If you are really ambitious, here is cycling information to Nara:
Kyoto to Nara 京都八幡木津自転車道線
For nearby public transportation, there are some bus stops nearby, nearest and most convenient bus stop is KUJO-KAWARAMACHI Bus Stop. About 3min walk from your stay.
Kyoto’s bus system has route numbering system, you can find easily the bus you want to ride 🙂
You can ride bus routes No. 88, 202, 207 and 208 from KUJO-KAWARAMACHI Bus Stop. 202, 207 and 208 are loop routes, so you can go many places.
For good information on public transport in Kyoto, visit this website:
Download Kyoto bus routes here
The Kyoto Station (京都駅, Kyōto-eki) building was constructed on the 1200th anniversary of the capital’s foundation in Kyoto. It was opened to the public in 1997 and stands in perfect contrast to many foreign tourists’ image of Kyoto as the capital of traditional Japan.
The building’s futuristic design and atmosphere was conceived by the Japanese architect Hara Hiroshi. Hara’s design attempts to convey historical Kyoto through a modern aesthetic. The station’s large main hall with its exposed steel beamed roof, called the Matrix, is meant to reflect both the structure of the station and the grid like layout of Kyoto’s street network.
Kyoto Station is the city’s transportation hub, served by Japan Railways (including the Tokaido Shinkansen), Kintetsu Railways and the Karasuma Subway Line. It is also the site of a large bus terminal for city buses and long distance and overnight highway buses. More info at Japan Guide.
The Kondo Hall, one of Toji’s original structures, is the temple’s main hall and largest building. Destroyed by a large fire in 1486, the building was reconstructed in the early Edo Period in a contemporary architecture style and houses Toji’s main object of worship, a large wooden statue of the Yakushi Buddha, flanked by his two attendants, the Nikko and Gakko Bodhisattvas.
Just next door stands the Kodo Hall, which was added in 825 by Kobo Daishi and served as the temple’s lecture hall. It too burned down in the 1486 fire, and was subsequently rebuilt in its original architectural style. The Kodo Hall houses 19 statues imported by Kobo Daishi from China, which are arranged according to a mandala with Dainichi Buddha (Vairocana) at the center, surrounded by buddhas, bodhisattvas and the fearful and guardian kings.
Across from the Kondo and Kodo stands Toji’s five storied pagoda, which was originally erected by Kobo Daishi in 826. It stands 57 meters tall, making it the tallest pagoda in Japan, and has become a symbol of both the temple and Kyoto as it can be seen from many places across the city. The ground floor of the pagoda is irregularly opened to the public and houses four smaller Buddha statues. More info at Japan Guide.
FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE
Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.
At the very back of the shrine’s main grounds is the entrance to the torii gate covered hiking trail, which starts with two dense, parallel rows of gates called Senbon Torii (“thousands of torii gates”). The torii gates along the entire trail are donations by individuals and companies, and you will find the donator’s name and the date of the donation inscribed on the back of each gate.
The hike to the summit of the mountain and back takes about 2-3 hours, however, visitors are free to walk just as far as they wish before turning back. More info at Japan Guide.
Sanjusangendo (三十三間堂, Sanjūsangendō) is the popular name for Rengeo-in, a temple in eastern Kyoto which is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire.
The temple hall is with 120 meters Japan’s longest wooden structure. The name Sanjusangendo (literally “33 intervals”) derives from the number of intervals between the building’s support columns, a traditional method of measuring the size of a building. In the center of the main hall sits a large, wooden statue of a 1000-armed Kannon (Senju Kannon) that is flanked on each side by 500 statues of human sized 1000-armed Kannon standing in ten rows. Together they make for an awesome sight.
1000-armed Kannon are equipped with 11 heads to better witness the suffering of humans and with 1000 arms to better help them fight the suffering. Note that the actual statues have only 42 arms each. Subtract the two regular arms and multiply by the 25 planes of existence to get the full thousand. More info at Japan Guide.
Standing 131 meters tall just across Kyoto Station, Kyoto Tower (京都タワー) is Kyoto’s tallest building and a rare modern iconic landmark in the city famous for its ancient temples and shrines. The tower was completed in 1964, the same year as the opening of the shinkansen and the Tokyo Olympics.
A viewing platform is located 100 meters above ground and affords a 360 degree view of Kyoto and as far as Osaka on clear days. Kyoto Tower stands on top of a typical commercial building, which contains souvenir shops, restaurants and a hotel, as well as a public bath in the basement. More info at Japan Guide.