Kyoto travel guide

Kyoto Tourism | Kyoto Guide

You're Going to Love Kyoto

Modern Kyoto offers visitors a glimpse into Japan's Imperial past, a time of Shinto shrines and Geisha - traditions that both still live in what was once the nation's capital. The city was the seat of imperial power from 794 to 1868 and is characterized by its graceful traditional architecture, including classical Buddhist temples and ornate palaces. There are thousands of examples of beautifully preserved historic architecture from various eras.

Kyoto is a feast for the eyes, with many outstanding examples of both traditional and modern architecture like the Kyoto Tower. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a haven of tall, bright green shoots, including some trees over 1,000 feet tall, just one of the many lush gardens and green spaces in Kyoto.

A modern city with an ancient soul, Kyoto is a place that should be experienced by all the senses, from the exquisite beauty of its gardens to the tranquil calm of a Shinto shrine and the flavorful cuisine shaped by customs and local ingredients.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Kyoto

What to do in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari-taisha

When to Visit Kyoto

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With a moist, subtropical climate, Kyoto's summers are hot and humid, and it often sees periods of snow during the winter. It is a popular spot for summer tourists, including families. Because of the lush, treed environment both within the city and in the surrounding area, it is also a very popular destination in the spring for cherry blossom season and fall for colors that range from golden yellow to scarlet red.

Average temperatures
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When the weather is nice in Kyoto

How to Get to Kyoto

Airports near Kyoto

UKB Kobe

Airlines serving Kyoto

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Where to Stay in Kyoto

You can expect accommodation in Kyoto to be up to 50 percent cheaper than in Tokyo, with average hotel room rates from about ¥16,375-38,200 and up for 5-star properties like the palatial new Four Seasons. There are a few newer boutique hotels like the Hotel Mume in Gion or Hoshinoya, situated on the river and accessible only by boat. Luxury Ryokan or traditional Japanese inns like the Hiiragiya in Gion Hatanaka offer breakfast and dinner along with a room.

Popular Neighborhoods in Kyoto

Most popular hotel in Kyoto by neighborhood


Where to stay in popular areas of Kyoto

Most booked hotels in Kyoto

How to Get Around Kyoto

The Cost of Living in Kyoto

Shopping Streets

Shijo Street incorporates a shopping area centered around Kawaramachi Street, including upscale department stores like Takashimaya and Marui. Towards the Yasaka Shrine, there are smaller boutiques and traditional specialty stores. The Kyoto Station and surrounding area is where to find large shopping malls, including the huge underground Porta shopping mall.

Groceries and Other

While the cost of living in Kyoto is lower than that of American cities like Minneapolis or Chicago, groceries are generally slightly more expensive. A gallon of milk will run about ¥720, a loaf of white bread ¥185, and a dozen eggs about ¥225. Fresco is the most common supermarket, with the food department in the Takashimaya department store a good alternative with reasonable prices. Nishiki Market, in the central part of town, is a long, narrow food market street that the locals call "Kyoto's Kitchen," and it is home to many reasonably priced options. Most grocery stores in Japan sell a wide variety of prepared foods, including both hot and cold options, with full meals available at less than ¥1,100.

Cheap meal
Cheap meal
A pair of jeans
A pair of jeans
Single public transport ticket
Single public transport ticket

Where to Eat in Kyoto

Kyoto's dining scene offers a wealth of choices at all price points, including traditional Japanese steak houses like the Hafuu Honten at more than ¥10,000 per person, and French, Italian, and Indian options. Traditional cuisine includes Buddhist vegetarian as well as Kyoto dishes, available in many restaurants like Gion Yata in the Gion district. Located in a traditional wooden house with an open kitchen, the menu offers multi-course kaiseki dinners. At the low end of the scale, it is still possible to find tasty food choices at about ¥1,000 or even less. There are many cheaper options, including Tachi-kui (standing restaurants) with no seating at all, offering a menu of basic noodle and rice dishes at budget prices.

Most popular restaurants in Kyoto

祇園 華舞
Excellent (46 reviews)
ステーキ鉄板焼 みくら
Excellent (35 reviews)
天ぷら圓堂 岡崎邸
Excellent (14 reviews)