Always is one of the most attractive and wonderful destinations in the world. The ancient capital of Japan – Kyoto not only holds a lot of world cultural heritages, but also own the architectures bearing bold traditional style. Kyoto used to be the ancient capital of Japan for more than a millennium and possessed landscapes enough to fascinate anyone who set foot in this land. Kyoto not only impresses by the beautiful nature, long-standing cultural art but also by the ancient architectures that blends together to create a beautiful charming painting.
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Visiting Kyoto, visitors will be visited the brilliant Geisha neighborhood, the majestic of Kinkakuji golden temple, the rustic of Ginkakuji silver temple, the tranquil of Kiyomizu temple, the spectacular autumn scenery or the busy and bustling of Nishiki market – dubbed as the kitchen of Japan, the unique festivals… In addition, you also have the opportunity to enjoy the traditional food and learn about the famous tea culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.
So, is Kyoto worth visiting, how to visit Kyoto, what to do in Kyoto and how to plan a budget trip to Kyoto for the first-time perfectly? Let’s check out our Kyoto travel blog (Kyoto blog) with the fullest Kyoto travel guide (guide to Kyoto, Kyoto tourist guide, Kyoto city guide, Kyoto guide) from how to get to Kyoto, best places to visit, best time to come, what to eat as well as top things to do in Kyoto to help you maximize your trip as follows!
Kyoto blog: When is the best time to visit Kyoto?
The climate in Kyoto is also divided into 4 distinct seasons. Winter (December to February) is the coldest time, sometimes the temperature dropping to 0 degree Celsius, so very few tourists visit Kyoto at this time. The weather begins to warm up in the spring (from March to May). This is also the best time to travel to Kyoto and see cherry blossoms.
In the summer (from June to August) in Kyoto there will be rain, so the streets are always wet. Visitors need to bring umbrellas and raincoats. In the Fall (from September to November), the weather becomes more temperate and warmer. Especially, the brilliant yellow leaves and autumn colors are always impressive to visitors. Many people want to walking under the yellow and red leaves forests, immerse themself into the enchanting natural scenery.
Spring with cherry blossoms: From March to mid-May
Summer: from July to mid-September.
Autumn with maple leaves: October to the end of November
Winter with snow cover: from January to February.
The most impressive Kyoto is still the maple leaves season, in this period, the whole Kyoto is very brilliant, spectacular scenery with yellow and red leaves of maple trees, plus a cool and pleasant climate, but this season is also the peak tourist season of Kyoto, the number of tourists coming here is very crowded.
You should avoid traveling to Kyoto on weekends. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays are the best days to visit Kyoto. You should get up early to strolling around and take pictures, otherwise you only see full of people.
Kyoto travel blog: How to get to Kyoto?
Currently the most optimal way for tourists to reach Kyoto is by air, but currently there is no airport in Kyoto, so to get to this city you have to fly to another airport before moving to Kyoto with the following specific information:
To getting to Kyoto you can transit at some of the following airports.
Kansai International Airport (Osaka, Japan)
Kansai Airport is about 80km from Kyoto
Currently there are 74 airlines serving at the airport
From the airport you can fly directly to 72 cities around the world
Every week at least 1.176 domestic flights and 1.799 international flights depart from Kansai International Airport.
Itami Airport (Osaka, Japan)
Itami International Airport is about 38km from Kyoto
Currently there are 28 airlines serving at the airport
From the airport you can fly directly to 31 cities around the world
Every week at least 1.687 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Itami Airport
Kobe Airport (Kobe, Japan)
Kobe Airport is about 61km from Kyoto
Currently there are 4 airlines serving at this airport
From the airport can fly straight to 8 cities in the world
Every week, at least 329 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Kobe Airport
So going to Kyoto you can transit at the three airports above but the main airport of tourists is Kansai International Airport because of its size and convenience.
Kyoto travel blog: How to travel from Kansai Airport to Kyoto?
Kyoto is located on the west side of Kansai Airport, there are 3 ways to travel from the airport to Kyoto City as follows:
Option 1: Take the JR train (The train name is Haruka): Travel time: 75-85 minutes – Frequency: Every 15 minutes has a trip – Ticket price: 2980 yen for non-reserved seats, you must choose the cabin has label non-reserved word (looking into the cabin will see English at the top of each cabin).
Option 2: Take the limousine bus: Travel time: 105 minutes – Frequency: 30 minutes has a trip – Ticket price: 2300 yen.
Option 3: By shuttle bus – Travel time: 100 minutes (depending on where you want to go) – Ticket price: 3500 yen (Price may have changed).
Most visitors going to Kyoto use the JR train because of its convenience and saving. You also refer to the how to use JR Pass Japan at JR Pass — Top 11 things about Japan Rail Pass you need to know, for traveling becomes more simple and convenient.
Kyoto blog: Getting around Kyoto
Like other cities in Japan, the main means of transportation in Kyoto is buses and trams. To travel between popular attractions in Kyoto, the best and most economical way is to buy a daily bus pass with a ticket of 500 yen for any bus trip in a day in Kyoto, or a 2000 yen ticket for any bus + train for 2 days in Kyoto. Although Japanese people rarely speak English, but when you at Kyoto station, you go to the information counter to ask to buy with a very simple procedure, and the staff speaks English fluently. Alternatively, you can rent a bike, rickshaw or walk.
Kyoto travel blog: Where to stay in Kyoto?
The accommodation in Kyoto is divided mainly into four separate regions are: Kyoto Station, Central Kyoto, Higashiyama and Southern Kyoto. But for the convenience of traveling and traveling to interesting attractions as well as exploring the city thoroughly, most tourists choose to stay in Kyoto in two main areas, Central Kyoto and Kyoto Station.
Below are some good and quality hotels should be rented in Kyoto near Kyoto Station
Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto: The hotel meets 4-star standard with 323 rooms, the lowest rate from $200.38. This upscale hotel in Kyoto is one of your great choices for city excursions. Along with modern and comfortable facilities, the convenient location is a big plus point. You can easily move to the main attractions of the city such as: Kyoto Isetan, Isetan archive, Kyoto tower … (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Location: In front of Kyoto Station, Shiokoji-dori, Shimogyou-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan, 600-8216
Sakura Terrace The Gallery: Standard 3.5 stars, a total of 222 rooms with the lowest rate from $181.09. With 222 rooms designed extremely luxurious, cozy, pleasant makes you feel like being at home. The rooms are equipped with modern and comfortable facilities, air conditioning, non-smoking rooms … along with other convenient services. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Location: 39 Higashi Kujo Kamitonoda machi, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan, 601-8002
Guest House Kyoto Costa Del Sol: With the lowest room rates from US$79.01. This budget cheap hotel in Kyoto is located modest in the heart of Kyoto Station. From here visitors can easily access the city’s lively beauty in every corner as well as convenient access to attractions such as Higashi Honganji Temple, Nishi Honganji Temple, Shosei-en Garden. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Location: 134-1 Ebisucho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8302, Japan
Some nice hotels, fully equipped, convenient to rent in Central Kyoto area
Kyoto Brighton Hotel: 5 star standard, with 182 rooms and the lowest room rates from $299.64. As one of the high-end, luxurious and most famous hotels in Kyoto, at here you will experience the most luxurious services, enjoy high-end cuisine with extremely professional service attitude. Located in a prime location, from here you can easily move to the beautiful tourist destinations of the city such as: ALTI – Art Live Theater International, Adachi Kumihimo-kan Museum, Nishijin Textile Center … (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Location: Nakadachiuri,Shinmachi-dori,Kamigyo-Ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan, 602-8071
Hotel Mystays Kyoto-Shijo: With room rates from $139.35. If you’re looking for a conveniently located hotel in Kyoto, there is no good choice than Hotel MyStays Kyoto Shijo. From here, guests can easily access the lively beauty of the city in every corner such as Kyoto Cinema, Kodai Yuzen-en Gallery, Nishikikoji Dori Street … Just like other hotels in Kyoto, you can be assured of room cleanliness as well as modern services. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Location: 52,Kasaboko-cho, Higashiiru, Aburanokoji, Shijyo-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kawaramachi, Kyoto, Japan, 600-8494.
Below are some more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel Granvia Kyoto (Address: 600-8216 Kyoto, Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku Karasuma-dori Shiokoji-sagaru JR Kyoto Station Karasuma Chuo-guchi , Japan / Phone: +81 75-344-8888), a 5-star hotel with room rates from $84/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Cross Hotel Kyoto (Address: Japan, 〒604-8031 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Daikokucho, 71‐1 / Phone: +81 75-231-8831), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $87/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Kyoto Century Hotel (Address: 680 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8216, Japan / Phone: +81 75-351-0111), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $92/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo (Address: 74 Nakajimacho, Kawara-machi Higashi-hairu, Sanjo-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kawaramachi, Kyoto, Japan, 604-8004 / Phone: +81 75-241-1111), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $63/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Ryokufuso (Address: 600-8323 Kyoto, Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku, Kanayacho 490, Japan / Phone: +81 75-341-7201), a 4-star ryokan with room rates from $110/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Grand Bach Kyoto Select (Address: 600-8004 Kyoto, Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku, Naramono-cho 363, Japan / Phone: +81 75-221-2211), a 3-star hotel with room rates from $61/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Kanra Kyoto (Address: 190 Kitamachi, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8176, Japan / Phone: +81 75-344-3815), a 5-star hotel with room rates from $274/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
In addition, you can refer to one of the best Airbnb in Kyoto: Sakura River Inn 1 (Licensed Machiya) at $77/night or [O2] Queen Bed Single Room for 2 Guests in Gojo at $22/night or Breakfast Incl.<Double bed>5min from Shijo station $38/night.
–> Airbnb link discount up to $35 for the first booking here: https://www.airbnb.com/c/anht5185
Kyoto travel blog: Best places to visit and top things to do in Kyoto
The ancient capital of Kyoto is where concentrates thousands of temples, castles, temples dating back to a long time. If you don’t have much time when visiting Kyoto, you can visit some of the famous landmarks and attractions below:
Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) is the oldest temple in Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the past, the temple was where Ashikaga general retired. And now, Golden Temple becomes a Zen Buddhist Temple.
Kinkaku-ji Temple is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Kyoto. Kinkaku-ji Temple has the main architecture consisting of 3 gold-plated floors shining down to the surface of Kyoto lake, forming an impressive image. The entire walls of the temple is covered with 20 tons of gold bullion, 200.000 pieces of gold leaf and 1.5 tons of paint.
Address: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 603-8361, Japan
Ticket price: 400 yen for adults and 300 yen for students.
Opening hours: From 8:30 am to 5:30 pm daily
Getting there: The City Bus Stop Kinkakuji-mae / City Bus Stop Kingaku-ji-michi
Kyoto Tower is a symbol of this tourist city, it is referred to as a shining light for all Kyoto. This is also the tallest tower in Kyoto, so from here you can zoom into the eye to collect all images of the city. You can buy the entry ticket into the tower at the information counter, but if you are staying at the Kyoto Tower Annex hotel, you will be exempt from this ticket.
The tower was modeled as a lighthouse illuminating the whole city of Kyoto – where tall buildings were restricted according to height regulations. With a height of 131m seen from the tower, on the beautiful weather days, visitors can take a look at the whole scenery of Kyoto city.
Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8216, Japan
Ticket price: For adults are 770 yen, children over 3 years old are 150 yen
Opening hours: From 9am to 9pm daily.
This is extremely famous tourist attraction that you must visit in Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The temple located on the mountain side of Otowa-san, Kiyomizu-dera was built entirely of wood in 788, from here you can see the whole city. Behind the temple, there is a sacred stream that flows day and night, symbolizing prestige, thrive and health.
This temple is also famous for having a love shrine where it is said that the couples who come here to pray will be together forever, and those who are lonely if they close their eyes and step from one rock to another at the temple will find the true love of their life.
Address: 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0862, Japan
Tel: +81 75-551-1234
Ticket price: The general ticket is 300 yen.
Opening hours: From 6:00 to 18:00 daily.
Nijo Castle was built and completed by the Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1626. When the Tokugawa Shogunate was over, the castle was handed back to the city government to open for visitors. In 1994, the castle was recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO. This is a famous tourist destination in Kyoto that tourists should not miss.
Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8301, Japan
Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion)
Ginkaku-ji is a Zen temple, located in Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. The temple is officially named Higashiyama Jisho-ji – one of Shokokuji’s small Buddha rooms. The name Ginkaku-ji is derived from the Edo period. Because of the temple of Kinkaku-ji (golden temple), so this temple is called Ginkaku-ji (silver temple). Although famous for its name as Silver Temple, this temple is not plated by silver as people think. Initially, Shogun Yoshiyama intended to cover the temple’s attic with a thin layer of silver, but due to lack of funds, it was impossible to plated silver and retain the rustic brown color of the wood.
Address: 2 Ginkakujicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8402, Japan
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:30 from December to February)
Admission: 500 yen
Sagano Bamboo Forest (The Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama)
Sagano bamboo forest is located in Arashiyama district – in the northwest of Kyoto, is one of the most beautiful natural sceneries in Japan. Sagano not only attracts tourists because of the magnificent beauty of immense, straight bamboo forests but also because of the sound of the wind blowing through the bamboos, creating melodious nature music.