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Kyoto
Travel Guide

Heian Shrine showing a temple or place of worship, religious aspects and heritage architecture

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed wild monkeys and explore World Heritage-listed temples and shrines in this historically rich Japanese city.

Kyoto, on the Japanese island of Honshu, has been a hub of religious activity and political power since the eighth century. It was once the capital of Japan and retains many of the temples and palaces built within this period. Step back in time to imperial Japan as you explore the city’s many World Heritage Sites such as the Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto is also renowned for its landscaped gardens, many of which are based on designs dating back hundreds of years.

The wealth of cultural history in Kyoto can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take the Philosopher’s Walk to orient yourself around some of Kyoto’s historic sights, such as the Eikando Temple. The walk takes in three major temples as well as several smaller temples and shrines, boutique shopping areas and restaurants where you can sample the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner, kaiseki. Cherry blossoms line the walk during spring, and in the fall, the area comes alive with the brilliant reds of maple trees.

Central Kyoto offers a combination of modern and traditional delights. Ride up the Kyoto Tower for a 360-degree view over the city from 330 feet (100 meters) up. Explore the Nishiki Market, lined with restaurants, and fresh produce and street food stalls. See giant salamanders and local river fish at the Kyoto Aquarium.

At one of the regular festivals held in the city, taste some of the food brought to Kyoto from all over Japan to please the Emperor, watch traditional crafts being made, take a lesson in saké brewing and experience the culture of Japan.

Lovers of Japanese literature will enjoy the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, built to resemble the fictional setting of the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Tourism is a large part of Kyoto’s economy and there are some unique attractions such as hand feeding wild snow monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto has a welcoming atmosphere, incredible natural beauty and layered history.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is ¥7,526 per night from May 5 to May 6
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Kyoto Railway Museum and Nishiki Market are also within 2 ...
4.4/5Excellent! (2,479 reviews)
"Good access to/from destination wherever it might be."

Reviewed on Apr 4, 2021

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
3 out of 5
535 Karatsuya-cho, Shijo Horikawa Nishiiru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥2,291 per night from Apr 23 to Apr 24
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Mibu-dera, Shinsenen, and Nijō Castle. Kyoto International Manga Museum and Nishihonganji ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (301 reviews)
"こちらで2泊しました。レビューでの評価が高すぎて、サクラなのかなと少し不安でしたが…本当によかったです。立地について、バス停前、コンビニ横、大きな駅が徒歩圏内でよかったです。壁も厚く、隣の部屋や道路の音は一切気になりませんでした。歯ブラシとタオル以外のアメニティも豊富で、宿泊費の分質を下げているということは全く感じませんでした。チェックイン前・チェックアウト後も快く荷物を預かっていただきました。注意事項としては、ルームサービスは歯ブラシとタオル・ゴミ箱の中身回収だけなのと、チェックインの支払いは機械を通して外国人スタッフとのやりとりです。多少日本語が聞き取りづらかったものの、すぐ近くに日本人スタッフも数人いたので何も不自由はなかったです。浴槽はないですが、きっちりとドアを締められる(洗面所がびしょびしょになる心配はありません!)清潔なシャワールームに、通常のシャワーの他、上・横から浴びられるシャワーの計3つがあり、背中までしっかり洗えます。値段以上のホスピタリティに大満足でした。また京都へ来る際はこちらを選ぶと思います。ありがとうございました!"

Reviewed on Mar 13, 2021

The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
RIHGA GRAN KYOTO
RIHGA GRAN KYOTO
3.5 out of 5
1 Higashikujo Nishisannocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥8,727 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
Located in Minami, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Tower, Kyoto Aquarium, and Kyoto Railway Museum. Fushimi Inari Shrine and Nishiki Market are also ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (49 reviews)
"I had a wonderful experience staying at Rihga Gran Kyoto!"

Reviewed on Apr 5, 2021

RIHGA GRAN KYOTO
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Shikinean Gion Shirakawa
Shikinean Gion Shirakawa
3 out of 5
248-8, Nakanocho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥36,364 per night from Apr 23 to Apr 24
Located in Gion, this vacation home is within a 10-minute walk of Gion Shirakawa Area, Yasaka Shrine, and Pontocho. Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre and Gion Corner are ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (35 reviews)
a beutiful 3 rooms/3 stories hotel
"super location, sit right by the magical Shirakawa river. There is no services/reception counter at Shikinean hotel, everything is automatic, you receive the main door pass code before check in, also entry code for 3 different bedrooms. all went neat and easy. 3 rooms on each floor are of different ..."

Reviewed on Jan 13, 2020

Shikinean Gion Shirakawa
Kyomachiya Hotel Shikijuraku
Kyomachiya Hotel Shikijuraku
3 out of 5
165 Konoecho Kamigyoku, Kyoto, Kyoto
Located in Central Kyoto, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Seimei-Jinja Shrine, Kyoto Imperial Palace, and Nijō Castle. Kyoto International Manga ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (45 reviews)
"The wonderful alacrity and kindness was exceptional. Being there was like finding yourself transported to a time where graciousness and simple pleasures prevail. I highly recommend staying here for the atmosphere, the setting, and the service."

Reviewed on Oct 21, 2019

Kyomachiya Hotel Shikijuraku
Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi
Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi
3 out of 5
78-4 Shinmaruta-cho, Sakyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥2,727 per night from Apr 23 to Apr 24
Located in Sakyo Ward, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Pontocho and Kawaramachi. Nishiki Market and Kyoto University are also within 15 ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (72 reviews)
Fab find!!
"Great find!! I'm astounded what you get for your money. Huge room, by japanese standards, great amenities, friendly, helpful staff with good English. I hugely recommend this place, especially if you are staying more than a few days in Kyoto. Also well located, within walking distance of Gion and ..."

Reviewed on Oct 3, 2019

Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Kyoto

Top things to do in Kyoto

Reviews of Kyoto

4.8

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1580
5 - Excellent 78.41191066997519%
4 - Good
398
4 - Good 19.751861042183624%
3 - Okay
31
3 - Okay 1.5384615384615385%
2 - Disappointing
4
2 - Disappointing 0.19851116625310175%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 0.09925558312655088%

5/5 - Excellent

Jennie

Jun 6, 2020

Love Kyoto!! Definitely recommend fir first time Japan travelers.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 3, 2020

very easy to get around and visit all the sites in the area, trains and buses run regularly throughout the day, so you never have very long to wait for one to come along

4/5 - Good

RB

Mar 26, 2020

Quiet at the time of visit. A beautiful place.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 20, 2020

I would love to live here.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

The city itself is great unfortunately didn't have enough time to explore the entire city. There are a TON of temples and shrines to visit in Kyoto, kind of off putting when most of the good ones are "Pay to enter," when others in the country are not

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

Kyoto was a lovely place to visit. There is so much to see here. The traditional neighborhoods and bamboo homes are scenic. The city is safe and pleasant.

Cities near Kyoto