Japan’s Ancient Capital
Kyoto is over 1200 years old and for 1000 years was the capital of Japan. Today Kyoto is Japan’s cultural epicentre with many of the buildings and temples dating back several hundred years. Due to the cultural significance of the city, Kyoto was spared during air raids during World War II.
There are 14 world heritage sites, over 2000 Shinto Shrines and Buddist temples within the city. Any trip to Japan is not complete without a visit to the ancient capital to view the beautiful architecture, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony or catch a glimpse of the elegant Geisha.
The below listings are just a small selection of what is on offer in Kyoto…
Kiyomizu dera – Built in 798 this beautiful wooden temple is a sight to behold.
Kinkaku ji – The famous Golden Pavilion should be high on all visitors list.
Ginkaku ji – The Silver Pavilion Temple
Ryoan ji – Relax in the famous Zen Rock Gaden
The Heian Jingu – A Shinto shrine celebrating the Imperial family (built in 1895)
Tenryu ji – is a World Heritage Site and one of the most historic site in Kyoto
To ji – near central Kyoto, its pagoda is the tallest wooden structure in Japan
Daitoku ji – A temple complex, boasting several small, secluded subtemples
Ninna ji – famous for a 17th century five-storey pagoda and dwarf cherry trees
Kyoto Imperial Palace – home of the Emperors of Japan for many centuries
Gion – Kyoto’s Geisha district, enjoy the colourful kimonos and upmarket traditional shops.
Katsura Imperial Villa – one of the nation’s finest architectural treasures
Arashiyama – Get lost in the serene bamboo forest and try to spot a monkey!
The Philosopher’s Walk – a 2klm walk with canals which line some of the older streets
Nara – Nara is a must do day trip from Kyoto and is home to the largest wooden structure in the world; Todaiji. Todaiji Temple is surround by hundred of wild deer which stay on the temple grounds as they are fed snacks by tourists.
Gion – Gion is the Geisha district in Kyoto. A visit to Kyoto is not complete without witnessing a Geisha Performance. Gion also houses many small restaurants and bars, some of which date back to feudal Japan.
Kiyomizi-Dera and Funisimi Inarai-Taisha – Kiyomizy-Dera means water temple and this beautiful temple incorpoates flowing water to imbue a sense of calm to those that visit. The temple also enables visitors to experience one of the best views of the city that there is. After Kiyomizu make the short walk to Funishimi Inarai-Taisha, a beautiful mountainside shito shine walk which is made up of hundreds of traditional red gates or Tori.r
3 Nights should be about right!
If you can spare it then 3 nights is the ‘just right’ amount of time to spend in Kyoto. This will allow you to day trip to Nara, spend a day visiting Gion and Kiyomizu-Dera and leave you another day to check out Kikaki-Ji (The Golden Pavilion), the bamboo forest and Nijo Castle.