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KyotoJapan

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

Nijo Castle showing a park and a pond

Central Kyoto

4.5/5Wonderful!(1,806 area reviews)

Central Kyoto is highly notable for its popular shops, and you might want to visit top sights like Nijō Castle and Nishiki Market. See more of Kyoto by jumping on the metro at Nijojo-mae Station or Karasuma Oike Station.

Central Kyoto
Gion which includes cycling, street scenes and night scenes

Gion

5/5Exceptional!(208 area reviews)

Unique features of Gion include the monuments and shopping. Make a stop by Yasaka Shrine or Gion Corner while you're exploring the area.

Gion
Kyōto featuring a garden, forest scenes and landscape views

Arashiyama

5/5Exceptional!(51 area reviews)

You might enjoy the river views while in Arashiyama. Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum is a notable sight, and you can get around town at Saga-Arashiyama Station or Torokko Arashiyama Station to see more of the city.

Arashiyama
Nishiki Market featuring markets and street scenes as well as a large group of people

Karasuma

Visitors to Karasuma love its popular shops, and you can check out Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi. If you want to see more in the area, you can get around town on the metro at Karasuma Oike Station.

Karasuma
Shoren-in Temple which includes a temple or place of worship and signage

Higashiyama

4.5/5Wonderful!(29 area reviews)

Consider a visit to Kiyomizu Temple and take some time to enjoy the abundant dining options during your time in Higashiyama. If you want to see more of the city, jump on the metro at Tofukuji Station or Higashiyama Station.

Higashiyama
Philosopher\\\'s Walk featuring a river or creek and a garden

Sakyo Ward

5/5Exceptional!(4 area reviews)

Noted for its gardens and mountain views, there's plenty to explore in Sakyo Ward. Top attractions like Kyoto International Conference Centre and Heian Shrine are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Kokusaikaikan Station or Matsugasaki Station to see more of the city.

Sakyo Ward

Top Hotels in Kyoto

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
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 $89 per night from Sep 24 to Sep 25

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! (2,875 reviews)

"Muy buen hotel, cuartos bastantes amplios, todos equipados. Desayuno bastante completo y bueno"…"

Reviewed on Mar 25, 2020

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Ace Hotel Kyoto
Ace Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
245-2 Aneyakojidori, Higashinotoin-nishiiru Kurumayacho, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is $323 per night from Sep 24 to Sep 25

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto International Manga Museum and Nishiki Market. Kawaramachi and Nijō Castle are also ...

4.3/5Excellent! (18 reviews)

"初めてステイしましたが、ゆっくりできて良い時間を過ごせました。建物はもちろん、お部屋の内装などもおしゃれで可愛かったです。ただ、アメニティの歯磨きタブレットが慣れなくて使いにくかったです。。 ホテル内のレストランもテラス席があり気持ちよかったです。スタッフの方も皆さん気持ちの良い接客でした!京都に訪れる際には再訪したいと思います。"…"

Reviewed on Sep 19, 2020

Ace Hotel Kyoto
Hotel Monterey Kyoto
Hotel Monterey Kyoto
3.5 out of 5
604 Manjuya-cho, Sanjo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is $78 per night from Sep 25 to Sep 26

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rokakkudo Temple and Nishiki Market. Kyoto International Manga Museum and Shijo Omiya are also ...

4.3/5Excellent! (985 reviews)
A lovely secret treasure in the heart of downtown

"This is a little hotel that tries hard, and that offers a perfecf location (across from Rokkakudo Temple and in the heart of downtown), a brilliant buffet breakfast, fine videos of Kyoto in the breakfast room and kind, helpful service even in English. And the prices are often extremely reasonable, ..."…"

Reviewed on Apr 1, 2020

Hotel Monterey Kyoto

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.

Popular places to visit in Kyoto

Kyoto Tower
Image for Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

4/5(463 reviews)

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
Image for Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

4.5/5(1,177 reviews)

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.

Kawaramachi
Image for Kawaramachi

Kawaramachi

4.5/5(124 reviews)

You can find the perfect gifts to bring home when you visit Kawaramachi, a favorite shopping spot in Kyoto. Make time for the temples and local tours in this culturally rich area.

Kiyomizu Temple
Image for Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple

4.5/5(759 reviews)

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
Image for Nijō Castle

Nijō Castle

4.5/5(584 reviews)

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

Kyoto Imperial Palace
Image for Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace

4.5/5(566 reviews)

Find out about the history of Kyoto Imperial Palace, one of the top monuments in Kyoto. Check out the temples and top-notch restaurants in this culturally rich area.

Top things to do in Kyoto

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience
Image for Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

$168
Per adult
98% of travellers recommend
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour
Image for Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour

Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour

$80
Per adult
88% of travellers recommend
Samurai and Ninja Museum Tour in Kyoto
Image for Samurai and Ninja Museum Tour in Kyoto

Samurai and Ninja Museum Tour in Kyoto

$23
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend

Reviews of Kyoto

4.8

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1580
5 - Excellent 78.41191066997519%
4 - Good
398
4 - Good 19.751861042183624%
3 - Okay
31
3 - Okay 1.5384615384615385%
2 - Disappointing
4
2 - Disappointing 0.19851116625310175%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 0.09925558312655088%

5/5 - Excellent

Jennie

Jun 6, 2020

Love Kyoto!! Definitely recommend fir first time Japan travelers.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 3, 2020

very easy to get around and visit all the sites in the area, trains and buses run regularly throughout the day, so you never have very long to wait for one to come along

4/5 - Good

RB

Mar 26, 2020

Quiet at the time of visit. A beautiful place.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 20, 2020

I would love to live here.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

The city itself is great unfortunately didn't have enough time to explore the entire city. There are a TON of temples and shrines to visit in Kyoto, kind of off putting when most of the good ones are "Pay to enter," when others in the country are not

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

Kyoto was a lovely place to visit. There is so much to see here. The traditional neighborhoods and bamboo homes are scenic. The city is safe and pleasant.

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