Temples, shrines, historical buildings, and charming traditional streets... In Kyoto, you encounter the essence of Japanese culture at every corner.
The brilliant Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji Temple or the thousands of bright red torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine - the ancient capital offers scenic views that fill visitors with surprise and awe. From Kiyomizudera Temple, you can enjoy a sweeping view of the entire city. Temples like Ginkakuji and Ryoanji offer a chance for all to feel the profundity of Zen thought. As you walk through the bamboo grove of Arashiyama, you'll be able to relax, away from the bustle of the city.
The districts of Gion and Pontocho are famous for their traditional tea houses and high-class restaurants where geiko and maiko entertain guests. The chance to spot a beautiful geisha during your walk fills any stay in Kyoto with enchantment.
Nishiki Market, with its fresh seafood and Kyoto-style vegetables and fruit, the Kyoto International Manga Museum, the largest museum of comic books and graphic novels, Kawaramachi with its elegant shopping facilities - they all add to the irresistible charm of Kyoto.
However, what captivates every visitor is how the scenery of the city changes with the seasons. In spring, the cherry blossoms paint the entirety of Kyoto in pink hues. In summer, everything is full of vibrant green. In fall, the red leaves of the maple trees set the mountains around the city ablaze. In winter, the snow covers the ground in complete silence. Whenever you visit, you'll always discover a new charm of Kyoto.
In order to reach Kyoto from Kansai International Airport (KIX), take the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka, which brings you directly to Kyoto Station in about 80 minutes.
If you travel to Kyoto from Tokyo, take the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station. The ride takes about two hours and 15 minutes.
Kyoto City has a highly developed transportation network that includes buses, subway lines, and private railways. If you plan to visit several places in one day, use a discount pass such as the convenient Kyoto Subway & Bus Pass. This pass can be purchased at the Kyoto Bus and Subway Information Center, located in front of Kyoto Station.
Kyoto prospered throughout history as the center of Japanese culture, politics, and religion. Unique Kyoto cuisine has developed as a result. The kaiseki course meals and the beautiful wagashi traditional sweets were inspired by the tea ceremony culture, which was supported by the ruling class and the monks. The Buddhist cuisine (shojin ryori) offered by Zen temples or the seasonal obanzai, side dishes invented by common people to be resourceful - these are just some of the specialties born in Kyoto.
A city that sees high summer temperatures, located far away from the sea, Kyoto created dishes that can be preserved well for a long time, such as saba-zushi (sushi made with marinated mackerel), and pickles made with vegetables, vinegar, and malted rice. You can try these specialties at the many excellent dining spots in Kyoto.
Kyoto cuisine encompasses all the types of food developed in Kyoto such as the kaiseki cuisine, offered to guests at tea ceremonies, or the Buddhist cuisine (shojin ryori) that avoids the use of meat or fish. The ingredients used are seasonal: bamboo shoots in spring, conger eel in summer, and vegetables that have been cultivated for centuries in Kyoto. The flavors are enhanced by the use of a simple base stock, and the dishes are served in beautiful vessels. The fare for a Kyoto lunch usually starts at 2,000 yen and above. You can enjoy this cuisine at ryotei restaurants in the city or at the Japanese restaurants within Kyoto Station.
Uji, located to the south of Kyoto City, is famous for its production of high quality green tea. Uji tea is known particularly for its deep flavor, which is obtained by keeping the tea plants protected from direct sunlight. The original cultivation methods resulted in a tea with low astringency that is naturally sweet and flavorful. The souvenir shops in Kyoto offer green tea and confectionery made with matcha powder tea. There are many cafes in the city with tea and even matcha tea on the menu. Please take the chance to taste the delicious green tea of Kyoto.
Kyoto City is located in a valley surrounded by mountains like Mt. Hiei, Mt. Atago, and Mt. Arashiyama. Summers bring heavy rainfall, while winters are dry. There are large temperature differences between summer and winter or day and night. The summer heat in Kyoto is at its highest when it's cloudy with no wind and very humid. The cold in winter is so extreme that you may feel like the core of your body is freezing. Please be careful of heat-related illnesses in summer and of the cold in winter. In spring and fall, the mornings and evenings tend to be very cool, so bring a light jacket with you.