Kyoto’s fifty most overrated tourist spots


Kyoto city and the surrounding prefecture are full of historic spots worth a vist, but of course some places are going to be over-hyped. So, goo Ranking recently conducted a survey looking at Kyoto prefecture tourist spots that didn’t live up to expectations.

1st: Kyoto Tower, 113 votes

Kyoto Tower

The clear winner here, mainly as the modern-looking tower is out of place in old Kyoto, but also that most of the interesting buildings are too close and difficult to photograph well. I’ve never been up it myself, but looking at English-language reviews, it is worth it. By the way, the shape of the tower is modeled on a candle.

2nd: Kyoto International Manga Museum, 31 votes

Kyoto International Manga Museum - Empty Astroturf

As you can perhaps guess from the photo, the manga museum is in an old school building. Going to a building full of manga comics to read sounds like a dream for many a person, but apparaently there are few permanent displays, little series criticism or research, so combined with many areas where photographs are forbidden, it is often a disappointment to visitors expecting much more.

3rd: Philosopher’s Walk, 30 votes

Walking The Philosopher' Path

What could be wrong with a nice stroll amongst the trees along a stream? It’s a bit narrow so soon gets packed, and outside of cherry blossom and autumn leaves season it’s all a bit dull, quite frankly. I’ve walked it too, and did have the feeling of “Is that it?” too. There’s some nice tea shops along the way, so if you get bored with the stroll stopping for a cuppa should refresh you.

4th: Dreamton Village, 28 votes

Kameoka, Kyoto

There’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England, and Japan is no exception with this recently-opened fake English village. From the reviews I’ve seen from British people, it is very nicely done with a solid, authentic feel, but from a Japanese viewpoint, the entrance fee is high (although apparently it has recently been done away with), there are few things to see, and the queues for the restaurant are very long.

Having said that, once I return to Kansai I think I’ll pay a visit.

5th: Ginkakuji (Silver pavilion), 27 votes


Not very silvery is it? Compared to its big brother, the Golden pavilion, this place looks rather dull. However, I enjoyed it when I went, but perhaps I didn’t go with many expectations. From a tourist point of view, the tour pamphlets probably have seriously touched-up images so turning up and seeing this rather ordinary-looking temple would be a disappointment.

6th=: Kiyomizu Temple, 22 votes


Who could not like Kiyomizu? The only reason I can think of is finding it packed with tourists and not being able to have a quiet stroll around.

6th=: Nijo Castle, 22 votes


Another surprising entry! I suppose if you were expecting a tower like most other Japanese castles, finding it was more a stately home kind of place rather than a defensive structure would be a disappointment, but it really is worth a visit!

6th=: Kinkakuji (Golden pavilion), 22 votes


A wonderful photo, but for each perfect photography day, there’s many an overcast day. It’s another over-popular place, and one probably has to fight past 101 photographers to traverse the gardens. The day I went there, it was with a photographer friend who spent far too much time trying to line up his photos, so I only have bad memories of the place.

9th: Kamo River

Kamo River

The main river through the centre of Kyoto with, as you can see in the photo, restaurants lined up on platforms over the river. However, the banks are all concreted over and there is a distinct lack of character when strolling along the riverside.

10th: Tandenan (Graffiti temple), 17 votes

Anti-graffiti sign, temple of the great buddha, Nara, Japan

This is what you normally see at temples (the literal translation is “Graffiti forbidden”), but at Tandenan you can scribble on the walls! See this review here. Perhaps the disappointment came from having to pay 300 yen a time to write!

11Otabe confectionery factory shop16
12=Kyoto Aquarium15
12=Hassaka Shrine15
14=Shakuzo Temple (Kuginuki Jizo)14
16=Kyoto City Zoo13
16=Togetsukyo Bridge13
16=Bamboo Grove Road13
19=Japanese Oni (Demon) Exchange Museum12
19=Maizuru Brick Park12
19=Nanzen Temple12
23Ichijo Modoribashi Bridge11
24=Fushiumi Inari Shrine10
24=Tadasu Forest at Shimokamo Shrine10
24=Nishiki Market10
27Sagano Scenic Train (Sagano Torokko Train)9
28=Kifune town8
28=Otagi Nenbutsu Temple8
30=Saiho Temple7
30=Hanami Koji Dori7
30=Kennin Temple7
30=Sannin Saka7
30=Adashino Nenbutsu Temple7
35=Kurama Temple6
35=Seimei Shrine6
35=Tanukidani Fudoin6
35=Daiunin Temple6
35=Tenryu Temple6
40=Suzaku-mon (Gate) Ruins5
40=Renge-o-in Sanjisangendo5
40=Manpuku Temple5
40=Kifune Shrine5
40=Toji Temple5
40=Kyoto Prefectural Domoto-Insho Museum of Fine Arts5
46=Suzumushi Temple4
46=Kyoto Railway Museum4
46=Kayabuki no Sato/Kitamura4
50Kamo-wakeikazuchi Shrine2


goo Rankings asked iBRIDGE’s Research Plus to conduct this survey, where between the 31st of January and 3rd of February 2017 500 members, 50:50 male and female and aged between 20 and 39 years old, of their monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. No further demographics were given.

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