Kyoto

Kyoto is where Japanese people go to see Japan. The capital from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is home to Japan’s best known Buddhist temples as well as many famous Shinto shrines, and streets corners are dotted with jizo statues and paper garlands decorating sacred trees and stones.

Kyoto is quite simply a must-see destination. Known for its Zen gardens, geisha, tea houses, and palaces, Kyoto is very much a vibrant modern city proud of both its past and present, where rowdy karaoke coexists with the subtlety of kaiseki cuisine.

Many of the stock images of Japan are shot in Kyoto – striking and familiar photographs of ornate temples, dramatic pagodas or geisha strolling down old cobbled streets. The famous Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Kiyomizu temple are both Kyoto sights. Sometimes you will see well-organised uniformed school groups or fanatical photographers – aspects of the culture which can be as entertaining as the sights themselves.

Experiences in Kyoto

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market – a long, narrow covered street packed with shops selling local specialties – is sometimes called Kyoto’s kitchen, and it’s easy to see why; barrels of fresh and pickled vegetables spill out into the street, and the air...

Wedding Kimono Photo Session

If you're travelling to Japan on Honeymoon - or even if not! - why not create a wonderful souvenir of your trip with a wedding kimono photo session in Kyoto? You'll both be dressed in traditional wedding attire; for her,...

Kimono Dressing Experience

Have your photograph taken with traditional Japanese costume, Kimono. You will have a professional photo shoot to capture the best image of you dressed in traditional Japanese clothing. There is a range of costumes to choose from for men and...

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Iwatayama Monkey Park is a smallish wildlife park in Arashiyama. It is home to a troop of over 170 wild Japanese macaque monkeys. To get to the park, there's a hike of about 20 minutes or so up the mountain....

Jidai Festival

The Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) is one of Kyoto's three great festivals, along with the Gion and Aoi Festivals. Held every October 22nd, the festival dates back to the Meiji Period, and celebrates Kyoto's inception as Japan's capital...

Aoi Festival

Like the Gion Matsuri, Kyoto's summer festival, the Aoi Matsuri has its roots in ritual and began in the eighth century. Properly known as the Kamo Matsuri, the Aoi Matsuri features an impressive parade in the style of the Heian...

Eigamura

Eigamura, or more properly Toei Uzumasa Eigamura, is a movie studio and theme park in one. This provides an excellent opportunity to take a break from Kyoto’s temples and tea houses, and experience the entertaining side of historical Japan. It...

Geisha, Maiko or Samurai Makeovers

Fun for both foreign tourists and Japanese visitors to Kyoto, dressing up in traditional style for a photo session is a very popular activity. There are several photo studios around the city offering 'maiko henshin'; transformation into a maiko (apprentice...

Taiko Drumming Experience

A private lesson of the exciting art of Taiko drumming. You will learn how to play the Taiko, or Japanese drum. Unlike western drums, Taiko are often played standing up; this is because the Taiko player uses their entire body...

Arashiyama Dinner Cruise

Enjoy spectacular seasonal views and Japanese traditional cuisine on an elegant boat. River cruising is a wonderful way to discover Kyoto's rich culture and tranquil scenery. The Oi (Katsura) river runs through the middle of Arashiyama, which is most famous...

Kurama Fire Festival

Japan's fire festivals are spectacular and Kurama's is no exception. A small town just outside Kyoto, Kurama literally lights up every October 22nd, when giant watch-fires are lit throughout the town at night. The festival starts at dusk, and features...

Maiko Odori

Geisha Dances More than any other place in Japan, Kyoto is known for geisha: both Gion and Pontocho, Japan's best known geisha quarters, lie within the old capital's boundaries, and exclusive tea houses are tucked in amongst the houses and...

Gion Festival

Although Japan's ancient capital, Kyoto, is said to celebrate a festival every day somewhere in the city, the Gion Matsuri is generally believed to be the best, and marks the highlight of the Kyoto festival year. Dating back to the...

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Japanese Tea Ceremony is perhaps the most enigmatic of the traditional arts. Unlike the more familiar daily brew of steeped green tea, or o-cha, tea for the ceremony is made from bright green powdered matcha, and served with the utmost...

Accommodation in Kyoto

Noku Roxy

The idea of a boutique hotel - small, intimate, upscale accommodation, where guests are made to feel at home - is a growing trend in Europe. In Japan boutique hotels are less common, but Noku Kyoto certainly fills this gap....

Yoshikawa Ryokan

Located in the heart of Kyoto, Ryokan Yoshikawa is proud to welcome its guests in the most authentically Japanese style. Its squeaky floors and narrow corridors and most of all the traditional tatami mat rooms with views directly into its...