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.

Known for

temple, culture and garden

Explore map

Where to stay in Kyoto

Gion
Gion which includes night scenes, street scenes and cycling

Gion

Known for temple, culture, flower

5/5(37 reviews)

Experience a traditional tea ceremony or a night of cultural entertainment within the historic wooden teahouses of this well-preserved Kyoto district.

Sannenzaka Ninenzaka
Sannenzaka Ninenzaka featuring a small town or village and street scenes as well as a large group of people

Sannenzaka Ninenzaka

Known for temple, culture, flower

5/5(5 reviews)

Charming craft shops, ceremonious teahouses and tiny cafés spill out from the traditional wooden façades of this historic pair of lanes below Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Top hotels in Kyoto

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
RM400
per night
27 Oct-28 Oct

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

4.4/5Excellent! (3,234 reviews)

"Staff were excellent and very helpful. We had a pleasant stay."…"

Reviewed on 18 Oct,2019

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
4 out of 5
RM593
per night
1 Nov-2 Nov

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Kyoto TERRSA, Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (853 reviews)

"What a great find this hotel was. Very convenient so close to the station and really nicely appointed. Great amenities and modern looking. If I was going back to Kyoto I would definitely stay again in this property"…"

Reviewed on 18 Oct,2019

Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 
4 out of 5
RM460
per night
5 Nov-6 Nov

Located in Higashikujo Nishisannocho, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto TERRSA and Kyoto Tower. Higashi Honganji Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (162 reviews)

"Good and clean"…"

Reviewed on 18 Oct,2019

Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 

Popular things to do in Kyoto

Kiyomizu Temple
Image for Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple

4.5/5(122 reviews)

Constructed entirely without nails and built on high poles, this temple is part of a World Heritage Site and offers visitors both beauty and history.

Nijō Castle
Image for Nijō Castle

Nijō Castle

4.5/5(63 reviews)

Visit the world of a wealthy and powerful shogun in this opulent 17th-century castle complex.

Kyoto Tower
Image for Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

4/5(84 reviews)

In a city known for its temples and other ancient relics, this observation point catches the eye as an example of 20th-century innovation.

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Image for Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

4.5/5(190 reviews)

This shrine at the base of Inari Mountain is dedicated to the goddess of rice and prosperity. See its thousands of red gates around a network of beautiful trails.

Toji Temple
Image for Toji Temple

Toji Temple

4.5/5(21 reviews)

The To-ji Temple is one of the preeminent traditional sites in Kyoto, with exquisite structures, a flea market and the tallest pagoda in the country.

Heian Shrine
Image for Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine

4.5/5(16 reviews)

An important shrine for patriotic locals and curious tourists alike, this site has charming buildings and natural gardens that celebrate Kyoto’s fusion of past and present.

Top activities in Kyoto

Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour
Image for Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour

Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour

RM541

Discover the 3 World Heritage listed sites (Kiyomizu temple, Tenrryuji temple and Kinkakuji Temple) in Kyoto. Besides, we will visit 2 popular spots: Fushimi Inari Shrine and bamboo forest in Sagano. Please be intoxicated magnificent Japanese historical places.

Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe
Image for Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe

Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe

RM332

Take a journey through the wonders of ancient and modern Japan with a day trip that shows you the historic cities of Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. With destinations from the peaceful bamboo forest of Arashiyama to the lively Kobe Mosaic, you get a look at centuries' worth of culture.

Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour
Image for Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour

Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour

RM602

Explore the must-see sights of history-rich Kyoto, including the spectacular Nijo Castle, eminent Kinkaku-ji, and grand Kyoto Imperial Palace. In the afternoon, embark for Nara, home of pacific Nara Park and the famous temple of Todai-ji.

Kyoto Full-Day Tour
Image for Kyoto Full-Day Tour

Kyoto Full-Day Tour

RM548

Spend a full day discovering the best sights Kyoto has to offer, including grand castles and sacred temples. These spectacular attractions make your time in Kyoto an unforgettable experience.

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience
Image for Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

RM695

Forge your very own Japanese kogatana (small blade) with an artisan swordsmith. Learn about the traditional blade-forging process, which uses the same materials and techniques as a full-size katana. At the end of the experience, take the beautiful product of your creation home with you.

Gion Evening Highlights Tour with National Licensed Guide
Image for Gion Evening Highlights Tour with National Licensed Guide

Gion Evening Highlights Tour with National Licensed Guide

RM58

With a National Licensed and Experienced English speaking guide, this short trip is a fantastic and great value way of experiencing Gion district! We are here to help you discover new things, places and experiences in Gion.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Kyoto

Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan
Image for Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan

Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan

From the serenity of ancient shrines to the electric lights of Akihabara, here are some sustainable tourism tips for being a responsible traveler in Japan.

How to Spend a Weekend in Kyoto, Japan
Image for How to Spend a Weekend in Kyoto, Japan

How to Spend a Weekend in Kyoto, Japan

With its ancient palaces and vibrant cherry blossom, a weekend in Kyoto promises a magical journey to the heart of Japan.

Kyoto Food Tours
Image for Kyoto Food Tours

Kyoto Food Tours

Matcha ice cream, vegan ramen, and a bar hopping Izakaya adventure await you in Kyoto.

Other places like Kyoto

Osaka
Image for Osaka
Osaka
Tokyo
Image for Tokyo
Tokyo
Delhi
Image for Delhi
Delhi
Bangkok
Image for Bangkok
Bangkok