things to do in kyoto

Are you planning a trip to Kyoto, Japan? Look no further! Kyoto is a fascinating city with a treasure trove of attractions and activities that will captivate your senses. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, Kyoto has something for everyone.

Embarking on a sightseeing adventure in Kyoto will transport you back in time, as you immerse yourself in the rich historical and cultural heritage of this ancient imperial capital. From magnificent temples and shrines to serene gardens and vibrant traditional experiences, Kyoto offers a plethora of must-see attractions.

Discover the top attractions in Kyoto, indulge in culinary delights, explore the natural beauty of the city, and immerse yourself in cultural experiences that will leave you with lasting memories.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and get ready to embark on a journey through Kyoto’s wonders!

Things to Do in Kyoto

When it comes to Kyoto tourism, there are countless points of interest and things to do in Kyoto, Japan. To make the most of your visit, be sure to explore the popular experiences that showcase the best the city has to offer. From cultural immersion to culinary delights, there is something for everyone in this enchanting city.


Embark on a comprehensive guided tour of Kyoto’s iconic landmarks, including Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the Golden Pavilion. This tour allows you to maximize your time and visit multiple attractions in a single day, providing an overview of Kyoto’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Kyoto Samurai Experience

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the world of the samurai. Learn about the samurai’s code of conduct, try on traditional armor, and even participate in a sword-fighting demonstration. This hands-on experience offers a unique insight into Japan’s feudal past.

Ramen Cooking Class at Ramen Factory in Kyoto

Discover the secrets of making delicious ramen from scratch during a hands-on cooking class. Learn about the different types of ramen and master the art of creating the perfect bowl of noodles. Afterward, indulge in your own culinary creation.

Hidden Kyoto E-Biking Tour

Explore the hidden gems of Kyoto on an e-bike tour. Ride through narrow streets, visit off-the-beaten-path temples, and discover tucked-away neighborhoods. This leisurely tour allows you to experience the charm of Kyoto at a relaxed pace.

Nighttime All-Inclusive Local Eats and Streets

Experience Kyoto’s vibrant nightlife and culinary scene on a guided tour of local eateries. Sample a variety of traditional dishes and street food while strolling through the bustling streets of Pontocho and Gion. This food tour is a feast for the senses.

Gion and Beyond

Immerse yourself in Kyoto’s geisha culture with a guided tour of the historic Gion district. Learn about the fascinating world of geishas, visit traditional teahouses, and witness an enchanting dance performance. This tour offers a glimpse into Kyoto’s timeless traditions.

kyoto points of interest

These popular experiences provide a close-up look at Kyoto’s history, culture, and culinary delights. Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or gastronomic delights, Kyoto has it all. Plan your trip to Kyoto, Japan today and create unforgettable memories in this captivating city.

Must-See Temples and Shrines in Kyoto

Kyoto, known for its abundant temples and shrines, offers a captivating glimpse into the city’s rich cultural and religious heritage. These iconic landmarks are not only visually stunning but also hold great significance. Here are some must-see temples and shrines in Kyoto that should be on every visitor’s itinerary:

  1. Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

    Located at the base of Mount Inari, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is famous for its thousands of vibrant red torii gates, creating a breathtaking tunnel-like path. Visitors can explore the winding trails leading up the mountain, offering serene forest views and opportunities for contemplation.

  2. Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

    One of Kyoto’s most iconic landmarks, Kinkakuji Temple showcases stunning architecture and is covered entirely in gold leaf. Surrounded by a tranquil garden and reflecting pond, this temple offers a truly mesmerizing sight, especially when visited during the cherry blossom season or autumn foliage.

  3. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

    Kiyomizu-dera Temple is renowned for its wooden terrace that juts out over a hillside, providing panoramic views of Kyoto. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is particularly enchanting during the spring cherry blossom season and fall when the surrounding trees are ablaze with vibrant colors.

  4. Sanjusangendo Temple

    Sanjusangendo Temple houses an impressive collection of 1,001 golden statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The long hall that houses the statues is a remarkable sight to behold and offers a glimpse into Japan’s religious and artistic heritage.

  5. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

    Located in the popular Arashiyama district, the bamboo grove is an otherworldly oasis that transports visitors to a tranquil natural environment. The towering bamboo stalks create a serene atmosphere, ideal for peaceful walks and stunning photographs.

  6. Gion District

    Gion, Kyoto’s historic geisha district, is a place where traditional culture comes to life. Visitors can stroll through its traditional streets, marvel at beautifully preserved machiya houses, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of a geisha in an elegant kimono.

Exploring these temples and shrines offers a deep appreciation for Kyoto’s historical and spiritual heritage. Each location provides a unique experience and a chance to connect with the city’s enchanting past.

must-see temples and shrines in Kyoto

Immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of Kyoto’s temples and shrines, where centuries-old traditions continue to thrive.

Explore the Natural Beauty of Kyoto

In addition to its temples and shrines, Kyoto is also blessed with natural beauty. The city’s stunning landscapes and serene gardens are a perfect escape from the bustling urban environment. Whether you’re an avid nature lover or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Kyoto has plenty to offer.

One of the must-visit destinations for nature enthusiasts is the Arashiyama district. Take a leisurely stroll through its picturesque bamboo groves, and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere. The towering bamboo stalks create a unique ambiance that transports you to another world. Don’t forget to capture the scenic views that surround you.

things to see and do in kyoto japan

If you’re seeking a moment of tranquility, Ginkaku-ji, also known as the Silver Pavilion, is a must-see. Admire the peaceful gardens and find solace in the harmonious blend of nature and architecture. The perfectly manicured moss gardens, along with the stunning views of the surrounding mountains, create a serene and serene experience.

For a unique and enchanting experience, pay a visit to Saiho-ji Temple. This temple is renowned for its mesmerizing moss garden, which features over 120 varieties of moss. Wander through the lush greenery and admire the tranquil beauty of this hidden gem. The moss-covered ground creates a magical and ethereal atmosphere that is truly one-of-a-kind.

If you’re up for a little adventure, hike up Mount Hiei and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Kyoto. The mountain offers various trails that cater to different fitness levels, making it accessible for everyone. As you ascend to the summit, you’ll be greeted by scenic vistas that showcase the natural splendor of Kyoto.

From serene gardens and bamboo groves to enchanting moss gardens and breathtaking mountain views, Kyoto’s natural beauty is bound to captivate your senses. Take the time to discover these hidden gems and immerse yourself in the tranquility and charm of this remarkable city.

Indulge in Kyoto’s Culinary Delights

Kyoto is a food lover’s paradise, offering a variety of culinary delights. Immerse yourself in the unique flavors of Kyoto cuisine and embark on a gastronomic journey that will tantalize your taste buds.

Traditional Kyoto Cuisine

Experience the art of kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal that showcases the seasonality and precision of Japanese cuisine. Each dish is meticulously prepared with fresh, local ingredients to create a harmonious and visually captivating dining experience.

If you’re a fan of tofu, don’t miss the opportunity to savor yudofu, a hearty tofu hot pot that allows you to appreciate the delicate flavors and smooth texture of this staple ingredient.

Explore Nishiki Market, Kyoto’s Kitchen

A visit to Nishiki Market is a must for food enthusiasts. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” this bustling market offers a wide range of fresh and local ingredients. Stroll through the vibrant stalls and sample a variety of Kyoto specialties, such as matcha-flavored snacks, pickles, and fresh seafood.

Embark on a Food Tour

To truly immerse yourself in Kyoto’s food scene, embark on a food tour led by knowledgeable guides. Discover hidden gems and local eateries that are off the beaten path. From savory ramen to delicate wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets), these tours provide an opportunity to indulge in authentic Kyoto flavors and gain insight into the city’s culinary traditions.

Foodie Experience Description
Kyoto Food and Drink Tour Explore Kyoto’s food culture with a local guide, visiting markets, izakayas, and traditional restaurants.
Tsukiji Sushi Making Class Learn the art of sushi-making from a professional sushi chef and create your own delicious rolls.
Traditional Tea Ceremony Experience Enjoy a tranquil tea ceremony and learn about the rich history and symbolism behind this ancient practice.

Indulge in the Flavors of Kyoto

From refined kaiseki meals to street food delicacies, Kyoto offers a diverse range of culinary experiences. Whether you’re a foodie seeking gastronomic adventures or simply looking to satisfy your cravings, Kyoto’s food scene will leave you wanting more.

Immerse Yourself in Kyoto’s Cultural Experiences

Kyoto offers a wealth of cultural experiences that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s traditions. Experience the beauty and elegance of a traditional tea ceremony, where you’ll learn about the art of tea preparation and the significance behind each step. Discover the rich history of Japanese calligraphy as you participate in a hands-on class and create your own unique design.

Explore the enchanting geisha district of Gion, known for its preserved architecture and historical charm. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere as you witness traditional dance performances that have been celebrated for centuries. For a truly authentic experience, indulge in a kimono-wearing session and feel like a part of Kyoto’s cultural heritage.

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto through a range of unique experiences that capture the essence of this magical city.

These cultural activities not only offer a deeper understanding of Kyoto’s traditions but also provide an opportunity to interact with local residents and gain insights into the daily life and customs of the city.

Top Cultural Experiences in Kyoto:

  • Traditional tea ceremony
  • Japanese calligraphy class
  • Exploration of the geisha district of Gion
  • Witnessing traditional dance performances
  • Kimono-wearing experience

By engaging in these cultural experiences, you’ll create lasting memories and gain a greater appreciation for the beauty and depth of Kyoto’s cultural heritage.

Cultural Experience Description
Traditional Tea Ceremony Experience the art of tea preparation and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of a traditional tea room.
Japanese Calligraphy Class Learn the ancient art of calligraphy and create your own masterpiece using traditional tools and techniques.
Exploration of Gion Discover the historic geisha district and witness traditional dance performances that have been passed down through generations.
Kimono-Wearing Experience Step back in time as you dress in a beautiful kimono and experience the grace and elegance of traditional Japanese clothing.

Immerse yourself in Kyoto’s cultural experiences and uncover the ancient traditions that make this city truly unique.

How to Get to Kyoto and Getting Around

Planning a visit to Kyoto? Getting to this enchanting city and exploring its many attractions is a breeze. Here are some travel tips and transportation options to ensure a smooth and convenient journey.

Getting to Kyoto

Kyoto is well-connected to major cities in Japan, making it easily accessible for travellers. The most convenient way to reach Kyoto is by train or bus.

If you’re arriving from overseas, the nearest airport to Kyoto is Kansai International Airport. This airport offers direct flights from various international destinations, making it a convenient gateway to the city.

Getting Around Kyoto

Once you’ve arrived in Kyoto, getting around the city is a breeze thanks to its extensive public transportation system. Here are the main options:

  1. Trains: Kyoto has an efficient train network that connects to different parts of the city and nearby attractions. The Kyoto City Subway and Japan Railways (JR) lines are the most common train systems used by visitors. You can easily purchase tickets at the train stations or use a rechargeable IC card like Suica or ICOCA for convenient and cashless travel.
  2. Buses: Kyoto has an extensive bus network that covers almost every part of the city. Bus fares are affordable, and there are English announcements and route maps available to help you navigate. You can pay with cash when you board the bus, but using a rechargeable IC card is more convenient.
  3. Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Kyoto and can be hailed from the streets or found at designated taxi stands. While taxis can be more expensive than other modes of transportation, they can be convenient, especially for short distances or when you have heavy luggage.
  4. Bicycles: Renting a bicycle is a popular option for exploring Kyoto at a leisurely pace. The city has a well-developed cycling infrastructure, with dedicated paths and bicycle-friendly roads. Many rental shops offer a variety of bicycles, including traditional Japanese-style bikes or electric bikes. Cycling allows you to discover hidden gems and enjoy the scenic beauty of Kyoto at your own pace.

With these transportation options at your disposal, you’ll have no trouble getting around Kyoto and visiting its top attractions. Whether you prefer the convenience of trains and buses or the flexibility of cycling, there’s a mode of transportation that suits your travel style.


Kyoto is a captivating city that offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or a week, there are plenty of attractions and activities to keep you entertained.

Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Kyoto by exploring its iconic temples and shrines, such as the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion). Take a stroll through the picturesque Arashiyama district and marvel at the scenic bamboo groves.

Indulge in Kyoto’s culinary delights by sampling traditional Kyoto cuisine, such as kaiseki and yudofu, or embark on a food tour to discover hidden gems at Nishiki Market. Immerse yourself in Kyoto’s cultural experiences by attending a tea ceremony, participating in a traditional calligraphy class, or exploring the geisha district of Gion.

With its fascinating attractions, unique activities, and convenient transportation options, Kyoto is the perfect destination for an unforgettable travel experience. Explore the best things to do in Kyoto and create memories that will last a lifetime in this enchanting city.


What are some must-see attractions in Kyoto?

Kyoto offers a range of attractions including historic temples and shrines, serene gardens, and vibrant cultural experiences. Some popular attractions include Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

What are some popular experiences in Kyoto?

Popular experiences in Kyoto include the PERFECT KYOTO 1Day Bus Tour, Kyoto Samurai Experience, and Ramen Cooking Class at Ramen Factory in Kyoto. These activities provide a close-up look at Kyoto’s history, culture, and culinary delights.

What are some must-see temples and shrines in Kyoto?

Some must-see temples and shrines in Kyoto include Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Sanjusangendo Temple, and the Gion district. These iconic landmarks offer a glimpse into Kyoto’s rich cultural and religious heritage.

How can I explore the natural beauty of Kyoto?

To explore the natural beauty of Kyoto, you can take a stroll through the picturesque Arashiyama district with its bamboo groves and scenic views. You can also visit the peaceful gardens of Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) and Tenryu-ji Temple, or hike through the mountains to enjoy panoramic views from Mount Hiei.

What culinary delights can I find in Kyoto?

Kyoto is known for its traditional cuisine such as kaiseki (a multi-course meal) and yudofu (tofu hot pot). You can sample these dishes at local restaurants or visit Nishiki Market, also known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” to taste a wide range of fresh and local ingredients.

What cultural experiences can I have in Kyoto?

In Kyoto, you can attend a tea ceremony and learn about the art of tea preparation, participate in a traditional Japanese calligraphy class, or explore the geisha district of Gion and witness traditional dance performances. You can also take a kimono-wearing experience to immerse yourself in Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.

How can I get to Kyoto and get around the city?

Kyoto is well-connected by train and bus from major cities in Japan. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, which has direct flights from various international destinations. Once in Kyoto, you can use the extensive public transportation system, including trains, buses, and taxis. Renting a bicycle is also a popular option for exploring the city at a leisurely pace.