Travel Guide to Kyoto, Japan

From 794 to 1868, Kyoto was Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence. With a population of 1.5 million people and a modern appearance, it is one of the country’s ten largest cities. Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires over the centuries, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was removed from the list of atomic bomb target cities and escaped destruction during World War II. Countless temples, shrines, and other historically significant structures still stand in the city today. In our guide, we will show you exactly what to do in Kyoto, Japan, as well as the best places to stay and eat.

Where to Stay

1. The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

The Ritz has the best location in Kyoto, right next to the Kamo-gawa River. The rooms are spacious and elegantly appointed, with many offering spectacular views of the Higashiyama Mountains.

2. Cross Hotel Kyoto

The Cross Hotel Kyoto is located in the heart of downtown Kyoto and offers comfortable rooms, a great lobby lounge or bar, and extremely reasonable rates.

3. Hotel Sunroute Kyoto

The Sunroute, located a short walk south of downtown, offers comfortable rooms, efficient, helpful staff, and a good restaurant. Rates are at the top of the budget. It’s a fantastic deal!

4. Izuyasu

This traditional ryokan has lovely traditional rooms and excellent Japanese cuisine. It’s an excellent choice for a traditional Kyoto experience.

Where to Visit

1. Kinkaku-ji Temple

Kinkaku-ji Temple is the most well-known Zen Buddhist temple. Its top two floors are entirely covered in gold leaf. The building was originally intended to serve as a residence for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. However, soon after his death, it was converted into a Zen temple. During the Muromachi period, which is considered to be a classical age of Japanese garden design, the harmonious settings between buildings and surroundings were greatly emphasised.

2. Kiyomizu-dera Temple


Kiyomizu-dera was built in 778 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall by Tokugawa Iemitsu. The temple was built before Kyoto became Japan’s capital. There are separate streams at the Otowa Waterfall, which is located at the base of Kiyomizudera’s main hall. Each stream’s water is said to fulfil a different purpose: longevity in life, academic success, and a happy love life. Visitors will drink from cups that are attached to long poles.

3. Arashiyama

Since the Heian Period, Arashiyama has been a popular destination for its beautiful natural settings, particularly during cherry blossom and fall foliage. Because the attractions are close together, you can take a leisurely stroll around the area.

4. Fushimi Inari Taisha

The head shrine of the god Inari is Fushimi Inari Taisha. The shrine is well-known for its seemingly endless Senbon Torii, or thousands of shrine gates. A Japanese company donated each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha. The Hata family dedicated the shrine to the gods of rice and sake in the eighth century. Because foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, there are numerous fox statues throughout the shrine grounds.

Food Hunting Spots

1. Menbakaichidai

Menbakaichidai, which is only a 10-minute walk from Nijo Castle, is very popular with visitors. People come to try the ramen on fire. This flaming ramen provides an unforgettable dining experience, with the ramen burning right in front of you.

2. Matsuba Soba

Matsuba Soba is Kyoto’s oldest and most well-known Nishin soba restaurant. It is said to be the birthplace of Nishin soba and comes highly recommended by locals. Nishin soba is a herring fish soba noodle dish with flavoured soy sauce broth from Japan. The smoked herring fish had a sweet and salty flavour. It’s a one-of-a-kind Kyoto-style soba noodle that you won’t find anywhere else. 

3. Kyoto Ramen Koji

Kyoto Ramen Koji can be found on the tenth floor of Kyoto Station. It serves ramen from Hakata, Sapporo, Fukushima, Tokyo, Toyama, Tokushima, Kyoto, and Osaka. Ramen is a traditional Japanese noodle dish that comes in a variety of broths and is topped with a variety of meats and vegetables. Ramen is without a doubt one of the most popular dishes in Japan.

4. AWOMB Karasuma Honten

AWOMB Karasuma Honten is the birthplace of hand-woven sushi. The handwoven sushi is similar to a deconstructed meal. You are free to DIY and make your own Teori sushi. The unique sushi-style platter set meal includes fresh local obanzai, allowing you to roll your own sushi with nori (seaweed), obanzai, and rice of your choice. What’s more, the obanzai and condiments were served in a beautifully arranged tray for you to make your own sushi.

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