Founded In: Established the capital of Japan in 794 under the name Heian-kyō; name changed to Kyoto in 1180 and it remained the capital until Tokyo took over in 1869.
Language: Japanese; very little English.
Suggested Length of Stay: 4-5 Full Days.
Kon’nichiwa (Hello) and welcome to Kyoto, the best place to experience old world Japan and one of most magical cities to visit on the planet. Serving as Japan’s Imperial capital for over 1,000 years (795-1868), Kyoto helped lay the roots for unique cuisines, diverse arts, and everything Geisha. War hit Kyoto hard in the 1400s, but the city hit its stride in the 1500s.
Timeless temples, Imperial villas, wooden warehouse shops, and cobblestone streets are still on full display to make you feel like you have stepped back into the Shogun era. Mix those elements with the natural elements including rivers, bamboo forest, rolling hills, vibrant cherry blossoms, and an explosion of Fall colors to get one of the most beautiful cities you can imagine. It was this beauty that vastly spared Kyoto from bombings in WW2 and is also why you need to add a visit to your bucket list right away. Enjoy our complete Kyoto travel guide!
Top 10 Things To Do In Kyoto:
2. Cherry Blossom Season
3. Gion District & Geishas
4. Nijo Castle
Kiyomizu-Dera (Pure Water Temple)
5. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Monkey Park Iwatayama
Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)
Ryoan-ji Zen Garden
Stay in a Ryokan
Tea Ceremony http://www.teaceremonyen.com/gallery/
Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)
Sanjusangendo Hall – 1000 Buddhas
Read More: Top 10 Things To Do In Kyoto
Getting Around Kyoto:
As long as you are staying in the core of Kyoto, getting around town should be no problem, but you still have to know some important routes to not get lost. If you have a JR Rail Pass you can use the 2 main train lines running both North/South and East/West from the train station for free. This really helps get around as the train station isn’t within close walking distance to many of the main sights. This train access also makes day trips to Osaka, Nara, or Himeji very easy.
Outside of the JR lines, there is also a subway, a couple trams and a few great bus routes in addition to taxis. Each of the neighborhood walking tour maps in our Kyoto section mention the appropriate lines and have them highlighted in a helpful map.