17 Awesome Things to Do in Kyoto, Japan (2019 Edition)

20 min

things to do in Kyoto, japan, forest, geisha


From marvelling on the mastery of the silk weaving and the fantastic thing about vibrant kimonos on the trend parade to consuming scrumptious meals at Pontocho alley right here’s our record of one of the best issues to do in Kyoto, Japan.

things to do in Kyoto, japan, forest, geisha

Exploring the distinctive flora of this area is simply among the best issues to do in Kyoto!

Kyoto is without doubt one of the hottest locations to go to in Japan and proudly one of the vital culturally numerous cities on this planet. Many vacationers frequent town yearly to expertise the distinctiveness of Kyoto.

Folks love Japan for its steadiness between trendy developments similar to in expertise whereas nonetheless retaining its conventional roots. Kyoto is not any totally different.

This metropolis stays the go-to vacation spot for many who count on to see magnificent bamboo forests, stunning temples and shrines, theatre, and colourfully dressed geishas.

Guests also needs to stay up for studying how you can brew Japanese tea, varied artwork varieties, and expertise Buddhism.

Issues to Do in Kyoto – Our Checklist of the Greatest Sights

For these questioning what to do in Kyoto, that is the best article for you.

Kinkaku-ji Temple

The identify Kinkakuji is a translation for Temple of the Golden Pavilion. It was beforehand often called Rokuonji, nonetheless.

This standard Zen Buddhist Temple was the retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, a retired shogun of the Rinzai Sect.

The highest two flooring are made in gold leaf because the retired shogun supposed initially.The temple is a shariden, a spot they use to retailer Buddha’s vital objects, for instance, his ashes.

Guests get to see totally different architectural kinds on every of the three flooring of the temple.

The primary flooring is made from wooden and white plaster. Right here, they used the shinden-zukuri model. The second flooring is the place the Samurais resided, they usually used the Bukke model.

The structure of the third flooring resembles that of a Chinese language Zen Corridor.

A large pond overlooks the temple, and from the opposite facet, vacationers can see the numerous statues within the constructing. There’s a backyard that results in the Sekkatei Teahouse.

  • Open: From 09:00 to 17:00 daily with none closing days.
  • Location:
    • One, From Kyoto Station, take bus quantity 101 or 205. It prices 230 Yen and takes near 40 minutes.
    • Two, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station for 260 Yen for 15 minutes, which is one of the simplest ways. From there, take a 10-minute taxi (1000-1200 Yen) or bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205 (230 Yen) to Kinkakuji.
  • Price: 400 Yen.

When you’re desirous to do a half-day guided tour to the Kinkaku-ji temple, this one on Get Your Information is nice.

Kinkaku-ji-Temple, things to do in Kyoto


Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple is one other standard Kyoto must-see web site for vacationers due to its spectacular rock backyard.

The Myoshinji Faculty of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism owns the backyard, and the top temple is situated one kilometre south of the backyard.

Regardless of the thriller surrounding its development and motive, many individuals imagine that it’s as much as every particular person to interpret the that means for themselves.

The backyard itself is made up of a low stonewall surrounding a plot with 15 stones laid in teams on moss. Small white pebbles cowl the remainder of the backyard.

Enjoyable reality is that regardless of the place an individual stands, one rock will at all times be out of view for her or him.

There’s a pond that’s believed to have existed for the reason that time the aristocrats lived there with a shrine on one among its islands.

  • Open: From 8:00 to 17:00 from March to November and eight:30 to 16:30 from December to February) with no closing days.
  • Location: One can entry the temple from Kinkakuji by a 20-minute stroll or a 5-minute bus experience. A extra direct route is from Kyoto Station by JR bus. The journey prices 230 Yen and is about 30 minutes lengthy.
  • Price: 500 Yen.

Kyoto Worldwide Manga Museum

This fascinating museum opened in November 2006. It has three flooring with partitions lined with manga comics on its cabinets.

The museum is a welcome change from the standard varieties because it offers with a present standard Japanese artwork type, Manga.

It is without doubt one of the few Kyoto points of interest which can be distinctive and academic for vacationers because it options trendy artwork varieties similar to manga.

Though manga is an internationally-recognised artwork type, many of the books within the museum are in Japanese.

Books written by worldwide artists are additionally on show within the museum, and their work is included in occasions held by the manga museum on the topic.

Moreover the huge manga show, there’s a show of issues that belonged to the elementary college that was hosted within the constructing earlier than.

  • Open: from 10:00 to 18:00 daily besides Wednesday.
  • Location: It’s two minutes from the Karasuma-Oike subway station in Kyoto Station. It prices 210 Yen, and the journey is about 5 minutes lengthy.
  • Price: 800 Yen for Adults, 300 Yen for highschool and junior highschool college students, and 100 Yen for elementary college college students.

Gion – Dwelling of the Geishas

Folks recognise the Japanese tradition by its stunning and colourfully dressed geishas.

Being the most well-liked geisha district, the federal government financed its restoration by working all overhead utilities under the bottom to keep up its unique magnificence, custom, and appeal.

Visiting the Minamiza Theatre, standard for its Kabuki reveals, is an fascinating factor to do in Kyoto. Kabuki reveals are a theatrical efficiency that includes dance, over-the-top make-up, and vibrant colours.

Vacationers go to Hanami-koji Avenue for its present outlets, eating places, teahouses (ochaya), and locations the place geishas (geiko in Kyoto dialect) and maikos (geisha protégés) carry out.

For many who like fantastic eating, Hanami-koji Avenue, situated from Kenninji Temple to Shijo Avenue is the place to go to in Kyoto.

The well-preserved machiya homes on the road and within the alleys serve each native and worldwide cuisines. Subsequent to Shijo Avenue is the Shirakawa Canal, a quieter model of Hanami-koji.

Guests in search of souvenirs and genuine Japanese road finds can go to Higashiyama District between Kiyomizudera and Yasaka Shrine.

  • Open: 18:00 and 19:00. It’s closed from Monday to Thursday from December to mid-March besides on nationwide holidays, July 16, August 16, and December 29 to January 3.
  • Location: Bus quantity 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station. The journey takes 20 minutes and prices 230 Yen.
  • Price: Gion Nook is 3150 Yen.

Ensure you join this superior Geisha evening stroll round Gion!

Gion, kimono, geishas

Geishas strolling via Gion

Monkey Park In Iwatayama

Of all of the issues to see in Kyoto, the Japanese Macaques (snow monkeys) are probably the most fascinating. They’re stunning and will even steal meals from guests which can be inattentive.

The hike to the highest of Mount Arashiyama is treacherous however value it due to the nice view of town. Guests are positioned in cages in order that they’re protected against aggressive monkeys throughout feeding.

Feeds for the monkeys may be purchased within the park for an opportunity to work together with the monkeys.

The park can also be academic as there are quizzes that inform guests concerning the monkeys and their habitat.

  • Open: from 9:00 – 17:00
  • Location: Guests can get to Iwatayama Monkey Park by both a 30-40-minute hike up the slopes of Mount Arashiyama or a 5-minute stroll from the Hankyu Arashiyama Station.
  • Price: 550 Yen
snow monkey, japan, kyoto, Iwatayama

Snow monkey

Nijo Citadel

Nijo Citadel is a strong imperial fortress constructed to guard its inhabitants from any assaults.

Its format consists of an outer wall, an interior wall for additional safety, and the grounds with a backyard surrounding the palace.

The principle constructing is the Nimonaru Palace. It’s the place the shogun resided and has a tremendous inside with sliding door, every of which has a special design.

The Ninomaru Backyard is gorgeous with a pond surrounded by pine timber round it. The well-known cherry blossoms are additionally discovered within the backyard.

There’s a second palace in Nijo Citadel known as Honmaru Place. As a result of harm it has sustained over time, guests aren’t allowed within the fortress.

Vacationers are, nonetheless, free to discover, see the outer wall, and even climb it for a greater view.

  • Open: from 8:45 to 17:00 on a regular basis besides Tuesdays in January, July, August, and December.
  • Location: Nakagyo Ward, central Kyoto, accessible by prepare to the Nijo-jo-mae cease on the Tozai line or by bus numbers 9, 12, 50 or 101.
  • Price: 600 Yen.
nijo castle, kyoto, japan

Nijo Citadel

Go to Pontocho for a Tremendous Eating Expertise

Kyoto is a significant cultural metropolis, and Pontocho provides guests enthusiastic about fantastic eating with a chance to check out totally different Japanese cuisines.

It’s situated close to the Komogawa River with a whole lot of eating places various from costly fantastic eating experiences to inexpensive yakitori.

To expertise one of the best of Pontocho, ignore the guidebook and discover totally different eating places. The most effective ones are often smaller and never alongside the principle approach. They may in all probability solely have their menus in Japanese.

The trick is to eat at a restaurant which pleases the customer. On these sizzling and sunny days, a cool breeze from the Komogawa River might make the expertise even higher.

When you actually love your meals however would favor to do that in model with an area, guide your self right into a tour. They’re not low-cost, however your tastebuds will thanks eternally!

pontocho, japan, kyoto

Well-known Pontocho Alley

Tenryuji Temple

Due to its nice cultural and historic significance, the temple is recognised as a UNESCO world heritage web site.

It’s the head temple constructed by Ashikaga Takauji, a ruling shogun in 1339.

The buildings of Tenryuji might have been misplaced in fires and wars over time; the backyard stays in its unique state, nonetheless.

The nice backyard designer, Muso Soseki, who was additionally the temple’s first head priest, designed it. The pond in the midst of the bottom is surrounded by rocks.

It’s also surrounded by pine timber and a forest on the slopes of the Arashiyama Mountains.

  • Open: 8:30 to 17:30 (till 17:00 from late October to late March).
  • Location: 5 minute stroll from Keifuku Arashiyama station.
  • Price: 500 yen for the backyard solely, 800 yen for backyard and buildings.
Tenryuji Temple, garden, kyoto,japan, muso soseki

Discover the well-known backyard of Tenryuji Temple designed by Muso Soseki

Kiyomizu Temple

In-built 778, Otowa-san Kiyomizu is a Buddhist temple that is without doubt one of the hottest Kyoto points of interest.

Folks recognise the temple by its major corridor characterised by an enormous wood terrace overlooking the gorgeous metropolis of Kyoto. 

Enjoyable reality: not a single nail was used to assemble the 13-meter-high terrace. They used a technique known as hell body and used 139 timber in its development.

Below the principle veranda is the Otowa Waterfall with three streams that the locals imagine might give an individual lengthy life and success of their relationships and lecturers.

There are numerous eating places and present outlets alongside the streets to Kiyomizu temple.

  • Open: 06:00 to 18:00
  • Location: Situated in jap Kyoto and a 10-minute experience by bus numbers 100 and 206 from Kyoto station.
  • Price: 400 Yen.
Kiyomizu Temple, kyoto, japan

Kiyomizu Temple

Free Issues to Do in Kyoto

Not the whole lot within the metropolis prices cash although! In actual fact there are some unbelievable free issues to do in Kyoto as properly, so it can save you your money for extra sushi and sake!

Kifune Shrine

This picturesque vacation spot in Kibune Village is standard for those who are into photography as a result of it’s stunning.

It’s also a well-liked wedding ceremony vacation spot and is thought for its auspiciousness particularly for newlyweds.

There’s a pretty stone staircase with crimson lanterns on the perimeters as you strategy the principle corridor of the shrine. Guests may also drink goshinsui (sacred water) from the mountain in Kibune.

For many who are superstitious, Kifune Shrine is the place to go to as it’s the place the locals worship Kami, a water deity.

One can purchase fortune telling paper, mizuura mikuji, after which place it in water close to the principle corridor.

After some time, fortune studying concerning an individual’s life will seem and finally fade because the paper stays within the water.

Translations for the fortunes can be found utilizing a QR code reader.

Non secular people might resolve to take a pilgrimage via the three major areas in Kifure: the principle shrine, Yui no Yashiro, and the Okunomiya.

  • Location: One can get to Kifune by Eizan prepare because the city is 30 minutes from Kyoto. One may also take a 25-minute stroll from Kibuneguchi station. There’s additionally bus quantity 33 to Kifune.
  • Open: from 09:00 – 16:30, that will fluctuate with every season however no time limits.
  • Price: It’s free to enter.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

It’s recognised as Kyoto’s most vital shrine as it’s the head shrine of the deity Inari. He’s believed to be the patron of prosperity for companies, merchants, and industrialists.

He’s additionally the god of rice and sake.

Situated on the foot of Mount Inari, it goes as much as four kilometers up the mountain with its many sub-shrines.

The shrine has a wealthy historical past spanning again to 711 AD, making it one of many oldest landmarks in Kyoto.

Its major entrance is the Romon Gate, inbuilt 1589 with the blessing from Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler of Japan and a samurai warlord.

On the again are the Senbon Torii, donated by house owners of companies in Japan hoping for good fortunes. Their names are inscribed in black, they usually cowl a climbing path.

The shrine has some fox statues throughout the bottom with a few of them having keys of their mouths.

The Japanese imagine that foxes are the gods’ messengers and the keys are for the rice granaries they’re defending.

  • Open: At all times
  • Location: Near JR Nara Line (Inari station), and a 5 minute stroll from Keihan Fundamental Line “Fushimi Inari station.”
  • Price: Free
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, japan, kyoto, things to do in kyoto

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Nishiki Market

For vacationers trying to expertise genuine Japanese meals, the busy 5-block lengthy market is a superb place to take a look at.

There are roughly 126 stalls, every of which is promoting some type of Japanese delicacy. One may also get specialty objects which can be solely domestically out there in Japan.

Regardless of how large it’s and the attainable language barrier, among the best issues to do in Kyoto is to take a look at the Nishiki Market.

For many who haven’t any expertise with Japanese flavors, attempt some inexperienced tea. Be adventurous as there are a lot of delicacies to select from.

There are additionally stylish outlets like Konnamonja that supply tofu made ice cream and doughnuts.

  • Open: from 9:00 to 18:00 though some stalls shut on Wednesdays or Sundays.
  • Location: One block north of and parallel to Shijo Avenue in central Kyoto. Strolling distance of the Shijo, Karasuma, and Kawaramachi subway stations.
  • Price: free, however one will buy meals within the stalls.
nishiki market, kyoto, japan, fish

Colourful fish on the Nishiki market

Thinker’s Stroll

It’s a mile-long path that the Japanese thinker, Nishida Kitaro, used when he walked to Kyoto College within the early 20th century.

It’s subsequent to the Biwa Canal with cherry blossoms alongside the trail. It takes about an hour to stroll throughout the entire size of the path.

Guests can begin the trail at Ginkaku-ji, heading south alongside the trail till the tip of the trail in Nanzenji. There are outlets, eating places, and even merchandising machines alongside the trail though there aren’t any restrooms.

  • Open: At all times
  • Location: Higashiyama district of northern Kyoto. There aren’t any restrictions as to when one can stroll the trail. Take bus quantity 5, 17, or 100 from Kyoto Station to the start of the trail at Ginkaku-ji.
  • Price: Free

Attending A Silk Weaving And Kimono Style Parade

Probably the most notable trend objects from Japan needs to be the Kimono. It’s a stunning conventional costume that ladies nonetheless put on to this present day.

Throughout festivals and different events similar to autumn and cherry blossom seasons, one can discover most girls are wearing Kimonos and Yakata.

The most effective place to see the Kimono styled and worn is the Nishijin textile centre. Right here, they provide a kimono trend parade a number of occasions a day.

There’s the show of silkworms that produce silk which can be used as textiles. There are additionally weaving demonstrations that designate how they make extra complicated materials and wall hangings.

  • Open: Day by day
  • Location: one kilometre from the Imperial Palace or 1.5 km from Nijo Citadel.
  • Price: free to the general public.
kimono fashion parade, japan, kyoto

Go to the style parade to see actual craftsmanship of conventional Japanese put on.

Attend Festivals and Occasions

The locals in Kyoto get pleasure from themselves by showcasing their wealthy tradition, traditions, and meals.

A customer on a funds with restricted issues to do in Kyoto might get pleasure from free festivals and occasions as they get to work together with the locals and be taught extra about their tradition.

Such festivals embrace Aoi, Jidai and Gion festivals, Setsubun, and New Yr celebrations amongst different seasonal occasions.

The autumn and cherry blossom (Sakura) seasons are well-known for festivals.

festival, japan, kyoto

Plan your go to round a conventional pageant for a singular expertise

Fushimi Sake District

Situated alongside Horikawa River, Fushimi is the highest sake-brewing district in Japan.

The underground springs present mushy and clear water that’s good for brewing sake. Fushimi is situated between two rivers with a strategic delivery place.

All these contributed to the expansion of the city to a number one sake-brewing district with the favored Gekkeikan Brewery being based in 1637.

For these questioning what to do in Kyoto, they’ll take a wood boat for a sightseeing cruise from Gekkeikan Brewery and the Teradaya Inn up the Uji River for about 55 and 40 minutes respectively.

  • Location: There are numerous methods to get to Fushimi, one among which is a 12-minute experience from Kyoto Station on the JR Nara Line then a 20-minute stroll from Momoyama Station.
sake, japan, fushimi, kyoto

Style among the finest sake on this planet.

Sengakuji Temple

Probably the most vital issues to do in Kyoto is to go to a real-life Samurai Temple. The Sengakuji Temple is the burial floor of the well-known Akoroshi Kinenkan, also referred to as 47 Ronin.

A pageant is held yearly on December 14 in commemoration of the 47 Ronin’s revenge.

There’s a single room museum in Sengakuji the place guests get to see samurai relics, similar to letters and armor related to the 47 samurais.

A brief informative video is proven in several languages explaining the story of the samurais.

There are wood sculptures of the loyal retainers that took half within the mission.

  • Open: Temple: 7:00 to 18:00 (till 17:00 from October to March) and Museum: 9:00 to 16:30 (till 16:00 from October to March)
  • Location: It’s a stone throw away from Sengakuji Station on the Toei Asakusa Subway Line. Guests may also take a 15 to 20-minute stroll from Shinagawa or Tamachi Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
  • Price: Free (temple), 500 yen (museum)

Kyoto is a contemporary and equally conventional metropolis that’s magnificent to any vacationer that visits it. There are numerous issues that one can do when in Kyoto that can be memorable for years to come back.

Whether or not it’s visiting the historic temples and shrines or the Manga artwork museum, there’s something for everyone. There are costly choices and inexpensive choices for these on a funds.

Kyoto is a metropolis that’s heat and welcoming to guests and encourages everybody to have an excellent time. With many issues to do in Kyoto, plan a visit there and revel in one of the best of each worlds.

The place to Keep in Kyoto – The Greatest Lodging

When you’re nonetheless within the planning phases of your journey and are questioning the place to remain in Kyoto, we’ve achieved the analysis and are glad to share with you the highest Three lodging relying in your funds.

Greatest Hostel in Kyoto – Associates Kyo

For backpackers on a funds, there’s no higher place to name house when you’re exploring all one of the best Kyoto actions than Associates Kyo, proper within the Gion district.

They’ve superior chilling out areas, together with a implausible rooftop backyard and a cool lounge. The dorms are nice, clear and low-cost. And better of all, they provide free laundry!

Greatest Mid-Vary Lodging – Daiwa Roynet Lodge Kyoto Shijo Karasuma

It could have a protracted identify, however this is without doubt one of the nicest mid-range motels in all of Kyoto! When you’re in search of tremendous clear, spacious, inexpensive and with an important location, you’ll be able to’t beat it.

Free wifi all through the resort is offered, and there’s an important buffet breakfast served up each morning.

Greatest Luxurious Lodge – The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

When you’re in search of the best possible place to relaxation your head at evening, then you’ll be able to’t beat the Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto.

This resort was solely opened in 2014, making it very new with all the highest trendy facilities you could possibly ever want, and it’s proudly the primary luxurious city resort in all of Japan.

Whether or not you’re right here for enterprise or need to spoil your vital different, that is the place to be seen in Kyoto!

Natalia Djajic

Natalia was born in nation that now not exists (Yugoslavia) however grew up in Belgrade, Serbia. At the moment she works as a advertising supervisor at a tour firm in Belgrade. Since a younger age, she loved travelling and exploring new cultures, which lead her all throughout Europe and finally to the US the place she spent her summers throughout her college years. The following cease is Paris, the place she’s going to keep for 2 years to acquire her Masters in administration. She loves storytelling and enjoys working as a contract author. Her passions are road images, music festivals and surprisingly, boxing too.

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