Located in the Kansai region on the island of Honshu, Kyoto is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. The city served as Japan’s capital till 1868 and now it is famed as the cultural capital of the country. One of the country’s ten largest cities, this mesmerizing tourist destination is home to countless temples, Shinto shrines, and stunning palaces. Serving as the imperial capital of the country for more than 1000 years, Kyoto offers so many touristy and offbeat things to do and see. The land of geisha and also the land of magical bamboo forests, Kyoto, Japan perfectly balances traditionalism and modernism. If you are visiting this cultural and historic heart of Japan, here are some recommendations of what you can see and do here for spending a perfectly amazing vacation.
Kyoto can be visited any time of the year but autumn and spring are the best recommended seasons. In autumn, the city blushes with spectacular hues of red, rust, and orange. And spring means a show of cherry blossoms. Head out to Kyoto Botanical Garden and feel the hypnotizing beauty of the pink cherry blossoms. If three to four days are in your hands, all the main tourist spots and a few off-the-track destinations can be visited at ease but 2 days will be too little to tour the city’s all attractions. One good news for you. Although most of the Japanese destinations are quite expensive, Kyoto, Japan can be traveled on a low budget. At least it is cheaper compared to Tokyo, the capital of Japan.
Top-rated And Best Things To Do In Kyoto, Japan:
Get To The Kinkaku-Ji Temple:
Kyoto’s one of the most visited temples, Kinkaku-Ji or the ‘Temple of the Golden Pavillion’ is a three-tier temple whose top two tiers are completely pasted in golden leaf. The temple houses Lord Buddha’s ashes and it was also the inspiration behind the construction of Ginkaku-Ji Temple and Shikoku-Ji Temple, both of which are located in Kyoto.
Locating in northwest Kyoto, Japan, this Zen Buddhist temple is structured in such a way so that it complements the natural landscape surrounding it. Talking about its architectural styles, the temple shows three different architectural styles – shinden, samurai, and zen. The structure is rustic and you get to see different architectural elements on each floor of the pavilion. A huge placid pond and the surrounding greenery make the temple look more royal and serene. Certainly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kyoto.
Kyoto Botanical Garden:
Japan’s most beautiful botanical gardens, Kyoto Botanical Garden is home to around 12,000 different species of plants that are spread out over an area of about 240,000 square meters. Founded in the year 1924, the lush garden is divided into various segments, and visiting this garden is one of the most relaxing things to do in Kyoto, Japan. Some of the major areas of the garden include Bamboo Garden, Bonsai Exhibit, European Style Garden, Japanese Iris Garden, Rose Garden, Lotus pond, and Sunken Garden. The garden is huge and you need at least 2 hours in hand to tour the whole garden and enjoy its beauty and serenity.
Get To The Top Of The Kyoto Tower:
Kyoto Tower is the tallest structure in Kyoto with a height of 131 meters. It has an observation deck at 100 meters and from there one can get the best panoramic view of the full Kyoto city that stretches out to Osaka. It is a steel tower and houses everything from a 3-star hotel to many stores, shops, a tourist information center, and a public spa. Due to its towering height, Kyoto Tower is a proud part of the city’s skyline and its spire can be seen from most of the sightseeing locations around the city. Apart from getting a prolific view of the city from the Observation Deck that is located on Level 5, one can also head to the Sky Lounge Bar and relax for some time that is located on Level 3.
Kyoto National Museum:
One of the oldest and most popular museums in Kyoto, Kyoto National Museum is the best museum in Kyoto. It houses special exhibits and has a collection of over 12,000 works of which around 6,000 are on display. A great place to learn about the culture and history of Kyoto, you will see many cultural artifacts, sculptures, ceramics, costumes, calligraphy, and paintings here. Apart from the permanent collections, there are many temporary special exhibitions that are organized from time to time. The museum is divided into three distinct parts and visiting this one of the four top-level national museums in Japan which is also the oldest among all of them is certainly one of the best things to do in Kyoto, Japan.
Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine:
You must have seen many pictures of the iconic fire-red colored walkway that leads to the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine. This walkway is made up of thousands of torii gates and leads to the outer shrine.
The shrine is so beautifully set at the base of the Inari mountain and includes many trails that wind up to the mountain. Apart from soaking in the beauty of the shrine, you must explore this network of trails that offers you stunning views of Kyoto. A visit to the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine which is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto is a must when you are in Kyoto.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove:
Picturesque, hallucinating, and breathtaking, Arshiyana Bamboo Grove is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kyoto. The path has gone winding through the soaring stalks of bamboo and it feels like another world when you are standing in the midst of this huge bamboo grove. You must have seen many photographs of this iconic place but no picture can actually do justice to the actual beauty of this forest. The bamboo grove is the heart of Arashiyama district and it feels surreal to walk through the paved walkway that cuts and runs through the middle of two groves. Nearer to the bamboo grove there are a few Kyoto attractions too that you can cover together on a day tour. Nonomiya-Jinja Shrine, in the middle of the eastern section of the grove and the halls of Tenryu-Ji Temple on the southern edge of the Western section, are two of the most beautiful attractions that locate nearer to the bamboo grove.
This is a preserved historic district around Kiyomizudera and is a great place to understand how traditional Old Kyoto was. Nestled between Kiyomizudera and Maruyama Park, the neighborhood gives you an idea of how the traditional wooden buildings did actually look like. Narrow stone alleys, traditional shops, restaurants, cafes, and gardens induce a picture that is so ‘Old Kyoto’. If you want to get a true essence of how the traditional capital city actually looked before the prolific growth of the country, visiting Higashiyama District is a must whilst in Kyoto, Japan.