Ultimate Guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto

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Guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto

Update: June 1, 2022

Without a doubt, everything I love about Japan is in Kyoto. Kyoto is my favourite city in Japan, followed by Hiroshima, Osaka, Tokyo and Himeji. Kyoto is a city of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, geishas and centuries old landscaped gardens. Tradition and culture exudes at every corner and street of this pretty city. Kyoto is slower and more deliberate in pace. An atmospheric city that takes me back to a different era of shoguns, samurais and monks each time I am in the city.

There is so much to do in Kyoto, that any time spent here will have you longing for more. However, if you have only a few days to spend in Kyoto, ensure you do not miss the best 5 in Kyoto that are in this guide.


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Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

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Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

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Travel essentials

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A little about Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto was the former capital of Japan until 1869 and was the residence of the Japanese emperor between AD 794 and 1868. The city of Kyoto and its regions are a popular destination both for tourists and locals.

As a region, Kyoto is home to at least 1600 temples and shrines, both small and large, famous and not so much. In addition there are many imperial palaces and gardens that just beckons a visit. Besides temples, shrines, palaces and gardens, Kyoto is strictly rooted in formal traditions such as kaiseki dining where multiple courses of precise dishes is served and geisha, who is a female entertainer often found in Gion-shiji.

With Kyoto being home to so much culture, food, vibrancy and history to indulge in, I can confidently say that one cannot have too many days in that cultural city. Strolling through Gion or Pontocho to steal a glimpse of the geisha, visiting the many iconic temples or experiencing a traditional ryokan stay will leave you with lasting memories. No matter how much time you spend in Kyoto, saying ‘goodbye’ will always be hard.

As for me, Kyoto is a place I will return to. Having lived in Japan for almost six months I realise there is so much to see and do here that there will always be new experiences to look forward to. Thus, selecting the best places to top my list for the purposes of this article was a difficult task. Nevertheless, here is my recommended guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto which you simply must not miss when you visit Kyoto.

Best 5 in Kyoto, Japan

1 | Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto

The Fushimi Inari Taisha is a popular destination in Kyoto. A Shinto shrine most recognisable for its thousands (about 10,000) of orange torii gates. These torii gates line up the path on a steep hillside arching over the sacred Mount Inari. The path has about 12000 concrete steps.

These bright orange gates are said to date back to 711 AD and was built to honour the Shinto God of Rice, Inari. The Inari Shrine is characterised by a pair of fox and vermilion torii gates.

Everyone, both young and old who visit Fushimi Inari climb these steps to the top. It took me a little over an hour to reach the top of the mountain, only because I stopped many times to take in the vista, photos of the torii gates from various angles and to chat along with other travellers. One could climb to the top in about 45 minutes without breaks, but then where is the fun in that, right?

Some of the paths are steep. There are resting areas with little tea-houses where you could stop for tea or ice-cream. If you are hungry, you may wish to try a bowl of kitsune udon along with some inari sushi – both are reputed to be Inari specialities. There are designated viewing points along the paths as well.

Fushimi Inari Taisha is well worth the hike! One feels a sense of achievement when you reach the top.

1.1 | Good to Know Information about Fushimi Inari Taisha Kyoto | Best 5 in Kyoto

Where: Fushimi Inari Taisha

Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan


1 | When planning a trip to Fushimi Inari Taisha, use the map below to plan ahead so you could time your breaks for refreshments and for viewing points.

Fushimi Inari, Kyoto: A map of the mountain shows where the torii gates are situated and how high you need to climb.
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Fushimi Inari, Kyoto: A map of the mountain shows where the torii gates are situated and how high you need to climb | © timelesstravelsteps | georgina_daniel

2 | Fushimi Inari is always open and there are no entrance fee.

3 | This mountain is popular both among tourists and locals which means that it will always be busy. Early mornings are best.

4 | Georgina: “I visited Fushimi Inari in May, and it was quite humid then. Best to take a bottle of water with you”.

1.2 | Getting to Fushimi Inari Taisha:

The nearest station to Fushimi Inari is situated at Inari Station. Inari Station takes about 5 minutes to reach by train on the JR line from Kyoto. From Inari Station, it is a short walk uphill a street lined with souvenir shops, food-stalls and restaurants with unique architecture. If you are unsure which way to turn as you get off the train, just follow the crowd and you will get there😊.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips about Best 5 in Kyoto:

If you are planning a visit to Fushimi Inari, and like to explore the shrine with a guide, you could book the following tour/s:

1 | For an enriched experience, you may want to join a guide who will share the history of the shrine and all the stories related to its construction. The symbolism of the torii gate, and why people donate them. The Japanese people make an annual pilgrimage here. Check availability on the Guided tour of the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine.

2 | Hike a scenic trail up the sacred Mount Inari with an experienced guide. The hiking trail is via a secret bamboo forest on a hidden path that leads to the top of Mount Inari. Book your space on the best selling tour of 3-hour Fushimi Inari hidden hiking tour with a guide.

3 | If you are shutterbug wild, join the popular after dusk photography tour of Fushimi Inari.


2 | Kinkaku-ji Temple | Best 5 in Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji is one of the most beautiful Japanese zen gardens in Kyoto which I have been to. I highly recommend Kinkaku-ji and should top every visitor’s list.

Kinkaku-ji is home to the famous Buddhist temple, Golden Pavilion. The Golden Pavilion is a three-storey building and takes its name from the gold leaf that covers the building. Situated in a picturesque pond, the Golden Pavilion is surrounded by tiny little islands dotted all around.

Kinkaku-ji belonged to a Japanese shogun, Yoshimitsu Ashikaga (1358-1408), who had it built as his private garden. The paths are beautifully carved out, so you could enjoy every corner of the garden, with plenty of shades provided by the tall trees which may have been there since the 14th century or before.

Walking through the garden, you will totally feel the zen, the calmness and the serenity, knowing that you are walking the steps once walked by the Shogun himself! In this beautifully tended garden, you will find pretty little lakes with wildlife where you will want to stop every so often to admire and to capture the moments with your camera. Throughout the garden at this Kinkaku-ji Pavilion in Kyoto, you will find lovely moss covered ground which adds to the softness of the luscious green.

If you need a break, there is a tea-house where you can either sit seiza-style on the floor in-doors or on low-rise benches outdoors.

2.1 | Good to Know Information about Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto | Best 5 in Kyoto

Where: Kinkaku-ji Kyoto

Address: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

Kinkakuji is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day. 

1 | Kinkaku-ji is easily accessible from Kyoto city or Gion-shiji. Take either bus 101 or 205 and its 230 yen. The journey is about 40 minutes. If you can, avoid the school rush hour (before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m.).

2 | Admission to Kinkakuji is 400 yen for adults, and 300 yen for children up to junior high school age.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips for the Best 5 in Kyoto:

1 | Enjoy a much richer experience than would be possible independently when you join a guided tour of the Golden Pavilion. Learn about the rich heritage and the historical context of one of Kyoto’s famous landmarks from a knowledgeable and experienced guide. Learn more and check availability on the Kinkaku-ji Guided Walking Tour.

2 | Discover Japanese culture and history on a guided tour of three World Heritage Sites and two shrines. En route, stop for lunch at a popular soba noodle eatery (not included in the tour) before continuing on to your final stop. Check availability on World Heritage Temples and Shrines Tour.

3 | Visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ninna-ji temple, Ryoan-ji temple, and Kinkaku-ji temple and discover the art of Zen while learning the rich history of the temples. Experience the traditional culture including matcha and Shakyo. Book your experience on this 3.5 hour UNESCO historical walking tour in Kyoto.


3 | Arashiyama & Sagano | Best 5 in Kyoto

Arashiyama basically means ‘Storm Mountain’ and is situated on western Kyoto. It is designated as a Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty. The Oi River runs through this district and meets Togetsukyo Bridge and changes to become Katsura River. The Togetsukyo Bridge, also referred to as the “bridge under the moon” is a landmark in this district.

This part of Kyoto was popular among the nobles during the Heian period (794-1185). Arashiyama was frequented for its tranquillity and natural beauty, so the name ‘Storm Mountain’ does not really do justice to the serenity of this place.

The one experience all visitors to Arashiyama wish to have is the Arashiyama Bamboo Groves. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of the most photographed areas in Kyoto where people wear their kimono or yukata for the day. It is completely out of this world to walk among the over-arching tall, very tall bamboo stalks swaying gently in the breeze.

In addition to the Bamboo Groves, Arashiyama as an area is picturesque and is dotted with many temples, gardens, quaint shops and restaurants.

3.1 | Good to Know Information about Arashiyama, Kyoto

How to get to Arashiyama from Kyoto Station

Arashiyama is conveniently accessible from Kyoto Station by train.

Take the JR Train from Kyoto Station on the JR Sagano/San-in Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station. When you exit Arashiyama Station, follow signs to the Bamboo Grove. It takes about 10 minutes.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips for Arashiyama | Best 5 in Kyoto

best 5 in Kyoto | timelesstravelsteps.com
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Arashiyama | Best 5 in Kyoto

1 | A quintessential way to experience the Bamboo Groves and one that is popular in Arashiyama is the hand-pulled rickshaw ride along an exclusive rickshaw path. Enjoy an informative and fully customisable rickshaw tour as you explore the charming and quiet neighborhood streets of Arashiyama. Book your rickshaw ride here.

2 | Explore the best of Arashiyama on a full day guided walking tour. Visit iconic spots such as the Bamboo Forest path, Togetsukyo Bridge, and Kimono Forest on this walking tour along with the best photo spots. Check availability and book your space on this popular activity in Arashiyama.

3 | You may wish to combine sightseeing the best of Arashiyama (beautiful bridge called the Togetsukyo, the scenic bamboo grove and Tenryu-ji temple with beautiful traditional garden) along with food tasting experiences in the Sagano area. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who will share the history of Arashiyama, and ensure you have the best experience in Arashiyama. Check availability and book your space on the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Food Walking Tour.


4. Heian Shrine and Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

Some may think that this is an unusual combination because Philosophers Path is usually combined with a trip to Ginkakuji Temple, which is just a 5-minute walk, up the road from Philosopher’s Path. However, I have chosen this combination as I rather enjoyed the 20-minute walk from Heian Shrine to Philosopher’s Path.

4.1 | Heian Shrine, Kyoto

The entrance to Heian Shrine is marked by a giant torii gate, about 25 metres high which overlooks the Okazaki Koen Park. The main buildings are said to be 5/8th of the original Imperial Palace from the Heian period. The Shrine is surrounded by spacious grounds and there is a large open court at the centre, with spacious courtyard between buildings.

Heian Shrine is a popular destination for cultural weddings.

Shin’en, Heian Shrine, Kyoto

The most aesthetically impressive part of Heian Shrine is the Shin’en. Shin’en is 33,000 square metres of garden situated at the back of the main building. This garden is divided into East, West, South and Middle. It has lots of flowers, interesting looking trees, ponds and the exact stones that Scarlett Johansson was on in “Lost in Translation” (2003).

4.1.1 | Good to Know Information about Heian Shrine, Kyoto

The entrance to Heian shrine is free but there is a small fee, 600 yen for the garden. I would recommend it if you are looking to spend a leisurely afternoon/evening. There is a sitting area right in the middle of the pond where you can sit, have a picnic or just relax and take in the view.

Getting to Heian Shrine, Kyoto

From Kyoto Station:

Take bus number 5 or 100. It is about half-an-hour journey and cost 230 Yen.

Take the subway to Higashiyama Station and it is ten minutes walk to the Shrine.

Trek from Heian Shrine to Philosophers Path

Best 5 in Kyoto

From the Heian Jingu, I took the 20-minute walk along the residential area till I came to the small winding canal, lined with sakura (cherry blossoms). I didn’t mind the walk as it was an opportunity to see the quiet residential area, the tiny little shops lined up along the canal and really take-in the scenic view.

4.2 | Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto is a popular destination during the cherry blossom season which is typically late March to early April.

4.2.1 | Useful information about Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

If you are planning a trip during Hanami (the tradition of viewing and appreciating the beauty of the sakuras), please dedicate some time to planning your travels. The sakura are in full bloom for only 2 to 3 weeks in Spring, between 20th March and 14th April, so you don’t really see them in full-bloom for a full month. Cherries peak at different times and are very weather dependent but they generally peak on 1st April.

If you are travelling to Kyoto during Hanami, ideally, you may need to give yourself more than just a couple of days in Kyoto. Accommodation during the Hanami is typically expensive.

Read: Complete Guide to Cherry Blossoms season in Kyoto


5 | Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto | Best 5 in Kyoto

A visit to Kyoto is incomplete without a visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, the iconic Buddhist Temple nestled in the wooded hills of eastern Kyoto.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple which basically means “Pure Water Temple” was founded around AD 780. It is an independent Buddhist Temple and has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

Scaffolding covers the wooded hall at Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto. Closed to visitors.
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best 5 in Kyoto | Scaffolding covers the wooded hall at Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto as it undergoes a major renovations |© timelesstravelsteps.com | georgina_daniel .

The Kiyomizu-dera is popular for its wooden stage that stands-out about 13 metres above in the hillside below. The main hall and the stage were built without any nails.

Beyond the Main Hall, you could visit the Jinshu Shrine, which is dedicated to the deity of love, a spot particularly popular with older teenagers and the younger generation in Japan.

Towards the south of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, among the trees, is the the three-tiered Koyasu Pagoda. Popularly visited by women as a visit here is said to bring about an easy and safe childbirth.

5.1 | Good to Know Information about Kiyomizu-dera Temple Kyoto | Best 5 in Kyoto

Where: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto

Address: 1 Chome-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

Website: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto

From Kyoto Station

Take bus 100 or 206. It is a 15-minute journey and cost 230 Yen. Get off at Kiyomizu-michi stop and then it is about a 10-minute walk uphill to the temple.


INSPIRING DESTINATIONS FOR A DAY TRIP FROM KYOTO, JAPAN

Alongside the best 5 in Kyoto, there are a number of destinations around the city of Kyoto that easily make for a day-trip .

Himeji is a popular destination for its white castle, built in the shape of an eagle taking flight and surrounded by nine gardens. Nara, with many of its UNESCO buildings and the people friendly deer is another popular attraction both for visitors and locals alike. While visiting Kyoto, you may not want to miss the romantic city of Uji and the sacred Mount Hiei, – all making a fascinating experience of Japan.


finally … on the best 5 in Kyoto

To select the best 5 places to visit in Kyoto was a difficult decision. There are so many more temples here that requires a visit for example Ginkaku-ji also known as Silver Pavilion, the Nanzen-ji and Toji Temple. There is also the Imperial palace which is a popular destination in Kyoto. Last but not least, are the Kyoto flea markets which go back centuries!

Ultimately, my choices for the best 5 in Kyoto rested upon selecting what would give my readers an authentic experience of history, culture and traditions if you were to have just a few days in Kyoto. I sincerely believe that the Best 5 in Kyoto selected here reflects what is quintessentially Kyoto. It will be a rewarding experience if these Best 5 in Kyoto — Fushimi Inari, Kinkaku-ji, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Heian Shrine and the Philosopher’s Path along with Kiyamizu-dera Temple are on your itinerary when travelling to Japan.

My sincere wish is that this post is valuable to you in planning your visit to Kyoto. If so, use the links to book your flight, hotels, activities and accessories. TTS earn a commission at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Have a splendid time exploring the best 5 in Kyoto.

A moment to reflect and admire the beautiful mountains that surrounds this valley. Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama, Kyoto
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Just me, Georgina stealing moments to reflect and admire the beautiful mountains that surround the valley in Arashiyama


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Ultimate Guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto first published at timelesstravelsteps.com and is regularly edited and updated. Last update June 1, 2022


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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
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By Georgina

Travel Writer & Content Creator. Single Traveller. An Escapist.

77 comments

  1. Absolutely! Kyoto has so much more…so many things to see. do and places to eat at! I am glad you had an immersive experience with Japanese culture and visited the Golden Pavilion and Arashiyama. Arashiyama is beautiful, isn’t it? It was one of my best experiences.

  2. Jan Banerjee says:

    I love Kyoto! We spent 3 nights there staying with an old Japanese woman immersing in that culture. Visited the Golden Pavilion and Arashiama but not much else. I need to do another visit to cover the other attractions in this cultural city. 🙂

  3. You are welcome, Sue. There is something really special about Japan especially Fushimi Inari. And if you can fit in Miyajima in your itinerary, it will be awesome. There is serenity in the island…Sincerely hope you will visit Japan when possible. 🙂

  4. Japan & Kyoto are on my list & I loved reading your top 5. I found it brought me peace just looking at your gorgeous photos! I am constantly moving Japan higher in my priorities & this has certainly helped to elevate it further. Thank you for sharing!

  5. There are indeed so many places to visit and each is unique and has a story to tell. Kyoto is a place I would gladly return any day as it offers amazing experiences to a visitor. Glad you feel inspired to visit and sincerely hope that you will. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

  6. I am so glad that you enjoyed my post on the Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto!. It was a difficult choice to make as all the sights in Kyoto are beautiful and has a story unique to own. I sincerely hope you will visit Kyoto soon and perhaps you may be able to catch the cherry blossom season in the spring. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  7. There are so many fabulous sites to see in Kyoto. Your post really makes me want to visit. These 5 locations you have chosen look amazing – the temple, the pond, gardens, all so beautiful.

  8. Nice collection of stops in Kyoto for a nature-lover like me. I especially like the looks of The Golden Palace and the Philosopher’s Path. I could easily get lost in the Shi’nen… and would love to see some cherry blossoms, too. Thanks for the travel inspiration!

  9. Hi Anna, I am glad to know that Kyoto is one of your favourite places. I totally agree with you – it is difficult to make a choice as they each encompass different experiences. However, I must say Arashiyama was the most memorable one because we experienced a mini storm – to be in and amongst the tall, tall, very tall bamboo stalks was totally a unique experience! Of course I was more interested in capturing the moment than running to save my life! :). Kyoto is a place I would return again. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Anna. Really appreciate it.

  10. I think Kyoto is one place where one will always be drawn to visit even if one has been there already. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Much appreciated.

  11. That is so nice! Spring is a lovely time to visit Kyoto, with the cherry blossoms and the weather is somewhat also nice. Thank you so much for sharing your plans with us.

  12. You are right about the Kinkakuji Temple, it is very popular and seems crowded. Kyoto is so beautiful at any time that as you say catching the sunset at Fushimi Inari is a pretty. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, I appreciate it.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Nitin . I appreciate it.

  14. I am certain that you will love it there also, Nitin. Japan and especially around Kyoto, there is no shortage of temples, shrines and gardens – big luscious gardens.

  15. So happy that you like Philosophers’s Path! You will absolutely love Japan in the spring – blossoms everywhere! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. much appreciated

  16. backpackandsnorkel says:

    Kyoto was the highlight of our Japan trip, too. In general, I was blown away by the orange and white shrines in Japan.

  17. Anna Intrepid Scout says:

    Hi Georgina!
    Kyoto is one of my favorite places in Japan. Your post really nailed the top best 5 places to visit. It is hard to rank which one was my favorite, they are all different. Which one was your favorite?

  18. josypheen says:

    Fantastic list! These are the main temples and shrines I take friends to when i visit Kyoto too – especially the Fushimi inari shrine. I really love to visit that when the sun is setting. It’s just soooo pretty! I also love walking around the Higashiyama area near Kiyomizu temple. I can spend whole days exploring the back streets there.

    I guess the only one that I might skip these days in Kinkakuji. I do love that view of the golden temple from the water, but it is always sooooo busy! I’d prefer to spend longer in one of the other areas than trek all the way over there to be in such a big crowd.

  19. Nitin Singhal says:

    I love Kinkaku-ji garden. It looks great place to hangout amidst greenery and lake. I would probably spend whole day relaxing in there.

  20. Philosopher’s Path looks incredible! I’d love to visit Japan during the spring and see all the cherry blossoms!

  21. Thank you so much. Jiwesh. I am so happy that you found the Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto an enjoyable read and has made your list of itineraries on Japan. Japan as a whole is mixture of old and new but Kyoto is something else, for sure. The Gion district will totally transport you to back in time! It is indeed my pleasure to share. Your thoughtful comments are much appreciated.

  22. You are absolutely correct, the bamboo groves is totally mind blowing. The Fushimi Inari torii gates is just an amazing wonder not to be missed. Hope you get to visit Kyoto one day if you haven’t already. Thank you so much for appreciating my blog post on Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto, much appreciated.

  23. Kyoto is indeed a beautiful City to visit, so if you are ever in Japan, don’t miss it. Thank you so much for reading Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto and taking time to leave a comment. Much appreciated.

  24. Thank you so much for appreciating my blog post. Kinkaku-ji is both beautiful and serene. Fushimi Inari, though comes with steep steps in some places, you can easily climb it without major issues. It is my pleasure to share my experiences in Kyoto.

  25. Woo such a great post. I am definitely including Kyoto in my itinerary on my visit to japan. I love all the architecture and the way it makes you think that you have gone back in the past. There are so many gorgeous temples and the nature is so pretty there. Really loved the Buddhist temple. Pictures are amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  26. Kyoto looks so green and beautiful. I totally adore those bamboo groves. Mind blowing. Another thing that attracts me is the orange gates toward the shrine. Magnificent piece of work.

  27. Thanks for these 5 great tips. So many things to do in Kyoto, looks like such a beautiful city. The Golden Pavilion looks incredible.

  28. Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Temple in Kyoto surrounding by little islands looks wonderful and very photogenic. Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto also is worth visiting though it has steep steps. Thanks for sharing wonderful guide on Kyoto.

  29. Excellent Merry! I look forward to your travels to Japan and reading about it when you do.

  30. Thank you so much, Lou for finding the Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto informative and the photos beautiful. I am glad that you feel even more inspired to visit Kyoto and to climb Fushimi Inari. I look forward to seeing your travels here when you do. Thanks for sharing, much appreciated.

  31. I am so excited for you! The bamboo grove is so beautiful when it is not crowded – just remember to look up and admire those tall, very tall bamboo stalks. Glad you feel encouraged about taking the bus and the best time to take the bus is between 8:45 and 3:30. Have a splendid time in Kyoto. Look forward to your experiences soon. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  32. Japan’s rich culture is not only fascinating but also one that is interesting to investigate and learn more of. The Gion side of Kyoto is nothing but traditions and where Japanese culture abound. I too, hope that you will visit Japan one day soon. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  33. You are welcome! Ohh…wish I could be in Kyoto next week! Have a fabulous time!

  34. Kyoto is indeed a fabulous place to visit! So glad the Ultimate Guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto is a post you enjoyed reading. Hope you would get to visit these amazing places in Kyoto one day.

  35. These are great tips! Japan is on my bucket list and I can’t wait to visit.

  36. Lou Does Travel says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Japan and Kyoto and I want to visit even more after reading this! Such an informative post with beautiful photos! I think a visit to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine would be top of my list for a visit, looks incredible, would definitely love to climb to the top!

  37. There is so much to see in the still beauty of Kyoto. I will be in the bamboo grove soon, and I can’t wait! I’m also looking forward to the lotus pond and all those beautiful views. You’ve given me encouragement about using the bus too – I’m totally happy taking the train, but felt a bit uncertain about using buses. I shall take my lesson from you and give it a go.

  38. Haven’t been to Japan, but obsessed with the culture! My degree paper was on Tradition & Modernity in Japan, and I also had a paper just about the economy around geishas in the past. I’d love to visit Gion and learn even more!

  39. Perfect timing: I’m going to Japan next Saturday, and Kyoto is, of course, on my list. Therefore, these tips come just in time to adjust my itinerary – thanx for that!!

  40. Kyoto looks like a fabulous place to visit, this blog really whet my appetite. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is a must-see and can’t believe how old it is! The Zen Gardens look adorable and I’d love to walk amongst the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama.

  41. Really appreciate that my list on the Best 5 in Kyoto was useful to you. Glad you will be exploring Kyoto one day. Look forward to you sharing your experiences when you do. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

  42. It seems another interesting place to visit with lot of things to do. You have done an amazing job listing out all the details about Kyoto. I hope to explore it once.

  43. Cath, not sure how old your son is but I have seen children of 3, 4 or 5 years old enjoying the climb. It is not a difficult climb, really and there are concrete steps. You will also find little tea houses where you can take a break and enjoy the scenery. Yes, the owl cafe might interest him. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  44. Thank you so much – Japan’s fusion of old and new makes it a unique country to visit. Really appreciate you sharing your experiences and thoughts.

  45. Wonderful! Glad to know you loved Kyoto as well. All those orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari was fascinating! Hope you get to return one day. I would love to myself but there are so many places to see and so little time! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, much appreciated.

  46. What a great guide to the best of Kyoto. We haven’t been to Japan yet and would love to spend some time in Kyoto, especially to visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine of course. Although I don’t know how far up we’d get with our son with us. But the Owl Cafe could be a useful bribe!

  47. Hello!
    Hands down, Japan is my favorite country in Asia. I absolutely adore its culture. Your article really focuses on the top 5 places that cannot be missed. Wonderful!

  48. I loved Kyoto. It’s such a mystic and beautiful place. The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine was a highlight for me as well such an atmospheric place. Would definitely love to go back again someday.

  49. Kyoto is perfect at any time of the year, Nancy and it is such a fascinating place that you will enjoy it whenever you visit. It is indeed my pleasure to share my experiences in Japan and am glad you enjoyed reading it. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Much appreciated.

  50. You are very welcome. I am glad my blog post is useful to you for when you visit Japan next year. Thank you so much for your kind comments. Appreciate it much.

  51. nancywill2017 says:

    I spent a summer in Japan when I was in college and completely missed visiting Kyoto. Thanks for sharing and reminding me I want to go back someday.

  52. Thank you for this review of Kyoto. I am visiting next year during the Olympics and this well help me draw up my itinerary!

  53. It is indeed a lovely City. Glad my blog post brought back happy memories. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Appreciate it very much.

  54. I loved Kyoto! Such a wonderful and beautiful place. I went many years ago, so lovely to be reminded. 🙂

  55. You are absolutely correct that Kyoto’s architecture takes you back in time to the past. The temples and gardens are another heritage to appreciate and it is definitely a part of Japan not to be missed. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. Appreciate it.

  56. Kyoto is definitely the number one city I would go to if I will visit Japan anytime soon. I love all the architecture and the way it makes you think that you have gone back in the past. There are so many gorgeous temples and the nature is so pretty there.

  57. Thank you so much, Pauline. I am so happy that you enjoyed reading the post. Kyoto is definitely a City to visit when in Japan and you will be spoilt with the various zen gardens. Hope you will visit soon and look forward to reading your experiences.

  58. What a great post! I had noooo idea Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan! I’m dreaming about going to the first shrine you talked about, it is so beautiful! I’m also completely in love with Japanese gardens, so calm and I find they help you to meditate a bit. Thank you so much for sharing this top 5, I really enjoyed reading your article!

  59. Fushimi Inari is definitely fascinating. Some steps are steep but one takes his/her time. Everyone is respectful here and you can take your time. no rush. The steps are concrete which makes it easier to climb. I hope you will visit – you don’t have to climb all the way to the summit if you don’t want to but you get to experience the Shinto traditions at the shrine which makes up for the walk up to the summit.

  60. Absolutely! Those torii gates are something! Unforgettable experience. The love stones at Kiyomizu-dera – was extremely busy when I visited. Glad you enjoyed Kyoto.

  61. The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine has always fascinated me but I had no idea it was so many steps! I don’t know if I could climb it with my heart condition- but gosh someday I’d sure like to be able to try!

  62. I missed Kyoto!, Stunning photos. I was in awe when I saw Fushimi Inari. How pretty is that thousands of Torri gates. I hope you visited the love stones too 🙂

  63. Thank you so much, Randy for taking the time to read and comment on Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto. Definitely, don’t miss Kyoto! Kyoto presents not only great photo opportunities but there are so many mountains that surrounds this City which offer places of serenity where one can be totally lost in the presence. I look forward to your visit and your blog post on Japan.

  64. Kyoto looks like a photographer’s paradise. If and when I ever check Japan off my travel list, I imagine Kyoto will be a must-see location. Reading your post and admiring your photos makes me think it should be checked off my list sooner, perhaps, than I’d previously thought.

  65. I am glad my blog post brought back pleasant memories for you. Kinkaku-ji is definitely one of the most visited and priced heritage sites in Kyoto. I look forward to your experiences when you visit Kyoto again.

  66. Absolutely! Kyoto is a both ancient and modern with a palette of cultures and traditions. It offers so much to explore and warrants a 2nd or 3rd visits. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  67. Thank you so very much, Mo. I am so happy that you enjoyed reading my experiences. Japan as a country is a great place to visit and Kyoto is so much more! I think it is a City I would return to many times and still find things to do. I am glad it is in your top 3 which means you will be visiting soon 🙂

  68. Many thanks, Gabby. Glad you liked it. The Golden Pavilion and its gardens are beautiful! It’s amazing how they have preserved it to the modern age. Glad you liked the good value tours. Kyoto is definitely a place to visit.

  69. ASA | Marilyn says:

    I have had the pleasure of visiting Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Temple in Kyoto and was definitely a highlight. You’ve provided wonderful historical insights to other worthwhile visit locations. Clearly I will need a return visit to Kyoto at some stage.

  70. Mindi Hirsch says:

    Kyoto is a gorgeous city with so much to see and do. I hope to return and explore deeper.

  71. worldtravelwithmiles says:

    Georgina, this is a great itinerary. I enjoyed living your experience through it. Japan is among the top three on my bucket list. I will save this for when I go.

  72. Wow the Golden Pavilion looks like something straight out of a history book! Grand and peaceful at the same time, just beautiful 🙂 You’ve listed some great tours here too!

  73. Indeed! Kyoto is lovely and glad you loved it too. Thank you for appreciating “Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto. Kyoto definitely has so much to offer. Appreciate your lovely comments very much.

  74. Thank you so much for appreciating “Ultimate guide to the Best 5 in Kyoto”. Kyoto is definitely an experience that should be on every bucket list. Glad you loved it.

  75. Good job for singling out these five sites! I love Kyoto there’s just so much to see! I love all of these sites it’s a beautiful city.

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