Best Things To Do in Kyoto, Japan

Are you looking for what to do in Kyoto?

You might have a list of things to do in Kyoto and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. Places like Fushimi Inari-taisha and Kinkaku-ji will make sure your dream destinations are ticked off. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.

With so many world-famous sites and attractions to visit, deciding on the best things to do in Kyoto can be a daunting task. Visiting selective places and carrying the best memories is the best alternative. Don’t rush to see all of the attractions in Kyoto on your first trip itself.

Kyoto is the type of city that you will love to visit again and again. Every time you revisit Kyoto you can keep unfolding the different sides of it. This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Kyoto getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.

Make the most of your trip to Kyoto with confidence.

Tourist Attractions in Kyoto

Here is the list of things to do in Kyoto and tourist attractions in city.

  1. Fushimi Inari-taisha

    4.6 (10111 Votes)
    Fushimi Inari-taisha

    Religious Site, Outdoors, Trail, Historical Site

    The Fushimi Inari-Taisha is an important Shinto shrine situated in southern Kyoto. It is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. A unique thing about this shrine is the thousands of vermillion coloured gateways. A lot of small shrines and stone monuments are spread across the shrine’s precinct. The shrine is situated o...Read more
  2. Kinkaku-ji

    4.5 (9294 Votes)
    Kinkaku-ji

    Religious Site, Temple, Architecture

    Kinkaku-ji (aka Temple of Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple situated in the northern part of Kyoto. The top two floors of the temple are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the building the temple is housed in was the retirement villa of the shogun (military leader) Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. As per his will, the villa was converted into a Zen temple of th...Read more
  3. Kiyomizu-dera

    4.4 (8082 Votes)
    Kiyomizu-dera

    Religious Site, Temple, Landmark

    Established in the year 778, the Kiyomizu-dera is located halfway up the Otowa Mountain in eastern Kyoko. Having an intriguing history, the temple has burned down many times. Most of the current buildings were rebuilt by the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu in the early 1630s. The Main Hall (Hondo) of the temple is designated as a national treasure. It holds the temple's primary object of worship...Read more
  4. Nijo Castle

    4.4 (6359 Votes)
    Nijo Castle

    Castle, Historical Site, Architecture

    The Nijo Castle was constructed in 1603 as the residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu (the first shogun of the Edo Period). The Castle is divided into three areas- the Honmaru (main circle of defence), the Ninomaru (secondary circle of defence) and the gardens that surround the Honmaru and Ninomaru. The architecturally gorgeous Ninomaru Palace has beautiful paintings on its walls and sliding doors. Loca...Read more
  5. Gion District

    Outdoors, Restaurant, Entertainment, Town

    Gion is Kyoto's most famous geisha district! There, as simple as that! However, this district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west, is also well known for its collection of old school streets defined by their old wooden buildings, teahouses and exclusive Japanese restaurants. Many of the restaurants and ochaya&nb...Read more
  6. Arashiyama

    4.4 (8285 Votes)
    Arashiyama

    Temple, Outdoors, Park, Entertainment

    Situated around 30 minutes drive from the city centre of Kyoto, Arashiyama is a district in Kyoto which is well known for its Bamboo Grove. It is situated along the base of the Arashiyama Mountains (Storm Mountains) and is a nationally-designated Historic Site. It is popular with tourists as well as locals. The must visit places while in Arashiyama are the Bamboo Grove, the Tenryu-ji Temp...Read more
  7. Ginkaku-ji

    Religious Site, Temple, Landmark

    The Ginkaku ji, also known as the Silver Pavilion, is a Zen temple situated along Kyoto's eastern mountains of Higashiyama. Here’s a trivia, although it is called the Silver Pavilion, it does not have a trace of silver on it! In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today's temple, modelling it after the Kinkaku ji. Research...Read more
  8. Sanjusangen-do

    4.5 (7434 Votes)
    Sanjusangen-do

    Religious Site, Temple, Historical Site, Statue

    More famous for its 1001 figures of Kannon, The Sanjusangen-do Temple was originally built by Taira no Kiyamori for retired emperor Go-Shirakawa in the year 1164. The temple features a huge hall where the statues of the Kannon are placed. These were carved in the 12th and 13th centuries. The temple is a designated National Treasure and is situated in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto. The original...Read more
  9. Nishiki Market

    4.2 (7768 Votes)
    Nishiki Market

    Outdoors, Restaurant, Entertainment, Market

    Spread across 5 blocks, the Nishiki Market in Kyoto is a narrow shopping street lined with more than a hundred shops and restaurants. This lively retail market specializes in Japanese food related products. On sale are fresh seafood, poultry produce, knives, cookware, Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. While modern food shops and new souvenir shops have found an abode in t...Read more
  10. Philosophers Walk

    4.4 (7102 Votes)
    Philosophers Walk

    Off Beaten Path, Walking Area, Nature

    The Philosopher's Walk is a stone path approximately 2 kilometres long, which runs through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district. The path follows a canal and, lining the path are hundreds of cherry trees. Usually in early April these cherry trees explode with colour. The path is every nature lover’s, every romantic’s and every photographer’s dream. It is Kyo...Read more
  11. Ryoan-ji

    4.4 (5692 Votes)
    Ryoan-ji

    Religious Site, Temple, Garden

    Ryoan ji Temple belongs to the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. A distinct attraction within the temple premises is the famous rock garden which attracts hundreds of visitors every day. Originally an aristocrat's villa during the Heian Period, the site was converted into a Zen temple in 1450. Two decades later, the temple was burnt down during the O...Read more
  12. Nanzen-ji

    4.4 (4495 Votes)
    Nanzen-ji

    Religious Site, Temple

    Nanzenji Temple is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan. It is located at the base of Kyoto's Higashiyama Mountain. It is the head temple of one of the schools within the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism. Emperor Kameyama established it in 1291 on the site of his palace. Spread across a large area, the temple premises also includes multiple sub temples....Read more
  13. Kyoto Imperial Palace

    4.4 (4015 Votes)
    Kyoto Imperial Palace

    Historical Site, Palace

    The Kyoto Imperial Palace used to be the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until the year 1868 after which the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. After being burnt down and moved around a lot over the decades, the current Imperial Palace was reconstructed in 1855. Rich in tradition, the Kyoto Imperial Palace preserves the look and ambiance of t...Read more
  14. Iwatayama Monkey Park

    Outdoors, Wildlife Sanctuary , Wildlife Park, View Point

    Located in the Arashiyama Mountains, the Monkey Park is inhabited by around 120 wild monkeys. The breed of monkey is the Japanese macaque, also known as Snow monkey. The entrance to the monkey park can be found just south of the Togetsukyo Bridge. After hiking uphill for about ten minutes, visitors find an open area where the monkeys roam around freely. From the top, you get beautiful pan...Read more
  15. Tofukuji Temple

    4.4 (4753 Votes)
    Tofukuji Temple

    Religious Site, Temple, Garden

    Disconnect yourself from the hustle and the bustle of the city at the Zen Tofukuji Temple. While there is no need for you get the Tofukuji Temple tickets and there isn't actually any tickets for Tofukuji Temple, we recommend you to buy tickets for Tofukuji Temple from our tours & tickets section as it includes a local tour guide who will bring in the true essence of the temple with his impe...Read more

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  • if i only have 4 days of vacation, because 3 days on seminar, what outdoor activity or activity in early October should be best?

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    • You can visit Fushimi Inari Temple, Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, Yasaka Pagoda, Ishibei-koji alley, Aarashiyama, Nishiki Market, and Nijo Castle. If you can manage, then take a trip to Shirakawa-go village. You can also check other tours in Kyoto as you may find autumn leaves viewing tours too. As October is the best month for hiking, check different trails around Kyoto that suits your preferences. 

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