Hello! Welcome to my Kyoto City Guide. In August, I visited Japan for 2 weeks and spent a few days in Kyoto. Here are my top tips on where to stay & what to do and see in Japan’s old capital.
Travel & Accomodation
I left Tokyo and took the bullet train to Kyoto – I used the JR 14 Day Green Pass* for my travel throughout Japan. I stayed at the Kamoya Ryokan*. My stay there was really enjoyable – it was more traditional than the capsule hotel in Tokyo and had a great location. It was less than a 10 minute walk to Shichijo Station and had everything you needed close by.
Getting Around Kyoto
Kyoto has a really good transport system with trains, buses and the underground – a lot of places are walkable too. When visiting Japan, you need to utilise HyperDia. You can put in your location and then where and when you want to go and it gives you all the routes available. It’s so useful – and free. The subway prices vary but they’re usually £1.50-£2 or you can use an IC card.
Day One: Sanjusangendo Temple, National Museum
I arrived in Kyoto in the afternoon and headed straight to Sanjusangendo Temple (open 08:00-17:00 daily, ¥600 or £4.30) which was near to my accommodation. If you’re in Kyoto, you have to visit this temple. It’s honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. You can’t take pictures inside, but below is one from the guidebook. There are thousands of gold statues and a giant buddha and it’s really a sight to behold.
After visiting the temple, I walked to the Kyoto National Museum (09:30-17:00 or 20:00 Fri/Sat, ¥520 or £3.70). This was such an interesting way to learn more about Japanese history and art. If you have a few free hours, definitely check it out.
Day Two: Food & Drink Tour, Fushimi Inari
In the morning, I headed to downtown Kyoto to join a Food & Drink tour with Japan Wonder Travel (AD – Gifted). You can check out my review here! It was such a fun few hours and I learnt so much about Kyoto’s food and history.
After the tour, I caught the tube to Fushimi Inari (open 24 hours, free entry) which is probably the most famous shrine in Kyoto. Full disclaimer, I actually caught the tube 20 minutes the wrong way to a super random place before hopping back on the right way and reaching the shrine about an hour late. My little detour aside, I really enjoyed visiting this shrine and seeing all the cool fox statues everywhere!
Day Three: Nara Day Trip
This was one of my favourite days in Japan – and definitely one of the cutest! Nara is such a fun place to visit and I would really recommend visiting as a day trip from either Kyoto or Osaka. I did a whole post about things to do in Nara which you can check out here. This was my last day in Kyoto before travelling on to Osaka for the final leg of my trip!
I hope that you found my Kyoto City Guide useful! For me, Kyoto was the best place that I visited whilst in Japan and there is so much amazing history and culture there. It’s a very different experience Tokyo and I did enjoy both, but Kyoto was much more relaxed and tranquil! Have you visited Kyoto? What did you think of it in comparison to Tokyo? Let me know in the comments!
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