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What is Kyoto’s Best Attraction?

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What is Kyoto’s Best Attraction?

Kyoto may well be Japan’s cultural heartland, but the city is no longer locked in the past. Although travelers come here primarily to explore world-renowned temples, shrines, and other must-visit sites that remain from the days before Tokyo became the nation’s power center, modern-day Kyoto is also a chic retail destination and home to innovative restaurants, bars, and cafes. From traditional markets perfect for souvenirs to bustling nightlife areas, the attractions of this former imperial capital are as varied as they are exciting.

Many of Kyoto’s most popular attractions are historic sites–such as shrines or gardens–dating back centuries, making the city one of the best places to experience authentic Japanese culture. For visitors trying to decide which Kyoto attraction is worth a visit or people planning a trip to Kyoto and wondering what to do during their stay, we’ve compiled a list of the best attractions in the city.


Kinkaku-ji, otherwise known as the famous “Golden Pavilion”, is Kyoto’s preeminent sightseeing spot. Located in the northern part of the city, Kinkaku-ji is the most spectacular of Kyoto’s many temples. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 14th century Taoist temple is one of Japan’s most famous structures. The majestic sight of Kinkaku-ji emerges from its tranquil forested setting – a design meant to presage paradise – with its two upper floors shimmering in gold leaf. Visitors can enjoy a stroll through the peaceful grounds and marvel at the marvelous architecture in one of Kyoto’s most iconic locations.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of Japan’s most impressive sacred sites. Set into a beautiful mountain backdrop, small shrines, or which most recognizable of all, the vibrant red Torii gates that line its trails are instantly recognizable. Just outside of central Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine is very easily accessible and it can be done as a half-day excursion or even combined with a visit to nearby attractions such as Kiyomizu Dera or Gion. Visitors to Fushimi Inari should climb up for about an hour or two to really experience it’s unique charms including its tranquil woods, thick greenery and sky-high tunnel of torii gates.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is considered one of Kyoto’s best attractions. Set in a picturesque grove, bamboo trees line a path close to the entrance of Tenryuji Temple and continues further into a wooded landscape. The majestic sight of the seemingly endless rows of tall bamboo trees swaying in the breeze is breathtakingly beautiful. As one of Kyoto’s most iconic sights, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove should definitely be on your list when visiting the city.

Gion District

An absorbing street scene unfolds in Gion, popular with tourists from all over the world. Once home to geishas and maikos (geisha apprentices), Gion is internationally renowned for its traditional atmosphere, home to wooden machiya merchant houses, teahouses, exquisite restaurants and lively entertainment venues.

Gion is one of the few traditional districts that remain in Kyoto, with streets lined by machiya merchant houses typical of the city during the Edo period (1603-1868). The area was also depicted in Miyazaki Hayao’s film “Spirited Away’, making it even more popular with tourists. The historic neighborhood is full of life during the day too – with tourists swarming the streets while geishas scurry between venues – making Gion one of Kyoto’s most well known attractions (aside from temples and shrines).


Whether you have days or hours to spend exploring temples and shrines or exploring vibrant neighborhoods, Kyoto is sure to put its cherry-blossomed stamp on your Japan experience. With so many memorable places to visit and explore – like Kinkaku-ji, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Gion District – visitors are sure to have an exciting time when visiting Japan’s ancient capital.

An Insider’s Guide to Kyoto: Exploring Hidden Gems and Indulging in Local Delights

Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan, is famous for its breathtaking temples, gardens and shrines. However, there’s more to this city than meets the eye. As a local, I’ve discovered countless hidden gems and tasted some of the most exquisite culinary delights that the city has to offer. In this insider’s guide, I’ll take you on a journey through Kyoto’s lesser-known spots, introduce you to its unique food culture, share the city’s fascinating history and more.

Discovering Hidden Gems in Kyoto

While Kyoto’s most famous landmarks are worth exploring, there are plenty of lesser-known gems that only locals know about. For example, Biwako Valley Ski Resort is a well-kept secret that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and a wide variety of winter sports. Alternatively, a visit to the Sengan-en Garden will take you back in time to the Edo period, featuring a variety of traditional Japanese architecture and landscaping.

Another hidden gem is the Jōdo-ji temple, with its peaceful atmosphere and stunning garden. You can enjoy a cup of tea while meditating in the tranquil environment, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Finally, the Fushimi Sake District offers a unique glimpse into the making and tasting of traditional Japanese sake.

Indulging in Local Cuisine

Kyoto is famous for its traditional, low-key dining options. Visiting its outdoor food stalls, known as yatai, is an experience in and of itself. Try out some fresh seafood, such as sushi and sashimi, or indulge in some savory hotpots like sukiyaki and shabu-shabu. For something sweet, be sure to try out a matcha or hojicha-flavored soft serve ice cream.

One of Kyoto’s most popular culinary experiences is kaiseki dining, where you can savor an assortment of beautifully-presented seasonal dishes. Another local specialty is yudofu, soft boiled tofu in a hot pot served with a variety of dipping sauces for a flavorful and healthy meal.

Experiencing Kyoto’s Culture and Traditions

Kyoto is the perfect place to experience the rich history and culture of Japan. For example, you can witness the stunning beauty of the Japanese tea ceremony and learn about the art and philosophy surrounding it. Alternatively, immerse yourself in Kyoto’s famous kimono culture by renting a traditional outfit and strolling through the city’s alleyways.

Springtime brings a number of festivals, including cherry blossom viewing and the Aoi Matsuri Procession. In the summer, the Gion Matsuri is the city’s most famous festival, featuring hundreds of local people dressed in traditional costumes. Finally, experiencing the culture of geishas and maikos is a must-do in Kyoto, from attending performances to simply spotting them walking through the streets.

The Fascinating History of Kyoto

As the former capital of Japan, Kyoto is steeped in rich history and culture. One fascinating stop is the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where the emperors of Japan once resided. Another must-see is the Nijo Castle, which has stood for over 400 years, providing you with a glimpse into Japan’s feudal past.

For lovers of Japanese art, a visit to Kinkaku-ji or Ryoan-ji temple will leave you breathless. Both locations have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are famous for their beautiful architecture and gardens. Finally, don’t miss out on a visit to the Kyoto International Manga Museum, where you can explore the history of Japanese manga and even try your hand at drawing your own comics.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Kyoto

For a more unique and unconventional experience in Kyoto, consider the following options. Go on a night walking tour of the city, exploring its hidden alleyways and unique architecture. Alternatively, visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, where you can get lost in the towering stalks of bamboo for a peaceful and serene experience.

Finally, don’t forget to shop for some traditional souvenirs at Nishiki Market, a local favorite that has been around for over 400 years. There you’ll find everything from dried foods to traditional Japanese sweets, pickled vegetables, and anything else your heart might desire.

In conclusion, Kyoto is a city that offers an unforgettable experience to its visitors. From exploring hidden gems to indulging in local cuisine and experiencing traditional culture, there’s something for everyone in Kyoto. So, don’t hesitate to plan your next trip to Kyoto, and discover the beauty and legacy of Japan’s cultural capital.

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What is Kyoto’s Best Attraction?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!