Woman walking in the bamboo grove in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto City | Kyoto Travel Guide

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Kyoto is an essential city on anyone’s Japan itinerary, as this is the city where you can find most cultural and historical highlights. Tokyo is great for experiencing Japan’s more modern face, but Kyoto is still the capital when it comes to history. What sights and experiences should be on your to-do list for a trip to Kyoto?

Japan’s Cultural Highlight

For more than 1200 years, from the move of the capital to Kyoto in 794 until the 20th century, a splendid, delicate and unique culture originated that is considered the mother culture of Japan. This is why Kyoto is often called “the heart of Japan”. And it is said that it would be impossible to get to know the country without visiting this wonderful city. Kyoto is home to some 1600 temples, 250 tombs, 60 gardens, 24 museums, 2 imperial villas, and some of the most photogenic places in the country.

Many of its temples were founded about a thousand years ago. They have been destroyed by earthquakes, fires, and wars, to be rebuilt again and again. Because of its historical significance, the city was spared most bombing during WW2. This makes Kyoto one of the few major Japanese cities with still plenty of traditional cityscape intact.

Ways to Enjoy Kyoto

Kyoto can be broadly subdivided into five areas. Rakuhoku (north), Rakusei (west), Rakuchu (center), Rakuto/Higashiyama (east), and Rakunan (south). There are many ways to enjoy the unique features of this historic city. We recommend spending at least 3 full days in the city and sticking with one or two areas per day. This way, you can see and do most spots without losing too much time with traveling. Of course, we are happy to assist you with creating your itinerary if you book something with us.

In Kyoto, you can enjoy many components of Japanese culture and history. Traditional architecture, Japanese gardens, Buddhist traditions, festivals, Kaiseki ryori (Japanese-style course meal), tea ceremony, arts, and crafts are just some examples. One of the best ways to tour the city is by walking or cycling. Besides seeing the highlights, trying to get off the beaten track is also recommended.

Your Japan Tour

As seasoned Japan experts, we create perfect Japan package tours including destinations like Kyoto. Check out our group tours and private tours, or contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!

Kyoto Area Map

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