Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed wild monkeys and explore World Heritage-listed temples and shrines in this historically rich Japanese city.

Kyoto, on the Japanese island of Honshu, has been a hub of religious activity and political power since the eighth century. It was once the capital of Japan and retains many of the temples and palaces built within this period. Step back in time to imperial Japan as you explore the city’s many World Heritage Sites such as the Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto is also renowned for its landscaped gardens, many of which are based on designs dating back hundreds of years.

The wealth of cultural history in Kyoto can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take the Philosopher’s Walk to orient yourself around some of Kyoto’s historic sights, such as the Eikando Temple. The walk takes in three major temples as well as several smaller temples and shrines, boutique shopping areas and restaurants where you can sample the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner, kaiseki. Cherry blossoms line the walk during spring, and in autumn, the area comes alive with the brilliant reds of maple trees.

Central Kyoto offers a combination of modern and traditional delights. Ride up the Kyoto Tower for a 360-degree view over the city from 100 metres (330 feet) up. Explore the Nishiki Market, lined with restaurants, and fresh produce and street food stalls. See giant salamanders and local river fish at the Kyoto Aquarium.

At one of the regular festivals held in the city, taste some of the food brought to Kyoto from all over Japan to please the Emperor, watch traditional crafts being made, take a lesson in saké brewing and experience the culture of Japan.

Lovers of Japanese literature will enjoy the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, built to resemble the fictional setting of the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Tourism is a large part of Kyoto’s economy and there are some unique attractions such as hand feeding wild snow monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto has a welcoming atmosphere, incredible natural beauty and layered history.

Where to stay in Kyoto

Gion
Gion which includes cycling, night scenes and street scenes

Gion

Known for temple, culture, flower

4.5/5(3 reviews)

Experience a traditional tea ceremony or a night of cultural entertainment within the historic wooden teahouses of this well-preserved Kyoto district.

Sannenzaka Ninenzaka
Sannenzaka Ninenzaka which includes a small town or village and street scenes as well as a large group of people

Sannenzaka Ninenzaka

Known for temple, culture, flower

Charming craft shops, ceremonious teahouses and tiny cafés spill out from the traditional wooden façades of this historic pair of lanes below Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Top hotels in Kyoto

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
P4,079
per night
11 Dec - 12 Dec

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple ...

4.4/5Excellent! (3,370 reviews)

"Beautiful property and the room size for larger stays is a HUGE plus 👍"…"

Reviewed on Nov 14, 2019

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
4 out of 5
P4,088
per night
9 Dec - 10 Dec

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Kyoto TERRSA, Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (941 reviews)

"Everything is great. Specially the view. Only one thing it is little hot in the room and air conditioner doesn’t work very well."…"

Reviewed on Nov 18, 2019

Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
M's INN SANJO OMIYA
M's INN SANJO OMIYA
3 out of 5
P2,416
per night
15 Dec - 16 Dec

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Shijo Omiya, Kawaramachi and Nijō Castle. Nishiki Market and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (12 reviews)

"Check in and out process quick via tablet and access to room and site 24 hr by pin"…"

Reviewed on Nov 5, 2019

M's INN SANJO OMIYA

Popular things to do in Kyoto

Kiyomizu Temple
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Kiyomizu Temple

Constructed entirely without nails and built on high poles, this temple is part of a World Heritage Site and offers visitors both beauty and history.

Nijō Castle
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Nijō Castle

Visit the world of a wealthy and powerful shogun in this opulent 17th-century castle complex.

Kyoto Tower
Image for Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

In a city known for its temples and other ancient relics, this observation point catches the eye as an example of 20th-century innovation.

Fushimi Inari Shrine
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Fushimi Inari Shrine

This shrine at the base of Inari Mountain is dedicated to the goddess of rice and prosperity. See its thousands of red gates around a network of beautiful trails.

Toji Temple
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Toji Temple

The To-ji Temple is one of the preeminent traditional sites in Kyoto, with exquisite structures, a flea market and the tallest pagoda in the country.

Heian Shrine
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Heian Shrine

An important shrine for patriotic locals and curious tourists alike, this site has charming buildings and natural gardens that celebrate Kyoto’s fusion of past and present.

Top activities in Kyoto

Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour
Image for Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour

Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour

P6,551

Discover the 3 World Heritage listed sites (Kiyomizu temple, Tenrryuji temple and Kinkakuji Temple) in Kyoto. Besides, we will visit 2 popular spots: Fushimi Inari Shrine and bamboo forest in Sagano. Please be intoxicated magnificent Japanese historical places.

Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe
Image for Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe

Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe

P4,925

Take a journey through the wonders of ancient and modern Japan with a day trip that shows you the historic cities of Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. With destinations from the peaceful bamboo forest of Arashiyama to the lively Kobe Mosaic, you get a look at centuries' worth of culture.

Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour
Image for Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour

Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour

P7,300

Explore the must-see sights of history-rich Kyoto, including the spectacular Nijo Castle, eminent Kinkaku-ji, and grand Kyoto Imperial Palace. In the afternoon, embark for Nara, home of pacific Nara Park and the famous temple of Todai-ji.

Kyoto Full-Day Tour
Image for Kyoto Full-Day Tour

Kyoto Full-Day Tour

P6,551

Spend a full day discovering the best sights Kyoto has to offer, including grand castles and sacred temples. These spectacular attractions make your time in Kyoto an unforgettable experience.

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience
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Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

P8,423

Forge your very own Japanese kogatana (small blade) with an artisan swordsmith. Learn about the traditional blade-forging process, which uses the same materials and techniques as a full-size katana. At the end of the experience, take the beautiful product of your creation home with you.

Osaka Castle Photography
Image for Osaka Castle Photography

Osaka Castle Photography

P4,772

Itinerary We will go to Osaka Castle in the morning. It is beautiful to see Osaka Castle in the morning and take a fresh breath air! Most of our beautiful pictures are taken in the morning. First I will pick you up at the Morinomiya station near Osaka Castle.

Reviews of Kyoto

4.8

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
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5 - Excellent 77.77777777777777%
4 - Good
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4 - Good 22.22222222222222%
3 - Okay
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2 - Disappointing
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1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

31 Oct 2019

If you want to experience the real life in Japan, Go to Kyoto!

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Kyoto

Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan
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Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan

From the serenity of ancient shrines to the electric lights of Akihabara, here are some sustainable tourism tips for being a responsible traveler in Japan.

How to Spend a Weekend in Kyoto, Japan
Image for How to Spend a Weekend in Kyoto, Japan

How to Spend a Weekend in Kyoto, Japan

With its ancient palaces and vibrant cherry blossom, a weekend in Kyoto promises a magical journey to the heart of Japan.

Kyoto Food Tours
Image for Kyoto Food Tours

Kyoto Food Tours

Matcha ice cream, vegan ramen, and a bar hopping Izakaya adventure await you in Kyoto.

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