Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, is like a living postcard. This enchanting city invites you to wander through its rich past, explore its temples, and indulge in unique culinary experiences.
Kyoto beautifully balances its rich history with modernity. Once the capital of Japan, it’s now a place where you can feel the essence of traditional Japanese culture. The city is famous for its exquisite classical Buddhist temples, stunning gardens, and impressive imperial palaces.
You’ll also see charming Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses that add to its unique character. The best thing about Kyoto is that it has over a thousand years of history.
Getting to Kyoto
Kyoto is easy to get to and well-connected. Now, the city doesn’t have its own airport, but don’t worry! Most international travellers land at Kansai International Airport, and from there, getting to Kyoto is quite straightforward. You have an array of choices like trains, buses, and shuttles, all ready to take you straight to the heart of Kyoto.
And if you’re coming from major cities like Tokyo, the Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train, is the way to go. It’s a favourite for both locals and visitors. Riding the train in Japan is a whole experience in itself. It’s not just about getting from A to B; it’s comfortable and fast, and the views you get along the way are simply amazing.
When to Visit
Kyoto comes alive in the spring and autumn.
In April, the city turns into this dreamy pink wonderland, thanks to the cherry blossoms. People from all over the world come to enjoy hanami, which is a custom aimed at appreciating beautiful flowers that are transient.
Then, when autumn rolls around, especially in November, it’s a fiery show of reds and oranges as the maple trees put on their fall colours. It’s not just a feast for the eyes either. These seasons are packed with cultural festivities and events.
If you can’t make it during these peak times, don’t worry. Kyoto has something special to offer all year round.
Where to Stay
No matter what your style or budget is, Kyoto caters to all. If you’re into the full Japanese experience, you must try the traditional ryokans. But if you want the modern comforts with a central location, check out hotels offered by Park Hotel Group; you won’t be disappointed. There are loads of hotels, from the ones that are easy on the wallet to fancy ones that promise cutting-edge facilities. Plus, a lot of these hotels are right near major tourist attractions, so getting around and enjoying all the top things to do in Kyoto is a breeze.
Getting around Kyoto is pretty straightforward, thanks to its excellent public transportation system. There are buses, subways, and trains that can take you just about anywhere you want to go in the city.
But if you want to get up close and personal with Kyoto’s charming streets and secret alleys, hopping on a bike is a great choice. It’s not only convenient but also kind to the environment. But in places like Gion and Higashiyama, where a bunch of tourist spots are all clustered together, just walking around can be really enjoyable.
Kyoto used to be Japan’s capital for more than a thousand years, so you can imagine the kind of history it’s soaked in.
Walking around Kyoto is like exploring a living museum, packed with stories from Japan’s rich past. Despite facing wars and natural disasters, this city has held onto its historical treasures. Take the Kyoto Imperial Palace, for example. This place was home to the Japanese Emperor for ages. The historic district of Gion, on the other hand, is famous for its machiya, which are beautifully preserved traditional wooden townhouses.
Kyoto’s Best Temples and Shrines
Kyoto is home to an array of temples and shrines.
Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen Buddhist temple, which is a real eye-catcher with its top two floors covered in gold leaf. Ryoan-ji, on the other hand, is famous for its incredibly peaceful rock garden.
And you can’t forget about Fushimi Inari Taisha – it’s an amazing shrine known for its thousands of torii gates that create a captivating path up a mountain.
Food in Kyoto
Kyoto’s food scene is as rich and diverse as its culture. The city is famous for kaiseki, a fancy multi-course meal made of all the seasonal ingredients – it looks as good as it tastes.
And thanks to Kyoto’s Buddhist roots, there’s also a focus on vegetarian cuisine. For a more laid-back vibe, you have places like Nishiki Market. It’s a street food paradise where you can munch on local favourites like yuba and treats with a matcha twist.