The Path of Philosophy’s Blossom-lined Canal

The Path of Philosophy is a pleasant path through the northern part of  Higashiyama district. Named after famed Kyoto University professor of philosophy Nishida Kitaro’s daily habit of composing himself with a stroll along the canal path, the Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku no michi) is a very pleasant and easy two-kilometre path that stretches from Eikando temple in the south to Ginkaku-ji (the Silver Pavilion) in the north.

The path can be enjoyed as a destination by itself: aside from the foliage, there are cafes, gift shops, art galleries and a very friendly resident group of wild cats. After exploring the Nanzen-ji area, it is also a  means to reach Ginkaku-ji on foot. You can also use it as a kind of “hop-on-hop-off footpath” to explore some lesser known sights that lie just to the west of the canal such as Nyakuoji shrine, Otoya shrine or Honen-in temple.

The path is most popular in early spring when its cherry tree-lined banks signal the happy end of winter. Be warned: the path is extremely crowded from 10:00am during hanami time and you will not be able to do much more than shuffle along. A solution to this is to visit very early in the morning – fellow strollers will be locals on their way to work – or in the evening as the trees are lit up for a couple of hours after sunset.

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Starting from Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion)

Access : 20-minute walk from Demachiyanagi station on the Keihan Line

Bus : Take bus No.5 or the Raku Bus No.100 from Kyoto station (About 25 minutes, 220 yen)

Starting from Nanzen-ji Temple

Access : A short walk from Keage station on the subway Tozai line.