If you’re planning an elaborate trip to propose to the love of your life, then there are few better cities to go than Kyoto. Located on the island of Honshu, Kyoto is pretty much a city full of romance. The calm and picturesque surroundings are perfect for creating a truly memorable trip with your significant other.
From lavish gardens, jaw-dropping ancient temples, and to traditional restaurants and tea houses, Kyoto has an exciting cultural experience at every corner. It’s truly a city where you can slow down and take in the beautiful surroundings and ancient history. With that, we’ve compiled just 12 of the most picturesque and romantic spots in of Kyoto–all for you and your partner to begin your next chapter together!
Before we start, make sure you book this proposal photographer in Kyoto to capture your special moment and get amazing pictures of this special event!
1. Kurama-dera Temple
If you’re looking for gorgeous Eastern architecture that has lasted for hundreds (and even thousands) of years, then you’ve come to the right place. In Kyoto, you won’t run out of beautiful temples to visit, each one with its own unique beauty and charm. Kurama-dera Temple is perfect if you and your partner are a bit more on the active side. Located in the mountains up north, this temple provides a truly killer view where you can ask that special question.
Exact Location: Kurama-dera Temple
2. Kamo-gawa Riverside
Our next location is popular even among the locals–and for good reason. Many Kyoto couples know the banks of Kamo-gawa River as a sort of “lover’s lane.” You’ll often find many couples–young and old–having dates right here on the riverside. The entire place is filled with a warm and romantic atmosphere, especially during the early evening when the river is illuminated by the brilliant sunset and the first few strokes of moonlight.
Why don’t you join this congregation of couples and propose to your partner right here in the Kamo-gawa Riverside? For that perfect spot, we recommend the east side between Sanjo and Shijo. This area is particularly beautiful in the evening when the lights of Pontocho are lit up to provide an intimate yet romantic air to the place.
Exact Location: Kamo-gawa Riverside
3. Enko-ji Temple
Located in northern Higashiyama, we have another lovely temple you can visit and plan your proposal in. The Enko-ji Temple features a gorgeously manicured garden and even a small forest area made of bamboo, where you can truly appreciate the natural beauty of Kyoto. Despite being quite popular with both tourists and locals, Enko-ji Temple also has plenty of spots where you can enjoy a bit of privacy.
To capture a more intimate moment, we recommend walking from Enko-ji to Shisen-do and to Manshu-in. Along the way, you can definitely find plenty of little nooks and crannies that you and your partner can have totally to yourselves.
Exact Location: Enko-ji Temple
4. Togetsukyo Bridge
Even just the name of our next spot already has romantic vibes. The Togetsukyo Bridge, also known as “The Moon Crossing Bridge” is a gorgeous piece of traditional architecture. It crosses the Katsura River in the Arashiyama area. With a long history behind it, this bridge is well-known for being a romantic spot, especially at night, where you can often see a beautiful view of the moon. It’s an understated yet idyllic spot, perfect for beginning the next chapter of your life with the one you love.
Exact Location: Togetsukyo Bridge
5. Okochi-Sanso Villa
Our next pick is more like one whole estate than just one spot. The Okochi-Sanso Villa is a spacious area with plenty of spots to appreciate the natural beauty of the city. There are lots of beautifully paved pathways leading to nicely curated gardens. Okochi-Sanso Villa also boasts plenty of hilltop viewpoints where you can get a nice overhead view of the city. Because of its wide area, we can guarantee you can find a secluded spot or two where you and your partner can have some moments of privacy.
The Okochi-Sanso Villa looks especially gorgeous during autumn. The coppery red, brown, and orange hues of autumn foliage go perfectly with the traditional architecture of the place, making for a place that looks as if it came straight off a painting.
Exact Location: Okochi-Sanso Villa
6. Yasaka-jinja Shrine
Another spot that we just have to recommend is the Yasaka-jinja Shrine. If you’re planning a visit, we definitely recommend coming during the evening when all the lanterns of the main plaza are illuminated, providing a soft and enchanting atmosphere to the place. As the romantic atmosphere of the place can draw in quite a few patrons, we recommend ducking into one of the smaller sub-shrines or else heading to nearby Maruyama-koen Park to get a bit of privacy. If all goes well, after asking your significant other the question, the two of you can head to the main hall of the shrine and wish for a long and happy life as a couple!
Exact Location: Yasaka-jinja Shrine
7. Arashiyama Boat Tour
For something a bit more special, why not go on a boat tour? In the Arashiyama area, you can rent a private boat to take you and your loved one along the Hozu River. Here you can take in the incredible scenic beauty of the place at a leisurely pace, enjoying every moment together. This tour is especially beautiful during spring when you can get a gorgeous view of the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. You can also visit during autumn if you’re more of a fan of the fiery red and orange hues of the season. You can cap off the ride by popping that special question!
Exact Location: Arashiyama Boat Tour
8. Shisen-do Temple
Kyoto’s beauty draws tens of thousands of tourists annually. Even many of the spots we have described here have become quite popular with the many different kinds of people who come to visit Kyoto. Even so, there are still plenty of “hidden spots” that not a lot of people have discovered yet, making them perfect places to plan something special in–like a proposal!
One of those hidden spots is the gorgeous Shisen-do Temple. Located in the far northern part of Higashiyama, this beautiful temple exemplifies grace and peace, a spot where you can instantly appreciate Kyoto’s beauty and history. Best of all, it’s a relatively quiet area where you and your loved one can enjoy some privacy.
Exact Location: Shisen-do Temple
9. Imperial Palace Park
We can hardly think of a better way to make your partner feel more special than by proposing to them at a literal palace! Kyoto’s Imperial Palace Park will instantly make you and your significant other feel like royalty. Since Kyoto was once Japan’s capital, this is where the royal family resided and presided over the land. Thousands of kilometers in area, the Imperial Palace Park has tons of lovely pathways that will lead you to forested glens, beautifully landscaped gardens, calming ponds, and more. Because of its colossal size, we’re sure you can find a nice little spot with some privacy so you can propose to your future fiancee.
Exact Location: Imperial Palace Park
10. Gion Shirakawa
Aside from the grand temples and gorgeous natural scenery, the urban part of Kyoto also has plenty of beautiful areas to offer. Gion Shirakawa is considered one of the most picturesque streets not just in Kyoto, not just in Japan, but indeed all of Asia! This stone-paved street is carved along the canal, instantly adding to the sentimental and romantic vibe of the place. If you visit during spring, you’ll even be blessed to witness the blooming of cherry blossom trees. However, Gion Shirakawa is picturesque all year long–no matter the season! Come evening, the entire area gets bathed in the soft hues of dusk, making for an intimate and romantic atmosphere.
Exact Location: Gion Shirakawa
11. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
If you’re coming to Kyoto, there is no reason for you to miss what is indeed one of the most special places in the entire country. It’s quite amazing to think that such a magical and otherworldly place exists only about 30 minutes from Kyoto’s urban center. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is composed of towering bamboo stalks that can climb dozens of dozens of feet into the sky. Located near the Tenryu-ji Temple in the Arashiyama District, this bamboo forest is beloved by both tourists and locals for being one of the most unique places in the city.
What makes this place so special, you ask? Well, aside from its picturesque beauty, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is renowned for the unique sounds you can hear in this area. As the gusts of wind pass through the tightly packed bamboo stalks, the wood begins to creak and bend, the leaves start to rustle, and the trunks begin to knock together, all resulting in a harmonious and peaceful sound that is unlike anything you have ever heard in your life. The meditative nature of Arashiyama Bamboo Forest has led it to become recognized as one of the “100 Soundscapes of Japan” as designated by the Ministry of Environment.
Exact Location: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
12. Nonomiya Shrine
Our last pick takes us yet again to another shrine–this time conveniently located right in the middle of our previous pick, the Sagano Bamboo Forest! Surrounded by towering bamboo trees, encountering the Nonomiya Shrine is already like stepping into a magical Studio Ghibli movie. It’s a relatively smaller shrine than the other ones on this list, but there is something so special about it–which you’ll recognize as soon as you see it. The worn wooden structures and “lived-in” feel of the place add to its uniqueness.
Best of all? Nonomiya Shrine is home to a lot of different deities including Nonimiya Daikokuten, also known as the Japanese God of Matchmaking. Before everything else, why not send a quick prayer to Daikokuten so they can help you plan and execute the most memorable proposal ever?
Exact Location: Nonomiya Shrine
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best proposal spots in Kyoto! Which place seems the most special to you? Let us know how your proposal goes in the comments!
Kyoto is truly one of the most romantic places in the world, which is why we think it’s one of the best places to begin your next chapter with the love of your life. From sprawling gardens to ancient temples, sentimental streets, and more, Kyoto is the city for lovers!