Ninen-zaka © Iry


Ninen-zaka and neighboring Sannen-zaka are a part of a historical complex. From Kiyomizu Temple to Hachizaka Shrine, Kodaiji and Hachizaka Tower in the northern part of the city, Ichinen-zaka, Ninen-zaka, and Sannen-zaka formed a part of a lively quarter that was right in front of Kiyomizu Temple Gate. Nowadays, the area is a part of "Sannen-zaka Historical Quarter", which includes stone pavements and stairs, buildings etc., maintained in their original shape.

Must-see spots in the Higashiyama area are stone pavements and stairs along the hill road, as well as traditional stores that sell all kinds of food and souvenirs. We especially recommend you visit the remains of Takehisa Yumeji's house. Takehisa Yumeji, a famous painter of the Taisho Period (1912-1926) spent several months here, and the surroundings remain completely unchanged since then.

There are many versions of the story regarding the origins of the name Ninen-zaka. The simplest reason is because Ninen-zaka (lit. Two-Year hill) is beneath Sannen-zaka (lit. Three-Year hill). Another version claims it is called Ninen-zaka because it is smaller than Sannen-zaka. There is also a version that claims it was built in the second year of the Daidou Period (806-810).

Both Sannnen-zaka and Ninen-zaka are believed to have been built in the second year of the Daidou Period, hence the names. The most credible versions however, claim that it is called so because of Kiyomizu Temple that is located nearby and is a place where people prayed for easy child-bearing to the goddess Kannon. Another legend says people whose dreams came true made a pilgrimage here, so the area used to be called Sainen-zaka (lit. Hill of Second Thought).

There are also scary legends, surrounding both streets. The legend has it that if one stumbles in Sannen-zaka, they will die within three years, or within two years if the same thing happens in Ninen-zaka. However there is no proof this legend is true, so it is just a mere reminder that you should watch your step when walking.

Beside the elegant street rises Hachizaka Tower, a symbol of old Kyoto. In the old times, geishas used to frequent this area. Please watch your step and enjoy walking around.


Get off at Higashiyama-yasui Bus Stop and then walk for five minutes, or get off at Gojozaka Bus Stop and walk five minutes.

Image Gallery: Ninen-zaka

Description: Ninen-zaka

Sights Ninen-zaka (二年坂)
Address 2 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-561-7407
Duration 1Hour(s)
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Ninen-zaka