Kyoto Travel Guide

  • Ryoanji Temple
    by Ewingjr98
  • The Moss Garden (Koke-dera)
    The Moss Garden (Koke-dera)
    by shrimp56
  • Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple
    Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple
    by Rabbityama

Kyoto Highlights

  • Pro
    ChuckG profile photo

    ChuckG says…

     A lot to discover everywhere you go 

  • Con
    BorderHopper profile photo

    BorderHopper says…

     Language can be a barrier if you aren't able to at least speak a few key words in Japanese. 

  • In a nutshell
    joiwatani profile photo

    joiwatani says…

     It is a must see in Japan. It is very beautiful. 

Kyoto Things to Do

See all 904 Things to Do in Kyoto
  • Gion (Geisha district)

    For the most part our “Essential Honshu” tour, booked through Inside Japan, didn’t include any extras, leaving us free to explore with the group or alone. But an exception to this was the Walking Tour of Gion that had been arranged for us in Kyoto. Gion is one of the main Geisha districts in Kyoto, and arguably its most famous. Our tour was led...

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  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

    Some sights are so much talked about and so often visited that you wonder if they can really be that wonderful. The Golden Pavilion is one such sight – and yes, it really is that wonderful. You will have to share it with many other people, but don’t let the thought of the crowds that flock here put you off. This place is a stunner and popular for...

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  • Kiyomizu Temple

    This Buddhist temple is possibly the most visited in Kyoto – it is certainly up there in the top five. And it’s easy to see why it draws the crowds. It has a lovely hillside setting with views of the town and several other nearby pagodas and temples. It is near enough the centre of town and those other temples to be easily accessible. And it has a...

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Kyoto Hotels

See all 385 Hotels in Kyoto

Kyoto Restaurants

See all 186 Restaurants in Kyoto
  • Kaiten zushi

    One of the must-have eating experiences on any visit to Japan is a visit to a kaiten or conveyor- belt sushi restaurant, and this one in Kyoto is a great example. On the ground floor (or first floor I guess, since the Japanese follow the US convention in numbering floors) is a counter where diners perch on stools and choose from the plates that...

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  • Pontocho district

    Kappa sushi is a Japanese rotating sushi chain, they do however also have this EXTREMELLY popular restaurant on Pontocho. There is usually a line-up on Friday or Saturday evening. We went on a weekenight however and got tables right away. There are counter seats as well as tables with views over the Kamo river. The atmosphere is very relaxing and...

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  • Yoshinoya

    As soon as we arrived in Kyoto, my sisters and I were starving so we headed to Yoshinoya Restaurant where the locals go. It was early in the morning and there was nobody on the streets yet. Once and a while I see truck drivers making their first delivery- unloading products to stores. At other times, I see some early risers, biking. But, for the...

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Kyoto Nightlife

See all 62 Nightlife in Kyoto
  • Gion and Pontocho

    Onze is a nice little French wine bar in Shijo where most of the city's nightlife is located. There is a food menu featuring their breads, cheeses, and others foods. Then there is a separate menu for the drinks and alcohol. There are quite a few options for alchohol, and some other options as well. I had some of the alcohol but I found the hot...

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  • "A" Bar

    A Bar is... A bar! It's one of the many hole-in-the-wall bars around the Gion area and it's popular among foreigners for some reason. There are a fair amount of drinking options and the menu is in both English and Japanese. Like many of the bars in the area, it is not very large and as more people enter, they are seated wherever there is room, so...

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  • ING Bar

    ING bar was defiantly a traditional small bar with seating for around 30 people (crammed) that has friendly staff/owners and tunes rocking out, cheap beer and a good singalong however if you are a non smoker run for the hills, within 10 mins of being there you will smell like an ash tray, and we were not there on a busy night, eventually this...

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Kyoto Transportation

  • City Buses

    We used local buses to travel to some of the temples and sights in Kyoto. We found the buses from the Central Bus Station (right opposite the railway station) to be very convenient, and the terminal itself well-organised and signposted. We took a 73 from there to Arashiyama - the journey lasted about 45 minutes and cost 240¥ per person. You take a...

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  • Shinkansen

    We arrived in Kyoto on a bullet train from Osaka, a journey of just 15 minutes - but around an hour by regular train! The station is on the southern edge of the main downtown area and is very modern and very large. It is also very busy. It can therefore be a challenge to negotiate when carrying bags and newly arrived, but is impressive enough to...

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  • Trains

    The easiest way to get from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama is to take the JR Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama. This is a direct train taking only about 15 minutes, so it is easy, but the station is not centrally located in Arashiyama. It is on the northern side of Arashiyama, close to the bamboo forest and many temples, but a 10 minute walk to the...

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Kyoto Shopping

See all 83 Shopping in Kyoto
  • Inclined to shop

    A good area to shop is the street going down from the Kiyomizu-dera Temple into the Kiyomizu historic district. Take the wide stone stairs down from the temple, then turn right at the corner where the street goes straight down. A lot of the fans are made in china, but there are lots of other delightful little shops and a nice noodle restaurant on...

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  • Hanging Hina DOlls

    Chirimen is a traditional weaving technique that was developed in the late sixteenth century in Japan. The cloth or silk fabric that is made from this technique is also called "chirimen." I just love them, and I love how artfully mix colors.....the touch is so soft ..... I bought the Hina hanging doll and matched it with another silk plate 5...

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  • Ryoma Souvenirs

    The Ryomakan is a shop specializing in souvenirs related to Sakamoto Ryoma, the famous samurai from Kochi who helped bring an end to the Shogunate and usher in the Meiji Period. It is in Kyoto's Fushimi area because the Teradaya Inn where Ryoma was attacked (but not killed) is here. Ryoma is very popular so many people come to see the Teradaya and...

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Kyoto Local Customs

  • Visiting Temples and Shrines

    It's tradition but a lot of visitors of the temple miss this local custom! There is a covered fountain fronting the gate of the Ginkakuji Temple. The water fountain has a bamboo scooper where you can scoop the water to drink or to wash hands. Before entering the temple, a visitor should scoop the water and splash it on the ground close to the...

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  • Geisha and Maiko

    Geisha, also known in Kyoto as Geiko, are traditional hostesses and entertainers for Japanese men. They are perhaps best known for their elaborate kimonos and white face paint, though geisha apprentices, called maiko, more commonly wear the bright white paint. While many observers believe geisha are prostitutes, traditionally geisha and prostitutes...

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  • Gardens

    Maruyama Park, at the eastern end of Shijo-dori, behind the Yasaka Shrine, becomes a busy and festive place in spring. The many cherry trees there are a riot of blossom and centre-stage stands a giant and ancient weeping cherry tree, raised on a small hillock and fenced-off to protect its roots. The pathways are lined with food stalls and hanami...

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Kyoto Warnings and Dangers

  • Scams

    At 650 yen a pop most people bought two or three of these "Johnny Jumpers". Hey, that seems like a bargain to the duped customers handing over the Yen. A couple of thousand Yen and they're already anticipating the laughs they'll get from the guys in the office (especially when their co-workers see them scratching their head in disbelief when the...

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  • Street Safety

    As stated before, Japanese bike riders and pedestrains do get a little close to you when you transerse their sidewalks. What I find is that they are really just trying to second guess where you'll be when they intersect you. So pick a line of walking or a path if you will, and stick to it. If you stay on coarse, it doesn't matter whether they are...

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  • Parents beware!!!

    Some shops close to the Heian Temple (left side of the temple) sells x-rated stuff. Also, most of the Seven Eleven stores all over Japan sell Adult x-rated magazines without covers. I saw some x-rated t-shirts for sale close to the temple with the "F" word on it and with cartoons depicting x-rated stuff.There's a picture sample in here and I can...

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Kyoto Tourist Traps

  • Food and Dining

    If you are a picky eater, make sure to point the food at the window gallery if you wanted a particular food. Don't choose the food that you don't know how it looks like or taste like. The reason why? You end up wasting your money! I am not a picky eater but still, there are some food that are new to me especially when I am travelling. My stomach...

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  • Gion (Geisha District)

    Ok ... sometimes tour books get a bit over excited on some must do's and recommendations ..... In Fodor's they go out of there way to make sure that if your in the Gion section of town to attend the Gion Corner show !!!! it states traditional Japanese show compacted into about 90 minutes from a Tea Ceremony to Geisha dancing to Imperial music show...

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  • Toei Movie Village

    This place is recommended if you have kids, but my kids were less than enthusiastic about this place. It is quite expensive and many rides and shows cost extra when you get in. The rides were not that good, nor was the 'entertainment'. You could watch a samurai show in action, but it was actually dull. There are souvenirs sold at inflated prices...

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Kyoto What to Pack

  • Nothing special needed here but

    Have good walking shoes or sandals in summer as you probably walk a lot. Light summer clothing during the summer months as it is very hot and in case you travel in the winter be aware it can get very cold. Obviously take a camera with you and if you have wide lens that can be useful for some temple architecture photos. Get the Kyoto guide when...

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  • Warm jackets and good pair of walking...

    Just a small backpack to carry your gloves and water and some gifts you bought from the different temples going back to your hotel room. Warm jackets, gloves and good pair of walking shoes if you are travelling in the winter of Fall season. Water. Make sure to take your vitamins before heading out to the temples Sony Cybershoot. Extra chip and...

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  • Shoes

    please wear shoes which are easy to take off and wear. You end up having to remove and put on yoru shoes each time you visit a temple or shrine as they don't allow footwear inside. It can get irritating when you go to a few temples in a day.

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Kyoto Off The Beaten Path

  • Ohara Area

    Ohara is a major stomping ground for Japanese 'aki-front' followers; when the nation gets bored of pining for cherry blossoms and instead glues its eyes to NHK for the first news reports of Kyoto's maple leaves turning autumn red.

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  • Otsu City

    Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan and among the top largest lakes in the world. It is actually surrounded by a few prefectures, one of which is Shiga. All the usual lake activities can be found there, like canoeing etc. The lake is also the place where they hold the national school rowing boats competition.

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  • Hozu River

    Old Cliffie is a bit too old for white-knuckle pastimes such as bungee jumping or whitewater rafting. But he did enjoy the 'Hozugawa Kudari' - trip down the river Hozu - near Kyoto. Take the train (20 minutes) from Kyoto to Kameoka, from where it's a ten-minute walk to the river. The trip lasts just under two hours along a deep, twisting gorge...

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Kyoto Sports & Outdoors

  • Hanshin Tigers - Baseball

    History of the Tigers!The Hanshin Tigers baseball club is the second oldest pro baseball franchise in Japan, founded on December 10, 1935. The Tigers took part in the first professional baseball "season" in Japan the following year.From 1936 to 1938, the Tigers were arguably the best team in Japanese pro baseball. However, from 1939 the Tokyo-based...

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  • Sumo Baseball & Rickshaw Racing

    Sporting enthusists will be happy to know that Japan is big on sports. Some of my favorite Japanese sporting events would have to be Sumo wrestling which can been seen in Osaka or Tokyo during certain limited times during the year. I believe September is a big month for sumo. Baseball also draws large crowds and most major Japanese cities have a...

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  • Baseball

    Like other cities in Japan, baseball is the sport in Kyoto. When i was there, I saw a lot of merchandise of the Hanshin Tigers, one of the teams in the baseball league in Japan. Japanese love to watch baseball. Not only that, most of them love to play the sport too. There are quite a handful of baseball fields in Kyoto.

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Kyoto Favorites

See all 117 Favorites in Kyoto
  • Tourist Information Center

    The Kyoto SGG Club,Goodwill Guide Volunteer Services of Kyoto, and the Rotary International District 2650 Club of Kyoto are giving away free maps to tourists in Kyoto. The map is in black and white and back to back. The tourist map can be taken at the Information Center at the Kyoto Station where you buy the bus tickets. The front page of the map...

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  • City Districts

    Depending on how many days you are staying in Kyoto, map out the places you are going to see. The temples are located in different areas: 1. Higashiyama Area - The attractions around this area includes Chionin Temple, Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, Kodaiji Temple, Ryozen Kannon Temple, Yasaka Pagoda, Jishu Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, Myohoin Temple,...

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  • Internet Access

    i found a nice place where you can use free internet, for an hour at a time..its "Campus Plaza" near the Kyoto station. if you exit the station on the north side, turn left and you will end up on a small street going between the station complex and a big building on your right, follow the street and when the street turns left, just around the...

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Top 5 Cycling Cities: Kyoto

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Japan may be well-known for its high speed trains, but many residents and visitors of its cultural capital, Kyoto, prefer to travel within the city by bicycle. Exploring by bicycle in Kyoto allows tourists to circumvent the congested traffic, but also sneak onto back streets they wouldn't normally find when driving from site to site. Also, the city is quite spread out and much of the public transportation doesn't stop very close to all attractions, so it may actually be quicker to rent a bicycle. Many hotels rent bicycles to guests, but they are also readily available near Kyoto Station.

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Explore Deeper into Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Things to Do
Arashiyama
Things to Do
Nijo Castle
Things to Do
Philosopher's Path
Things to Do
Ryoanji Temple
Things to Do
Kyoto Station
Things to Do
Subway
Transportation
Taxis
Transportation
Hub Bar
Nightlife
Pig and Whistle
Nightlife
Public Restrooms
Local Customs
Highway Bus
Transportation
Language
Local Customs
Rickshaws
Transportation
Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple
Off The Beaten Path
General
Off The Beaten Path
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Off The Beaten Path
Nanzenji Temple
Off The Beaten Path
Misoka-An Kawamichiya
Restaurants
Bicycle
Transportation
Air Travel
Transportation
Arashiyama
Off The Beaten Path
Club Metro
Nightlife
Hyogo Prefecture
Off The Beaten Path
Festivals
Local Customs
Mos Burger
Restaurants
Inoda Coffee House
Restaurants
Kyoto Tower
Tourist Traps
Sweets Paradise
Restaurants
Kinkakuji's Sekka-tei
Restaurants
Pontocho
Favorites
Rakushisha
Things to Do
Deciphering Arashiyama's Train Stations
Transportation
Kiyomizu-dera Temple: Hondo
Things to Do
To Kyoto by bullet train
Transportation
Getting around: taxis
Transportation
Exploring Kiyomizu-dera
Things to Do
Snacks at Kiyomizu-dera
Restaurants
Higashiyama
Things to Do
Sanjūsangen-dō Temple
Things to Do
Map of Kyoto

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