Where to go in Kyoto for Panoramic Views

Photo of John Asano
27 October 2017

The ancient capital of Kyoto is a photographers dream with many great spots offering fantastic panoramic views of both the city and its surrounding mountains. If you don’t mind a short hike then you are in for a treat. Join us as we look at some of the best places in Kyoto for panoramic views.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

The view from the wooden framed balcony at Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the best in the city. The ancient temple offers spectacular sweeping panoramic views over the city and of Kyoto Tower off in the distance. The view changes from season to season with pink cherry blossoms in spring, lush green leaves in summer, red, orange and yellow fall foliage in autumn and the white landscape of winter.

View Over Kyoto from Kiyomizu-dera Temple | © pang yu liu Flickr

Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower, the tallest structure in Kyoto at 131 m (429 ft) high, offers what many consider the best panoramic views in Kyoto. You can get a 360-degree view of Kyoto from the 100 m (328 ft) high observation platform. The Kyoto landmark is the world’s tallest non-steel frame structure and symbolises a lighthouse illuminating the landlocked city of Kyoto.

Kyoto Tower | © hans-johnson Flickr
Kyoto Tower Illuminated at Night | © Mark Lehmkuhler Flickr

Kyoto Station

The ultra modern and futuristic glass walled Kyoto Station has an open air observation deck on the top floor which offers excellent panoramic views of Kyoto and the surrounding mountains. You can also take the full architectural experience to the next level by walking in the glass encased hallways of the skyway on the top floors, which also provides stunning views of the city and station.

Inside Kyoto Station | © Carlosgg1961 Flickr
Skyway at Kyoto Station | © Guilhem Vellut Flickr

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

The hike up the sacred Mount Inari to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is worth the effort and sweat for majestic sweeping views of the city. One of the best spots is the Yotsutsuji Intersection about half way up the mountain, where some nice views over Kyoto can be enjoyed.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine | © Kentaro Ohno Flickr
Panoramic views of Kyoto from Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine | © Perry Li Flickr

Ginkaku-ji Temple

The UNESCO World Heritage Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion) is known for its garden, but it also offers magnificent views from its observatory. Climb the trail at the back of the garden and be rewarded with fantastic views over the entire temple complex and city of Kyoto beyond.

Ginkaku-ji Temple | © Reginald Pentinio Flickr
The Precincts of Ginkaku-ji Temple | © Tetsuhiro Terada Flickr

Arashiyama Monkey Park

The park which is located at the top of a mountain and inhabited by around 120 wild Japanese macaque monkeys offers fantastic panoramic views over the city of Kyoto.

Enjoying the view fromArashiyama Monkey Park | © John Gillespie Flickr
Panormaic View from Arashiyama Monkey Park | © S. Alexis Flickr


Amanohashidate, located in northern Kyoto Prefecture, has been regarded as one of Japan’s three great views since ancient times. Nicknamed the ‘Bridge to Heaven’ because it looks like a pathway from heaven to earth, it is a pine covered sandbar that separates the Miyazu Bay from the Aso Sea.

Amanohashidate, The Bridge to Heaven | © Amaro-k Flickr
Panoramic View of Amanohashidate | © Raita Futo Flickr

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