The Path of Philosophy (哲学の道, Tetsugaku no michi) is a pleasant walking trail.

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 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.

Blossom lined canal

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.

This pleasant canal path is also beautiful during the autumn foliage season especially with reflection of bright red color on the water.

philosophy path

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.