Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re diving into the enchanting world of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital. With its rich history, stunning temples, and vibrant culture, there’s no shortage of things to do Kyoto. In fact, the city is so packed with must-see attractions that it can be a bit overwhelming for first-time visitors. But fear not, my fellow wanderers, for I have compiled a comprehensive list of the top things to do Kyoto, ensuring that your trip to this magical city will be nothing short of unforgettable. So, strap on your walking shoes and grab your camera, as we embark on a journey through the best things to do Kyoto!
Discovering Kyoto’s Historic Temples and Shrines
Kyoto is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines. Here are some of the must-visit historic temples and shrines that should be on your list of things to do in Kyoto:
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari Taisha is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto and is known for its thousands of vermilion torii gates that line the hiking trails up the mountain. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and prosperity, and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Kiyomizu-dera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto. The temple is known for its wooden stage that juts out from the main hall, offering stunning views of the city. The temple is also surrounded by a beautiful forest and is a great spot to visit during the cherry blossom season.
Ginkaku-ji, also known as the Silver Pavilion, is a Zen temple that was built in the late 15th century. The temple is known for its beautiful gardens and is a great spot to visit during the autumn season when the leaves change color.
Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen temple that is covered in gold leaf. The temple is located in a beautiful garden and is a popular spot for tourists. The temple was originally built in the 14th century as a retirement villa for a shogun and was later converted into a temple.
Yasaka Shrine is a Shinto shrine that is located in the Gion district of Kyoto. The shrine is known for its beautiful lanterns and is a popular spot for tourists. The shrine is also a great spot to visit during the Gion Matsuri festival, which takes place in July.
These historic temples and shrines are just a few of the many things to do in Kyoto. Make sure to add them to your list of must-visit spots when exploring this beautiful city.
Exploring the Enchanting Bamboo Forests
Kyoto is home to one of the most beautiful and serene places in Japan, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. This enchanting bamboo forest is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for things to do in Kyoto.
Walking through the Bamboo Forest
As you walk through the bamboo forest, you’ll be surrounded by towering bamboo stalks that create a peaceful and calming atmosphere. The sound of the bamboo leaves rustling in the wind is a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a photographer’s paradise. The tall bamboo stalks create a beautiful backdrop for photos, and the natural light that filters through the leaves makes for stunning shots.
Visiting the Tenryu-ji Temple
After exploring the bamboo forest, make sure to visit the nearby Tenryu-ji Temple. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most important Zen temples in Kyoto and is known for its beautiful gardens and stunning architecture.
Exploring the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of the top things to do in Kyoto. The peaceful atmosphere, stunning scenery, and nearby attractions make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Kyoto. Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the beauty of this enchanting bamboo forest.
Savoring Authentic Japanese Cuisine in Kyoto
Kyoto is not only famous for its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty but also for its mouth-watering cuisine. The city is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of authentic Japanese dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Here are some of the best things to do in Kyoto when it comes to savoring authentic Japanese cuisine.
1. Try Kaiseki Ryori
Kaiseki Ryori is a traditional multi-course Japanese meal that is a must-try when in Kyoto. It is a culinary art form that involves the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and meticulous preparation. The meal is served in small portions, and each dish is carefully crafted to showcase the flavors and textures of the ingredients. Some of the best places to try Kaiseki Ryori in Kyoto are Kikunoi, Kitcho, and Hyotei.
2. Visit Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market is a bustling food market in the heart of Kyoto that offers a wide range of fresh produce, seafood, and local delicacies. It is a great place to sample some of the best street food in Kyoto, such as Takoyaki (octopus balls), Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), and Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake). The market is also home to many traditional Japanese sweet shops, where you can try Wagashi (Japanese sweets) and Matcha (green tea).
3. Enjoy a Tea Ceremony
Kyoto is famous for its tea culture, and there is no better way to experience it than by attending a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The ceremony involves the preparation and serving of Matcha (powdered green tea) in a serene and tranquil setting. It is a unique cultural experience that allows you to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of Japanese culture. Some of the best places to enjoy a tea ceremony in Kyoto are Camellia Tea Ceremony, En Tea Ceremony, and Maikoya Tea Ceremony.
4. Dine at a Michelin-starred Restaurant
Kyoto is home to many Michelin-starred restaurants that offer some of the best Japanese cuisine in the world. These restaurants are known for their exceptional quality, creativity, and attention to detail. Some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in Kyoto are Kikunoi, Mizai, and Nakamura.
In conclusion, Kyoto is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of authentic Japanese cuisine that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Whether you are looking for traditional Kaiseki Ryori, street food, or Michelin-starred restaurants, Kyoto has something for everyone. So, make sure to add these things to do in Kyoto to your itinerary and experience the best of Japanese cuisine. Don’t forget to check out my other blog posts for more travel inspiration and tips on things to do Kyoto.
Strolling Through Kyoto’s Traditional Geisha Districts
Kyoto is a city that is steeped in tradition and history, and one of the best ways to experience this is by taking a stroll through its traditional geisha districts. These areas are known for their preserved architecture, quaint streets, and the presence of geishas, who are skilled entertainers trained in traditional Japanese arts.
The Gion district is the most famous geisha district in Kyoto and is a must-visit for anyone looking for things to do in Kyoto. This area is known for its traditional wooden buildings, narrow streets, and the presence of geishas. Visitors can stroll through the streets, take in the sights and sounds, and even catch a glimpse of a geisha on her way to an appointment.
The Pontocho district is another popular geisha district in Kyoto and is known for its narrow alleyways and traditional architecture. Visitors can stroll through the streets, take in the sights and sounds, and even enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in the area. The Pontocho district is also known for its nightlife, with many bars and clubs open late into the night.
The Miyagawa-cho district is a quieter and more residential geisha district in Kyoto. Visitors can stroll through the streets and take in the traditional architecture and peaceful atmosphere. This area is also known for its tea houses, where visitors can enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Overall, strolling through Kyoto’s traditional geisha districts is a unique and memorable experience that should not be missed. It is one of the top things to do in Kyoto and offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage.
Experiencing Kyoto’s Vibrant Festivals and Events
Kyoto is a city that is rich in culture and history, and one of the best ways to experience this is by attending one of its many festivals and events. Here are some of the top things to do in Kyoto when it comes to festivals and events:
The Gion Matsuri is one of the most famous festivals in Japan and takes place in Kyoto every July. The festival is a celebration of the Yasaka Shrine and features a parade of floats, traditional music, and food stalls. It’s a great way to experience Japanese culture and see the city come alive.
The Jidai Matsuri, or Festival of the Ages, is held every October and is a celebration of Kyoto’s history. The festival features a parade of people dressed in traditional costumes from different periods of Kyoto’s history. It’s a great way to learn about the city’s past and see some amazing costumes.
The Arashiyama Hanatouro is a winter event that takes place in December. The event features thousands of lanterns lining the streets of Arashiyama, creating a magical atmosphere. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of Kyoto at night and see some amazing light displays.
Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair
The Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair is a two-day event that takes place in September. The event is a celebration of Japanese pop culture and features exhibitions, cosplay, and live performances. It’s a great way to experience the fun and excitement of Japanese pop culture.
Kyoto is a city that is full of festivals and events throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or pop culture, there’s something for everyone. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Kyoto, be sure to check out some of these amazing festivals and events.
Unwinding in Kyoto’s Serene Zen Gardens
Kyoto is a city that is known for its beautiful gardens and parks. If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, then Kyoto’s serene Zen gardens are the perfect place to unwind. Here are some of the best things to do in Kyoto’s Zen gardens:
Explore the Ryoan-ji Temple
One of the most famous Zen gardens in Kyoto is the Ryoan-ji Temple. This temple is home to a beautiful rock garden that is said to represent the essence of Zen Buddhism. The garden is made up of 15 rocks that are carefully arranged in a bed of white gravel. Visitors can sit and contemplate the garden’s beauty, and try to decipher its meaning.
Visit the Tenryu-ji Temple
Another must-visit Zen garden in Kyoto is the Tenryu-ji Temple. This temple is located in the Arashiyama district and is known for its beautiful pond garden. The garden is surrounded by lush greenery and features a large pond that is home to a variety of fish and turtles. Visitors can take a stroll around the garden and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Take a Stroll Through the Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens
The Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens are another great place to unwind in Kyoto. These gardens are located in the heart of the city and are home to a variety of beautiful trees, flowers, and ponds. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Relax at the Shoren-in Temple
The Shoren-in Temple is a hidden gem in Kyoto that is known for its beautiful gardens. This temple is located in the Higashiyama district and is home to a variety of gardens, including a moss garden and a pond garden. Visitors can relax and unwind in the peaceful surroundings, and take in the beauty of the gardens.
Kyoto’s Zen gardens are the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind. Whether you’re exploring the Ryoan-ji Temple or taking a stroll through the Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens, there are plenty of things to do in Kyoto’s serene Zen gardens.
And so, fellow travelers, our journey through the enchanting city of Kyoto comes to an end. As we’ve explored the myriad of things to do Kyoto has to offer, it’s clear that this city is a treasure trove of culture, history, and natural beauty. From the awe-inspiring temples and shrines to the vibrant streets filled with culinary delights, Kyoto has something for everyone.
As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my Suitcase Stories with you, and I hope that this guide to the top things to do Kyoto has inspired you to embark on your own adventure. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, Kyoto is a destination that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
So, as you plan your own journey to this captivating city, remember to take the time to truly immerse yourself in all the things to do Kyoto has in store. Embrace the rich history, indulge in the delicious cuisine, and let the serene landscapes soothe your soul. And, as always, happy travels and may your Suitcase Stories be filled with unforgettable experiences.
Until our next adventure, this is Journeying Jack, signing off from the magical world of Kyoto.