Kyoto is a city of culture and tradition that's worth exploring if you're looking for a memorable trip. There are plenty of things to do in Kyoto, including visiting temples, taking a trip to an onsen, and more.
One of the most famous landmarks in Kyoto is Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Temple. This zen temple is covered in gold leaf and looks over a beautiful pond.
Every day, hundreds of visitors make their way to Ryoanji Temple to see its Zen rock garden. The garden, a 248-square meter space filled with white pebbles surrounding 15 larger rocks, is considered one of the most famous rock gardens in Japan.
Despite its popularity, the temple’s grounds are actually quite spacious and quiet. In fact, you should be able to visit the rock garden without getting too overwhelmed by the crowds, especially if you arrive early in the morning.
Dedicated to the deity of water, Kifune Shrine is one of Kyoto's most spiritual locations. It enshrines Takaokami-no-kami, the rain-controlling god who protects the water for the people of Kyoto and its surrounding areas.
The shrine is home to three prayer halls. It's best to visit all of them, which is called "sansha-mairi" and is said to make your wishes come true. It's a good idea to arrive early, since it can get packed during peak times.
Located in the Higashiyama district, Yasaka Pagoda is one of Kyoto's most beautiful landmarks. This five-story pagoda stands in a courtyard surrounded by traditional Japanese garden and is an impressive sight by day or night.
It is an important cultural property and has been listed as a national treasure. It is a masterpiece of Japan's historic architecture and is earthquake safe.
A stroll through the charming streetscape with this pagoda is a must-do in Kyoto! It is a must-visit destination for tourists and photographers alike.
Gion is one of Kyoto's most cherished historic districts, where traditional tea houses and geisha quarters are still intact. It is the perfect spot for a stroll and some shopping or dining in a traditional setting.
It is also home to Japan's most famous festival, the Gion Matsuri, held from July through August. The festival is a large celebration of Japanese culture and heritage, and is rooted in ancient history, dating back to 869 C.E.
The shrine is illuminated by vermilion lanterns, showcasing local businesses that sponsor the Gion Festival. This gives Yasaka Shrine an air of tradition, and allows visitors to wander around the grounds at night and experience the atmosphere of the festival.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
One of Kyoto’s most popular attractions, Fushimi Inari Shrine is a must-see for travelers. It features thousands of torii gates that are arranged eloquently along a hiking trail up Mount Inari, the sacred mountain that is home to this shrine.
It’s a great place to visit for its magical and peaceful feel and is especially beautiful when the autumn leaves are changing colors. The main pathway of torii gates is a long hike that requires plenty of time to navigate, but there are also smaller shrines and sites of former shrines spread out on the trail.
A must-visit for all foodies in Kyoto, Nishiki Market is a five-block shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. It’s also known as “Kyoto’s kitchen.”
Originally built around the year 1310, Nishiki is still Japan’s largest traditional market. Nowadays, many modern food stores have taken up residence, but there are still enough traditional shops to give you a taste of Japan’s shotengai (shopping street).
Nishiki Market is an ideal place to try Kyoto specialties like wagashi, eel and pickled vegetables. It’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals looking to eat authentic Japanese cuisine.
Kyoto Tower is a must-visit if you love architecture. It is one of the top attractions in Kyoto and is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan.
It is a popular tourist destination due to its many features including the Golden Pavilion, the torii gates and the temple buildings.
There are a number of activities you can do here including walking the Philosopher’s Walk, viewing cherry blossom or visiting the museum. It’s a great place to learn more about the history of the city and the different temples it has.