On our way from Osaka to Tokyo, we stopped in Kyoto for 3 days. There are a number of things to do here, so if you have time on your travels, I would recommend going here.
My favourite part of Kyoto was the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. We got a bus from Kyoto to the forest, but you can get the subway there too. When we arrived, we couldn’t believe how tall the bamboo was. It was so cool to walk through the forest and just take it all in.
As you walk through the forest, you will come to the Tenryu-ji Temple. You have to pay to go into the gardens and extra to go into the temple. I would just do the gardens as the temple is empty. If you’re there at the right time of the year, the views of the cherry blossoms are amazing.
You can then continue your walk to the river, where you can get small boats across here or walk to visit the Iwatayama Monkey Park. This monkey park is a steep hike but once you reach the top there are amazing views of the city. Just by the river, there are a lot of cafes and restaurants where you can chill out for a while and have lunch.
Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Golden Pavilion are the main shrines to visit in Kyoto. There are a lot of smaller temples and shrines dotted around the city too. I feel like sometimes you can see too many temples and shrines so pick a few to see rather than over doing it. The two I have mentioned are the most popular to see and the prettiest, in my opinion.
In Kyoto, you can also enjoy a samurai experience or a tea ceremony. We did both of these in Tokyo, so there was no need to do them in both places. Cooking classes are great fun to do too in the evenings if you feel like something different. You cook your own food and learn new recipes.
While in Kyoto, you can go to Gion Corner to try and see Geishas. There are very few real Geishas so they can be hard to spot. We hung around for a while and we were lucky enough to see one. There is a show that takes place but they only had standing tickets left so we didn’t bother with that. If you have a bit of extra money, you can book a private dinner and tour with a geisha. However, it is a bit expensive.
The Hozugawa River Trip comes highly recommended too. This is a boat ride in a traditional style boat. It is a bit outside of the city but an enjoyable to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you’re into shopping, Nishiki Shijo Markets are popular of the Nishijin Textile district where you can see kimono fashion shows.
We found an amazing teppanyaki restaurant called Teppanyaki Manryu. Everything we ordered was so nice and cooked right in front of us. It is a small restaurant and we were lucky to get a table but i would advise booking in advance because a lot of people got turned away. Teppan Tavern Tenamonya is another good option.
Just like in the other parts of Japan, we opted for hostels in Kyoto. They were all very clean, cheap and central. Accommodation in hotels can be expensive. Here are some accommodation options:
- K’s House Backpacker Hostel
- Millennials Hostel Kyoto
- Piece Hostel Sanjo
- Hotel Unizo Kyoto Shijo Karasuma
- Air B and B (try the downtown area)
- Blue Hour Inn
- The Free Walking Tour of the city is a great way to get a feel for the city.
- The metro and the bus are the best way to get around. Use Google Maps while you have WiFi and it will tell you all the stops and stations etc. So helpful.
- Japan Rail Pass will save you money if you plan on travelling around Japan a lot
- Check out my Tokyo and Kyoto posts
- Watch my travel highlights on my Youtube Channel
Top Tip Traveller 🙂