Explore historic sights and wander the atmospheric streets of Kyoto
A holiday to Japan is not complete without spending time in the former capital of Japan, Kyoto. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, Kyoto was the centre of politics for 1,100 years. This culturally rich city offers many interesting places to visit including museums, art galleries, shrines and temples. Popular historic sites include the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo Castle. You will also discover an exciting food culture with a variety of amazing food on offer including Sushi, Kaiseki-ryori, tempura and noodles. During you time in Kyoto you may come across a Geisha and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) wearing traditional kimono. Gino, one of the main downtown districts in Kyoto, is where you may catch a sight of them. There is so much to discover and experience in Kyoto so choose the season, take your time and enjoy this historic and charming city.
For details on festivals, special events and attractions throughout Japan, please click here.
Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Kyoto.
Geiko & Maiko Spring Dances
The Spring Dances performed by geiko and maiko, Kitano Odori in March, Kyo Odori and Miyako Odori in April, and Kamogawa Odori in May, are a true glimpse into the traditions of geisha in Kyoto, and are your best chance of catching the rare sight of an actual performance in the city.
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
With its 10,000 vermilion shrine gates, the Fushimi Inari is one of the most popular sites in Kyoto, and an important Shinto shrine. Its famous torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings, lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari.
Visit some of the Japanese Gardens
Kyoto is a garden lover’s paradise. It is the best place in all of Japan to immerse yourself in the wonders of the Japanese garden. Some examples include the Karesansui (zen garden) at the Ryoan-ji Temple, where you can meditate in peaceful surroundings, the exquisite Ginkaku-ji Temple gardens and the impressive Hojo Garden at the Tofuku-ji Temple.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
The atmospheric Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, with its thick green bamboo stalks is famed for the extraordinary light and picturesque qualities. It's most enchanting on the approach to Okochi Sanso villa where you will surely want to take some photos, but beware as photos just can’t capture the magic of the place!
Some of our tours featuring Kyoto
Japan Group Tour Value
Private: Best Value Japan
An 11 day tour staying in Best Value Japanese hostel accommodation, whilst exploring the country's main sights
Japan Group Tour Rail
Discover Japan by Rail
A tour discovering this fascinating country's main attractions using iconic bullet trains
Japan Group Tour Nature
Cherry Blossom Tour
A 13 day tour that explores the very best of Japan’s culture and nature, during the popular cherry blossom season.
Japan Group Tour City
The Essential Japan tour is perfect for the first time traveller to Japan.
Japan Semi-Escorted Family
Japan Family Tour
Explore the history and culture of this amazing country, with fun-filled excursions for all the family.
Japan Group Tour Food
Essential Japan and South Korea
A perfect trip for the first time traveller to these two intriguing countries.
Japan Group Tour Culture
Japan Golden Route
This tour encompasses the classic Golden Route - Tokyo, Fuji and Kyoto
Japan Group Tour City
Japan and China
An incredible two-centre tour combining the sights of Japan and China.
Japan Semi-Escorted City
Discover the culture and landscape of this amazing country, with our nine day Classic Japan tour.
Japan Semi-Escorted Trekking
Japan Self-Drive Holiday
Hiring a car to get around Japan is a fantastic way to explore the country, especially as they drive on the left.
Japan Semi-Escorted Culture
Explore Japan’s classic sights, starting in the exciting capital city of Tokyo, famous for its fresh sushi.
Japan Semi-Escorted Nature
Great Trail of Japan
Journey through Japan, taking in some of the most picturesque locations.