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This area of Kyoto contains some 1,500,000 inhabitants.
It sits approximately 10 miles southwest of Otsu and 230 miles west of Tokyo, the national capital.
The best place to start your adventures is at the well-known Nijo Castle and the Kiyomizu Temple.
Treat the kids and enjoy an afternoon of quality time at Iwatayama Monkey Park and Arashiyama Monkey Park. For more family fun, continue on to Kyoto Studio Park and Omiyakotsu Park.
An afternoon investigating the beautiful aquatic displays at Kyoto Aquarium is a reminder of just how extraordinary our oceans and waterways are.
The Kyoto Municipal Zoo is a great place to bring your group for an entertaining day among exotic critters. Be sure to ask at the entrance about zookeeper presentations and where to find the zoo's more unusual species.
If you like to sample locally produced brews on your travels, be sure to visit the Suntory Kyoto Brewery. Check for guided tours and discover what it is that makes the beer here so delicious, then taste the end product.
From amateur horticulturalists to the most occasional of gardeners, everyone is sure to love the plants on display at the Kyoto Prefectural Botanical Gardens. You can also head on a rewarding stroll through the Hakusha Son-so Garden and the Hakuryuen Garden.
Pack a picnic basket and take some time out in the tranquil surroundings of Maruyama Park and Philosopher's Walk. There's also plenty of space to relax at the Shoseien Garden and Umekoji Park.
If you would like useful information about the area, pick up some pamphlets at Kyoto Tourist Information Center.
Freshwater lakes offer lots of activities for people of all ages. From skimming stones to wildlife watching, there's always some fun to be had. If you feel like spending some time by the water, check out the activities at Takaragaike Park, Osawaike or Lake Biwa.
Need some time away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world? Head out to Mount Atago and Yabasekihan Island Park. Lovers of nature will also have a wonderful time at Mt. Hiei and Ponpon Mountain.
Broaden your perspectives with a visit to one of the area's fascinating cultural institutions. Savor the quiet and relaxing atmosphere as you check out the different displays at the Kyoto International Manga Museum and the Costume Museum. The Kaleidoscope Museum of Kyoto and the Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum are also worth looking at.
You will be able to see a wide range of artifacts and displays at the Otsu City Science Museum and Kyoto Municipal Science Center For Youth, two highly rated science museums.
Observe the various specimens on display as you stroll around the packed exhibits of the Kyoto University Museum.
Kyoto is a hub of artistic energy, with galleries galore. Start your explorations of this creative hotspot with a stop at the Kyoto National Museum and the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art. If you're feeling inspired, wind up the day at the Hosomi Art Museum and the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art.
Nostalgics can rediscover the past at the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts and the Shigureden. Do you like the sound of those? There's even more to be seen at the Kyoto Municipal Museum Of School History or the Ryozen Museum of History.
The Kyoto University and the Doshisha University are certainly worth planning a trip to, even if you aren't a history buff. When it comes to days of old, the stories are countless. The Taian Teahouse and Shugakuin Imperial Villa are two more great places to check out.
Arcing across the area's waterways, Togetsukyo Bridge and Uji Bridge are two feats of civil engineering that have withstood the test of time.
Stately residences often encapsulate the age's very highest standards in design and craftsmanship, and Kyoto's are no exception. Admire the interior details and relax in the courtyards and gardens at Kyoto Imperial Palace, Katsura Imperial Villa and Sento Imperial Palace.
Take a step back in time and have a taste of how rulers lived many years ago in a historic medieval castle. Fushimi Castle and Kameyama Castle Ruins may appear to come from a children's storybook, but in fact, they truly were once protectors for the people of this area.
Whether you consider yourself spiritual or not, you'll be sure enjoy an afternoon at Fushimi Inari Shrine and Heian Shrine. You might also like to take a walk around the Ryoanji Temple and the Toji Temple.
Once you've seen the major attractions around Kyoto, make time to visit a couple of its less well-known sights. A couple of great places to start with are Funaoka Thermal Bath and the Mt. Otokoyama Cable Car. Also, contemplate visiting the Kyoto Art Center and Shozan Resort Kyoto if you have the time.
Accommodation in Kyoto
Pre-booking the perfect place to stay goes a long way towards memorable vacations. Be sure to check out a selection of the most popular accommodations in Kyoto on Expedia's easy-to-use Kyoto hotels guide.
The Sakanoue, at 502 Washio-cho, and the Gion Hatanaka, at 505 Yasaka Shrine Minamimonmae, Gion are just a couple of the higher-end accommodation options in Kyoto where you're likely to find yourself some of the nicest guest amenities around. If those options don't appeal, why not check out the Seikoro Ryokan, 467 Nishitachibana-cho, and the Ryotei Rangetsu, 7 Susukinobaba-cho, Sagatenryuji.
If you prefer to stay closer to Kyoto Imperial Palace, the Sakanoue and the Gion Hatanaka are two options worth checking out.
Located in Minami, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Toji Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Shimogyo, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Honkanji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Nishihonganji Temple. Kyoto Aquarium and Umekoji Park are also within 15 minutes.
Guests of Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto can walk 7 minutes to Kyoto Station or use the hotel's free shuttle service. Nearby attractions include Kyoto Tower, Nishihonganji Temple, and Kyoto Aquarium.
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Art Center, Nijo Castle, and Higashi Honganji Temple. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Gion Corner are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Art Center, Nijo Castle, and Gion Corner. Higashi Honganji Temple and Kyoto Tower are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Shimogyo, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Toji Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury ryokan is within 1 mi (2 km) of Honnoji Temple, Nijo Castle, and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Gion Corner and Heian Shrine are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Arashiyama, this romantic ryokan is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Togetsukyo Bridge and within 3 mi (5 km) of Saihoji Temple and Katsura Imperial Villa. Tenryuji Temple and Arashiyama Monkey Park are also within 15 minutes.