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Kyoto

Known for Temple, Culture and Garden

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

How do you get to Kyoto?

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.

Things to do in Kyoto

Constructed entirely without nails and built on high poles, this temple is part of a World Heritage Site and offers visitors both beauty and history.

Visit the world of the wealthy and powerful shogun, in this opulent 17th-century castle complex.

In a city known for its temples and other ancient relics, this observation point catches the eye as an example of 20th-century innovation.

This shrine at the base of Inari Mountain is dedicated to the goddess of rice and prosperity. See its thousands of red gates around a network of beautiful trails.

The To-ji Temple is one of the preeminent traditional sites in Kyoto, with exquisite structures, a flea market and the tallest pagoda in the country.

An important shrine for patriotic locals and curious tourists alike, this site has charming buildings and natural gardens that celebrate Kyoto’s fusion of past and present.

This temple is the famous site where thousands of hand-carved deities from the 13th century flank the longest wooden building in Japan.

Tickets & Tours

Take a journey through the wonders of ancient and modern Japan with a day trip that shows you the historic cities of Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. With destinations from the peaceful bamboo forest of Arashiyama to the lively Kobe Mosaic, you get a look at centuries' worth of culture.

Tickets & Tours

Wander through the royal gardens and majestic interiors of Kyoto’s famous castles and palaces. Get a glimpse of the historic lifestyles of imperial Kyoto on this guided morning tour, and marvel at the beautifully landscaped gardens and traditional architecture.

Tickets & Tours

Forge your very own Japanese kogatana (small blade) with an artisan swordsmith. Learn about the traditional blade-forging process, which uses the same materials and techniques as a full-size katana. At the end of the experience, take the beautiful product of your creation home with you.

Tickets & Tours

On this full-day bus excursion, get acquainted with Kyoto's cultural landmarks, Fushimi Inari. During a delicious lunch in the famous Gion district, also get the chance to meet and chat with a genuine geiko or maiko.

Tickets & Tours

Reflect on the culturally rich history of Kyoto—Japan's capital for more than 1,000 years—on this relaxed, guided stroll through the city. Gaze at the red torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine, soak up the stillness of Tofukuji Temple’s Zen gardens, and prowl the Gion district for real Geishas.

Tickets & Tours

Explore the must-see sights of history-rich Kyoto, including the spectacular Nijo Castle, eminent Kinkaku-ji, and grand Kyoto Imperial Palace. In the afternoon, embark for Nara, home of pacific Nara Park and the famous temple of Todai-ji.

Best neighborhoods to visit in Kyoto

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