Updated: Jan 2, 2021
Closest busstop: Ginkakuji-michi （5, 17, 32, 100, 102, 203, 204）
Ginkakuji Temple - Temple of the Silver Pavilion or Jishōji
Inspired by his granfather's Golden Pavillion Kinkakuji, in 1482 shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436-1490) built his elegant retirement villa on the grounds where today you can find the Ginkakuji Temple. The villa, at that time called Higashiyama Sansō, became the center of Higashiyama culture which was a movement that rose a lot of the aesthetic ideals that have influenced Japanese culture. After his death (1490) the villa was converted into a zen temple at his request. It was renamed Jishōji.
What I personally loved about this temple is not really the temple itsself but the beautiful nature around it! It's so peaceful and relaxing. If you climb just a few stairs, you have a stunning view over Kyoto!
Address: 2 Ginkakujicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8402, Japan
Opening Times: 8:30 - 17:00 (last entry 16:30)
When you're already at Ginkakuji, you should have a stroll on the famous Philosopher's path!
Starting at Ginkakuji Temple, the approximately 2km long stone path leads besides a small canal lined by hundreds of cherry trees and ends near Nanzenji Temple. It is especially popular in spring, during the cherry blossom season and during autumn where you can see beautiful fall leaves. The path got its name by Japan´s most famous philosopher, Nishida Kitaro, who used to walk and meditate there on his daily way to Kyoto University. The path is lined by small souvenir shops and cafés. However, due to corona some of them have been closed down.
If you have some time left to spare and want to do something active, why not climb Daimonjiyama? It takes only about 1h to climb up and get back down and gives you an awesome view over Kyoto!
Daimonjiyama is the most important mountain of the Gozan no okuribi festival that takes place at 16th of August every year. If you want to know more about it, I have a whole blogpost about it. You can check it out here:
CAFÉS & RESTAURANTS
Vegan = V , Vegetarian = VG, Non-Vegan and Non-Vegetarian = NV
Kiharu (V, VG)
Perfect when craving something light and refreshing! This shop is located on the bottom of the slope leading up to Ginkakuji Temple. Except for the Matcha flavor and the white ones with fruit pieces inside all are vegan. However, please ask the staff which ones include dairy just to be sure! My personal favourite is the bayberry one! It tastes like ume (Japanese plum) but instead of the usual sour flavour it's very sweet and refreshing!
Price: 150¥~250¥ depending on the flavor.
Address: 14-3 Ginkakujimaecho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8407, Japan
Opening Times: 9:00 - 17:00
Kyoto Vegetable Ramen 京野菜～和～ラーメンいたや (V, NV)
Tsukemen (dipping noodles)
This restaurant has one vegan option clearly marked on the menu. You get a bowl of broth with cooked veggies inside and one with thin noodles and raw veggies. You just put the raw veggies inside the broth and then dip in the noodles. It's a very delicous and satisfying meal!
Address: Japan, 〒606-8407 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Ginkakujimaecho, 12−2
Opening Times: 11:00 - 17:00
Omen (V, NV)
Serves one vegan option, the rest includes meat or fish. As it is not marked in the menu, make sure to ask the staff specifically for vegan udon and it will come with a vegan broth. It comes together with different vegetables you are supposed to add into the broth. The noodles come separately from the broth and you just dip them in and eat.
You can also choose the tempura set, then you will get vegetable tempura additonally to the udon. The batter is made without egg. Again, please specify vegan so that you will get vegetable tempura only, not one with fish.
I personally really love their udon! It is yummy and comes with a variety of super delicious veggies. I especially love the kinpira gobou. It is included in the veggies, but sometimes I get a bowl of it on the side as well.
Price: 1000 - 2000¥
Address: Japan, 〒606-8406 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, 銀閣寺バスプール南隣
Opening Times:11:00 - 20:30
Drip Drop (V, VG)
Coffee, VG soft serve
If you're craving some coffee, I recommend "Drip Drop", a small coffee shop near the beginning of the Philosopher's Path. It´s a chain, so you can find it in other places too. Soy milk and almond milk options availabe. Not cheap but they seriously have the best soy latte I ever had! For all vegetarians: they also sell soft serve with coffee flavour! The soft serve is not vegan though.
Prices: Latte with soymilk: 600¥ Soft serve: 380¥ (Prices do not include tax)
Address: Japan, 〒606-8411 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Jodoji Higashidacho, 55−1 1階
Opening Times: 9:00 - 18:00
Gorey Cafe (V, VG)
Pasta, Curry, Teishoku
My absolutely FAVOURITE café in this area! They have the best vegetable pasta ever and offer a nice veggie spice curry as well! The main dishes are vegan (except for Teishoku, it´s vegetarian) and drinks can be customized vegan. Be careful with cake, they are not always vegan. Ask the staff if you're unsure.
I wrote a whole blogpost about Gorey Cafe, please check it out here:
Main Dishes: 700～900¥
Address: 82-1 Jodoji Nishidacho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8417, Japan
Opening Times: 11:00 - 22:00 (closed on Mondays)
Asian Chample Foods Goya (V, NV)
They have 2 pages with clearly labled vegan options in their menu. I personally tried the croquetts which were the best ones I ever had and the banana tart which was yummy as well!
Depending on the dish the portion sizes are not so big as they are supposed to be eaten while drinking alcohol. So better add some rice to it or order more dishes.
Prices: 300 - 970¥
Address: 114-6 Jodoji Nishidacho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8417, Japan
Opening Times: 11:30 - 15:00, 17:00 - 23:00 (closed on Wednesdays)
Saishoku Ren (V)
Ramen, Katsudon, Oden, Cake
This restaurant is completly vegan. They offer different vegan ramen, oden (which is super rare vegan!) as well as super delicious, crispy soy meat katsudon!
Prices: 900 - 1800¥
Address: 115-15 Jodoji Nishidacho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8417, Japan
Opening Times: 11:30 - 21:00 (closed on Sundays)
Cacao Magic (V)
I personally have not been there yet, but judging from reviews this vegan chocolate shop seems to be good.
Address: 41-1 Jodoji Ishibashicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8406, Japan
Opening Times: Saturday - Monday 12:00 - 16:00 (closed Tuesday - Friday)
If you find more vegan and vegetarian friendly places near Ginkakuji, please share in the comments!