Kyoto is a popular tourist destination both domestically and internationally. Situated in a basin surrounded by mountains, summers are hot and humid, and on many days the temperature exceeds 30°C.

However, Kyoto also has cool summer destinations, including mountains, the seaside, and rivers. In addition to beautiful natural scenery, there are plentiful experiences and activities to get a feel for the city’s summer atmosphere.

Here are 10 cool spots in Kyoto where you can beat the heat, from famous sites like Shimogamo Shrine, Tadasu-no-Mori, Kibune, and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest to less frequented areas away from the city.

1. Shimogamo Shrine / Tadasu no Mori: A healing forest in the city

Shimogamo Shrine, a world heritage site, is one of Kyoto’s main shrines, about 30 minutes north of JR Kyoto Station by bus. The shrine’s vast Tadasu-no-Mori forest is a perfect place to cool off in the center of Kyoto, with many worshipers visiting in the evening.

The forest has been growing since the 3rd century B.C., boasts an area of 119,000 square meters, and is home to roughly 40 types of trees, including about 600 that are 200 to 600 years old. The Izumigawa river murmurs along Omotesando nearbly. While taking a leisurely stroll, the vitality of the trees and the spirit of this World Heritage Site will refresh you both physically and mentally.

Mitarashi Festival *2021 festival may differ, since it will be reduced in size

The standout summer tradition at Shimogamo Shrine is the Mitarashi Festival. Attendees pray for a disease-free life, light candles, and immerse their feet in Mitarashi Pond in the Mitarashi-no-Mori section of Tadasu-no-Mori woods.

During the Heian period, as the seasons changed, people went there to wash away their sins and debts. It is said that if you wash your feet in Mitarashi pond on the Japanese calendar’s “Day of the Ox,” you’ll be purified from sins, healed from illnesses, protected against plague, and granted safe childbirth. The festival is held for five days in late July.

Health & Safety Measures
• Disinfection measures taken
• Hand sanitizer made available
• Proper ventilation
• Use of coin trays
• Plastic partitions installed
• Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor temperatures
• Restriction on number of guests
• Appropriate seat spacing
• Admission restrictions and reservation system
• Entry denied to people who are feeling ill
• Masks required for guests
• Guest temperature checks
• Installation of splash prevention sheets

Services for international guests
English website

Shimogamo-jinja
Shrine

59, Shimogamoizumigawacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Demachiyanagi
075-781-0010

2. Arashiyama Bamboo Forrest: Feel the cool air and hear the sound of bamboo swaying in the wind

About 30 minutes by train and on foot from JR Kyo…

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