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Kyoto
Travel Guide

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed wild monkeys and explore World Heritage-listed temples and shrines in this historically rich Japanese city.

Kyoto, on the Japanese island of Honshu, has been a hub of religious activity and political power since the eighth century. It was once the capital of Japan and retains many of the temples and palaces built within this period. Step back in time to imperial Japan as you explore the city’s many World Heritage Sites such as the Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto is also renowned for its landscaped gardens, many of which are based on designs dating back hundreds of years.

The wealth of cultural history in Kyoto can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take the Philosopher’s Walk to orient yourself around some of Kyoto’s historic sights, such as the Eikando Temple. The walk takes in three major temples as well as several smaller temples and shrines, boutique shopping areas and restaurants where you can sample the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner, kaiseki. Cherry blossoms line the walk during spring, and in autumn, the area comes alive with the brilliant reds of maple trees.

Central Kyoto offers a combination of modern and traditional delights. Ride up the Kyoto Tower for a 360-degree view over the city from 100 metres (330 feet) up. Explore the Nishiki Market, lined with restaurants, and fresh produce and street food stalls. See giant salamanders and local river fish at the Kyoto Aquarium.

At one of the regular festivals held in the city, taste some of the food brought to Kyoto from all over Japan to please the Emperor, watch traditional crafts being made, take a lesson in saké brewing and experience the culture of Japan.

Lovers of Japanese literature will enjoy the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, built to resemble the fictional setting of the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Tourism is a large part of Kyoto’s economy and there are some unique attractions such as hand feeding wild snow monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto has a welcoming atmosphere, incredible natural beauty and layered history.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

Top hotels in Kyoto

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is £72 per night from 3 Mar to 4 Mar

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Kyoto Railway Museum and Nishiki Market are also within 2 ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,592 reviews)

"Location is great and the room was pretty nice. Some grime in the bathroom."…"

Reviewed on 28 Dec 2020

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
4.5 out of 5
The price is £154 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar

Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium are ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (1,224 reviews)
reat location

"The location was excellent as it is above Kyoto station. You can travel out to all major attraction easily from the hotel. The swimming pool need admission which is not great and children could only swim in the morning at allotted timing."…"

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2020

Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
3.5 out of 5
410-3 Shimomaruya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is £35 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Honnoji Temple and Pontocho. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 10 minutes. Shiyakusho-mae ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,024 reviews)

"Great location, friendly staffs, and clean room. Will recommend to friends and families when they visit Kyoto."…"

Reviewed on 14 Feb 2021

Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Holiday Rentals in Kyoto

RESI STAY Hotel Sun Chlorella
RESI STAY Hotel Sun Chlorella
3 out of 5
The price is £128 per night from 2 Mar to 3 Mar

Located in Central Kyoto, this condo is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Aquarium and Kyoto Railway Museum. Kyoto Tower and Toji Temple are also within 15 minutes. ...

RESI STAY Hotel Sun Chlorella
Shoubuan Machiya Residence Inn
Shoubuan Machiya Residence Inn
4 out of 5
The price is £234 per night from 12 Mar to 13 Mar

Located in Central Kyoto, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Nishiki Market, Kawaramachi and Nijō Castle. Pontocho and Yasaka Shrine are also within ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (12 reviews)

"Highly recommended"…"

Reviewed on 10 Mar 2018

Shoubuan Machiya Residence Inn
nol kyoto sanjo
nol kyoto sanjo
3 out of 5
The price is £207 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar

Located in Central Kyoto, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishiki Market, Kawaramachi and Kyoto International Manga Museum. Pontocho and Shijo ...

5/5Exceptional! (3 reviews)

"お酒飲み放題が素敵でした。"…"

Reviewed on 1 Feb 2021

nol kyoto sanjo
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Kyoto

Top things to do in Kyoto

Reviews of Kyoto

4.7

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
278
5 - Excellent 73.54497354497354%
4 - Good
87
4 - Good 23.015873015873016%
3 - Okay
7
3 - Okay 1.8518518518518519%
2 - Disappointing
6
2 - Disappointing 1.5873015873015872%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

1 Apr 2020

Third time visiting Kyoto. Will definitely be back again

5/5 - Excellent

Di

21 Mar 2020

A fantastic place to visit. So much history and the temples are just awesome. Recommend a day tour if visiting for a short time but I am looking forward to exploring on my own and spending more time at some sites next time.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

5 Feb 2020

Kyoto has the best of both worlds...modern and traditional. Close to Osaka,Nara. Easy to get around.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

2 Feb 2020

Nice city and nice people

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Jan 2020

Everything that Tokyo is missing.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

19 Jan 2020

Plan carefully as many places seemed to be under restoration. Also, it was considerably mor crowded with ( mainly mainland Chinese) tourists than our last visit

Cities near Kyoto