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Kansai | Kyoto Prefecture

Kyoto City

Kyoto was the former capital of Japan and is an important cultural and traditional center in the nation.


Kyoto City

Kyoto (京都, Kyōto) served as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. It is now the country's seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face. In the 1,000 years since the former Japanese capital was established, Kyoto has been at the center of politics, culture, and art, and Japanese history has developed mainly around Kyoto. The streets of Kyoto will provide a fascinating subject of research for the foreign students who come to study Japanese history. Classic Japanese literature such as "The Tale of Genji" and "The Pillow Book", as well as traditional forms of public entertainment such as Kabuki, Noh and Kyogen, originated in Kyoto, and were developed through intimate ties with the lifestyles of the residents of Kyoto. Many foreign students learn the methods of the tea ceremony and flower arrangement in their free time and make efforts to learn and understand the "heart" of Japanese culture.

Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today. In 1994, 17 structures were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Mt. Hiei and Enryakuji are located in the north east of the city. This was the direction from which evil was thought most likely to come so Enryakuji was originally built to ward off that danger. South Kyoto, south of Kyoto station has few attractions other than Toji Temple and its vast flea market on the 21st of each month. The south east of Kyoto has much more of interest including Fushimi and its wonderful Fushimi Inari Shrine, sake breweries and Fushimi-Momoyama Castle.

Things To Do in Kyoto City

photo of Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Kyoto Imperial Palace

The Kyoto Imperial Palace was the former residence of the imperial family until it was moved to Tokyo.

photo of Higashiyama District

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Higashiyama District

The Higashiyama District is one of the best preserved historic districts in Kyoto.

photo of Kiyomizu Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizudera is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto and is most known for the wooden stage that is 13 meters tall.

photo of Golden Pavilion

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Golden Pavilion

Kinkakuji Temple, also known as Golden Pavilion, is a Zen Temple in the northern part of Kyoto. It is known for its top two floors, which are covered in gold leaf.

photo of Ginkakuji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Ginkakuji Temple

Ginkakuji Temple, also known as the Silver Pavilion, is a Zen temple that was built to be a retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

photo of Tenryuji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Tenryuji Temple

Tenryuji Temple is one of the most important temples in the Arashiyama District and has a garden that has been around for centuries.

photo of Daigoji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Daigoji Temple

Daigoji Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is where Toyotomi Hideyoshi held his cherry blossom viewing parties.

photo of Fushimi Inari Shrine

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine is located in the southern part of Kyoto and is one of the important Shinto shrines in the city.

photo of Heian Shrine

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine was built to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the capital’s foundation and is dedicated to Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei.

photo of Nijo Castle

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle was the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu and was the imperial palace for a time before it was donated.

photo of Ryoanji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple has one of the most famous rock garden in Japan, which brings in hundreds of visitors a day.

photo of Shugakuin Rikyu Imperial Villa

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Shugakuin Rikyu Imperial Villa

Shugakuin Imperial Villa was built in the 17th century for Emperor Gomizuno and has multiple structures with beautiful gardens.

photo of Sanjusangendo

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City


Sanjusangendo is a temple that houses over 1001 statues of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy.

photo of Tofukuji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Tofukuji Temple

Tofukuji Temple is best known for its autumn colors around the Tsutenkyo Bridge, which extends through a valley of maple of trees.

photo of Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa

The Katsura Imperial Villa has a Japanese garden, which is considered a masterpiece along with great examples of Japanese architecture.

photo of Saihoji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Saihoji Temple

Saihoji Temple is commonly known as Kokedera (Moss Temple) and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto.

photo of Aoi Matsuri

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Aoi Matsuri

The Kyoto Aoi Festival is one of the most famous festivals in the city. It is annually held on May 15 and is the festival of the two Kamo Shrines.

photo of Gion Matsuri

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Gion Matsuri

The Gion Festival is Kyoto’s largest annual festival. It is a celebration that lasts for the whole month of July with different events happening.

photo of Jidai Matsuri

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Jidai Matsuri

The Jidai Matsuri celebrates the founding of Kyoto and is held every year on October 22.

photo of Geisha Maiko Dress-Up

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Geisha Maiko Dress-Up

Geisha Maiko Dress-Up can be done for a reasonable price in the cultural center of Japan, Kyoto.

photo of Toei Uzumasa Eigamura

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Toei Uzumasa Eigamura

Toei Uzumasa Eigamura is a film set and theme park in one with many attractions available.

photo of Kodaiji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Kodaiji Temple

Kodaiji Temple is located in the Higashiyama District and was built in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi by his wife Nene.

photo of Nishijin Textile Center - Kimono Show

Nishijin Textile Center - Kimono Show

The kimono has been associated with the image of Japan for centuries. Within Japan itself, Kyoto has been the main centre for kimono and textile production for more than 1000 years.

photo of Gion Geisha District

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Gion Geisha District

Gion is the area where you can see Geisha and have the opportunity to be entertained by them during your meal.

photo of Sagano Scenic Railway

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Sagano Scenic Railway

The Sagano Scenic Railway is a sightseeing train route that winds through mountains and utilizes old fashioned trains.

photo of Nishiki Market

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market started out as a fish wholesale district, but evolved into a shopping district known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen.”

photo of Fushimi Sake District

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Fushimi Sake District

The Fushimi Sake District is home to almost 40 sake breweries including the Gekkeikan.

photo of Daitokuji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Daitokuji Temple

Daitokuji Temple features five different rock gardens that embody the teachings of Zen Buddhism.

photo of Nanzenji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Nanzenji Temple

Nanzenji Temple is located at the foot of the Higashiyama Mountains and is one the head temples of the Rinzai Sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism.

photo of Ho-Taiko Hanami Gyoretsu

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Ho-Taiko Hanami Gyoretsu

Ho-Taiko Hanami Gyoretsu" (Toyotomi Hideyoshi's cherry blossom-viewing parade) is held on the second Sunday of every April.

photo of Miyako Odori

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Miyako Odori

Miyako Odori is a special performance that can only be seen in spring when the cherry blossoms are in season.

photo of Arashiyama

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City


Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of the most popular photo spots in Kyoto along with Kinkakuji and Fushimi Inari Shrine.

photo of Bamboo Forest

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Bamboo Forest

One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. A nice walking path takes visitors through the groves of bamboos.

photo of Togetsukyo Bridge

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Togetsukyo Bridge

The Togetsukyo Bridge is located in the Arashiyama district in Kyoto and is the most iconic landmark of Arashiyama.

photo of Maruyama Park

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park is a public park that becomes a popular spot for cherry blossom hanami (flower viewing) in April. It is located next to the Yasaka Shrine in the south eastern part of Kyoto.

photo of Hozugawa River Cruise

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Hozugawa River Cruise

Hozugawa River Cruise uses traditionally styled flat bottomed boats and are steered with oars and bamboo poles.

photo of Ninnaji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Ninnaji Temple

Ninnaji Temple is the head temple of the Omuro School, which is part of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism.

photo of Shisendo Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Shisendo Temple

Shisendo Temple was a mountain hermitage built by Ishikawa Jozan, a scholar, landscape architect, and soldier.

photo of Konchiin Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Konchiin Temple

Konchiin Temple is a sub temple of Nanzenji and has a garden that was designed by Kobori Enshu, a famous garden designer and tea master.

photo of Philosopher's Path

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Philosopher's Path

The Philosopher’s Path is a stone walkway in the northern part of Higashiyama District that follows a canal lined with hundreds of cherry blossoms.

photo of Eikando Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Eikando Temple

Eikando Temple is known for its autumn colors and evening illuminations that happen in the fall season.

photo of Pontocho

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City


Pontocho is a narrow alley lined with a variety of restaurants ranging from inexpensive to breaking the wallet.

photo of Miyagawacho

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City


Miyagawacho is located south west of Gion and is one of the six major entertainment districts in Kyoto.

photo of Kamishichiken

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City


Kamishichiken is one of the oldest of the five geisha districts in Kyoto and least famous.

photo of Kyoto National Museum

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto National Museum is one of the four top level national museums and oldest in Japan.

photo of Kyoto International Manga Museum

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Kyoto International Manga Museum

The Kyoto International Manga Museum houses over 300,000 manga and comic books.

photo of Monkey Park Iwatayama

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Monkey Park Iwatayama

The Monkey Park Iwatayama has over 170 Japanese macaque monkeys and is located in the Arashiyama Mountains.

photo of Kyoto Cuisine with Maiko

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Kyoto Cuisine with Maiko

Kyoto Cuisine with Geisha (artisan) or Maiko (apprentice Geisha) includes entertainment provided by them.

photo of Gion Corner Performance Art Show

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Gion Corner Performance Art Show

The Gion Corner Performance Art Show is less than an hour long and is an opportunity to see multiple traditional crafts.