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Travel Guide

Heian Shrine featuring a temple or place of worship, religious elements and heritage architecture

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed wild monkeys and explore World Heritage-listed temples and shrines in this historically rich Japanese city.

Kyoto, on the Japanese island of Honshu, has been a hub of religious activity and political power since the eighth century. It was once the capital of Japan and retains many of the temples and palaces built within this period. Step back in time to imperial Japan as you explore the city’s many World Heritage Sites such as the Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto is also renowned for its landscaped gardens, many of which are based on designs dating back hundreds of years.

The wealth of cultural history in Kyoto can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take the Philosopher’s Walk to orient yourself around some of Kyoto’s historic sights, such as the Eikando Temple. The walk takes in three major temples as well as several smaller temples and shrines, boutique shopping areas and restaurants where you can sample the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner, kaiseki. Cherry blossoms line the walk during spring, and in the fall, the area comes alive with the brilliant reds of maple trees.

Central Kyoto offers a combination of modern and traditional delights. Ride up the Kyoto Tower for a 360-degree view over the city from 330 feet (100 meters) up. Explore the Nishiki Market, lined with restaurants, and fresh produce and street food stalls. See giant salamanders and local river fish at the Kyoto Aquarium.

At one of the regular festivals held in the city, taste some of the food brought to Kyoto from all over Japan to please the Emperor, watch traditional crafts being made, take a lesson in saké brewing and experience the culture of Japan.

Lovers of Japanese literature will enjoy the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, built to resemble the fictional setting of the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Tourism is a large part of Kyoto’s economy and there are some unique attractions such as hand feeding wild snow monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto has a welcoming atmosphere, incredible natural beauty and layered history.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

3.5 out of 5
1 Higashikujo Nishisannocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is CA $97 per night from May 21 to May 21
Located in Minami, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Tower, Kyoto Aquarium, and Kyoto Railway Museum. Fushimi Inari Shrine and Nishiki Market are also ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (51 reviews)
"I had a wonderful experience staying at Rihga Gran Kyoto!"

Reviewed on Apr. 5, 2021

The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
3 out of 5
535 Karatsuya-cho, Shijo Horikawa Nishiiru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is CA $25 per night from May 21 to May 21
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Mibu-dera, Shinsenen, and Nijō Castle. Kyoto International Manga Museum and Nishihonganji ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (308 reviews)

Reviewed on Mar. 13, 2021

The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
4.5 out of 5
JR Kyoto Station, Karasuma Chuo-guchi, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is CA $153 per night from Jun 15 to Jun 15
Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium are ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (1,180 reviews)
"I picked this hotel last minute due to Covid but we really enjoyed our stay. It is right outside the Kyoto train station so getting around was super easy and there are so many places to shop and eat. The only downside was the hotel is not a good fit if you are traveling with young children. The pool ..."

Reviewed on Apr. 10, 2021

Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Kyoto

Top things to do in Kyoto

Reviews of Kyoto


Top Destination

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 71.1018711018711%
4 - Good
4 - Good 23.492723492723492%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 3.7422037422037424%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 1.0395010395010396%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 0.6237006237006237%

1/5 - Terrible

Verified traveller

Apr 5, 2020


4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Mar 1, 2020

Old and traditional city; smaller than Tokyo. Lovely architecture. Recommend the Sake Insider Experience!

5/5 - Excellent


Feb 28, 2020

So many places to visit, ensure to grab a transportation map and tourist map to arrange the route more efficient and also save money

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Jan 30, 2020

Kyoto is over rated Continuation of the hotel review: Upon checking out, the front desk did not even as why we are checking out early on as planned and why decided to forfeit our full payment.  There was no effort from her to inquire or make changes

5/5 - Excellent


Jan 18, 2020

continue the good work :D

4/5 - Good


Jan 9, 2020

Spend more time in Kyoto and visit around (Osaka, Nara..) We only stayed 2 nights which is not enough and spent most of our time in Tokyo and around Tokyo area which is expensive

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Kyoto

An Introduction to Kyoto: Highlights for the First-Time Visitor

An Introduction to Kyoto: Highlights for the First-Time Visitor

An Introduction to Kyoto: Highlights for the First-Time Visitor

Cities near Kyoto