Kyoto

Travel Guide
Heian Shrine showing heritage architecture, religious elements and a temple or place of worship

Experience the sheer tranquillity of the beautiful temples, and discover some of the greatest ancient treasures in Japan.

Kyoto was the capital city of Japan for more than a thousand years – and its unique beauty still remains today. The city was renowned as a leader in Japanese (indeed, Asian) economic, industrial and cultural development, and even today, Kyoto consists of enough steel, glass and concrete buildings to show it remains an economic success. However, it is the meditative temples and sprawling parks spread across the urban space that are the real, picturesque reminders of the city's rich cultural heritage.

Because of the many centuries of priceless architectural heritage in Kyoto, this city was dropped from the list of targets for the atomic bomb and was spared from World War II air raids. This means visitors today can still enjoy the abundance of ancient shrines and temples still standing throughout the city.

A great way to begin your discovery of Kyoto is to venture out on the Philosopher’s Walk. This walking trail follows the path that famous 20th century Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro used to walk every day, while meditating over the deep meaning of life. The walk will take you past three of the major landmark temples of Kyoto and the cherry-tree lined canal, which is at its most spectacular during April, when you can see an abundance of beautiful pink blooms.

During your trip to Kyoto, you can also visit the Arashiyama Monkey Park, where you can see wild monkeys playing, interacting, swinging through the trees and even eating out of your hand. The Eikando Temple is another interesting attraction, especially in the autumn when the gardens are decorated with sparkling lights. This is a wonderfully peaceful place to stroll or sit in the quiet and meditative atmosphere of the ponds and moss gardens.

Another truly impressive architectural spectacle is the Katsura Imperial Villa, which was built by Prince Toshihito in order to recreate the setting described in his favourite book – the famous 11th century novel The Tale of Genji. Then, of course, there the famous attraction of The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, with its glittering gold leaf surface which can be seen sparkling in the sunlight.

Indeed, Kyoto encapsulates the romantic Japanese image in our imagination of peaceful temples, quiet bamboo forests and contemplative rock gardens. There are 17 different UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this historic city, as well as over 400 Shinto shrines and 1,600 Buddhist temples. The best time of the year to enjoy the city's divine gardens and tree-lined pathways is in the spring or the autumn, when these ancient attractions are set against a backdrop of lush pink floral blossoms or vibrant orange leaves.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

UNIZO INN Kyoto Kawaramachi Shijo
UNIZO INN Kyoto Kawaramachi Shijo
3 out of 5
The price is NZ$43 per night from 28 Sep. to 28 Sep.
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is steps away from Kiyamachi Street, Kawaramachi and Pontocho. Nishiki Market and Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre are also within ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (873 reviews)
"Very clean. Sheet including flat and fit sheets were change everyday. They room is spacious compared to other hotel. This was an inn and I am very surprised how up scale everything was. I would book it again."

Reviewed on 8 Mar. 2020

UNIZO INN Kyoto Kawaramachi Shijo
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
4.5 out of 5
Fully refundable
The price is NZ$188 per night from 30 Sep. to 30 Sep.
Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Costume Museum are ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (1,069 reviews)
"I picked this hotel last minute due to Covid but we really enjoyed our stay. It is right outside the Kyoto train station so getting around was super easy and there are so many places to shop and eat. The only downside was the hotel is not a good fit if you are traveling with young children. The pool ..."

Reviewed on 10 Apr. 2021

Hotel Granvia Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is NZ$129 per night from 3 Oct. to 3 Oct.
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Kyoto Railway Museum and Nishiki Market are also within 2 ...
4.4/5Excellent! (2,182 reviews)
"Great staff, made us feel at home during our stay. Very helpful with impeccable service."

Reviewed on 2 Jun. 2021

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
nol kyoto sanjo
nol kyoto sanjo
3 out of 5
The price is NZ$223 per night from 26 Oct. to 26 Oct.
Located in Central Kyoto, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishiki Market, Kawaramachi and Kyoto International Manga Museum. Pontocho and Shijo ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (7 reviews)
"食器などもありホテルでの食事もできて良かったが、レンジもオーブンレンジのため使いやすくよかった。"

Reviewed on 1 Sep. 2021

nol kyoto sanjo
MIMARU KYOTO STATION
MIMARU KYOTO STATION
2.5 out of 5
The price is NZ$232 per night from 4 Oct. to 4 Oct.
Located in Central Kyoto, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Tower, Kyoto Aquarium and Kyoto Railway Museum. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (58 reviews)
"Next to kyoto station. Very convenient."

Reviewed on 5 Feb. 2020

MIMARU KYOTO STATION
Kyoto Four Sisters Residence
Kyoto Four Sisters Residence
3.5 out of 5
387 Bishamon-cho, (Nishinotoin-dori, Takeyamachi-sagaru), Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
Located in Central Kyoto, this apartment building is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Nijō Castle and 1.8 mi (2.8 km) from Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre. Kyoto Shibori Museum and ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (302 reviews)
Highly recommended.
"We had a wonderful time staying here. Love the quiet local neighborhood with restaurants and 24hr supermarket nearby. The place is very clean and design thoroughly. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Highly recommend for a big group or family to stay."

Reviewed on 25 Jan. 2020

Kyoto Four Sisters Residence
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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