Top 15 Places to Visit in Kyoto Japan
Kyoto or Kyoto City is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture. It’s immaculately clean thanks to the efforts of the people and the government. During spring countless Sakura trees produce cherry blossoms which people from all over the world fall in love with. But that’s not the only gem you’ll find in Kyoto because some 2,000 temples and shrines are located in this beautiful place.
Food tripping proves to be another must try when you’re in Kyoto. You can find different craft beer bars and Michelin-starred restaurants. You may also find yourself trying different ramen versions and sushi menus from various food joints. The cultural heritage and unique artisan products in Kyoto is impressive you’ll want to check that out.
The Best Tourist Spots in Kyoto
Get Inspired in Kiyomizu-dera
The place is truly inspirational. It features Otowa Waterfall in a forested area where many trees are planted and turn red each autumn. Visitors can utter a wish when they drink the water that comes from the fall and ends in the pond. A temple complex can be found in the vicinity where people can pay their respects. Jishu Shrine, built for Okuninushi (religious spirit) is located at the complex.
Experience the Beauty of Arashiyama
Arashiyama (Storm Mountain) is located at the borders of Kyoto and features a mountain as a backdrop. You’re going to see multiple sites when you go to Arashiyama; one of which is Tenryu-ji, the main temple of Rinzai school for Zen Buddhism in Japan. The tombstone of Heike courtesan Kogo of Sagano is one of its tourist sites. The Moon Crossing Bridge shouldn’t be missed too for its Sakura trees.
Discover Fushimi Inari Shrine
Featuring the head shrine of god Inari (fox spirit); Fushimi Inari is located at the bottom of Mt. Inari. The smaller shrines are located on different parts of the mountains. You can follow the trails to get there. It takes about 2 hours to walk the trails. Fox statues can be found throughout this place of worship in honor of the god of fertility, worldly success, agriculture and general prosperity.
Dine at a restaurant in Pontocho
The Hanamachi District of Pontocho is the epitome of traditional Japanese architecture and entertainment. The heart of Pontocho is its alleyway where kabuki began its roots. Several geiko houses and tea houses can be found all throughout and eateries are plenty. Eat at one of the restaurants by the east side of the alley to get a view of Kamogawa River. Some even offer raised dining location over the river.
Be Amazed at Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion)
The Golden Pavilion is the Deer Garden Temple. It’s a Zen Buddhist temple in Japan and visited by many tourists per year. The top two floors of the structure are covered in gold leaf so you can imagine how extravagant it is. You’ll see three kinds of architecture used in the pavilion. A tour there can be completed when you visit the garden. Ponds, plants, and fishes can be found.
Find Peace at Philosopher’s Walk
If there’s one thing that attracts tourist to this place, it’s the sakura trees that line the canal. The name of the path is called this way because they say that 20th-century Japanese philosopher and Kyoto University professor Nishida Kitaro used the place to meditate. The beauty of the place gives visitor’s the chance to be thankful in life. It takes 30 minutes to walk all the way through.
See Geikos at Gion District
Gion is considered as the Geisha District of Kyoto. The local term for geisha in Gion is geiko. Travelers who wish to see “women of the art” won’t be disappointed when they head on to Gion. More than that, the surroundings of Gion is either well-preserved or undergoing restoration projects. Tourists won’t get bored in Gion due to its clubs, off-track betting and other establishments they can go to while there.
Buy Tofu Doughnuts and Green Tea Candy at Nishiki Market
The busy ambiance of Nishiki Market can draw people from all walks of life. Several tempting dishes which you may not find elsewhere can be bought from the market. The market is kept clean so you’ll have no fear of flies lurking by. Make the most of your trip by trying unique specialties like tempura-battered squid in skewers, soy milk doughnuts, green tea sweets and Japanese pancakes.
Drop by Kyoto Imperial Palace
The most captivating characteristic of this palace is its history. The grounds which can be toured by the public-house the imperial residence, Shishinden, Hall for State, Court Room and the Emperor’s Habitual Residence. Some cherry trees are located in the recreational part of the palace where you can see people walking and going on a bike ride. The Imperial Palace is only a 10-minute train from Kyoto Station.
See the Kyoto Tower
Who would think that this building which was a subject of controversy during its planning phase is now one of the most visited attractions in Kyoto today? With a height of 131 meters high, Kyoto Tower surely is something that scared many when it was built but now the building proves that it should be a part of Kyoto with the availability of shops, restaurants, and even a public bath inside.
Visit Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle was the home of Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was the first shogun of the Edo Period. It was built in 1603 and later renovated by his grandson adding 5 more floors. There’s a large gate in the east where tourists can enter. The highlights of the castle are the circles of defense and gardens. Take advantage of the gardens if you live in the city where there is limited space.
Stroll Around Kyoto Station
Kyoto is the picture of traditional Japan but Kyoto Station is the opposite. It’s a modern and gigantic structure. The station serves as a venue for Japan Railways such as Tokaido Shinkansen. Travelers can leave their things in the luggage storage at the basement station. The Kyoto Station isn’t only a transportation hub but also a shopping mall where tourists can buy the things they like.
Meditate at Eikando Zenrinji Temple
The Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism owns Zenrinji Temple. Every fall the colors of the trees in Zenrinji Temple changes to bright hues of reds and oranges. The place is also magical during the evening. The Amida Buddha which head is turned sideward is the main statue of the temple. Legend says that Eikan (head priest of the time) found the Buddha and faced him while turned sideways.
Play with the Monkeys at Monkey Park Iwatayama
This park is located on Mt. Arashiyama along Oi River. You can witness Japanese Macaque Monkeys in their natural surroundings. You can also purchase food which you can feed them. There are about 170 groups of these monkeys in the park. The monkeys you can see are also known as snow monkeys which are a type of old world monkeys native to Africa and Asia.
Explore Kyoto International Manga Museum
The popularity of Manga is extended throughout the world. If you’re a fan then you must go to this museum where the majority of the selections are Japanese Manga plus some books which contain their translated versions. The museum features Manga events, Manga artists and the influence of Manga to other nations. The Manga Museum used to be an elementary school and some relics can be on display there.
Kyoto Travel and Tour Packages
Kyoto Perfect Day Tour
- Head off to a number of must-see tourist spots in historical Kyoto, all in one perfect day trip.
- Discover Kyoto’s most famous attractions, learn about this ancient city’s heritage, and explore Kyoto.
- Get to enjoy the free WiFi service available on the tour bus.
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