Where to Stay in Kyoto: Karaksa Hotel
The Land of the Rising Sun is one of the hottest tourist destinations in Asia. In 2016, more than 24 million international tourists visited Japan, and the Philippines is the eighth Asian country that contributed greatly to this number. Aside from being the dynamic center of technology and pop culture, Japan is home to 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites—and 17 of which are all packed in one place… Kyoto.
Also known as the Thousand-Year Capital, Kyoto is one of the most culturally and physically preserved cities in Japan. With more than 400 Shinto shrines, 1,600 Buddhist temples, cherry blossoms gardens, and traditional houses, Kyoto gives off a vibe that will make you feel as if you traveled back in time. The structures here are older than the people who use them, and the quaint atmosphere will surely make you envy the locals for living in such a beautiful place.
Where to go
First built in 1603, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. The entire complex occupies 275,000 square meters. The main gate is a karamon type that proudly invites the public to see the castle interiors.
Pontocho is a food street that features some of the most traditional dishes in Kyoto cuisine, like the yakitori, which literally translates to “burned chicken”. The several stalls and restaurants in this street offers nearly unlimited dining options. If you visit from May to September, you can experience the kawayuka style of dining, where establishments create a temporary platform where you can dine next to the river.
Kyoto Imperial Palace
Another must-see is Kyoto Imperial Palace, which used to be the official residence of the Emperor of Japan until 1868. Walking inside the palace grounds is like entering a scene in a movie—wide, gravel grounds, lush autumn-colored trees, and some cherry blossoms near the Konoe Pond.
The entire district of Arashiyama is a tourist destination. It is like a garden that extends infinitely in all directions, with tree-covered mountains on one side and a peaceful river on the other. The picturesque Togetsukyo Bridge and the Tenryuji Temple are all a few minutes’ worth of strolling, and the bamboo groves will keep you company and refreshed.
Kennin-ji is considered to be one of the most important Zen Buddhist Temples in Kyoto. Founded in 1202, it is the oldest temple in the city. Inside the grounds is the karesansui, or a type of Japanese rock garden that is gently intermingled with nature.
Located in the northern part of the city is Shosei-en Garden, which is believed to be built during the Heian Period (794-1185). The entire garden is simply breathtaking—a small bridge that overlooks a pond, traditional houses, and well-maintained vegetation.
Where to stay in Kyoto
There are so much sights to see in Kyoto; more than this article can list! It is therefore a must to find the most suitable accommodation. Karaksa Hotel, a three-star leisure hotel that parallels the elegance of the entirety of Kyoto, is your best bet.
Karaksa exudes hospitality and tradition. All of the minimalist rooms are simply aesthetic. They are air-conditioned, complete with the basic amenities, and are Wi-Fi connected. One of the channels on TV is The Filipino Channel (TFC), which will make you feel at home right in the heart of Kyoto. Rooms are designed specifically for travelers coming in pairs or groups, so you can find all that you need here.
One of the best things about Karaksa is that it is located conveniently near some of the major railway stations in the area, Omiya Station. In Japan, the cheapest and most preferred mode of transportation are trains, and being near a station gives you a great advantage of minimizing costs and maximizing your sightseeing time.
Secondly, Karaksa Hotel offers rates that are relatively cheaper than most hotels in Kyoto, with rooms starting at just Php 3,573 (US$ 71) a night (via Agoda). You may also book a room via Go Hotels at www.gohotels.ph/gohotels-now-in-japan. For a limited time, they are giving away a free trip to Osaka for two people.
The hotel group, in partnership with Go Hotels, will serve more budget-limited tourists by opening more branches in Hokkaido, Sapporo, Tokyo Ginza, Shin-Osaka, and Namba before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.