Shorenin and Maruyama Park: 30min
  • Yasaka Shrine: 15min
  • Kenninji: 30min
  • Kodaiji: 30min
  • Ryozen Kannon: 15min
  • Window Shopping in Sannenzaka and Kiyomizuzaka: 15 min
  • Kiyomizu-dera and other temples in the grounds: 1h
  • Oyahon/Otani Mausoleum: 10min
  • Toyokuni Shrine: 10min
  • Sanjusangendo: 30min
  • Commuting back to downtown: ~30min
  • Lunch and breaks: ~45min

    TOTAL: 15:30 hours (rushed, and not including Shogunzuka Mound)

 

A proper one-day itinerary

There is a saying that there is no problem if there is no solution, meaning, you can't whine about something being wrong if you can't offer the solution. Well, let's fix that now.

The following itinerary is a medium-paced route that starts at Ginkakuji end ends in Gion. It makes use of subway to maximize time, and includes all major and some minor places. It also guarantees sun during all itinerary except in winter, as well that you will have time for everything. (temples that close are all visited way before the time)

This itinerary accounts for lunch, breaks and rounds times up for delays. Total time is 9h.

In green, itens added on top of Japan-guide. The left route is the equivalent (yet better) option, the right route is more intense and a little rushed, but visits more places.

 

Proposed Path - medium pace/best Proposed Path - fast pace/longer
  1. Ginkakuji (8:40h) - 30 minutes (could be earlier start, this is if you are staying downtown)
  2. Philosopher's Path (9:10h) - stop at Honenin, Anraku-ji and Reikanji for 10 minutes each  - 1:30h
  3. Eikando (10:40h) - 30min (+10 min walking to next)
  4. Nanzen-ji and Aquifer (11:20h) - 20min
  5. Keage Incline and path to Heian (11:40h) - 30min
  6. Heian Shrine and Garden (12:10h) - 40min (+10min walking to station)
  7. Jingu-Marutamachi Station (13:00h) - Break for lunch around here (~30min), (+10min wait/subway)
  8. Shichiko Station (13:40h) (+10min to next)
  9. Sanjusangendo (13:50h) - 20min (+10 min walking to next)
  10. Oyahon/Otani Mausoleum (14:20h) - 10min quick look and proceed to Kiyomizu on shopping street (north) or cemetery (south), 10 min to next
  11. Kiyomizu-dera (14:40h) - 1h (there are several shrines in temple in the complex)
  12. Sannenzaka and local streets to Kannon (15:40h) - 15min + 15 min stop/snack/shop
  13. Ryozen Kannon (16:10h) - 20 min
  14. Kodaiji (16:30h) - 30min (+ 10min walk to next) (Be sure to arrive before 17h) 
  15. Maruyaka Park (17:10h) - 10min (Dusk in late autumn, winter and early spring)
  16. Chioin temple (17:20h) - 20min
  17. Yasaka Shrine (17:40h) - 10min (+10min walk to next)
  18. Gion (18:00h) (Dusk in late spring, summer and early autumn) 

Total Time: 9:20h (10Km)

Walking Time (leisurely): 2:20h 

Waling inside grounds/paths: 3:15h

Places visited: 22 + shopping stop + lunch stop (30 min)

  1. Ginkakuji (8:20h) - 30 minutes (could be earlier start, this is if you are staying downtown)
  2. Philosopher's Path (9:00h) - stop at Honenin, Anraku-ji and Reikanji for 5 minutes each - 1h
  3. Eikando (10:00h) - 30min (+10 min walking to next)
  4. Nanzen-ji and Aquifer (10:40h) - 20min
  5. Keage Incline (11:00h) - 20min (+20 min walking to next)
  6. Kurodani Temple and Cemetery (11:40h) - 20 min (+10 min walking to next) (Skip this on winter because the sunset is sooner)
  7. Heian Shrine and Garden (12:10h) - 40min (+10min walking to station)
  8. Jingu-Marutamachi Station (13:00h) - Break for lunch around here (~20min), (+10min wait/subway)
  9. Shichiko Station (13:30h) (+10min to next)
  10. Sanjusangendo (13:40h) - 20min (+10 min walking to next)
  11. Toyokuni Shrine (14:10h) - 10min (+10 min walking to next)
  12. Oyahon/Otani Mausoleum (14:30h) - 10min quick look and proceed to Kiyomizu on shopping street (north) or cemetery (south), 10 min to next
  13. Kiyomizu-dera (14:50h) - 1h (there are several shrines in temple in the complex)
  14. Sannenzaka and local streets to Kannon (15:50h) - 10min
  15. Ryozen Kannon (16:00h) - 20 min
  16. Kodaiji (16:20h) - 30min (+ 10min walk to next) (Be sure to arrive before 17h)
  17. Maruyaka Park (17:00h) - 10min 
  18. Shorenin and Chioin temples (17:10h) - 20min (+10min walk to next) (Dusk in late autumn, winter and early spring)
  19. Yasaka Shrine (17:40) - 10 min (+10min walk to next)
  20. Gion (18:00h) (Dusk in late spring, summer and early autumn)

Total Time: 9:30h (13Km)

Walking Time (firm pace): 3:30h 

Walking inside grounds/paths: 3:00h

Places visited: 24 + lunch stop (20 min)