The Philosopher's Path, Kyoto 哲学の道

  • Published on : 30/12/2019
  • by : J.L.T.B. / J.R.
  • Rating :
    3/5

The Famous Zen Walk of Kyoto

The Philosopher's Path (Tetsugaku no Michi in Japanese) in northeast Kyoto gets its name from a famous philosopher who regularly walked this route for quiet contemplation. This beautiful tree-lined path is now very popular with tourists, and it is extremely popular during hanami when the canal is covered with pink sakura petals. 

Kyoto: A Walk Along the Philosopher's Path

The founder of the Kyoto School, Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945), embodying the momentum of contemporary Japanese thought, passed through the Philosopher's Path every day on his way to the university, probably reflecting on his concept of the "pure experience".

The Philosopher's Path (aka "the Path of Philosophy") is a tree-lined pathway that follows the canal. You will need to travel northeast of Kyoto to walk this famous pathway. Its layout connects the Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) to the north, and the Eikan-do Zenrin-ji temple to the south.

In this timeless place, the seasons mark their passage. The changing light modifies the landscape. Symbols of the ephemeral, cherry blossoms brighten up this place during the hanami: in fact, around a hundred sakura trees are planted along the canal.

To contemplate the pink and white blossoms of the hundreds of trees spread out over the two kilometers along the path is to inhale the scent of spring and reflection of impermanence. In the fall, when maple foliage sets the wooded hills ablaze, the spectacle is truly magnificent. During the winter months, the area is calm. A melancholy or joyful journey, depending on the mood.

philosopher's path

Along The Philosopher's Path

Following the Philosopher's Path can be an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone - or more. There are many temples and shrines that have been built not far from the famous path.

It is possible to take a day or an afternoon to enjoy the complete course, for example, begin at Nanzen-ji temple, south of the Philosopher's Path, and end at Ginkaku-ji to the north. 

This will optimize visits and save time, as this part of the city is also only accessible by bus.

Nanzen-ji

Nanzen-ji

Wikimedia Commons

Zenrin-ji

View from Zenrin-ji

Wikimedia Commons

Entrance Ginkakuji

The raked gravel Ginkakuji.

DR


Address, timetable & access

  • Address

  • Timetable

    Bus #32 or 100: Ginkakuji-mae stop

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