Winter at Tofukuji Temple

Tofukuji Temple

After visiting Fushimi-Inari, we took a walk along the backstreets of Kyoto, to find Tofukuji Temple – a temple built during the Fujiwara clan’s reign (dominated Japanese politics from around 800 – 1185) and was one of the main Zen Buddhist temples during the time.

Mark was certain we were lost, but I knew we were going in the right direction (kind of…).  After walking along the main street and through neighborhood streets, we found the temple nestled in between neighborhoods.  There were hardly any visitors and it felt like we had the place to ourselves.  This temple is a popular spot for autumn leaf viewing, but when we went, winter’s touch had taken over the grounds.  Even with the lack of life and color among the trees, there was still beauty and calmness to be found and experienced.

Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple

I didn’t realize I was hiding behind a pole…

Tofukuji Temple

Winter’s touch

Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple

Tofukuji Temple is located in southeastern Kyoto, near Tofukuji Station on the JR Nara Line.  It took us about 20-25 minutes to walk from Fushimi-Inari to Tofukuji.  The walk between the two sites is doable and cheaper, if you’re trying to save a buck or two.  While not as beautiful in the winter time, there will be less visitors and more space to freely enjoy your walk around the grounds.  The best time to go to the temple is during autumn for leaf viewing.

After our nice walk through the temple, we decided to head back to the city and make our way towards the Teramachi Shopping Arcade, a large covered shopping and restaurant area, to take a break.


I love Doutor’s cake set, which includes a drink and a slice of cake for ¥500.  It’s a nice snack/dessert during your break time.


After our break, we walked around the shopping arcade before we decided it was dinnertime.  I don’t know why we thought it was a good idea to eat dinner right after our cafe stop, but we ate again.  We found a ramen shop and slurped delicious ramen until our bellies were full.  We can never say ‘no’ to ramen.


Because of all the cake eating and his ramen set (ramen, rice, and gyozas), Mark was feeling super bloated and started to complain about how full and bloated he was.  I thought it was hilarious and started snapping pictures of him in the midst of getting my boba fix.  Mark and I were pretty much old people and decided to call it a night after buying boba and dessert, which was around 7pm…  We’re the type of people who are tired and indoors by 8pm…  But!  We did so much walking that day, so we were exhausted and wanted to relax.

Hostel Haruya Kyoto

Welcome to our humble hostel abode located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama District, one of Kyoto’s best historic districts!  It was a great location, close to many temples and the Gion district.  This was Mark’s first experience in a hostel and before we got there, he was freaking out what would happen at the hostel (oh Taken).  He enjoyed his first experience at this hostel and acknowledged that hostels can be comfortable, clean, and safe (which is good, so we can book cheaper places in the future!).

This was our last night in Kyoto and reflecting back on our trip, though we didn’t get to see everything we planned, we were able to enjoy each others company, which is the most important thing to us, and have fun discovering new sites together.  I’m so happy that Mark will be moving here soon and we’ll be able to have more adventures together.

Read more from our 1st Kyoto trip together: Higashiyama + Kiyomizudera // Food in Kansai // Fushimi-Inari



  1. Laura @ Inspiration.Sparks

    Hubby and I are totally like you and Mark!! :P While in mainland we woke up everyday around 7-8am and did soo much walking that we ended our days around 5-6pm! But the sun was setting around 4pm, so you can’t blame us! haha I wanted to explore at night but after such long days i just wanted rest.

    • Mallory || Sweet Smores

      I know! I’ve been there three times already and I still have barely scratched the surface there. I still need to head out to northern, central, and west Kyoto. It’s one of my favorite cities, so I don’t mind going back so many times :)

  2. Anna

    Wow, it looks so different from when I went in Autumn! It was so pretty but also extremely crowded. The long bridge which goes over the trees was absolutely packed with people, it was like Tokyo at rush hour!

  3. Sarah Wheeler

    Oh I want to go! These photos are stunning! Looks like such a breathtaking place & a great adventure!

  4. Bailey K.

    Every time I mention staying at a hostel to my friends here in the States, they look at me side-eyed. I ALWAYS have to explain that hostels can be nice and clean, and they are preferable to me over most hotels. Also, we’re the same on our travels. Busy, busy, busy during the day, and then we konk out right after dinner. :) Loved your photos!

    • Mallory || Sweet Smores

      Aww, thank you! Hostels get such a bad rep! I’ve never seen that movie, but I still heard a lot about how hostels can be dirty and people can be weird, etc. I usually try to find a hostel that offers a private room and lately I’ve been looking more into B&B places. I’m also starting to prefer them over hotels.

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