kyoto japan trip

Kyoto (���s, Kyōto) served as Japan's capital and the emperor 's residence from 794 until 1868 . It is one of the country's ten largest cities with 1.5 million inhabitants and a modern face.

Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and escaped destruction during World War II . Countless temples , shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.

Top attractions in Kyoto

kyoto japan trip

Nijo Castle ••

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto Railway Museum •

kyoto japan trip

Sento Palace •

kyoto japan trip

Nishiki Market •

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto Imperial Palace •

kyoto japan trip

Pontocho •

kyoto japan trip

Nijo Jinya •

kyoto japan trip

Honganji Temples •

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto Manga Museum

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto Aquarium

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto Station

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto Tower

kyoto japan trip

Kiyomizudera •••

kyoto japan trip

Higashiyama •••

kyoto japan trip

Ginkakuji •••

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto National Museum ••

kyoto japan trip

Nanzenji Temple ••

kyoto japan trip

Gion •

kyoto japan trip

Philosopher's Path •

kyoto japan trip

Kenninji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Kodaiji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Shorenin Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Heian Shrine •

kyoto japan trip

Chionin Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Shogunzuka Mound

kyoto japan trip

Eikando Temple

kyoto japan trip

Shinnyodo Temple

kyoto japan trip

Yasaka Shrine

kyoto japan trip

Maruyama Park

kyoto japan trip

Fushimi Inari Shrine •••

kyoto japan trip

Daigoji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Tofukuji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Toji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Fushimi Sake District

kyoto japan trip

Kinkakuji •••

kyoto japan trip

Shugakuin Villa ••

kyoto japan trip

Ninnaji Temple ••

kyoto japan trip

Kibune •

kyoto japan trip

Kurama •

kyoto japan trip

Ohara •

kyoto japan trip

Ryoanji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Sanzenin Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Takao •

kyoto japan trip

Hieizan •

kyoto japan trip

Daitokuji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Kitano Tenmangu •

kyoto japan trip

Kamo Shrines •

kyoto japan trip

Enkoji Temple

kyoto japan trip

Manshuin Temple

kyoto japan trip

Arashiyama ••

kyoto japan trip

Kokedera ••

kyoto japan trip

Katsura Villa ••

kyoto japan trip

Yoshiminedera •

kyoto japan trip

Daikakuji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Tenryuji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Myoshinji Temple •

kyoto japan trip

Toei Eigamura •

kyoto japan trip

Hozugawa Cruise

kyoto japan trip

Sagano Railway

kyoto japan trip

Yamazaki Whisky Distillery

kyoto japan trip

Gion Matsuri ••

kyoto japan trip

Aoi Matsuri •

kyoto japan trip

Jidai Matsuri •

kyoto japan trip

Mount Koya •••

kyoto japan trip

Nara •••

kyoto japan trip

Kinosaki ••

kyoto japan trip

Osaka ••

kyoto japan trip

Himeji ••

kyoto japan trip

Amanohashidate •

kyoto japan trip

Kobe •

kyoto japan trip

Iga Ueno •

kyoto japan trip

Asuka and Sakurai

kyoto japan trip

Kyoto by interest

kyoto japan trip

Getting there and around

Itinerary ideas.

kyoto japan trip

  • Walk the Philosopher's Path
  • Beautiful temples and shrines
  • Attractive Higashiyama streets

kyoto japan trip

  • See the bamboo groves
  • Visit the monkey park
  • Serene temples and gardens

kyoto japan trip

  • Visit beautiful temples
  • Explore Higashiyama and Gion

kyoto japan trip

  • Visit beautiful temples and shrines

kyoto japan trip

  • Explore attractive Arashiyama

kyoto japan trip

  • Explore Kyoto's northern side
  • Visit Kinkakuji , Ryoanji and Ninnaji temples

Questions? Ask in our forum .

kyoto japan trip

Links and Resources

Kyoto official travel guide, cycle kyoto, hotels around kyoto, kyoto hotel guide.

How to choose the best places to stay in Kyoto

kyoto japan trip

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kyoto japan trip

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Kansai Kyoto The old imperial capital and cultural heart of Japan

  • Destinations

Kyoto is the former capital city of Japan and world-famous for its refined culture, dining, and charm of rural Japan

How to get there.

Kyoto City is a prime destination for most travelers with easy access from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and beyond by the Tokaido Shinkansen. Frequent commuter trains to and from Osaka are also an option. To reach other towns in Kyoto Prefecture and the Tango Peninsula, you'll need to take local trains and buses. It takes just over two hours from Kyoto Station to Miyazu on the coast at Tango, where buses take you on to Ine and the beaches. Consider renting a car for more travel freedom.

  • Grand temples, shrines, palaces and gardens in Kyoto City and around
  • Sumptuous multi-course kaiseki cuisine and refined traditional ryokan accommodations
  • White-sand beaches and mineral-rich hot springs on the Tango Peninsula
  • One of Japan's three great views at Amanohashidate

Recommended for You

around kyoto station

Cherry Blossoms

Forecast of first bloom

17 Mar 2023

Forecast of full bloom

24 Mar 2023

Explore Kyoto by Area

kyoto japan trip

Trending Attractions in Kyoto

gion & higashiyama

Local Specialties

Yudofu, literally "hot-water tofu", is arguably the best way to enjoy high-quality, freshly made tofu. Tofu is warmed through in a simple broth made of water and kombu, and simple condiments are served alongside. Kyoto is the place to enjoy this, as it is the epicenter of Buddhist cuisine, in which yudofu features heavily.


Kyo-gashi are a type of wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweet. Kyo-gashi are beautiful, colorful and symbolic confections, custom-made for different occasions, so no Kyo-gashi will ever be exactly the same as another.


Before modern transportation was available, farmers grew only the vegetables most suited to the regions they farmed in. Kyo-yasai are vegetables traditionally grown in Kyoto for centuries, and they play an important role in modern Kyoto cuisine.


Green tea from Uji is among the oldest and most highly regarded teas in Japan. You'll find it in tiny soba restaurants and temple gardens and many places in between. There are a variety of ways to enjoy green tea while in Uji.


Kyoto Kiyomizu Ware

Handmade ceramics and porcelain made in Kyoto are known as kyo yaki or Kiyomizu yaki and are characterized by their gorgeous elegance made with advanced pottery techniques. This craft evolved alongside other sophisticated pastimes in Kyoto, including the tea ceremony and flower arranging.


Kyoto Dyed Silk

Invented in the late 17th century, kyo yuzen is a dyeing technique distinguished by vivid colors, subtle gradations, complex patterns and precision linework. Traditional Japanese painting-like patterns are expressed in the textile design.


Nishijin Textiles

Nishijin ori silk textiles originate in Nishijin, the garment district of Kyoto. Exquisitely decorated brocades have been handwoven here for centuries, and feature gorgeous patterns utilizing multi-colored yarn-dyed threads. Treated with care, these garments can last a lifetime.


Kyoto Folding Fans

Fashioned out of bamboo, the kyo sensu is a folding fan decorated with handmade Japanese paper or silk on thin wooden strips, traditionally cypress. These artful accessories are used at ceremonies, festivals and Noh performances.


Seasonal Highlights

Late April to June is the time to view the cherry blossoms and the fresh green maple leaves in shrine and temple gardens.

takagamine & murasakino area

Highlights of the hottest season include riverside dining, cormorant fishing performances, beach excursions, the month-long Gion Festival, and fire displays to honor the spirits of ancestors.

gion & higashiyama

Kyoto’s autumn foliage attracts visitors from the world over. Harvest moon festivals are another autumn highlight. The cool temperatures are perfect for hiking at Mt. Ponpon and Mt. Atago.

around kyoto station

Kabuki’s biggest stars come to perform, plum blossoms emerge after the snows, and countryside onsen offer plenty of warmth.

ohara & around

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Your Trip to Kyoto: The Complete Guide

Kyoto Guide: Planning Your Trip

Akela / Stocksy

kyoto japan trip

Once the imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto is a stunning, tranquil city that's loaded with a unique mix of history and modern conveniences. While Kyoto is still a reasonably large city, boasting a population of more than a million people, it feels much smaller, making it easy to explore over just a few days.

Sample unique Kyoto dishes at Nishiki Market, stroll through the whistling bamboo at Arashiyama's famous groves, walk through the burnt-orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari, or take a day trip to nearby Nara, home to 1,000 sacred (and mostly friendly) deer.

Read on for more about planning your trip to Kyoto, including how to get there, where to stay, what to do, and more.

Planning Your Trip

Best Time to Visit : Kyoto is at its best during the spring and the fall. In October and November, temperatures are mild and the fall foliage surrounding the city is seriously impressive. In the spring months, visitors flock to see the famous cherry blossoms.

Language: Japanese. English is not common, but most people will try to help you out despite the language barrier.

Currency: Japanese yen, at a conversion of around 100 yen to $1.

Getting Around : Kyoto's city center is easily walkable, but the city also has a highly modernized and easily navigable public transit system. There are two subway lines, running north-south and east-west, and many bus lines. Busses are easy to use, with announcements made in English and Japanese, and there's a flat fare of just 230 yen (about $2). Kyoto is also connected to Japan's high-speed rail network, making it easy to get to other cities.

Travel Tip: Kyoto's most famous landmarks— Fushimi Inari , Arashiyama bamboo forest , or Kiyomizu-dera Temple —are predictably mobbed with people. If you want to beat the crowds in Kyoto, visit these worthy landmarks early in the morning (before 8 a.m.) or late at night.

Things to Do

Formerly Japan's imperial capital, Kyoto is loaded with history. In addition to temples and shrines, visitors can explore the imperial palace and castles, as well as plenty of modern landmarks like Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Station. Half the fun of exploring Kyoto is getting lost down the tiny side streets and alleys, where you'll uncover hidden record stores, vintage clothing stores, and kissaten (a Japanese tearoom that also serves coffee) for a quick caffeine jolt.

  • Among Kyoto's most popular landmarks, Fushimi Inari is an 8th-century landmark that you've almost certainly seen on Instagram. Visitors flock to see the orange torii gates that are built into the side of a mountain. The entire path is less than two miles, so it's easy to hike its length.
  • Food lovers and those with interest in Japanese culture must visit Kyoto's Nishiki Market . This assemblage of shops and food stalls dates back to the 14th century, with some vendors—like Aritsugu, a knife shop—boasting royal lineage. Snacking on the go is typically a faux pas in Japan, but not at Nishiki. Grab a tako tamago (baby octopus stuffed with a boiled quail egg) or a black sesame soft serve and take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this ancient landmark.
  • One of the most picturesque spots in Kyoto is the famous bamboo forest in Arashiyama . A quick train ride or bus will get you there, and you can spend the day exploring the forest, as well as surrounding attractions like the stunning Tenryuji Temple.

Looking for more things to do in Kyoto? Check out our guides to Kyoto's best temples and shrines , day trips from Kyoto , and how to see a Maiko show in Kyoto .

What to Eat and Drink

Kyoto's imperial history means that the city played a tremendous role in the development of Japanese cuisine. Many of the most well-known Japanese dishes originated here, but there are also likely some you've never heard of—and would be remiss not to try.

Kyoto-style sushi is one popular dish. Given that Kyoto is landlocked, this famous dish consists of preserved fish and rice wrapped in kombu (kelp), rather than regular seaweed. Kyoto is also renowned for yudofu, a rich tofu dish where the curd is simmered with kelp for flavor; yuba, a soybean-based dish made from tofu skin; and kaiseki, a large, set-course meal often served in ryokans.

While Kyoto is not as sprawling as Tokyo, the city has its own lively bar scene, with individual hangouts specializing in everything from Japanese whiskey and craft beer to sake and bespoke cocktails. Start your night on Kiyamachi Street, and you'll find plenty of places to explore. Afterward, tuck into an izakaya for a late-night snack of grilled skewers.

Explore our articles about the top restaurants in Kyoto , 10 must-try foods in Kyoto , and where to find Kyoto's best nightlife .

Where to Stay

Kyoto is small, but each of the city's neighborhoods has its own unique vibe, making deciding where to stay a challenge. But depending on what you're looking for, Kyoto truly has something to offer everyone.

If you're seeking a traditional ryokan experience , look toward Higashiyama. Alternatively, Shimogyo, near the train station, boasts a number of five-star, luxury hotels, on par with any major city. Shimogyo's convenience to shopping, restaurants, and transportations makes it a popular spot for travelers. (Note that oftentimes, the listed room rate of a hotel is per person, rather than for the room   .)

Explore Kyoto's different neighborhoods and check out of our recommendations for Kyoto's best hotels.

Getting There

Visitors who want to start their trip in Kyoto will likely fly into Osaka International Airport, an hour outside of Kyoto. The airport serves all of Japan's Kansai region and is serviced by most major carriers, but you'll often have a connection elsewhere in Asia.

Alternatively, for travelers who are already in Japan and looking to visit Kyoto, the easiest way to reach the city is by Shinkansen, or bullet train. These astoundingly fast trains run with regular service from most of Japan's major cities, making the trip from Tokyo in less than three hours. 

Culture and Customs

Manners are very important in Japan and are largely different than many American customs. However, don't worry if you get something wrong—just being aware of some basic Japanese courtesies and etiquette tips will make your trip all the more enjoyable.

For starters, a simple bow is a common and respectful greeting. Shaking hands is not common. Additionally, attaching the suffix of "-san" to someone's name is a sign of respect.

Tipping is not necessary, and this includes everything from restaurants to taxis   . In many instances, tipping can be seen as insulting or, at the very least, confusing. Instead, at mealtime, tell your server or the chef, "gochisosama deshita," or "thank you for the meal." For others, a simple "arigatou gozaimasu," or "thank you very much," will suffice.

Money-Saving Tips

  • Japan is still very much a cash-based society, and ATM fees can add up quickly, so it's wise to take out the maximum amount of cash you think you'll need.
  • Wi-Fi is available for free through many hot spots throughout the city   . Also, many businesses, such as cafes and restaurants have free Wi-Fi.
  • Japanese convenient store food is fast, inexpensive, and surprisingly enjoyable! Grab an onigiri or an egg salad sandwich for a quick and tasty meal on the go.
  • Many of Kyoto's most popular attractions, like Fushimi Inari, are entirely free to visit.
  • Taxis in Kyoto (and much of Japan) are shockingly expensive. Stick to public transit, which is fast, convenient, and much cheaper.
  • If you're traveling elsewhere in the country, purchase a Japan Rail pass. The initial investment might seem spendy—around $225 for a week—but the pass gets you unlimited rides on JR trains, including some Shinkansen.

Kyoto Tourism Federation. "Kyoto Manners."

Japan National Tourism Organization. "Tipping Culture in Japan Is a Little Different."

Japan National Tourism Organization. "Getting Online is Easy in Japan."

The Best Time to Visit Kyoto

Japan's Fushimi Inari Shrine: The Complete Guide

Your Trip to Tokyo: The Complete Guide

Where to Stay in Kyoto

Every Neighborhood to Know in Tokyo

The 10 Top Things to Do in Kyoto, Japan

48 Hours in Kyoto: The Ultimate Itinerary

Kyoto's Bamboo Forest: The Complete Guide

Nightlife in Kyoto: Best Bars, Clubs, & More

The Top 25 Things to Do in Japan

The Top 15 Destinations to Visit in Japan

The Top 18 Things to Do in Tokyo

Your Trip to Bangkok: The Complete Guide

The Top 12 Day Trips From Osaka

Shimogamo-Jinja in Kyoto: The Complete Guide

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Japan's ancient capital home to sacred shrines and Zen gardens

Top attractions in kyoto.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkakuji Temple

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha


Around Kyoto


Along a river in the West of Kyoto lies Arashiyama, a rural suburb of Kyoto. Literally “Storm Mountain”, Arashiyama is actually a tranquil place where you can wind down and relax in a beautiful..


Ine (伊根町) is a town located in Yosa District, in northern Kyoto Prefecture. It is known for its traditional wooden fishing houses, or Funaya, that line Ine Bay. The region is located to t..


Maizuru is a port city in northern Kyoto along the coast of the Sea of Japan. It can be reached in just 2 hours from the central Kyoto City, where most visitors to Kyoto converge. The city is..

About Kyoto

Japan’s capital from AD 794 to 1868, the list of possible tourist destinations in Kyoto Prefecture (京都府, Kyōto -fu) is endless.

You can attempt to visit all of major sites, including but certainly not limited to: Fushimi Inari Shrine and its brilliant vermillion row of torii gates, its many temples (most notably Kiyomizu-dera , Sanjusangen-do , and Kinkaku-ji ), Nijo Castle , and Amanohashidate (one of the Three Views of Japan).

Or you can attempt to “experience” Kyoto and its rich culture: appreciate the traditional architecture and maiko of the Gion district , witness the Gion Festival (held every July), and indulge in the various delicacies Kyoto has to offer, such as Uji matcha green tea, tofu, and various Japanese confectioneries. Kyoto is on the bucket list of many a traveller, and for good reason. 

  • Things to Do in Kyoto
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Kyoto Top 10

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Amanohashidate Chion-ji

Amanohashidate Chion-ji

Kyoto Fall 2022 Day Two

Kyoto Fall 2022 Day Two

Causette Joli

Causette Joli

Kyoto Fall of 2022

Kyoto Fall of 2022

Amanohashidate Motoise Kano Shrine

Amanohashidate Motoise Kano Shrine

Jojakko-ji Temple

Jojakko-ji Temple

Kyoto Fall 2022 Day Three

Kyoto Fall 2022 Day Three


Kyoto Bento Box Museum

Zuishin-in Daihonzan Temple

Zuishin-in Daihonzan Temple

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Kodai-ji Autumn Illumination

Kodai-ji Autumn Illumination

Fire Festival of Kurama Temple

Fire Festival of Kurama Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Autumn Illumination

Kiyomizu-dera Autumn Illumination

NAKED Flowers 2023 Autumn

NAKED Flowers 2023 Autumn

Kyoto: Access & Transport Guide

Kyoto: Access & Transport Guide

The Kimono Forest Of Arashiyama

The Kimono Forest Of Arashiyama

Nagoya to Kyoto by Train

Nagoya to Kyoto by Train

Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri

The Top of Fushimi Inari Taisha

The Top of Fushimi Inari Taisha

Upcoming kyoto events.

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Ohitaki Fire Festival Kifune Shrine

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Autumn foliage is lit up at night at Kiyomizu-dera

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Chao Chao Gyoza

Chowing down on gyozas and cheap beer at Chao Chao Gyoza

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Ine Boathouse Ryokan

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Tokyu Harvest Kyoto Takagamine

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Let us know how we can help.

Inside Kyoto

A Kyoto Travel Guide

Kyoto Itineraries

Make the most of your Kyoto trip with our Kyoto itineraries for visits lasting 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, 4 days and 5 days, plus tailored Kyoto itineraries for Shoppers, Temple Lovers, Hikers and Garden Lovers, as well as off-the-beaten track, foliage and cherry blossom itineraries.

Kyoto Itineraries image copyright Jeffrey Friedl

Main Kyoto Itineraries (Time Based)

  • Kyoto One-Day Itinerary If you’ve got only one full day in the city, you’ll want to see some of the most stunning and memorable spots. This itinerary includes the all-important Southern Higashiyama Sightseeing District, Downtown Kyoto, and the incredible Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine, with it’s arcades of vermillion torii gates.
  • Kyoto Two-Day Itinerary Two days is enough to get a good taste of what Kyoto has to offer (and to whet your appetite for more). This itinerary covers the same sights as our one-day itinerary (above) and then adds the western sightseeing district of Arashiyama, with its famous bamboo forest, and two other western Kyoto sights: Kinkaku-ji Temple and Daitoku-ji Temple.
  • Kyoto Three-Day Itinerary Three days allows you to slow down and check out some off-the-beaten-track parts of Kyoto. The first two days of this itinerary are the same as our two-day itinerary (above) and then adds a half-day trip up to the mountain temple of Kurama-dera, and a few sights in the less visited Northern Higashiyama area.
  • Kyoto Five-Day Itinerary Five days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Kyoto. The first three days of this itinerary are the same as our three-day itinerary (above) and then adds a daytrip to nearby Nara and a day for activities like Zen meditation or tea ceremony.
  • Must See Kyoto – 1 Day Itinerary Want to visit all the must see Kyoto sights in one day? Here’s a step by step itinerary to help you get to all of Kyoto’s must see places in one day if you’re pressed for time. Iconic Kyoto sights in this itinerary include Kinkaku-ji Temple (the “Golden Pavilion”), Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the epic Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine.

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Special Interest Kyoto Itineraries

  • Kyoto Itineraries For Families With Children Our itineraries for families traveling with children are designed to keep the children entertained while the adults get to enjoy some of the best sights in the city. They also take into account the challenges of getting around with children in tow.
  • Kyoto Foodie Itinerary If you want to sample some incredible food, check out some brilliant markets and learn about Kyoto cuisine as you go, then this special one-day foodie itinerary is for you.
  • 1-Day Kyoto Foodie Itinerary This one-day Kyoto foodie itinerary takes you through some of the highlights of Kyoto’s vast culinary scene. It includes a traditional Japanese-style breakfast, the famed Nishiki Market, a fabulous green tea parfait, and gorgeous Buddhist temple vegetarian cuisine.
  • 1-Day Kyoto Vegetarian Foodie Itinerary This one-day vegetarian Kyoto foodie itinerary takes you through some of the highlights of Kyoto’s vast culinary scene. It includes incredible egg sandwiches, some of the best soy milk ramen in the city, fabulous Japanese sweets, and yuba kaiseki.
  • Kyoto Shopper’s Itinerary This shopper’s itinerary lists the best and most interesting shops in the city. It’s divided by area so you can visit them efficiently and easily.
  • Kyoto Temple Lover’s Itinerary This itinerary includes our favorite temples in the city, all divided by area so you can easily move from one to the next.
  • Kyoto Garden Lover’s Itinerary Kyoto is a garden lover’s paradise. This itinerary lists the very best gardens in the city, conveniently divided by district, to make getting around easy.
  • Kyoto Hiker’s Itinerary Kyoto is surrounded by mountains that are covered with hiking trails. Our Kyoto Hiker’s Itinerary page lists the five best hikes in or near Kyoto.
  • Kyoto Walking Itineraries If you really want to explore the city on foot, without taking any form of transport, you’ll love the three itineraries listed on this page. They cover the main sightseeing districts of Southern Higashiyama, Northern Higashiyama and Arashiyama.


Fall Foliage and Spring Cherry Blossom Itineraries

  • Kyoto Cherry Blossom Itinerary This two-day itinerary covers the very best cherry blossom spots in the city.
  • Kyoto Fall Foliage Itinerary Kyoto’s best fall foliage spots are all covered in this two-day itinerary.

Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Itineraries

  • Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Itineraries If you don’t like crowds, you’ll love the two walking itineraries on this page. They cover secret places in Northern and Southern Higashiyama.
  • Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Fall Foliage Itinerary Kyoto is crowded during fall foliage season. To enjoy the colors away from the crowds, check out this itinerary.
  • Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Cherry Blossom Itinerary Sure, the cherries are beautiful, but the crowds are not. If you want to enjoy the cherry blossoms without all the people, check out this itinerary.

All-Japan Itineraries

For itineraries that cover all of Japan, ranging from a few days to two weeks or more, visit our Japan Itineraries page.

Itineraries For Other Cities in Japan

For itineraries in other cities of Japan, visit the following pages:

  • Tokyo Itineraries
  • Osaka Itineraries
  • Nara Itineraries
  • Kanazawa Itineraries
  • Takayama Itineraries
  • Hiroshima/Miyajima Itineraries

Where to Stay in Kyoto

It’s important to think about your hotel location for making the most of your time in Kyoto. See Where To Stay In Kyoto for a rundown of the most convenient Kyoto districts for sightseeing.

Kyoto Vacation Checklist

  • For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
  • Check Kyoto accommodation availability on – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
  • Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
  • See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
  • Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport . Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
  • Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
  • If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
  • A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
  • World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world

Kyoto District Map

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  • Central Kyoto
  • Northwest Kyoto
  • Northern Higashiyama
  • Southern Higashiyama
  • Downtown Kyoto
  • Kyoto Station Area
  • South East Kyoto

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Kyoto Bucket List: 18 Amazing Things to do in Kyoto, Japan

Julie Last updated: October 29, 2023 Japan 5 Comments

Kyoto Japan Best Things To Do

Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan. Visiting the shrines and temples, with their perfectly landscaped gardens and views over the city, top the list for most visitors to Kyoto. But there are also bamboo groves and small neighborhoods to explore, food markets and shopping streets to visit, and some very cool day trips that you can take. The list of things to do in Kyoto is long. So long, in fact, that it would take you weeks to thoroughly explore this extraordinary city.

In this post, we narrow down the long list of things to do in Kyoto to 18 unforgettable experiences. If this is your first time in Kyoto, this is a great starting point for having the best holiday here.

Table of Contents

Interesting Facts about Kyoto

For over 1,000 years Kyoto was the capital city of Japan. Tokyo took over this title in 1868.

Kyoto is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan. In World War II, it escaped bombing at the intervention of Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and has remained Japan’s cultural center.

Kyoto has one of the world’s largest collections of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are 17 UNESCO Sites, several of which make our list of the best things to do in Kyoto.

Kyoto has a massive network of trains and subways. Trying to get from one place to another can be mind-boggling at first, as they are not all operated by the same company. Occasionally, you will have to purchase more than one ticket to travel from point A to point B.

Kyoto is unlike many other cities in the world, where the top sights are clustered in the historic city center. In Kyoto, the shrines and temples sit on the outskirts of the city, on the lush hillsides and mountains that surround the city. When you visit these temples, the experience is more than just visiting and photographing the main hall or pavilion. Strolling the paths and wandering through the tranquil gardens is the best part of the experience, in my opinion.

Temples vs. Shrines

Kyoto is filled with temples and shrines. So, how do you know the difference between the two?

Shinto and Buddhism are Japan’s two major religions. The temples are Buddhist and the shrines are Shinto.

There are over 1600 Buddhist temples in Kyoto. At the temples, you will see a Buddha statue, burning incense, and beautiful buildings surrounded by manicured gardens.

Shrines are characterized by bright red torii gates. You know you are entering a Shinto shrine when you enter through a bright red gate. There are over 400 Shinto shrines in Kyoto.

Map of Things to Do in Kyoto

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Best Things to do in Kyoto

1. fushimi inari taisha.

The Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most important and iconic shrines in Kyoto. Fushimi Inari honors the Shinto god of rice.

There are thousands of torii here, each donated by a company giving thanks for its prosperity and hopes for a prosperous future. The name of each company is labeled on the torii.

For us, it was magical, walking through these tunnels of torii. Walking through thousands of these gates, in the quiet forests on the outskirts of Kyoto, felt peaceful and even a little bit mysterious.

Torii Gate best things to do in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Taisha | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Torri gates at Fushi Inari Taisha | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Taisha Photo

As you climb up the hillside, you will see many sub-shrines. You will also frequently see the fox, the messenger of the Inari shrine.

Inari Shrine best things to do in Kyoto

The farther you walk up the hillside, the fewer people you will see. You can actually turn this walk into a short hike to the summit of Mt. Inari-san. This takes about 3 hours and you can learn more here.

Getting Here: Inari Station on the JR Nara Line; Fushimi-Inari Station on the Keihan Line

2. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, the “Pure Water Temple,” is one of Kyoto’s most popular temples to visit. It feels more touristy and more commercial than many other shrines and temples in town, but even so, it’s worth a visit.

This huge complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kiyomizudera Entrance best things to do in Kyoto

From the Kiyomizu stage of the Main Hall (a large, wooden balcony), enjoy gorgeous views over the city of Kyoto. In autumn, the view is spectacular when the maples turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Kiyomizu Stage

Kiyomizu Stage | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

At the base of the main hall is the Otowa waterfall. Using ladles, visitors can drink water from the three streams. Each of these streams can help fulfill a wish: longevity, good luck in love, or success in school. Drinking from one or two of these streams is acceptable, but never drink from all three.

Ladles best things to do in Kyoto

Other places to visit are the Jishu Shrine, Koyasu Pagoda, and Okunoin Hall. There are small shops selling good luck charms for love, wealth, happiness, and good health.

Kiyomizudera Pagoda best things to do in Kyoto

Koyasu Pagoda | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Wishes best things to do in Kyoto

Getting Here: Take the Keihan Railway Line to Kiyomizu-Gojo and it is a 20 minute walk to the temple. Or, take bus 100 or 206 to Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi stop and it is a 10-minute walk to the temple.

3. Stroll through the Higashiyama District

This historic district is a maze of narrow, paved streets and traditional wooden buildings. The Higashiyama District is the perfect place to visit if you like wandering picturesque streets, shopping, and hopping from café to café. This part of Kyoto feels more traditional than some of the other districts in the city.

Higashiyama District

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, the Yasaka Shrine, the Yasaka Pagoda, and Kodai-ji Temple are all found in the Higashiyama District. Strolling these narrow lanes is a great way to connect Kiyomizu-dera Temple with the Yasaka Shrine and Kodaiji Temple, if these are also on your list to visit. In our map above, we provide a walking route that connects Kiyomizu-dera Temple with the Yasaka Pagoda, Kodai-ji Temple, and the Yasaka Shrine, and ends in Gion.

Gion, which I talk about next, is also located in the Higashiyama District.

4. Wander through Gion

Gion is a small neighborhood in the Higashiyama District. These narrow lanes are lined with teahouses, as well as bars, clubs, and pachinko parlors. If you stroll the streets in the evening, there is a chance that you might spot a geisha as she enters one of the teahouses.

Gion Photo best things to do in Kyoto

Gion | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

On your visit here, don’t miss Hanami-koji, one of the most famous streets in Gion.

Hanamikoji Kyoto

Hanami-koji | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Note: In response to the recent explosion in tourist levels in Kyoto, a new rule has been put into effect. Photography on the private streets in Gion is no longer allowed. Please be respectful of the geisha and do not act like a crazy paparazzi in order to photograph them.

5. Visit Kodai-ji Temple

Kodai-ji Temple is located in the Higashiyama district. This temple, which dates back to 1606, is a temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism. Walk the path through the rock garden, follow it up to the tea houses and mausoleum, and circle back to the main complex through the bamboo grove.

Our favorite experience was sitting on the tatami mats inside of the main temple and looking out over the gardens.

Kodaiji Temple

Bamboo grove at Todai-ji Temple | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Kodaiji Main Hall

Getting Here: Gion-Shijo is the closest metro station to the temple (1 km walk, about 12 minutes). Many people visit Kodai-ji Temple when strolling through the Higashiyama district.

6. Photograph Yasaka Pagoda

Kyoto has a long list of stunning photography locations and the Yasaka Pagoda is one of our favorites. Located in southern Higashiyama, this pagoda towers over the twisting lanes and traditional wooden houses. We got extremely lucky with our timing, as there was a photography session with a young Japanese couple during our visit.

Yasaka Pagoda

If you want this same photo, take a stroll down Yasaka Kamimachi. I took this photo here: 34°59’53.4″N 135°46’48.1″E

7. See the Cherry Blossoms at Maruyama Park

In April, Maruyama Park is the place to see the cherry blossoms. The centerpiece of the park is the large weeping cherry tree which is lit up at night. To get here, you will enter the park through the Yasaka Shrine.

8. Enjoy the Fall Colors at Eikan-do Temple

Eikan-do Temple, which was once called Zenrin-ji Temple, is known for being one of the best spots to see the fall colors in Kyoto.

This temple dates back to 853. Since that time, several halls and chambers have been added to the temple complex. Inside of Amida Hall you can see the unusual statue of the Amida Buddha, which looks over its shoulder rather than straight ahead.

Getting Here: Eikan-do Temple is located in northeast Kyoto. Keage Station is the closest metro stop (1 km, 15 minute walk). Nanzenji-Eikando-michi is the closest bus stop (5 minute walk). Or, take a taxi.

9. Take a Stroll on the Philosopher’s Path

The Philosopher’s Path is stone path that follows beside a canal. It is lined with cherry trees and during the spring months, this is one of the most popular places to visit in Kyoto, in order to see the blooms.

The Philosopher’s Path starts near Ginkaku-ji Temple. It is about 2 kilometers long, ending in Nanzen-ji neighborhood.

You can walk part or all of the path. Crowds are at their largest midday, especially when the cherry trees are blooming.

10. Visit Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion)

Ginkaku-ji Temple is a Zen temple in northeast Kyoto. The main temple is an understated wooden building, but its setting amongst the trees and gardens is what makes this temple special.


Ginkaku-ji | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

In front of the pavilion is the “Sea of Silver Sand,” a large sand garden that features a giant cone of sand that resembles Mount Fuji. This is a beautiful place to go for a stroll, with paths that meander through the gardens, over small bridges, and up to a viewpoint over the pavilion.

Sea of Silver Sand

There are several theories as to why it is called the Silver Pavilion. One theory is that it was to be covered in silver once construction was completed, but shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa died before the temple was constructed. On a clear night, the moonlight hitting the temple creates a silver reflection, so this another possible origin of the name.

Getting Here: Take a stroll on the Philosopher’s Path, starting in the Eikan-do Temple and ending at Ginkaku-ji Temple (2 km, 30 minute walk).

11. Feed the Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park

There are several different reasons why you should visit Arashiyama Monkey Park. Sure, feeding the monkeys is fun, especially if you are visiting Kyoto with kids, but the views from the park are beautiful. Not only do you have great views over the city, but if you look to the northwest, all you see are green mountains stretching off in the distance.

Monkey Park View best things to do in Kyoto

View over Kyoto | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Monkey Park View best things to do in Kyoto

Another view from the Monkey Park | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

To get to the Monkey Park, it is a 20 to 30 minute hike to the top of Mount Arashiyama. Over 120 Japanese macaque monkeys live here. They are wild but you can feed them, if you follow several rules. Don’t look the monkeys in the eye, do not touch them, and only feed them when you are inside of the building.

Once inside the building, purchase your monkey food and you can feed them once you are behind the metal grates.

Kyoto Monkey Park best things to do in Kyoto

We really enjoyed this experience, despite its rather remote location. But maybe that is exactly why we liked it so much. This is a nice break from visiting the temples and shrines, and this rural area of Kyoto is beautiful. Even if you have no plans to feed the monkeys, I still think it is worth it to journey out this way.

Plus, you can add this visit on to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Tenryu-ji Temple.

Getting Here: The closest metro stop is the Hankyu Arashiyama station (5 minute walk). It is a 15-minute walk from the JR Arashiyama station. This is a very nice walk, as you get to cross the Oi River to get to the park entrance.

Oi River

Oi River | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

12. Visit Tenryu-ji Temple

This temple is located just a short walk from the Monkey Park (about 1 km, 10 to 15 minutes).

This temple was founded in 1339 by shogun Ashikaga Takauji to venerate Gautama Buddha. It was also dedicated to Emperor Go-Daigo, who had died the year after Ashikaga became shogun.

Tenryuji Temple

Most of the buildings and halls are relatively new. They date back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, having been destroyed by fires or wars. The centerpiece of this complex is the large pond that is surrounded by manicured gardens, with the Arashiyama Mountains forming the backdrop.

Getting Here: It is five minute walk from the JR Saga-Arashiyama station.

13. Visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

You have no doubt seen photos of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove…a long, snaking pathway that is lined with hundreds of bamboo trees.

This is one of the most visited sights in Kyoto. So, expect to share it with many, many other people.

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is often described as being a mystical, serene experience. Yes, that can be true, but you have to get your timing right. Midday this short path can be swarmed with visitors, which is hardly a Zen experience.

We planned our visit for the early morning and it paid off (we were here at 9 am in July). We were one of only a few groups of visitors. Even so, it lacked the mystical nature we read so much about before our visit.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Arashiyama Bamboo

The pathway is relatively short, about 500 meters long, so it only takes a few minutes to walk the entire distance. However, it can take much longer, depending on how often you stop and take photos.

In my opinion, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is worth visiting, just try to go early so you can avoid the crowds.

14. Kinkaku-ji Temple (the Golden Pavilion)

Without a doubt, a visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple is one of the best things to do in Kyoto.

Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkaku-ji | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

This brilliant golden temple attracts huge numbers of tourists and photographers. The prime spot to take a photo is directly across the Kyoko-chi Pond from the pavilion, which will be one of the first places that you visit when touring the temple complex. This can be a very busy spot midday.

The top two levels of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf. Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion, was modeled after this temple.

Kinkakuji Temple Kyoto

Interesting Fact: The pavilion that you see today dates back to 1955. In 1950, a young monk set fire to the pavilion and then attempted suicide. The pavilion was rebuilt in 1955.

Getting Here: Kinkaku-ji is located in northern Kyoto. The closest metro stop is Kita-Oji (3 km, 35 minute walk). We got here by taxi and had no problems catching another taxi once we finished our visit.

15. Nijo Castle

Did you know that you can tour an actual castle in downtown Kyoto?

Nijo Castle is over 400 years old. With stone walls, a five story castle keep, and a moat, this castle seems almost out of place with its location near the city center.

Nijo Castle best things to do in Kyoto

Nijo Castle | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Nijo Castle Gate

It was built in 1603 as a residence for Tokugawa lesayu, the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. Later, it was used as a palace and then eventually it was turned over to the city and opened as a historic site. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

What is a Shogun? A shogun is a military dictator. The title of “shogun” was granted by the Emperor. The shogun was the ruler of the country and the Emperor was a figurehead. This period of military dictators spanned from 1185 to 1868. In 1868, power was returned to the Emperor.

On a visit to Nijo Castle, you can stroll through the gardens, rent an audio guide to learn more about the history of the castle, and, the best part, visit Ninomaru Palace. This is ancient Japan as I imagined it…large, open rooms, tatami mats covering the floors, and screens painted with dragons, Japanese maples, and evergreen trees.

Getting Here: Nijojo-mae station is the closest station to Nijo Castle.

16. Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is a long, narrow shopping street that is lined with over 100 small shops and restaurants.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Shopping Nishiki Market best things to do in Kyoto

We loved our visit here. Some foods we recognized but many we didn’t. All the signs are in Japanese but we had a lot of fun purchasing “mystery foods” as we walked through the market.

We have never seen a market this clean. Fish, seafood, and meat make up the majority of what is for sale in Nishiki Market, but the floors were spotless and everything was very orderly.

Getting Here: Shijo station is the closest metro stop (about a 5 minute walk).

17. Participate in a Tea Ceremony

One of the best things to do in Kyoto is to participate in a traditional tea ceremony. This is a great cultural activity and a nice break from touring the temples.

A Japanese tea ceremony involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, which is powdered green tea.

Numerous tea ceremonies are offered throughout Kyoto. In this experience, you sit on tatami mats while your host carries out the ceremonial preparation of the matcha green tea.

18. Eat Sushi

This may be a bit cliché, but you can’t visit Kyoto without eating sushi. 

There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. One of the best places to go is Pontocho Alley. Not only is this sometimes called the most beautiful street in Kyoto, but this street is lined with restaurants, making this one of the best spots in Kyoto to grab a bite to eat (not just sushi but many different types of Japanese food). The restaurants on the east side of Pontocho Alley have outdoor decks where you can overlook the Kamogawa River.

Kamogawa River Kyoto

Outdoor decks off the Pontocho Alley restaurants along the Kamogawa River

Pontocho Alley best things to do in Kyoto

Restaurant on Pontocho Alley | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Sashimi best things to do in Kyoto

Sashimi | Best Things to Do in Kyoto

We were HUGE fans of kaiten sushi (kaitenzushi). Kaiten sushi is one of the most innovative ways to have dinner. As plates of sushi drift by your table on a conveyor belt, you can pick and choose what looks good. If you want something special, place your order on the touch screen computer at your table.

Kaiten sushi is cheap, fast, and lots of fun. It’s great if you are new to eating sushi, because you can just pick out what looks good as it glides past your table. This type of sushi lacks the high quality of what you will get in other restaurants in Kyoto, but it is still absolutely delicious. If you are on a budget, this is a great option to dine on sushi without spending a lot of money.

Japan with Kids

Our favorite kaiten sushi restaurant in Kyoto was Sushiro. Yum!

If you want to see more, check out our video from our first visit to Sushiro, when we were newbs at kaiten sushi restaurants. But by the end of our visit we were pros.

List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto

Here is the list of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto.

  • Kinkaku-ji Temple
  • Ginkaku-ji Temple
  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Tenryu-ji Temple
  • Ninna-ji Temple
  • Nijo Castle
  • Nishi-Hongan-ji Temple
  • Ryoan-ji Temple
  • To-ji Temple
  • Daigo-ji Temple
  • Saiho-ji Temple
  • Enryaku-ji Temple
  • Byodo-in Temple
  • Kozan-ji Temple
  • Shimogamo-jinja Shrine
  • Kamigamo-jinja Shrine
  • Ujigami-jinja Shrine

Day Trip Ideas from Kyoto

Nara makes an excellent day trip destination from Kyoto. Feed the deer, visit Kasuga-taisha, and tour Todai-ji Temple. Until 1998, the main hall of Todai-ji Temple was the world’s largest wooden building, having been bumped from the top of the list by a baseball stadium in Japan as well as other buildings.

LEARN MORE: Feeding the Deer in Nara, Japan

Deer in Nara

Todai-ji Temple

Hiroshima is the site where the first of two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan during World War II.

A day trip to Hiroshima is very easy to do from Kyoto. By Shinkansen, it takes just over two hours to travel from Kyoto to Hiroshima. Spend the day at Hiroshima, visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Cenotaph, and the Atomic Bomb Dome, and more. You also have the option to add on Miyajima to this day trip.

LEARN MORE: How to Plan Your Day Trip to Hiroshima

Hiroshima Cenotaph

Hiroshima Victims Memorial Cenotaph

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan. It is called Hakuro-jo or Shirasagi-jo (“White Egret Castle” or “White Heron Castle”) for its white exterior and appearance of a bird taking flight. It takes about an hour to get here from Kyoto.

LEARN MORE: How to Plan a Day Trip to Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle Day Trip

How Many Days Do You Need in Kyoto?

To visit the highlights in Kyoto, you will need a minimum of 3 days. This gives you just enough time to visit most of the temples and sites listed in this post. More time is better, because it allows you to slow down, spend more time exploring the neighborhoods and temples, and soak up the culture.

For each day trip we list, you will need an additional day.

On our visit, we had 7 days. That gave us three days for day trips and four days to explore Kyoto. That was the perfect amount of time for our first visit but I can’t wait to come back and explore some more.

If you have any questions about the best things to do in Kyoto, let us know in the comment section below:

More Information about Japan

TOKYO: Journey through Tokyo in photos and learn how to plan a day trip to Kamakura.

KYOTO: Travel through Kyoto in Photos  and read about our first impressions of Osaka and Kyoto.

SUMO WRESTLING: Watching Sumo wrestling is one of the best things to do in Japan. We write about our experience and get tips on how you can do the same in our article How to Watch Sumo Wrestling in Japan.

TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more travel ideas, here are 10 unique destinations to put on your travel wish list and 10 bucket list destinations from around the world.

TRAVEL ADVICE: Here is our list of tips to help you maximize your time while traveling. We also have tips on traveling with kids plus a massive list of 101 travel tips we learned while traveling around the world.

Read all of our articles about Japan in our Japan Travel Guide.

Kyoto Japan Best Things To Do

All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

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Kyoto Japan

Thank you for the great information! My son is in Kyoto for 8 weeks and has been using your information to check out all the city has to offer!

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You’re welcome! What a great opportunity for your son! Cheers, Julie

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Thank you for providing this treasure trove of places to visit in Kyoto. You have laid out the information beautifully. We will likely follow it to the tea!

You’re welcome!

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Thank you very much. I miss Japan.

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kyoto japan trip

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

Things To Do

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Home » Asia » Japan » Kyoto

KYOTO Itinerary • MUST READ! (2023)

Kyoto is an incredibly beautiful ancient city which was the capital of Japan for over a thousand years. It’s famed for its numerous gorgeous Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, traditional wooden pandolas, and Imperial Palaces.

Its scenic cityscape, bursting with cherry and maple trees, is iconic as are some of its buildings, dating millennia back! Kyoto’s cuisine is also famous throughout Japan.

Kyoto offers visitors an irresistible combination of ancient architecture and modern infrastructure. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, art or nature, the city has plenty to offer everyone.

Explore the best that this city has to offer with my 3-day Itinerary Kyoto! I’ve also put together the best day trips in the area, for those lucky enough to be spending more than a weekend in Kyoto.

A Little Bit About This 3 Day Kyoto Itinerary

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Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan, which means it’s full of history, traditional architecture, an incredible foodie scene, and an abundance of awe-inspiring zen temples! It has something for every traveler, from manicured Japanese gardens to relaxing bamboo forests, to incredible museums and foodie tours, you’ll never run out of things to do in Kyoto.

Whether you’re spending one day in Kyoto or a week, planning an unforgettable Kyoto itinerary is no easy task. There are some phenomenal options jostling for a spot on your list! 

I’d personally suggest taking at least two or three full days to explore the city. If you want to see all of the important landmarks you might be able to fit everything into 24 hours, but with over 2,000 temples in Kyoto alone (and most of them are gorgeous) that’ll guarantee a lot of stress. So do yourself a favor and set more time aside.

This itinerary has been designed for travellers with 2 or 3 days in Kyoto. For the first 2 days in Kyoto, I offer a step-by-step Kyoto itinerary and have carefully timed attractions to ensure you can fit them all in. I have also included spots for eating as we all know exploring is hungry work!

Day 3 is a bit more free and easy. I have provided a bunch of cool ideas for you to choose from, plus some free attractions for any backpackers in Japan looking to save some pennies.

kyoto japan trip

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Kyoto Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1 in Kyoto: Kinkakuji Temple , Nijo Castle , Camellia FLOWER , Nishiki Market ,   Geisha dance in Gion
  • Day 2 in Kyoto: Yasaka Pagoda , Kiyomizudera Temple , Kyoto International Manga Museum , Kyoto Station Building , Maruyama Park , Ginkakuji Temple
  • Day 3 in Kyoto: Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine , Japanese Cooking Class , Monkey Park , Mt Kurama

So where is the best place to stay in Kyoto ?  If you’re interested in temple-hopping – one of the best activities in Kyoto – try to find a place in the Higashiyama district ! Famous for its many beautiful and historic temples, some of the best Kyoto attractions are located within easy walking distance. If you’re only spending a weekend in Kyoto this is ideal, as you won’t have to spend much time on transportation!

One of the coolest neighbourhoods for your first time in Kyoto is Gion . However, it’s unlikely you’ll actually find a place to stay here. It’s so popular, and most of its streets are dedicated primarily to its famous tea houses and merchant homes. Still, if you have the money to spend, give it a go! It’s not every day that you get to stay in a neighbourhood that is an iconic and integral part of a community’s culture! There are also some great Kyoto Airbnbs in this area.


Another great neighbourhood you can stay in is Downtown Kyoto’s Kawaramachi . It’s central and modern, but really close to the oldest parts of Kyoto. A vacation in Kyoto is always really well spent here.

The best hostels in Kyoto are spread over the city. I have selected a few options below to get you started.

Best Hostel in Kyoto – Len Kyoto

Kyoto itinerary

Centrally located and just a 1-minute walk from the Kamo River, Len Kyoto is a great hostel in Kyoto to choose! It has a café and bar lounge where you can grab a coffee and breakfast in the morning, and drinks at night. Rooms are spacious and clean, and the beds are comfortable.

Best Kyoto Airbnb – House in Kyoto with Area for Family Group

New House in Kyoto with Area for Family Group

Close to Kyoto Train Station, this Kyoto Airbnb traditional home can sleep up to ten people, perfect for large families and friends travelling together. The sleeping arrangements are Japanese style, in that most people sleep in the same room on tatami mats on the ground.

The main sleeping room doubles as the living room, with a TV, table, and sofas as well. There’s another room that can be used for sleeping and/or eating, and you’ll find comfy floor seats in this room too.

There’s a separate toilet and bathroom and a well-equipped kitchen with a small breakfast bar. Lovely Japanese features can be found throughout the home.

Best Budget Hotel in Kyoto – Sunput Nanajo Mibu

Kyoto itinerary

This hotel is luxury on a budget! Each room has air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchenette, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Located in the heart of Kyoto, it has everything you could want! The staff is friendly and helpful, and you can even rent bicycles.

Kyoto Day 1 Itinerary Map

The first day of my 2 days in Kyoto Itinerary includes some of the most beautiful places in the country! Today, you’ll be touring ancient temples and markets, among other things. If you’re only visiting Kyoto for the first time, this is also the best way to do it!

The first day will largely stay in downtown Kyoto, with one or two attractions a little further out. You’ll want to wear comfy shoes today as there is a lot of walking.

9.00 AM – Kinkaku ji Temple

Kinkakuji Temple

This serene, gold-colored temple is an iconic UNESCO world heritage site. Perched on the water, with its leafy, mountainous backdrop, is a perfect example of Japanese architecture. Each level represents a different architectural style from the extravagant Kitayama culture. It looks like a painting from every angle!

Also known as the Golden Temple, or Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku ji is definitely one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in the world.

The golden pavilion’s top two floors are covered in gold-leaf, making for a very impressive sight.

The building has been burnt down numerous times throughout its history – while the original was built in the 14th century, the most recent structure was rebuilt in 1995. But rest assured, it looks just the same!

There are also some truly lovely Zen gardens around the temple, which you should not miss. The effect, as a whole, is breathtaking.

I’ve made this my first stop because it can get very crowded! So, start your day early and try to beat the rush.

  • Cost –  $4
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  30 mins
  • Getting There –  Public transport runs here or you can use Uber

10.00 AM – Nijo Castle & The Kyoto Imperial Palace

Nijo Castle

The Nijo castle very different from any that you’ll find in Europe!

The gorgeous embellishments are made from wood and gold leaf. Marvel at the craftsmanship, and imagine the secrets and battles held in these walls. Its palace buildings are one of the best surviving examples of its architectural style from Japan’s feudal era.

You cannot take photos inside, but bring the camera anyway! Its’ exterior is very impressive, with a moat, extensive grounds and a canvas print of Paul Ross hung on the walls. There’s a main and second circle of defence – the Ninomaru Palace is in the second. The floors squeak when stepped upon as a security measure! Talk about cool ninja palace…

There’s also a traditional manicured Japanese landscape garden. This is a great place to stroll or sit and relax before moving on to the next stop, and certainly one of the most beautiful places in my Kyoto Itinerary!

Go for the audio guide! The history of the castle is so interesting, it definitely adds to the experience.

Across the road from the Nijo castle is the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The palace is the former ruling place of the Emperor of Japan. Emporers have resided here since the Meiji Restoration in 1869, but now they live at the Tokyo Imperial Palace to maintain the preservation of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. This ornately decorated palace is a pure wonder to behold, and one of the most historic places to visit in Kyoto.

  • Cost –  $6 for the Nijo Castle, with an extra $4 for entrance to Ninomaru Palace. Free for the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  60 mins at each place
  • Getting There –  Take the bus from Kinkakujimichi to Horikawa Marutamachi. Walk to Nijo Castle and the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

11.00 AM – Tea Ceremony at Camellia FLOWER

Japanese Tea Ceremony

A tea ceremony is the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha; powdered green tea. A great cultural experience, this is a must! You’ll learn more about Japanese history and tradition, and come away with a greater appreciation of the ancient civilization.

Japanese Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism as it’s sometimes called, was a primary influence on the tradition, and it is still considered an art.

Serene and calming, the tradition dates all the way back to the 9th century! It was practiced by Emperors and Japanese nobles. The fact that as a tourist, you can participate in this ceremony, is amazing. Be respectful and appreciative of your guide – this is an honour.

There are many places in Kyoto where you can participate in a tea ceremony. I suggest Camellia FLOWER because the staff are friendly and helpful, and speak fluent English. They are considered one of the best.

But when you get to Kyoto, have a look around your neighborhood. You’re sure to find one nestled somewhere!

  • Cost –  $27 – yes this is one expensive cup of tea!
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  60 mins
  • Getting There  – Walk from Horikawa Marutamachi and then take the bus to Higashiyama Yasui

12:30 PM – Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

Next up is a lunchtime visit to the Nishiki Market. A narrow, five-block long shopping street, this lively market is known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”.

It specializes in all things street food-related, including fresh and cooked seafood, produce, Japanese sweets, and cookware. It’s the perfect great place to find seasonal Japanese foods and incredible Kyoto specialties. Almost everything sold here is locally produced!

The market is very busy but pleasant, and the crowd is more locals than tourists. There’s no better way to explore the many culinary delights of Kyoto. You can sample many different street foods, and buy small portions for a budget lunch. Spend a few hours strolling through the street. There is so much to take in in this vibrant space. It’s definitely one of the coolest things to do in Kyoto.

The market started centuries ago, as a fish wholesale district in the early 14th century. Many stores have been run by the same families for generations! Today the charming Nishiki Market remains an important space for locals and tourists alike. You won’t find fresher food than this!

  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  1 or 2 hours mins
  • Getting There –  Walk here. It’s 25 minutes, but far less complicated than changing busses.

3.30 PM – Gion District

Gion District, Kyoto

Gion is Kyoto’s geisha district. It has held this title for centuries, and you’ll find a lot of traditional Japanese style architecture and history here. You’ll also spot beautiful hostesses in colorful kimonos walking down the wooden Tatsumi Bridge and on the streets.

Admire the upscale restaurants and boutiques of the unique district. Watch one of the traditional Kyomai dances hosted at Gion Corner.

There’s lots to do here, so be sure to set out a few hours for it. Geisha’s are ubiquitous across Japan. This is one of the best  things to do in Kyoto .

Geisha, or Geiko (Kyoto’s dialect, meaning ‘arts child’), entertain in traditional Japanese style tea houses. There are also wooden machiya merchant houses lining the street, close together but stretching far back.

The entertainment district is at its most atmospheric in the early evening when lanterns are lit and the sun slowly sets. We are a bit early for this but you can hang around and wait.

  • Cost –  Free
  • Getting There –  Walk here in 15 minutes. Aim for Gion Tatsumi Bridge

5.00 PM – Geisha dance in Gion

Geisha Dance

Stopped in tradition and culture, these dances are an art form long recognized in Japan! Once you’ve enjoyed the general delights of the district, enter a tea house if you can (many only cater to locals).

If you’re lucky, you will be able to observe a small performance in one of these teahouses. If you’re very lucky, or a good planner, you’ll be able to see a large performance, put on for the general community!

The five geisha districts of Kyoto put on annual performances for the public, and tourists are permitted to join the crowd. Here geiko and maiko (apprentices) perform with dance and music.

The dances are highly stylized and tightly choreographed. Every move is perfect, their slow and graceful forms hinting at the intensely hard work that goes into them. These dances are considered a great honor to perform in – and are certainly an honor to witness.

Each performance depicts some aspect of Japanese life and the changing of seasons. They are exquisitely beautiful, and certainly an experience you will never forget – a must see in Kyoto.

  • Cost –  $18 – $40
  • Getting There –  It’s in the Gion district

kyoto japan trip

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Kyoto Day 2 Itinerary Map

Explore nature, modern Japanese architecture and art, and of course more temples on day 2 of my Kyoto Itinerary! It’s going to be an incredible day.

9:00 AM – Yasaka Pagoda

Yasaka Pagoda, Kyoto

Also known as Hakanji Temple or Yasaka-no-Tou, this pagoda is perfect. With an iconic design and great location, it feels like you’re in an old Japanese movie as you look at it.

Yasaka Pagoda, the last remnant of Hokanji Temple, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the district. Occasionally the interior is open to visitors, which is a rare opportunity.

Almost all pagoda can only ever be viewed from the outside. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find out when public viewings are available unless you go and ask in person.

Still, it’s worth the visit just to see the outside! A 46-meter tall pagoda with graceful, sloping roofs on every tier, it lies in the middle of an old Kyoto neighborhood in Higashiyama which is wonderful to walk through. Admire the scene, old ladies sitting and gossiping together, light wooden buildings and cherry trees.

If you do get to see the interior, you’ll have the opportunity to Visitors are allowed inside to marvel at the tower’s architecture, statues and fading paintings. Originally built by the Imperial Prince Shotoku in 589, the pagoda is said to have been inspired by a dream.

  • Cost –  $4
  • Getting There –  You can reach the Pogoda by bus

10:00 AM – Kiyomizu Dera Temple

Kiyomizudera Temple

Kiyomizu Sera, or the ‘Pure Water Temple’, is one of the most beautiful and celebrated temples of Japan. Founded in 780 AD on the site of the Otowa Waterfall, it derives its name from that waterfall’s waters.

The temple is nestled in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, but you will be able to catch a bus to the area and stroll along a path through the forest to get there. It’s a great opportunity to leave the city for a few hours and admire the surrounding area.

Kiyomizu Dera Temple has a wooden stage that extends from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. Here visitors have a fantastic view over the cherry and maple trees surrounding the temple. These are a sea of color in Spring! You’ll also see Kyoto in the distance.

The Otowa Waterfall, at the base of the main hall, has its waters divided into three separate streams. Visitors drink from them using cups attached to long poles. The waters are said to provide longevity, success, and love. But drinking from all three is considered greedy!

The main hall and stage were built without the use of nails! In the hall, you’ll find a golden statue of the eleven-faced, thousand-armed Kannon. This is a deity of compassion and mercy, and the temple’s primary object of worship.

  • Cost –  $6
  • Getting There –  It’s a 15 minute walk

11:00 AM – Kyoto International Manga Museum

Kyoto International Manga Museum, Kyoto

For something a little different and a little more modern, visit the Manga museum! Just as much a part of many Japanese people’s lives as the temples you’re visiting, Manga is very important in Japanese culture.

Manga are comics or graphic novels rendered in a very specific style, with their roots in Japanese art. Japanese people of all ages read manga! The comics cover every genre, the most popular of which are adventure and erotica.

You’ll enjoy how absolutely different the style is from western comics!

The museum is extensive, its walls lined with shelves of Manga. Most of the works are by Japanese artists, but there are exhibitions of foreign work as well. It also features frequent temporary exhibitions in different themes.

The museum was once a school, and some relics from its very different past are on display! It’s a fun and unusual place to spend an hour or two and one of the best, offbeat things to do in Kyoto.

  • Cost –  $7
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  60 mins
  • Getting There –  Take the 95 bus from Gojozaka to Karasuma Oike

12.00 PM – Lunch at Shishin Samurai Restaurant 

japan safety food

Feeling hungry? I hope so because my Kyoto itinerary next stop is Shishin Samurai Restaurant.

Housed in a traditional, 100 year old building, the cuisine is traditional “Samurai” food made using award winning Tofu and fresh, organic vegetables.

The grilled omi beef is delicious, the Samurai burger filling and if you want something light and green then check out the Samurai salad.

  • Cost –  Budget $20- $30 per person
  • Getting There –  You can walk from the Manga museum

1.00 PM – Kyoto Station Building

Kyoto Station Building, Kyoto

You would think this is an odd choice, being a train station. But the Kyoto Station Building showcases really impressive modern architecture! It’s also one of the best places to shop in Kyoto.

An ultra-modern structure of glass and steel, the station building houses a brilliant amount of shops, restaurants, and recreational facilities.

If you’re looking for anything specific while you’re in Japan, this is where you’ll find it.

Of course, you can also catch a train! Japanese trains are incredibly fast and efficient. If you’re going to Tokyo or Osaka (or anywhere else in Japan) this is the best way to get around!

The station is enjoyable even just for its dramatic and imposing size. But there are plenty of maps, so don’t worry about getting lost! Whether you want to window-shop, buy something, or bring the kids someplace they recognize better than the temples, this is a great place to visit in Kyoto.

  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  30 mins
  • Getting There –  Take the Karasuma (Green line) metro to Kyoto station

2.30 PM – Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park, Kyoto

This public urban park is incredible in Spring! The cherry trees blossoming turn it into an ethereal landscape, and you feel like you’re on another planet. Any other time of the year though, it’s still a great place to visit in Kyoto!

The park’s centerpiece is a famous weeping cherry tree and gets lit up at night.

You’ll be here in the evening, enjoying the park’s beauty in the golden hour! It’s a very popular park, so this is also a great time to go for the reduced crowds.

The park has a lovely duck pond, gurgling streams and plenty of trees. You can even enjoy a drink here, as Japan allows for drinking in public. It’s the perfect place for an evening picnic and some good end-of-day unwinding! Perfect for families and couples.

It’s also a great place to do some local people-watching! Residents of Kyoto love to hang out in the public space, and it can get quite a party vibe as the evening progresses.

No matter the season, be sure to bring your camera and take advantage of some great photo opportunities!

  • Getting There –  Take the bus from Kyoto Eki mae to Gion

4.00 PM – Ginkakuji Temple

Ginkakuji Temple

Ginkakuji Temple, or the Temple of the Silver Pavilion , is elegant and lovely. Set at the base of the mountains, its entire temple grounds are gorgeous. A perfect example of curated Japanese landscape architecture.

Walk the trails around the temple grounds, lake, and gardens, and admire the raked sand garden, sit and look up at the blue sky through the trees.

The gardens are a perfect post-lunch relaxing spot!

Modeled on its sister temple, the Golden Pavilion, the zen buddhist temple complex is not quite aptly named. Its walls are wooden brown and were never plated with silver. The Zen temple was once a retirement villa for the grandchild of the Golden Pavilion’s creator – hence its nickname.

Ginkakuji consists of multiple smaller temple buildings, and houses a statue of Kannon! You’ll find the temple beautiful from every angle. It’s also much less crowded than its sister. You can stroll around in relative peace and quiet.

  • Cost –  Free
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  3o minutes
  • Getting There –  Bus again! From Gion to Ginkakuji mae

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighborhood in Kyoto:

Southern Higashiyama is where to stay in Kyoto your first time

Southern Higashiyama

Southern Higashiyama is home to many of Kyoto’s most famous and popular tourist destinations. If you haven’t been to Southern Higashiyama, you haven’t been to Kyoto!

  • Step away from the typical tourist trail and explore lesser-visited temples such as Kodai-ji, Shoren-in, and Entoku-in.
  • Try and spot geishas in Hanami-koji.
  • Admire Yasaka-no-to Pagoda.
  • Watch a spell-binding performance at Minamiza Kabuki Theatre.

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Want more deetz on why we love it  so damn much?  Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

There is so much to do in the greater Kyoto prefecture, I hope you’re spending more than 3 days in Kyoto! These are the must-sees that just don’t fit into the busy structure of your first 2 days in Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Kyoto

Only 30-minutes from Kyoto by train, the Fushimi Inari Shrine is an absolute must-see in Japan. With thousands of vermilion Torii gates and some really impressive buildings, it’s one of the most iconic holy places in the world.

The Torii gates symbolically mark the transition from the mundane and earthly to the sacred. That’s quite a transition!

They stretch up past the shrine buildings, lining numerous paths up the mountain. You can walk all the way up the Inari mountain between the gates, finding smaller shrines as you go. The scene from the top is amazing, with Kyoto is the distance amidst the green mountains.

The Shinto god, deity Inari is the god of many things, including rice and business! The shrine is so immense because of the deity’s patronage of business. Each of the torii gates has been donated by a Japanese business or individual. Look on the back of a few of the gates – the donor’s name and date of donation are inscribed on the back of each of them.

You’ll also find stacks of miniature torii at the smaller shrines on the mountains. These are donated by people seeking success without the budget of the larger companies! Bring your camera and some comfortable shoes, and get ready for an amazing Fushimi Inari hike . This stop is definitely one of the top Kyoto attractions and a worthwhile climb!

  • Cost –  $3
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  120 minutes
  • Getting There –  It’s just outside  JR Inari Station

Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

Immerse yourself in the famous Kyoto foodie culture and learn how to make home-style Japanese dishes.

An izakaya is an informal Japanese space for casual after-work drinking and tapas. Lasting 3-hours, the course covers a surprising amount of Japanese food. You’ll learn to make 2 or 3 local dishes, chatting and learning from your chef, before eating them together in a fantastic communal experience.

When you’re full and happy you’ll make another 2-3 dishes, allowing the food to settle while you learn. This is the perfect activity for foodies, families, couples, and people interested in learning an element of the local culture.

  • Cost –  Varies
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  2 to 3 hours
  • Getting There – Take the metro to Funayacho, Shimogyo Ward, and walk to Cooking Sun.

Monkey Park Iwatayama

Monkey Park Iwatayama, Kyoto

If you’re feeling a little overloaded from all the temples and shrines, take a little hike up this nearby hill to visit the Monkey Park. With only a $5 USD entrance fee and a very casual setup, it’s a great place to experience something entirely different.

It’s a 30-minute hike and quite steep, so, unfortunately, those with physical limitations may struggle. It’s also not wheelchair friendly.

But you can take it as slow as you need to, and you’re well rewarded at the top!

The snow monkeys, also known as “Japanese macaque” are native to Japan, and really beautiful. It’s refreshing to see them outside of a cage, enjoying life in their natural habitat and relaxing in the sun.

  • Cost –  $5
  • How Long Should I Stay Here?  2 hours
  • Getting There –  A 3-min walk from the  Togetsukyo Bridge

Mt. Kurama

If you have half a day to spare, one of the greatest Kyoto points of interest is in its greater prefecture! Said to be the home the King of the Tengu – legendary creatures in Japanese folk religion – this mountain is mysterious and immense.

On the mountain, you’ll find Kurama, a rural town best known for its hot spring and beautiful Kurama-  temple. The hot spring is one of the most easily accessible from Kyoto!

You can enjoy traditional outdoor and indoor baths at Kurama Onsen, at the upper end of the town.

The train stops just 10-minutes walk from the town. Stroll along the nature trail that follows the river. If you’re so taken with the little town that you want to stay longer, you can! And staying guests can use the baths for free.

If you want to visit the Buddhist temple of Kurama-Dera, you’ll find it located along the steep green mountainside above the town. It takes about 45-minutes to hike up to the temple from the town below. You can also catch a cable car halfway up the mountain, for only ~$2 USD!

The impressive temple’s main buildings stand on a terrace on the mountain slope and overlook the wooded valley. The red postboxes lining the walk, and the buildings’ traditional Japanese architecture with red wooden frames, make for stunning photography and a unique, aesthetic scene. You’ll definitely want to tick this off your itinerary for Kyoto!

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Kyoto Japan

One of my all time favourite things to do in Kyoto is to walk around the famous bamboo forest, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.

Located at the base of the “Storm Mountains” in north Kyoto, the Arashiyama bamboo forest is a seemingly endless bamboo forest that is perfect for nature lovers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Kyoto’s busy city center. The sounds of the swaying bamboo grove is eerie and tranquil, and if you really want to enjoy it, you can opt for a traditional rickshaw ride through the groves.

The Arashiyama bamboo grove is an open space, so it’s open 24/7 and is free to enter. However, it is quite far out from other attractions in the city, so that’s why I only recommend going if you have time.

The surrounding Arashiyama district is a well-known fishing village, which involves using trained cormorant birds to dive down and collect the fish – similar to how they fish in the lakes of South China. This is a unique way to catch fish that can only be seen in Japan and China, so it is also well worth adding to your Kyoto itinerary.

The Arashiyama bamboo grove region is also especially beautiful during cherry blossom season, if you’re lucky enough to be in Kyoto at this time.

  • Cost: free to enter!
  • Getting there: From JR Kyoto station, take the train to Saga-Arashiyama Station. From there, it’s a 15 minute walk to the bamboo groves.
  • How long should I spend there? Around 1 hour at the bamboo grove should be enough, another hour at the fishing village.

My itinerary is jam-packed with amazing things to see and some of the best places to visit in Kyoto ! But that doesn’t mean you need to stay in the middle of the city to make the most of it. The transportation in Kyoto is world-class, and you’ll be able to get anywhere in the large city in minutes. So breathe easy, touring Kyoto is a breeze!

The train and subway system is extensive, making it easy to get around the city, and also to reach nearby cities like Osaka and Nara very quickly. Japan is a very small, technologically advanced country, so it’s a great place to travel.

You can also catch the bus to get around the city. They are very reasonably priced and fun! You get on at the back, and depart from the front, paying when you leave. Within the main part of the city, all bus fares are ~$2 USD. You can also walk! But with such efficient, well-priced public transport, and limited time, you may choose not to.

However, my favorite option is cycling! Renting a bicycle for the day is a really great way to explore the city, and you’ll be able to see lots of lovely random things in-between stops. It’s also a common form of transportation in Kyoto, so you won’t be alone!

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when to visit Kyoto

Kyoto’s climate is temperate humid. This means that winters are mild and summers are hot and rainy. The in-between months are best as they’re usually mild and sunny, and very pleasant. Therefore, depending on when exactly you visit Japan , pack accordingly.

Wondering when to visit Kyoto? Spring is absolutely idyllic when the cherry trees bloom and transform the Japanese landscape with their calm, beautiful pink. This starts in April, and is a great time to do a Kyoto walking tour!

Keep in mind, the cherry trees bloom quickly and only blossom for around 2 weeks, so if you’re planning a Kyoto trip for its best season you’ll want to go in the first two weeks of April. The city is very popular at this time so the crowds will be large. But it’s well worth it!

I visited Kyoto in the summer in June, which was rainy season. It was still beautiful but the rain makes the weather quite cold so it’s a good idea to bring some warm clothes, even in the summer!

The city is also gorgeous in Fall, when all those trees go red and orange. In Fall, the rains have ended but the crowds are reasonably small and everything is a little cheaper than during the springtime rush! It’s one of our favourite September destinations for these reasons.

Japan is a very safe country to visit. While Kyoto is a large city and very busy, it is, in fact, the safest city in Japan . You can walk around downtown Kyoto at night in safety.

You can also use public transport alone. This means Kyoto is a really great city for solo travelers – so often I have to make sure I’m inside or in a group by dark. Here you can keep exploring into the night!

Like in every busy city, the flow of people attracts pickpockets. However, the risk is comparatively low. If you keep your bags closed and close to you, you’ll leave the city with everything you arrived with!

While not a safety measure per-se, there are a few things you should do to avoid being rude in Kyoto and greater Japan. Take off your shoes when you enter a home. Don’t eat or talk on the phone while you walk – Japanese folk find it quite offensive, and you’ll definitely get some funny looks. Don’t touch in public, it makes them uncomfortable.

Also, as with any trip, it’s always wise to be prepared for the unexpected.  So get yourself protected with good travel insurance . You never need it until you don’t have it.

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Find out what people want to know when planning their Kyoto itinerary.

How many days do you need in Kyoto?

You’ll need a minimum of 2-3 full days to explore Kyoto. However, with so much to see and do, having more time there is definitely recommended.

What should you include on a 3 day Kyoto itinerary?

Don’t skip these top Kyoto attractions: – Kinkakuji Temple – Nishiki Market – Gion District – Maruyama Park

Where should you stay if you have a full Kyoto itinerary?

The central Higashiyama District is the ideal base for sightseeing. It’s within walking distance of main attractions, so you can spend less time travelling and more time exploring!

When is the best time to visit Kyoto?

Visiting in the Fall is best if you want to avoid tourist crowds and enjoy good weather. If you’re after the cherry blossoms, you’ll need to be there at the beginning of April.

Isn’t it wonderful, what you can see and do on a short Kyoto trip? The ancient city has so much to offer, both in Kyoto’s city center and beyond it. And the locals are welcoming and kind!

Whether you’re coming on a spiritual pilgrimage, a foodie foray, or a historical and cultural adventure, Kyoto is one of the best places in the world to do it! You will never walk away from this city disappointed. Not with this 2 days in Kyoto itinerary! There are just too many incredible experiences to be had.

kyoto japan trip

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!


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9 of the best day trips from Kyoto

Sep 22, 2022 • 8 min read

A tourist walks on the sea with the Itsukushima Shrine Torii gate in the back during sunset

From the shrines in Hiroshima to the bathhouses and ryokans of Kinosaki Onsen, here are the best day trips from Kyoto © Ruben Earth / Getty Images

Kyoto , the ancient capital of Japan , is captivating in its own right: from the sprawling Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in the western suburbs. But its location at the heart of the  Kansai region makes it a great base for exploring farther afield, including nearby castles and fabled hot springs. 

These are the very best day trips from Kyoto. Each one is accessible by train in under two-and-a-half hours. If you plan to make several trips within a five-day period, consider buying a Kansai Wide Area Pass . Most routes are also covered by a Japan Rail Pass.

Visit the historic sites of peaceful Nara

Travel time: 1 hour

One of the most popular day trips from Kyoto, tranquil  Nara is home to some of the country’s most historical sites. This was Japan's first permanent capital, so it teems with important temples, shrines and Buddhist art. Arrive early and you can see its highlights in a single day.

Don’t miss the massive  Todaiji temple and the lantern-lined  Kasuga Shrine . While making your way to leafy Nara-kōen, the park famed for its free-roaming, inquisitive deer, stroll through exquisite Japanese gardens at  Yoshiki-en . Nearby  Isui-en has a prime example of shakkei – the Japanese concept of borrowed scenery – with Mt Wakakusa rising up as the garden’s backdrop.

How to get to Nara from Kyoto: From Kyoto Station, take a 55-minute rapid train on the JR Nara line to Nara Station.

Two chefs cook traditional Japanese street food on in Osaka, Japan

Osaka is the best place to try Japanese cuisine

Travel time: less than 30 minutes

Osaka is known in Japan as "the nation's kitchen", so arrive from Kyoto hungry. Its kuidaore motto literally means “to eat oneself bankrupt”. Chow down on okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) and takoyaki (fried octopus balls) along the  Dotombori River and/or try kushikatsu (fried meat and vegetable morsels on sticks) near the Tsutenkaku Tower in the kitschy, neon-lit neighborhood of Shinsekai.

Wind through the alleys of Ura-Namba to Torame Yokacho (Tiger Alley) too, where you can try myriad favorite dishes under one roof. When full, walk off your excesses in the expansive grounds of Osaka Castle or browse boutique and vintage clothing shops in the hip hoods of Amerika-Mura , Horie, and Nakazakicho.

How to get to Osaka from Kyoto: From Kyoto Station, take a JR special rapid train bound for Himeji to Osaka Station. Bullet trains also run between Kyoto and Osaka.

Kōbe is a city on the edge of nature

Kōbe  is one of Japan's most attractive cities. At the heart of the city are the popular retail districts of Motomachi and Sannomiya, but head uphill from Sannomiya Station and an area of tree-lined streets with merchant houses, quaint cafes, and unique shops soon unfurls. 

Despite a population of 1.5 million, Kōbe offers easy access to nature. Mt Rokko, a popular hiking spot (accessible by cable car too), towers over the city’s narrow streets whilst Nunobiki Falls has been a muse for artists, poets and worshippers for centuries. If you have time, consider a side trip to Himeji-jō , Japan's most magnificent castle.

How to get to Kōbe from Kyoto: From Kyoto Station, take a JR Limited Express Super Hakuto train for 50 minutes to Sannomiya Station.

The famous Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Japan

Explore Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park and beyond

Travel time: under 2 hours

Hiroshima may be synonymous with the devastating atomic-bomb attack in 1945, but this leafy, laid-back city has much more to offer visitors these days than just its past. If you want to pay homage to the blast victims, go to the  Peace Memorial Park and then take in the haunting Atomic Bomb Dome , one of very few buildings left standing near the epicenter. Its shell has been preserved as a memorial.

A good pick-me-up afterwards is the short trip over to the gorgeous island of  Miyajima , home to  Itsukushima , a bright orange shrine rising out of the ocean. This celebrated spot is considered one of the three great views of Japan (alongside the Amanohashidate  sandbar and the islands of Matsushima). From here, you can wander through streets lined with machiya (old wooden townhouses) and take a cable car up to the summit of Mt Misen for breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea.

How to get to Hiroshima from Kyoto: From Kyoto Station, take the one hour and 40 minute Shinkansen Nozomi bullet train to Hiroshima. To reach the ferry port from Hiroshima Station, take the JR Sanyo Line for 25 minutes to Miyajimaguchi Station.

Cherry blossom frames the shot of two kayakers on a lake

Maibara in Shiga Prefecture is the perfect day trip for outdoor adventure

Travel time: under 30 minutes

Just across the Higashiyama mountains, Shiga Prefecture is dominated by Japan's largest lake, Biwa-ko (Lake Biwa), the bucolic inspiration for centuries of poets. Whilst few today will dream up haikus detailing the kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and cycling that attracts most visitors, it still makes for a wonderful, adventure-fuelled day trip from Kyoto.

Take the train to Maibara Station and hire a bicycle there. Pedal south to the charming little town of Hikone and climb up to its castle, the 17th-century Hikone-jō , for spectacular views out across the lake. Or cycle north to Nagahama, which perches on the northeast coast, with highlights including the reconstructed Nagahama Castle on the waterfront.

How to get to Maibara from Kyoto: From Kyoto Station, take a one-hour rapid train or 20-minute bullet train on the JR line to Maibara Station.

 Japanese couple wearing yukata and walking outside a Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen is the best relaxing day out

Travel time: 2.5 hours

If the Kyoto crowds get a little too much, Kinosaki Onsen on the Japan Sea coast is the ideal stressbuster. With seven public bathhouses and a whole host of private ones, this beautiful willow-lined canal town is awash with relaxing hot springs that are famed for their remedial properties and promises of good fortune.

With an entrance designed to look like the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Gosho-no-yu is the town's most famous bathhouse, and its most busy too. Kinosaki boasts rotemburo (outdoor baths) and single-person baths too. If here in winter, enjoy a feast of snow crab freshly caught from the Sea of Japan. Many of the ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) serve delectable kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) multi-course crab meals, which are delicious works of art.

How to get to Kinosaki Onsen from Kyoto:  Take the Limited Express Kinosaki train to Kinosaki Onsen Station.

A small boat with passengers wearing conical hats is punted along a canal lined with willow treres

Take a traditional canal boat tour in Kurashiki

Travel time: 90 minutes

An important trading post during the Edo period (1603–1867), much of Kurashiki’s character comes from its historic black-and-white warehouses that line its willow-edged canal. Those buildings — many now converted into museums, cafes, and art workshops — make up the atmospheric Bikan quarter.

Wander the laneways lined with old wooden houses and shops first, before popping into the popular Ōhara Museum of Art , which has works by Picasso, Cézanne, and Matisse. A traditional boat tour of Kurashiki Canal is a lovely way to pass the afternoon, or else head to Ivy Square , the pretty courtyard that once housed textile factories, but now often has entertainment on.

How to get to Kurashiki from Kyoto: Ride the Shinkansen Nozomi bullet train to Okayama Station then change to the JR Sanyo line. The connection to Kurashiki Station takes around 20 minutes.

Downtown Nagoya skyline on a sunny day

See the shrines and museums of Nagoya

Travel time: 35 minutes

Don’t listen to the naysayers who label Nagoya as “Japan’s most boring city.” Most have never even been. This manufacturing powerhouse, just over half an hour from Kyoto, is a cosmopolitan curio that flexes its muscles with some fantastic museums, seafood to just die for, and an unpretentiousness you won’t find in Tokyo and Osaka. 

Day-trippers will want to visit the 1900-year-old Atsuta-jingū , one of the most sacred Shintō shrines in Japan, as well as the engrossing International Design Centre Nagoya , which weaves riotously from art deco to postmodernism, Arne Jacobsen to the Mini Cooper.

Birthplace of Toyota, there’s plenty for petrol heads to admire, including two museums that celebrate the world's largest car manufacturer. If you’re short on time, steer towards Toyota Kaikan Museum to see the latest wheels roll off the production line.

How to get to Nagoya from Kyoto: Nozomi trains take around 35 minutes to reach Nagoya.

The beautiful Korakuen Garden in Japan

Wander Okayama's stunning garden before hitting the "Kitchen Runway"

Travel time:   1 hour

A little under two hours from Kyoto, Okayama is often seen as a short diversion before travelers chug on down to Hiroshima, however it can make for a fantastic day trip as well. Most visitors are only here for Kōraku-en , one of Japan's prettiest gardens, but there’s enough here to spare a few hours more.

As gardens go, it’s a corker. In spring the groves of plum and cherry-blossom trees are stunning, in summer white lotuses unfurl, and in fall the maple trees are a delight for photographers. You can explore its expansive lawns, which are broken up by ponds, teahouses, and other Edo-period buildings, in around three hours.

However, what the one-sight wanderers don’t realise is that Okayama also has the best range of restaurants in the region. Those with rumbling tummies should stick around and follow the signs for the "Kitchen Runway", a clutch of modern, casual restaurants.

How to get to Okayama from Kyoto: From Kyoto Station take the Nozomi train to Okayama Station. Bus 18 from Okayama Station drops you outside the garden (Kōraku-en-mae stop) in around 10 minutes.

This article was first published July 2019 and updated September 2022

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© Eugene Hyland Photography / Lonely Planet. Tamura Sake Bar.

Lonely Planet’s Experience Japan is your guide to unforgettable experiences and local surprises. Discover Hokkaido’s ski slopes and snow festivals, explore Himeji-jo and sample Japanese delicacies in Kyoto – all guided by local experts with fresh perspectives.

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A Foodie’s Guide to Kyoto, Japan

Posted: November 6, 2023 | Last updated: November 6, 2023

If you’re a true food-lover, you likely have Japan pinned to the top of your travel wish list. Foodies flock to Japan, known as one of the top culinary destinations in the world, to taste the freshest and highest-quality ingredients, sushi and diverse regional cuisines. And while the first Japanese city that usually comes to mind is Tokyo, there’s another spot that’s just a quick bullet train ride away that shouldn’t be missed: Kyoto. 

What makes it so enticing? Kyoto’s food scene places a huge emphasis on seasonality, unique regional specialties, rich culinary traditions and even the opportunity to experience traditional Japanese dining called kaiseki, which consists of multiple courses of precise dishes. Better yet, the city doesn’t just consist of eating: there are temples, lantern-lit alleys, markets, bamboo forests and monkeys to add to your itinerary, too. 

Whether you’re interested in upscale Michelin-starred dining or exploring Kyoto’s street food and local delicacies, this city is guaranteed to take your taste buds on a trip. Keep reading for the ultimate guide on where to eat, drink, sleep and explore while in Kyoto. 

How to Get There 

To get to Kyoto from the United States, you’ll need to fly into one of Japan’s major international airports, such as Narita International Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND). Several U.S. airports — like Newark (EWR), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) — fly directly into Tokyo. From there, you can either travel to Kyoto by domestic flight or train. From Tokyo Station, you can transfer to a shinkansen (bullet train) bound for Kyoto. The entire journey takes approximately three hours.

Pro tip: for the true foodie experience, fly with United and upgrade to Polaris Business Class for in-flight sundae carts and free-flowing Champagne. Being that the flight is around 14 hours nonstop, sitting in Polaris is a game-changer, allowing you to rest peacefully and be ready to explore as soon as you hop off the plane. 

Where to Eat and Drink 

Local Delicacies: Nishiki Market

No trip to Kyoto is complete without wandering through the bustling Nishiki Market . The open-air market opened 400 years ago, but today it continues to thrive for locals and visitors seeking a taste of the community’s authentic food culture. Being that there are hundreds of stalls and shops, I spent hours at this market, trying everything from Japanese sweets, to Kobe beef skewers, to noodles. Some of the best foods to try at Nishiki Market include tako tamago (small baby octopus), mochi, goma dango (sesame dumplings), satsuma age (fish cakes), senbei (seasoned rice crackers) and tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette). 

Omakase : Sushi Gion Matsudaya

My favorite dining experience during my entire trip to Japan was at Sushi Gion Matsudaya , a six-seat, reservation-only sushi restaurant tucked in a quiet alley in Gion. While it’s on the expensive side (around $200 per person), it’s a Michelin-star establishment where Chef Matsudaya personally handpicks fresh and seasonal ingredients to create that day’s menu. The intimate and exclusive atmosphere, mixed with melt-in-your-mouth sushi and sake pairings, is well worth the splurge.

Tempura: Komefuku Shijo Karasuma

Fresh tempura in Japan is an absolute must. For the best in town, grab a seat at Komefuku Shijo Karasuma (walk-ins or reservations welcome) where you can feast on tempura and seafood dishes in a cozy, wood-lined izakaya with both counter and table seating. Once you’ve sipped on some sake, order the assortment of tempura, which includes shrimp, crab, sweet potato and more. Make sure to order a few pieces of the sushi, too. 

Ramen: Kyo Tsukemen Tsurukame

Right around the corner from the Nishiki Market, we stumbled upon Kyo Tsuke-men Tsurukame , a tiny hole-in-the-wall ramen shop with only eight seats and happy customers walking out, so naturally we waited in line. I ordered the tanten miso and chili oil ramen dish and it was, for lack of a less dramatic term, life-changing. The flavors were rich and the broth was thick. The chef adds ingredients and toppings you won’t find in typical noodle dishes, making it a unique ramen experience. It’s a hidden gem that will leave you full and wanting more.

Gyoza: MOTOÏ

Every culture has their own version of a dumpling, and in Japan it’s the gyoza. If you’re craving them, MOTOÏ is a restaurant that should be on your list. Run by a French-trained chef, MOTOÏ infuses French and Kyoto cuisine in a trendy setting. We walked in without a reservation and sat right at the bar. The restaurant is known for its signature papa gyoza, made with shrimp, ginger and coriander. 

Wagyu Sandwich: Hafuu

You’ll be eating a lot of seafood and sushi while in Kyoto, so a much-needed break for meat may be desired. Gyukatsusando is a Wagyu katsu sandwich that’s popular in the region, and the best place to get it with the highest-quality meat is Hafuu . Hafuu has plenty of ways to indulge in their infamous beef, but the most popular is the sandwiches, which come with a special sauce and cabbage. Visitors can even take them to-go and eat outside overlooking the Imperial Palace. For more affordable options, enjoy Hafuu lunch time.

Okonomiyaki: Yasubei

In Pontocho district, you’ll find Yasubei , a family-run restaurant serving okonomiyaki, a traditional teppanyaki dish; it’s essentially a savory pancake cooked on a teppan grill in front of you. We were able to add ingredients like cabbage, meat or seafood, and garnishes like okonomiyaki sauce, aonori seaweed flakes, katsuobushi bonito flakes, Japanese-style mayonnaise and pickled ginger. You’ll likely have to wait in line, so prepare for that.

Why the Japanese Robata Crushes the Stuffy Hotel Steakhouse

Plus, where to go.

Soba Noodles: Arashiyama Yoshimura

For stunning riverside views combined with fresh noodle dishes, Arashiyama Yoshimura is a must-try traditional soba house. I was fortunate enough to score a seat directly next to the window, so I slurped down noodles while overlooking the river and mountains. The restaurant serves fresh hand-made buckwheat soba noodles (both hot and cold) and seasonal dishes with simple and quick service. Be ready to wait outside, as they do not take reservations. 

Fluffy Souffle Pancakes: A Happy Pancake 

Stop by A Happy Pancake for an over-the-top brunch filled with the fluffiest pancakes you’ll ever eat. The menu is filled with both sweet and savory pancake options, including strawberry shortcake, matcha, tea milk and hojicha tiramisu. They taste like light clouds and were the perfect start to the day.

Pro tip: The earlier you get there (like before they open), the less likely you’ll have to wait in like. 

Drinks: Bees Knees 

Consistently named as one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, Bee’s Knees in the Kiyamachi district gives prohibition-era speakeasy vibes. It’s hard to spot, as you have to find the yellow door with a sign for “The Book Store.” But as soon as you step inside, ‘90s hip-hop music is bumping and the drinks are flowing. There’s a solid list of cocktails to choose from, including Negronis with hoji tea and coffee bitters, and the Ninja Smashes with yuzu, passion fruit, lemon, shiso leaf and sparkling sake. 

Where to Stay

For Authentic Japanese Hospitality: HOSHINOYA Kyoto 

Located in Arashiyama, HOSHINOYA Kyoto is a remote, modern, ryokan-style retreat along the Katsura River that delivers pure serenity. The luxury five-star property is completely secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city, so much so that you take a boat to get there. Traditional rooms are designed with tatami floors, futons and chabudai dining tables, some with lounges and balconies. The best part? It’s perfect for foodies because of the chef’s high-end cuisine and unique floating tea room. The highlights of my stay at HOSHINOYA Kyoto were the romantic Hisui boat ride where we drank tea while taking in the mesmerizing views, and waking up to a hearty hot-pot in-room breakfast with fresh, seasonal vegetables cooked in hot broth. 

For Wellness-Focused Luxury: Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto

Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto embodies a fresh approach to wellbeing through simplistic design and amenities that recharge. The 25-room boutique hotel opened in June 2022 and is located right in front of Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site first built in 1603 during the Tokugawa Shogunate. The hotel’s restaurant, Singular, blends an innovative approach with gastronomy inspired by classic French techniques. The chef personally sources ingredients directly from producers in Kyoto and all over Japan. The hotel offers personalized experiences like Ayurvedic menus, forest meditation, in-room sound baths, self-training fitness and yoga programs through in-room digital tablets, and a unique pillow menu with health benefits. 

All of that eating must be balanced out with experiencing the city’s best sites and neighborhoods. Visiting Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is an otherworldly experience, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of towering bamboo groves. A few steps away from the forest, visitors love the Monkey Park Iwatayama where you can interact, feed and observe monkeys in their natural habitat.

You can’t miss the temples scattered around the entire city, but especially the five-story Yasaka Pagoda, Hokan-Ji , Adashino Nenbutsuji and Kiyomizu-dera . Spend a few hours walking through the Fushimi Inari Shrine , which is a popular photo op with thousands of vermilion torii gates. After walking through the entire trail, you will find yourself in the forest of the sacred Mount Inari. 

Lastly, two districts you’ll want to visit are the Pontocho Alley at night, filled with restaurants in the lantern-lit Gion alleys (you may even pass a Geisha) and the Gion Higashiyama ward during the day, home to two of Kyoto’s most attractive streets. Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka are a pair of gently sloping lanes with classic architecture, shops and temples. 

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Kyoto   Travel Guide

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Best Times To Visit Kyoto

The best times to visit Kyoto are from March to May and from September to November when the weather is the mildest. However, the blooming cherry blossoms in spring and the vibrant fall foliage are big tourist draws, so be prepared for higher hotel rates and fewer vacancies. Crowds do wane a bit in the summer and winter, but June's sticky humidity and January's chilly temperatures are too uncomfortable for some travelers.

Weather in Kyoto

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

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10 BEST Day Trips from Kyoto, Japan [2023 Travel Guide]

Although visiting Kyoto should be on your Japan itinerary, there are also amazing day trips from Kyoto that should not be missed. 

Kyoto is the historic capital of Japan. To this date, it still holds the record for being Japan’s capital for the longest time.

Centuries of political, cultural, culinary, and artistic history was forged in this central Japanese city, in historic districts like Higashiyama . 

But there is more to Kyoto than just experiencing Japanese culture within the city center. Its central location also allows for Kyoto to be a perfect travel hub with so much of the rest of the country at your fingertips. 

READ MORE: Check out our perfect Kyoto itinerary blog post!

Table of Contents

2) Awaji Island

4) hiroshima, 5) amanohashidate, 6) himeji castle, 8) miyajima, 10) moriyama, here’s our guide to the best day trips from kyoto.

From historic sites like Himeji Castle to natural wonders like Amanohashidate, Japan’s third-largest city of Osaka , the Pacific port city of Nagoya, and sites of historic cultural majesty like Miyajima, there is so much that can easily be reached from Kyoto in a single day. 

These day trips from Kyoto are all beautiful, unique, and easy to do.

Kyoto station is well connected to many other train stations around Japan. A quick, scenic train ride will bring you to most of these amazing places.

With a Japan Rail Pass , you can easily hop around the country for a cheaper price than you would if you just bought

individual tickets. If you’re going to be doing lots of train travel, definitely consider getting a JR Pass.

The city of Nara was once also the capital of Japan during the, appropriately named, Nara period.

Today, Nara is best known for its enormous park filled with thousands of tame, beautiful deer that roam the area freely.

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Nara forms a kind of triangle with Kyoto and Osaka, meaning that all three cities can be easily travelled between by train from Kyoto Station.

Nara is far smaller than both Kyoto and Osaka, and as such, the city can be easily explored in a single day.

Nara majestically blends the urban and the rural in an uncanny, almost unbelievable way.

Half of the city is a small urban sprawl of shopping arcades, a few restaurants, and quiet pedestrian streets.

The other is an enormous parkland populated by two thousand deer who roam this hilly area and bow to visitors as they pass.

Within Nara Park are the famous Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga-taisha Shrine , symbols of Japan’s rich history as well as its tight and intimate bond with nature.

A Nara day trip is one of the best things to do when visiting Kyoto.

READ MORE: Check out these other amazing things to do on your day trip to Nara . 

Nara Deer

The largest island within reach of Kyoto, Awaji Island can be found on the south side of Kobe and wraps around Osaka Bay.

On the island is the city of Awaji, which is home to an incredible botanical garden known as the Kiseki no Hoshi Greenhouse .

Just to the south of Awaji city on Awaji Island is a delightful theme park known as Onokoro .

What sets this theme park apart from the rest is its beautiful collection of miniature replicas of landmarks from all around the world, including Notre Dame, the Sphinx of Egypt, and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

A lesser-known part of Awaji Island, which can be found on the same eastern side of the island as Awaji city only further down, is the ruins and remains of Sumoto Castle .

This sight makes for an incredible view if you are still on Awaji Island come sunset.

The original stone walls of the castle, blended with the crashing ocean waves behind it, paint one of the most beautiful yet almost secret scenes in all of Japan.

Osaka is Japan’s third-largest city (after Tokyo and Yokohama) and is considered by many to also be its most exciting and vibrant metropolis.

Shin Osaka Station is connected to Kyoto by a fantastic local train network that allows visitors to move between these two major cities in about an hour.

And, while a day trip isn’t enough to see the entire city of Osaka, it is certainly enough to see all of Osaka’s most captivating and beautiful attractions.

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The most unmissable attraction in Osaka is also its most prominent: Osaka Castle .

Located on a central hill that overlooks the entire city, Osaka Castle is one of the most perfectly maintained and spellbinding historic landmarks in all of Japan.

A day trip from Kyoto will get you up to and inside Osaka Castle.

Beyond Osaka Castle, the downtown area of Dotonbori , which lines either side of the Dotonbori River, is the neon-lit hub of Osaka.

A far cry from the atmosphere of the castle, Dotonbori is the main shopping street where all of Osaka’s best bars, shops, and restaurants can be found.

You could also consider visiting Universal Studios Japan in Osaka on your day trip from Kyoto.

Day and night, this area is abuzz with an electric atmosphere.

READ MORE: Add these activities to your day trip to Osaka . 

Osaka At Night

Hiroshima’s name precedes the city itself and is inescapably connected to the monumental tragedy which befell it at the end of World War II.

But it is worth mentioning this in order to put in perspective what exists of the city today, which is a sprawling mini-metropolis populated by kind and happy people living in a warm and temperate climate.

Hiroshima is a beautiful, bustling city that’s easy to reach in a few hours from Kyoto train station if you take the shinkansen bullet train.

Getting to Hiroshima early from Kyoto gives visitors plenty of time to see some of the city’s best sights.

The first and most essential being the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park , which is found in the centre of the city.

Within the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is the Atomic Bomb Dome , a shell that has remained since World War II as a sobering reminder of the devastation caused to this beautiful city.

Even though the dome was directly beneath the blast when the bomb was dropped, it somehow survived and remained standing, and so it does so to this day.

Hiroshima also has its own castle, which is a modern recreation of the one which stood in the same place during the 16th century.

And between the Peace Memorial Museum and Hiroshima Castle is also the Hiroshima Museum of Art .

READ MORE: Check out these other interesting things to do in Hiroshima . 

Peace Park Hiroshima

Amanohashidate is at the very northern tip of Kyoto province and can be reached by train from Kyoto station. It’s another one of the best day trips frmo Kyoto!

It is one of the great scenic views of Japan, and a staggering place of incredible natural beauty.

Its name means “heaven standing bridge”, Amanohashidate is a natural sandbar bridge that links two points of northern Kyoto province together across the Miyazu Bay.

The sandbar itself is 3.6km long and lined with green trees. On the northern end of the sandbar is a Shinto shrine known as Motoise Kono , and on the southern end is the Buddhist Chionji Temple , with Amanohashidate linking them together.

Given how Shintoism and Buddhism have historically been Japan’s two primary belief systems, there is something wonderfully symbolic about their temples and shrines being naturally linked in this way.

The Amanohashidate site has been a place of deep cultural and artistic importance in Japan for centuries and has been captured in famous ukiyo-e art but legendary artists such as Hiroshige.

Today, the area is frequently visited by people heading up from Kyoto, a trip which takes around two hours.

What makes this such a pleasurable natural place to visit is that it can be viewed and photographed from the nearby hills.

But is can also be walked along on foot, which is best done during the early summer months when the sky is blue and the weather is perfect.

A good option is to join a tour of Amanohashidate, which you can book directly on the Klook site .

BONUS –  Booking ahead of time ensures you won’t miss out on the tour, and get the best price too! And just for NOMADasaurus readers, if you use the Klook discount code  “NOMADS10”  on the website when checking out, you’ll get $10 off your first booking!

Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nagoya all have castles, but they are not necessarily defined by them.

Himeji Castle, however, is the defining feature of the town of Himeji. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also one of the best day trips from Kyoto.

This is because it is perhaps Japan’s most magnificent and glorious castle: an enormous structure of pearly white walls atop stone which towers over the town and can be seen from every street.

Himeji Castle is also referred to as the “White Heron Castle”, based on the white exterior.

Himeji itself lies a little down the coastline from Kobe and Osaka, within easy reach of Kyoto for a comfortable day trip. Just take the train into Himeji Station and begin exploring.

But it is undoubtedly the 17th century Himeji Castle which is the town’s great draw.

The castle lies at the heart of an enormous park which is also home to several incredible attractions.

One is Sannomaru Square , a garden with views of the castle.

And another attraction is Himeji Museum of Art , which can be found just to the east of the castle and contains several stunning pieces of local historic art.

Behind Himeji Castle is Himeji Shrine, a shrine of shinto origin often visited by local people.

The castle itself was one of Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage sites and is still today one of Japan’s most visited attractions outside of Tokyo and Kyoto.

It is a stunning piece of architecture and possibly the most incredible castle to behold in all of Japan.

Himeji Castle

Located right between Kyoto and Tokyo, the Pacific port city of Nagoya is an often overlooked day trip destination from Kyoto.

Slightly more modern than the historic ancient capital, Nagoya offers visitors a wealth of entertainment options.

Experience Japan’s phenomenally popular pachinko parlours and the Nagashima Spa Land , a theme park and water park with roller coasters and a huge Ferris wheel.

South of Nagoya’s centre is the peaceful Atsuta Jingu shrine , while just north of the centre is Nagoya Castle , which has been restored to its former glory in recent years.

Meijo Park , which Nagoya Castle sits at the exact centre of, is a large and beautiful place to stroll through, especially in the spring weeks when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

And right in the very heart of the city is Nagayoshi Museum , which displays exhibits of modern art that frequently change, keeping the museum fresh and exciting for return visitors.

Nagoya Station is easy to reach by train from Kyoto.

READ MORE: Here’s our list of the best things to do in Nagoya .

This is another one of the top day trips from Kyoto. You may not know Miyajima by name, but you certainly do to look at it.

Miyajima is the more popular but unofficial name of Itsukushima, an island off the coast of Hiroshima which is the furthest place you can comfortably get to for a day trip from Kyoto.

Miyajima is most famous for its famous torii gate: an enormous red shrine that stands in the water just off the island itself.

Photos of this torii gate are synonymous with so many people’s mental images of Japan itself, making it easily one of the most iconic and captivating views in all of Japan.

Just like the former capital of Nara, Miyajima also has its own wild deer roaming around, which add to the majesty and allure of the place.

The deer roam the island as they please, living there peacefully with nature and the visitors who come and go.

The Itsukushima Shrine , for which the island is officially named, can be found off the northern tip of the island.

Miyajima Island

For another fun day out of Kyoto, take the train into Shin Kobe Station and enjoy this exciting city.

The city of Kobe lies just on the other side of Osaka from Kyoto and is very easily reached from both cities.

Kobe is, of course, most famous for its marbled beef, which is considered by many to be the finest beef in the entire world.

Beyond its world-famous beef, Kobe is also a fascinating and exciting city to explore in its own right.

Kobe is divided into two areas: the waterfront bay area, which includes Rokko Island , and the hilltop area to the west of Mt Rokko .

There is an antique cable car that is still in perfect working order. Take the cable car up to Mt Rokko for a view of the surrounding area and the ocean beyond.

On the waterfront is the Kobe Maritime Museum , which is a gargantuan place that celebrates, and educates visitors on, the maritime history of Japan, including the nation’s feats of naval engineering.

The nearby Kobe City Museum is home to local pieces of artwork and archaeological finds from the surrounding area.

Then there is also the lesser-known Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Art , which houses a surprising wealth of 19th-century European sculptures as well as local pieces of artwork.

READ MORE: Be sure to add these incredible experiences to your Kobe day trip!

While Kyoto grants visitors easy access to several other large cities like Osaka, Nagoya, and Hiroshima, it also allows for the opportunity to explore smaller but equally beautiful and fascinating towns.

One such town is Moriyama, a small town in Shiga prefecture just a short train ride east out of Kyoto.

Moriyama is home to the Biwako Ohashi Bridge , which plays a song using the echoes created from ridges carved into the road as you drive over them.

There are a few of these singing roads in Japan, but this is one of the lesser-known ones, and the fact that it sings across a long and beautiful bridge makes it even more spectacular.

Moriyama is also home to the Lake Biwa Museum , a museum of Japanese nautical history which also doubles as a freshwater aquarium.

A quick visit to this small town to view Lake Biwa Museum and other landmarks is a great stop on any Kyoto trip.

Lake Biwa Museum itself is located within a stunning floral garden on the water’s edge which is most impressively viewed at the turn of summer when all the flowers are in full bloom.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

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About the Author - Jessica Esa

After spending several years living in Asia as a teacher, Jessica now splits her time between East Asia and London with some adventures in-between. Her work has appeared in Fodor’s, The Culture Trip, Matador, and others. She also manages the award-winning travel and translated literature website Books and Bao with her partner and is always looking for the next adventure. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading in a cafe, at a new exhibition or seeking out the nearest street food.

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Take in all the sights of Tokyo on a cruise to Japan. As the country’s capital city, Tokyo is Japan’s leading center of business and finance yet also boasts deep roots in history. In the heart of the city, a dense forest glade shrouds visitors from the bustle and houses the Meiji Shrine, its setting symbolizing the separation of the spiritual from the worldly. Nearby, surrounded by stone walls, park area and moats, stands the Imperial Palace. With the Tokyo Tower and Mt. Fuji in view, experience the harmony of modern and ancient on a cruisetour of Japan.

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Embark on a magical voyage that leads you along the shores of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. Visit Nara’s impressive Todaiji Temple and the breathtaking Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Gaze out over the city from Tokyo’s Skytree Tembo Deck perched 1,148 feet. Experience the breathtaking beauty of Kyoto with stops at Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) and Nijo Castle.

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Japan is a study in contrasts: tranquil retreats of profound beauty lay just outside cities where skyscrapers soar over stunning temples and shrines. Neon-bright architecture and tranquil gardens vie for attention amid the colorful Harajuku district and traditional kimonos. As the No. 1 North American cruise line in Japan with the “Best Asia Itineraries † ,” you can be assured that Princess® will be your guide to the colors, cultures and flavors that define this exciting country.

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Experience Japanese culture with an adventure in Tokyo that celebrates tea, the art of calligraphy, and the essence of the Japanese spirit. Get off the beaten path and discover Taketomi Island, the site of a beautifully preserved, traditional Ryukyu village just off the shore of Ishigaki. In Kochi, don a helmet and headlamp and explore the cavernous natural wonder known as the Ryugado Cave, a National Natural Monument. Stroll through a 17th-century garden and survey 700 years of history at a museum devoted to Satsuma’s Shimazu clan in Kagoshima.

Photo: A Buddhist temple in Kyoto

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There’s probably no other city on earth that embraces the future while honoring its beloved past the way Tokyo does. From its captivating architecture to its meticulously maintained gardens, shrines and temples, Tokyo never fails to delight and inspire. Here, you can learn the miraculous legend surrounding Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple; savor the perfect cup of tea during a traditional tea ceremony; or peer into steaming sulfur springs inside Japan’s famed Hakone National Park, home of Mount Fuji.

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This prominent port may be famous for its succulent beef, but it’s also renowned as the gateway to the splendid sights of Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. Kobe was once considered the cradle of Japanese art and culture during the 8th century.  Through Kobe, you can access Nara, home to the immense Todaiji Temple, which holds a bronze Buddha statue that is nearly 50 feet tall and weighs 500 tons!

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Lifestyle & culture.

Delight in a traditional Bunraku puppet show, recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, in Osaka. Grab a wicker basket and head to the fields for a hands-on tea-picking adventure in the countryside of Shimizu. Discover the health benefits and social atmosphere of an “onsen” hot spring bath in Aomori. Tour Kagoshima’s shochu factory and learn how grains and vegetables create one of Japan’s spirited elixirs.

Photo: Ashiyu Foot Bath at Japanese Hot Springs in Tokyo

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Be dazzled by the panoramic views of Japan's iconic Mount Fuji, an active volcano and the most popular tourist site in the country. Admire the spectacular views of Akita’s Oga peninsula, home of Godzilla Rock and mythical creatures called “Namahage.” Take in the sheer magnificence of Shiretoko Peninsula, an acclaimed  Condé Nast Traveler  7 Cruise Wonders of the World – it may just leave you breathless.

Photo: Mount Fuji

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Japan is a land of festivals and on select sailings you can experience the mesmerizing spectacle known as the Awa Odori Dance Festival in Tokushima, gaze in awe at the Kumano Grand Festival of fireworks, or get an up-close look at the exquisite parade floats used in Aomori’s annual Nebuta festival.

Photo: Nebuta Festival in Aomori

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Photo: Japanese singers entertain on board

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Explore Kochi Castle, a designated Japanese National Treasure, and the only castle in the country with its original wooded interior, castle tower, and impressive entrance still intact. Step into Japan’s ancient past with a tour of Aomori’s Sannai-Maruyama ruins, which date back 5,500 years and are designated a Special National Historical Site. Get a bird’s-eye view of Tokyo and Mount Fuji from the special observatory atop Tokyo Tower. Wander through the narrow, winding streets of Kanazawa’s samurai district known as Nagamachi Samurai House Row, which sits at the foot of Kanazawa Castle.

Photo: Otori Gate in Hiroshima

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Admire the delicate work of 19th century "ukiyo-e," traditional woodblock prints, with a tour of Shimizu's Tokaido Hiroshige Art Museum. Continue your artistic journey as modern bronze statues depicting the spirit monsters known as "yokai,' greet you along the streets of Sakaiminato.

Photo: Traditional Japanese 'ukiyo-e' woodblock painting

UNESCO world heritage sites

The Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji, and Otsu Cities) is comprised of 17 locations in Japan within Kyoto and vicinity; including 13 Buddhist temples, 3 Shinto Shrines and one castle. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) is the only structure that survived the first atomic bomb (8/6/45), it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Nara (30 minutes from downtown Osaka) is home to 8 UNESCO sites, many conveniently located in the city center.

Photo: The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan

Japan Cruise Travel Articles

A cruise to Japan will unveil the world's oldest cultures and most modern metropolises, featuring intricate designs and sweeping vistas.

Explore Tokyo's Gardens on a Cruise to Japan

Hidden within the radiant lights and exhilarating sounds of Tokyo are tranquil garden sanctuaries. Put one on your must-see list when you cruise to Japan.

Planning a Japan Vacation: Three Must-See Cultural Attractions

Planning a Japan vacation? Put these three must-see attractions on your itinerary as you cruise Japan.

Meaningful Experiences on Japan Cruises: Discover the History of Japan Through Its Majestic Architecture

Japan cruises will afford you a unique look into Japanese culture with visits to famous national treasures such as the Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle.

3 South Korean Temples to Visit on a Korea and Japan Cruise

Enjoy the tranquility that surrounds these three famous South Korean temples on your next Japan cruise to Korea.

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kyoto japan trip


  1. The Best Time to Visit Kyoto

    kyoto japan trip

  2. Top Walking Tours of Kyoto in 2021

    kyoto japan trip

  3. Experience my top 5 sightseeing attractions in Kyoto

    kyoto japan trip

  4. 14 Things To See And Do When Visiting Kyoto, Japan

    kyoto japan trip

  5. 10 best places to visit in Japan

    kyoto japan trip

  6. Kyoto Travel Guide: When to Visit, What to Do & Eat and Where to Stay

    kyoto japan trip


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  1. Kyoto Travel Guide

    Kansai Kyoto Kyoto For over 1000 years the capital of Japan ••• Best of Japan 4.8 ★★★★★ (5,238) #2 of 207 most visited in Japan By Interest Get There Hotels Autumn Colors 2023 See nationwide On-location reports: Kyoto: Starting to Change October 31, 2023 See best Kyoto autumn color spots

  2. Kyoto City Official Travel Guide

    23 Jun 2023 Aki no Odori in 2023: Autumn Dance performances hosted by the historic maiko and geiko district ... 03 Oct 2023 Night sightseeing in Kyoto: Enjoy the splendid views and special events

  3. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Kyoto

    Things to Do in Kyoto, Japan - Kyoto Attractions Things to Do in Kyoto Popular things to do Walking Tours Half-day Tours Sacred & Religious Sites Cultural Tours Cooking Classes Points of Interest & Landmarks Mountain Bike Tours City Tours Historic Sites Bus Tours Full-day Tours Specialty Museums Photography Tours Night Tours Gardens

  4. Kyoto, Japan 2023: Best Places to Visit

    24,749 Religious Sites, Historic Sites 2023 GEAR Theatre 444 Neighborhoods, Theatre & Performances Gio-ji Temple 416 Religious Sites

  5. 15 Best Things to Do in Kyoto

    This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content. Ranking of the top 15 things to do in Kyoto. Travelers favorites include #1 Fushimi Inari Shrine, #2 Kiyomizu-dera Temple ...

  6. Kyoto

    17 Mar 2023 Forecast of full bloom 24 Mar 2023 More Info Explore Kyoto by Area Around Kyoto Station Gion & Higashiyama Central Kyoto Takagamine & Murasakino Sagano & Arashiyama

  7. Inside Kyoto

    Here are my top picks. Read More Kyoto Machiya image © Old Kyoto Machiya are traditional Japanese townhouses available as vacation rentals. Read More Kyoto Places To Eat image © City Foodsters Kyoto has a huge mix of places to eat, from haute cuisine to hole-in-the-wall dumplings. Read More Things To Do In Kyoto image © Shutterstock | Benny Marty

  8. Kyoto travel

    01 / Attractions Must-see attractions for your itinerary Nishiki Market Downtown Kyoto The covered Nishiki Market (Nishiki-kōji Ichiba) is one of Kyoto's real highlights, especially if you have an interest in cooking and dining. Commonly… Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Arashiyama & Sagano

  9. Kyoto Guide: Planning Your Trip

    Getting Around: Kyoto's city center is easily walkable, but the city also has a highly modernized and easily navigable public transit system. There are two subway lines, running north-south and east-west, and many bus lines. Busses are easy to use, with announcements made in English and Japanese, and there's a flat fare of just 230 yen (about $2).

  10. Kyoto Guide: Things to do in Kyoto

    Discover the top things to do in Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital full of history like Kinkaku-ji shrine and the geisha of Gion. Find zen at Kyoto's power spots, like Arashiyama's bamboo forest and Fushimi Inari's torii gates.

  11. 15 best things to do in Kyoto

    Ashley Owen Jul 16, 2021 • 9 min read Blossom paints the historic Kyoto district of Higashiyama Kyoto is old Japan writ large: atmospheric temples, sublime gardens and traditional teahouses. In fact, there are more than 2000 temples here, inviting visitors to breathe deeply of Japan's rich traditions.

  12. Kyoto Itineraries

    Kyoto Fall Foliage; Can I Travel To Japan Now? October 2023; Kyoto Itineraries. Make the most of your Kyoto trip with our Kyoto itineraries for visits lasting 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, 4 days and 5 days, plus tailored Kyoto itineraries for Shoppers, Temple Lovers, Hikers and Garden Lovers, as well as off-the-beaten track, foliage and cherry ...

  13. Kyoto Bucket List: 18 Amazing Things to do in Kyoto, Japan

    Tokyo took over this title in 1868. Kyoto is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan. In World War II, it escaped bombing at the intervention of Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and has remained Japan's cultural center. Kyoto has one of the world's largest collections of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  14. The Best Things to Do and See in Kyoto

    Kyoto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Kansai region. With a centuries-old history as the island nation's former capital, as well as being one of the major religious hubs in Japan, Kyoto has a great number of cultural sites. Here are the most unforgettable things to do and see in the city.

  15. THE 10 BEST Kyoto Tours & Excursions for 2023 (with Prices)

    Top Kyoto Tours: See reviews and photos of tours in Kyoto, Japan on Tripadvisor.

  16. Kyoto, Japan

    13 Reasons to Visit Kyoto, Japan. Inspiration - Why go here. How to Spend 48 Hours in Kyoto. Recommendations - Outdoors. The Most Beautiful Traditional Japanese Gardens in Kyoto. ... Culture Trip uses an independent third party trust account held by PT Trustees Limited in accordance with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements ...

  17. KYOTO Itinerary • MUST READ! (2023 Guide)

    KYOTO Itinerary • MUST READ! (2023) Kyoto is an incredibly beautiful ancient city which was the capital of Japan for over a thousand years. It's famed for its numerous gorgeous Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, traditional wooden pandolas, and Imperial Palaces. Its scenic cityscape, bursting with cherry and maple trees, is iconic as are ...

  18. The Ultimate 3 Day KYOTO Itinerary

    Uncover 3 days in Kyoto in this fun and action-packed itinerary where we show you the most iconic and unique attractions that you must add to your Japan trip...

  19. Kyoto Travel Guide

    Kyoto Travel Guide - The Best Things to Do in Kyoto for First-timers Allan Su 183K subscribers Subscribe Subscribed 731K views 3 years ago KYOTO Get a Pocket WIFI/Simcard:...

  20. The 9 best day trips from Kyoto

    Travel Stories Japan Kyoto 9 of the best day trips from Kyoto Celia Polkinghorne Sep 22, 2022 • 8 min read From the shrines in Hiroshima to the bathhouses and ryokans of Kinosaki Onsen, here are the best day trips from Kyoto © Ruben Earth / Getty Images

  21. A Foodie's Guide to Kyoto, Japan

    To get to Kyoto from the United States, you'll need to fly into one of Japan's major international airports, such as Narita International Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND). Several U.S....

  22. Best Times to Visit Kyoto

    Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels ...

  23. 10 BEST Day Trips from Kyoto, Japan [2023 Travel Guide]

    5) Amanohashidate. Amanohashidate is at the very northern tip of Kyoto province and can be reached by train from Kyoto station. It's another one of the best day trips frmo Kyoto! It is one of the great scenic views of Japan, and a staggering place of incredible natural beauty.

  24. Introduction: An Overdue Trip To Kyoto

    Beautiful Kyoto, Japan The airlines we flew on this trip. For the outbound portion of our trip, we had to position from Miami to Los Angeles. Fortunately I found a great fare in JetBlue's Airbus A321 Mint business class, so we managed to book the following for $619 per person: 9/26 B62986 Miami to Los Angeles departing 6:25AM arriving 9:17AM

  25. Japan Cruises 2023-2024

    The Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji, and Otsu Cities) is comprised of 17 locations in Japan within Kyoto and vicinity; including 13 Buddhist temples, 3 Shinto Shrines and one castle. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) is the only structure that survived the first atomic bomb (8/6/45), it has been preserved in the same ...

  26. Self-drive from Takayama to Kyoto

    Self-drive from Takayama to Kyoto. Nov 6, 2023, 6:36 PM. Save. Hi, we are a family of 5. We need to travel from Takayama to Kyoto in mid Dec. I was thinking of self-drive for this part so that it is not so stressful to catch the train schedule at Takayama station.

  27. Itinerary Check/Suggestions: 21 days

    Planning my first solo trip to Japan from December 13 - January 2. I've scheduled my flight to arrive in OSAKA and leave TOKYO and thinking of getting the 7 day Hokuriku Arch Pass to hit my destinations and looking to activate on December 20-27.. Interests: City, Architecture, Tradition, Nature. (temples, skylines, scenery, aesthetics) Hobbies: Street/Landscape/Night Photography, Hiking, Gym ...