Japan is not only famous for its technological advancements, but also its traditional culture that continues to flourish in places like Kyoto. Once the capital of the country, Kyoto is a refreshing traditional contrast to the bustling skyscrapers of Tokyo and Osaka.
It is home to more than a thousand Buddhist temple along with geishas, torii Gates and zen gardens. This Kyoto travel guide has all you need to know if you’re planning a trip to Kyoto anytime soon.
Planning your Kyoto trip
Planning a trip is for some of the most exciting parts of the trip. And if you don’t want to plan your trip, you can book any package according to your convenience. There are a lot of Kyoto Travel Packages and you can decide on the one which fits your budget and includes everything you want to do as well.
You can read the solo travel tips guide to make your travel convenient if you are traveling alone.
Do install language translator in your smartphone for communicating with locals.
Best time to visit Kyoto
Kyoto is most visited by tourists in the months of spring and fall, which is when you will see this city’s natural beauty at its finest. The cherry blossom trees become white and pink during the spring, which is usually from March to May, and the landscape becomes a mixture of reds, oranges, and yellows during the autumn months of October and November.
You can also visit Kyoto during the other times. December to February are the coldest months and it shows a few times in Kyoto, and you can take a little detour to the snowy landscapes nearby.
From June till August, it is usually hot and humid, with showers being common during June and July. But, whenever you go, you should check the weather before leaving so that you can pack accordingly.
How to Reach Kyoto
The nearest airport to Kyoto is the Kansai International Airport in Osaka. You can fly into Osaka from almost everywhere in the world, and then take a train, bus, shuttle or taxi to Kyoto. Trains and buses cost you around 2,700 JPY(around INR 1,700), whereas a shuttle costs 4,200 JPY (INR 2,700) and a taxi 30,000 JPY (20,000 INR).
You can also travel to Kyoto from other parts of Japan using the Japanese Railway.
Where to exchange currency
Foreign currency can be exchanged for Japanese Yen at post offices and banks, and the service provided at the post offices is comparatively faster. You can also withdraw JPY from an ATM, but you need to let your bank know that you’re going to be using their card in Japan. And, it’s okay if your card doesn’t work in all ATMs.
Where to stay in Kyoto
There are various places to stay in and around Kyoto, and travelers recommend staying in downtown as it is closer to shops, restaurants, bars and convenience stores.
You can find accommodation listings on Agoda, Booking.com, and Airbnb. You can also book rooms near the station, or wherever you find it the best on any of these platforms.
Places to visit in Kyoto
These are the best places to visit in Kyoto during your trip to japan:
The Kinkaku-ji or the Golden Pavilion is one of the most beautiful temples in Kyoto, and it has also been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site. Entry is only for JPY 400.
2. Fushimi Inari Shrine
A Shinto shrine and one of Kyoto’s most recognizable landscapes, Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for its scenic walking trail.
3. Arashiyama Bamboo Grooves
These bamboo Grooves along with the picturesque temples, gardens, quaint shops, and restaurants make the Arashiyama area visit a truly magical experience.
Tenryu-ji is the most important temple in Arashiyama area and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also features a pool in the middle of its beautiful gardens.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kiyomizu-dera is a temple for making wishes. Not only this, the temple has various interesting backstories which you can either read up before you go or travel around with a guide.
There are various other places you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Kyoto and these including the shopping district on the Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka streets, the Nijō Castle, the Toei Kyoto Studio Park among many more.
Things to do in Kyoto
While you’re in Kyoto, there are a few experiences that are a must on your to-do list and the ones we recommend are:
1. Wear a kimono
Kimono rental shops are spread throughout Kyoto and not only this, but you can also get the traditional hair and make-up done. It costs around 5,000 JPY for a day and is a truly blissful experience. You can also pre-book kimonos as shops are bound to run out of them in the cherry blossom season.
2. Go on a guided tour
Guided tours mean that you don’t miss out on the best places in the city, and also get to know great and interesting tales about the places in the city.
3. Do things that locals recommend
Ask your Uber driver or a local friend you’ve made about the best places to eat and go to and you’re sure to be amazed and surprised that Kyoto has a lot beyond its temples and gardens.
4. Take a cooking class
You can get tricks and tricks to make the traditional cuisine, and if you’re not sure where to look for class, you could search on Cookly.
5. Learn the ways of the samurai
You can book hour-long classes which will teach you the basic techniques if you were amazed at the display in the Toei Kyoto Studio Park.
Side trips from Kyoto
If you want to add a smaller trip to somewhere else, you can include a visit to Osaka, the Japanese food capital, Nara which has the highest number of temples and shrines after Kyoto, or the Kannabe Highlands where you can go enjoy the snow during the winters.
What to eat in Kyoto
Worrying about food?? Don;’t worry! This Kyoto Travel Guide will help you in suggesting the best Kyoto food. Kyoto has a number of amazing restaurants where you can try the exquisite local cuisine.
You should try the sushi, the Chawanmushi, the Japanese curry, or maybe Hamayaki. You can also read Japanese food guides to see the recommendations of fellow travelers and include trips to the best eateries in your itinerary.
Kyoto is famous for its Hiyashime, Kaiseki, Mushizushi or steamed sushi and Tako Tamago.
How to get around in Kyoto
The public transport in Kyoto is very efficient, be it the Subway or the bus. Travelers usually recommend the Subway as it is easier to know about and travel in. You can also get free deals according to the area you are planning to visit.
Read More, Japan travel guide
All in all, Kyoto is one of the most memorable experiences, which is affordable and lovely. Who knows if Kyoto makes you fall in love with Japanese culture and makes you keep coming for more! Just follow this Kyoto Travel Guide and make your travel easy.