Guide: Things to do in Kyoto [Japan]

Last Updated on March 19, 2019

 Guide: Things to do in Kyoto [Japan]


Every traveller has that one place that gets under his skin and just stays lodged there. Kyoto happened to be mine.

With its beautiful temples, gardens and surrounding scenery, Kyoto is the perfect place to discover both the old and new Japan.  I have literally spent weeks preparing for what I still consider my trip of a lifetime, so I’m well prepared, and if you give me a chance, I will make you fall in love with Kyoto too!  There are plenty of cool places in Japan that you should also check out, but first let’s talk about Kyoto!


Things to do in Kyoto, Japan


Guide: Things to do in Kyoto [Japan]

Visiting Fushimi Inari is one of the best things to do in Kyoto, Japan

Where to stay in Kyoto

If you’re travelling on a budget and if you really want to go for a wholly Japanese experience, and if you don’t mind sleeping in a space the size of a roomy telephone booth, try “Nine Hours”.  It’s futuristic-looking capsule hotel located in Teramachi, on the west side of the Kamo River.

A capsule will usually set you back between 4,000 and 5,000 yen, while for about 10,000 yen you can get a twin in a mid-range business hotel, where rooms are usually small, but spotless and fitted with all the amenities you might need.

other great accommodation in kyoto


Where to eat in Kyoto

In Japan, any random hole-in-the-wall food place makes the best Sushi or Ramen, or Kobe beef ever in existence.  A tasty bowl of noodles will cost you around 600 yen, while an excellent sit-down dinner can be had for 1,000 yen per person.

Guide: Things to do in Kyoto [Japan]

Sagano Bamboo Forest 

Fun things to do in Kyoto

A trip to Kyoto cannot be fulfilled without visiting the most gorgeous temple in the world, the gold-leaf-lacquered Kingaku-ji.

Often overlooked, and truly even more stunning to behold, is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a two-hour hike’s worth of tunnel-like torii gates located along the wooded mountainside.

Finally, but not less important, you should visit Arashiyama-Sagano Bamboo forest, a magical little pathway through a bamboo forest behind Tenryu-ji Temple.  It is a sight not to be missed in Japan, a unique experience where you almost feel like you are stepping into another world.


What not to do in Kyoto

If you are going to Kyoto during peak-season you will have to learn to deal with the crowds, lots of them, and if you wish to avoid them as much as possible, then arrive as early as you can at your chosen places.  You should avoid the buses, especially if you are not starting from a terminal station like Kyoto Station.  They get very busy and often you will not be able to hop on in between.  Use the subways and walking!


3 Fun facts about Kyoto, Japan

  1. It may sound like a dream, but in Kyoto, it is possible to actually meet a Geisha – just go to the Gion area and wish for good luck!  Here you may come across a Geisha moving from one teahouse to another.  Oh, and be careful not to mistake tourists making up themselves as a Geisha for the real thing.
  1. It’s not for nothing that one of the nicknames for Kyoto is the City of Ten Thousand Shrines. Kyoto is home to some 2000 Buddhist temples and 500 Shinto shrines that are impossible to see all in 100 trips, let alone one!
  1. Japanese etiquette is so complex and difficult you may have a hard time understanding it from time to time.  If you want to get familiar with some fundamental elements, check out my article about Japanese etiquette & customs.



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Guide: Things to do in Kyoto [Japan]



fushimiinari9Author:  Hi there! I’m Andrea, a twenty-something Italian girl getting lost in different corners of the world.  I’m a huge believer in dreaming big, travelling to the unknown, and exploring new places.  You will find my blog, Green and Turquoise, to be about my adventures travelling the world, some lessons learned along the way, and small tips and tricks to help you discover destinations and ignite your wanderlust.

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The Comments

  • danontheroad
    May 4, 2016

    Good write-up on Kyoto! Would 3 full days be enough to explore the main sights?

  • kinkigeek
    May 20, 2016

    Thank you for this! Finally a blogger who gives sound advice- don’t take the buses! Haha. Everyday I see them drive past packed to bursting. I really don’t understand why guide books recommend them to tourists!
    Looks like you had a great time in Kyoto, how long did you stay?