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 Nature
Cherry Blossom Tour
13 day tour from £4,449
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
10 day tour from £3,499
The Essential Japan tour is a perfect tour for the first time traveller to Japan.
Japan Group Tour Rail
14 day tour from £4,699
A tour that explores the very best of Japan’s cultural, natural and UNESCO locations. Journey on the famous bullet train.
Japan Semi-Escorted Family
Japan Family Tour
15 day tour from £3,299
Explore the history and culture of this amazing country, with fun-filled excursions for all the family.