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Top things to do in Kyoto

Attractions, tours, and activities in Kyoto

Kyoto: the city's best neighborhoods

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About Kyoto

Including tips for the best time to visit Kyoto

As Japan's former capital, Kyoto thrived for centuries as the country’s epicenter of culture, religion, and economy. Buddhist temples, palaces, beautiful gardens, and time-honored traditions like the geisha of the Gion district all help to preserve this era's impact.

There are 17 locations that make up the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" spread throughout Kyoto. The gold leaf-covered Kinkakuji temple (the Golden Pavilion)—which according to legend was burned down by a monk who thought it was "too beautiful"—is a popular place to start. Another great launch pad is the Kiyomizu-dera, famous for its wishing wells, wooden veranda, and beautiful views of cherry and maple trees.

During spring and fall, the trees blossom into canopies of pink and red, while all of Arashiyama's towering bamboo remains bright green year-round. This colorful canvas extends to another popular landmark – the Fushimi Inari Shrine, featuring 10,000 orange "torii" gates that form a tunnel through the surrounding forest.

Kyoto is a hotspot for Japan's world-famous cuisine. Nishiki Market is packed with Michelin star restaurants, sushi spots, and "izakaya" bars, where you can have everything from Kitsune Udon noodles to "kaiseki" – Japan’s take on haute cuisine.


From $47 per night

This weekend

From $139 per night

Next weekend

From $244 per night

Most popular time to visit October-December
Cheapest time to visit January-March
Local currency ¥1,000 = $6.46
Language Japanese
Average weekend price $116 per night
Average weekday price $121 per night
Average stay 1 night

Points of interest in Kyoto

Stay near the top sightseeing spots in Kyoto

Kyoto reviews

What other travelers say about Kyoto


So much to see, do and eat!

April 24, 2024

So much to see, do and eat!!! Go there. Just realise lots of other people go there too. Be patient or plan ahead to arrive earlier or late to popular sites. If you are in a crowd, walk a bit further and you will find the crowd thins.

Robert New Zealand

Kyoto is a place for lazy travellers as the city is...

April 23, 2024

Kyoto is a place for lazy travellers as the city is relatively small and the train and bus are very easy to locate. There are also many places to see and using Kyoto as a centre to travel to surrounding area is also very convenient. We also spent time in Osaka but the Osaka station is too complicated and large, it is not easy to find direction. On the contrary, Kyoto is very easy to manage and the Kyoto Station has all the things that we need, food, supermarket and many different grades of hotels to choose from.

oonagh Australia

Kyoto is a beautiful and quaint town.

April 23, 2024

Kyoto is a beautiful and quaint town. Plenty to see & do. We stayed for 5 nights plus 1 night and did not cover it all. Leaving with a heavy heart, with a resolve to go back again. The General Hotel Kyoto is very well located for interesting izakayas, bars, ramin places & nicer restaurants. It's close to the main street for higher-end shopping too.

Nighat Bahrain

I really enjoyed my stay at Webase Kyoto.

April 22, 2024

I really enjoyed my stay at Webase Kyoto. What really makes this place special is the staff. They are super friendly and really want to help you get what ever answers your help you need. They repeatedly went above and beyond. Even if they had to us a translator app to assist inthe communication. The room was small but clean and the facility very clean an comfortable. Added bonus to get a free snack in the morning and ramen at night. Thanks for a great stay!

Rochele Tillman
Rochele Tillman United States of America

So many beautiful locations, the only problem was too many...

April 20, 2024

So many beautiful locations, the only problem was too many dumb tourists! But I was there in Blossom season, so it's to be expected. If you can, visit a major temple by 8am, it makes a big difference to be there before the worst crowds. Then after a break, you can go to a park, shopping or one of the less famous temples etc in the afternoon. Nijo-jo Castle absolutely stunning. Also smaller places, like Kyoto Museum of Crafts and Design. Exquisite! And hardly any others there. Wear good pairs of socks, for locations when shoes must be removed.

Anonymous United Kingdom

As a person who spent part of her childhood in another part...

April 19, 2024

As a person who spent part of her childhood in another part of Japan, and has spent a lifetime travelling the world; I can say with all honesty that Kyoto is my favourite city in the world! I put it before Istanbul, Paris, London, Hong Kong, etc. Kyoto is a perfect blend of rich traditions and modern playfulness. It is a city for everyone, young and old. I love to run along the Kamo River which cuts through the centre of the city. They have a building ordinance so buildings aren’t too high; the surrounding hills are ever present. It is also a very walkable city! Yet the bus system is easy to adapt to with Google being very accurate where and how to catch a bus, even advising cost. Kyoto is also a foody’s heaven, so much to choose from. I return to Kyoto over and over again because I can never get enough of it. But this trip found me spending 5 weeks trying to live like a local and I never tired of it. I look forward to returning again and again.

Vivigirl United Kingdom

Popular places to stay in Kyoto

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