Kyoto

Travel Guide
Heian Shrine showing a temple or place of worship, religious aspects and heritage architecture

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 the fall, 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 330 feet (100 meters) 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.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

UNIZO INN Kyoto Kawaramachi Shijo
UNIZO INN Kyoto Kawaramachi Shijo
3 out of 5
2-Yamazakicho 240, Kawaramachi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $25 per night from Sep 28 to Sep 28
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps from Kiyamachi Street, Kawaramachi, and Pontocho. Nishiki Market and Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre are also within 10 ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (873 reviews)
"Very clean. Sheet including flat and fit sheets were change everyday. They room is spacious compared to other hotel. This was an inn and I am very surprised how up scale everything was. I would book it again."

Reviewed on Mar 8, 2020

UNIZO INN Kyoto Kawaramachi Shijo
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
4.5 out of 5
JR Kyoto Station, Karasuma Chuo-guchi, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
Fully refundable
The price is $109 per night from Sep 28 to Sep 28
Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Costume Museum are ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (1,069 reviews)
"I picked this hotel last minute due to Covid but we really enjoyed our stay. It is right outside the Kyoto train station so getting around was super easy and there are so many places to shop and eat. The only downside was the hotel is not a good fit if you are traveling with young children. The pool ..."

Reviewed on Apr 10, 2021

Hotel Granvia Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is $75 per night from Oct 3 to Oct 3
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Kyoto Railway Museum and Nishiki Market are also within 2 ...
4.4/5Excellent! (2,181 reviews)
"Great staff, made us feel at home during our stay. Very helpful with impeccable service."

Reviewed on Jun 2, 2021

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
nol kyoto sanjo
nol kyoto sanjo
3 out of 5
700, Osakazaimokucho, Nakagyoku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is $132 per night from Oct 26 to Oct 26
Located in Central Kyoto, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishiki Market, Kawaramachi, and Kyoto International Manga Museum. Pontocho and Shijo ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (7 reviews)
"食器などもありホテルでの食事もできて良かったが、レンジもオーブンレンジのため使いやすくよかった。"

Reviewed on Sep 1, 2021

nol kyoto sanjo
MIMARU KYOTO STATION
MIMARU KYOTO STATION
2.5 out of 5
15-1, Higashikujyo Higashisannocho, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is $148 per night from Oct 4 to Oct 4
Located in Central Kyoto, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Tower, Kyoto Aquarium, and Kyoto Railway Museum. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (58 reviews)
"Next to kyoto station. Very convenient."

Reviewed on Feb 5, 2020

MIMARU KYOTO STATION
Kyoto Four Sisters Residence
Kyoto Four Sisters Residence
3.5 out of 5
387 Bishamon-cho, (Nishinotoin-dori, Takeyamachi-sagaru), Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
Located in Central Kyoto, this apartment building is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Nijō Castle and 1.8 mi (2.8 km) from Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre. Kyoto Shibori Museum and ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (302 reviews)
Highly recommended.
"We had a wonderful time staying here. Love the quiet local neighborhood with restaurants and 24hr supermarket nearby. The place is very clean and design thoroughly. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Highly recommend for a big group or family to stay."

Reviewed on Jan 25, 2020

Kyoto Four Sisters Residence
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Kyoto

Devote plenty of time to explore the ancient cobbled streets, teahouses and temples of Kyoto, so walk wherever possible. You’ll never traverse the whole city on foot, of course, so use the modern, efficient public transit network, which comprises subway, train and bus networks. Kyoto is also beautiful to cycle around, with bike rental shops everywhere. Visit the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau website.Browse Kyoto rental cars.

Best time to visit

Kyoto is a fantastic destination year round, never getting too hot or cold. Its ancient streets can be wonderfully atmospheric in winter, while spring is the time for the beautiful cherry blossoms. Summers can be hot, humid and rainy, with average high temperatures in August in the low 90s F (low 30s C); visit in fall for optimum sightseeing weather.

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