- The peacefulness at Kami Daigo of Daigo-ji Buddhist Temple
- The view from the summit of Mt. Daigoyama
- No crowds while visiting Kami Daigo
- Seeing the incredible Kinkaku-ji Temple (The Golden Pavilion)
- Doing portions of the hike on their own
- Playing at the top of Mt. Daigoyama
Prepare in advance
If you have young children, bring both a stroller and a carrier for this outing. You’ll need the carrier for the hike, as the slopes are too steep for a stroller, but the Kinkaku-ji Temple is stroller friendly.
Good to know
Both the hike to Kami Daigo of Daigo-ji Buddhist Temple and the visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple were well worth it, but be prepared for a long day with at least 1 hour in transit between the two locations. If you have little kids that still need a nap, you might want to break this mini-adventure into two days, unless they are able to sleep in a carrier on the go.
Plan this mini-adventure on a clear day, as you want to get the best photos possible while you are at Kinkaku-ji Temple to make this crowded site worth the visit.
About This Day
Heading to Kyoto with kids? This itinerary is for any outdoor loving family visiting Japan. Explore a blend of Japanese culture and nature during this day trip to two temples in Kyoto that couldn’t be more different. First, hike up to the summit of Mt. Daigoyama to visit the quiet grounds of Kami Daigo (Upper Daigo), the original temple grounds of Daigo-ji Buddhist Temple. Enjoy the peaceful solitude and scenic views from the mountaintop. Then head over for a quick visit to the famous Kinkaku-ji Temple (The Golden Pavilion). It’s a busy site with lively crowds, but you’ll be rewarded with beautiful photo opportunities of Japan’s cultural heritage. This is a long day, but well worth it!
Daigo-ji Buddhist Temple is split into two parts: the lower temple (Shimo Daigo) and the upper temple (Kami Daigo). Kami Daigo (Upper Daigo) is the original temple grounds and is located around the summit of Mt. Daigoyama. Once at the top, there are several temples to visit. This hike is long and difficult at times, but the views up top are worth it. There were maple trees that were just starting to show their fall colours when we hiked up Mt. Daigoyama. The best part was that we had the temple grounds mostly to ourselves.
DIRECTIONS To find the trailhead, stand in front of the main entrance to the lower temple of Daigo-ji Buddhist Temple and follow the road to your right. Take your first left, and follow this path alongside the perimeter of the temple. Shortly after beginning the hike, you will come across the ticket office, where you will have to pay to enter Kami Daigo.
TIP The trail starts easy enough, but it turns into mostly steps and a steep incline. There are places to stop and rest, but be prepared for a workout, especially if you are carrying a baby or toddler.
Kinkaku-ji Temple (The Golden Pavilion) is one of Kyoto's top-visited sites and can get really busy. As you enter the complex, you are ushered to a spot to get the best view and picture of the temple. It's crowded, so you may need to be patient to get your shot. The rest of the visit is a short walk through the grounds and following the path through the gardens. They aren't as nice as some of the other temple grounds around Kyoto. At the end of your walk, you'll find souvenir shops and restrooms, plus a place to grab some food.
DIRECTIONS From Kyoto Station, take a city bus (numbers 101 or 205) or Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station, then a bus (101, 102, 204 or 205) to Kinkaku-ji Temple. The whole trip takes about 1 hour.
TIP The Kinkaku-ji Temple is worth seeing, especially on a clear day, but don't plan to spend an entire day or morning here. It is busy and crowded, but does not take long to visit. Many people did have strollers, just plan to lift it over stairs and to push it amongst a lot of other people.