Japan has always attracted visitors with its unique and extraordinary charm from the culture, people, and landscape. If you love traditional Japanese culture, the best city to experience it is Kyoto.
What to do in Kyoto, Japan? In this article, I share my favorite things to do in Kyoto and travel tips.
1. Explore Kyoto in traditional kimono
Wearing kimono, you can experience and understand more about the intricacies and sophistication of Japanese culture.
At Kimono rental shop, I could choose my favorite one from a large variety of prints and textiles.
It wasn’t easy to choose because they all looked great. After a while, the staff gave me some suggestions and helped me put on my kimono.
“It’s heavy!” I first thought.
It felt strange when I first put on the kimono. There were many layers, and the Geta (Japanese footwear) was also new to me.
The staff kindly showed me how to move around, and one team took me some great photos.
Note: If you travel in the summer, choose Yukata instead. It’s a thin, light, and less layered summer kimono that is airy and easy to move around.
2. Soak in the views of the Bamboo grove
The endless bamboo stalks in Arashiyama are a symbol of Kyoto.
Although it’s called a forest, the bamboo path is only about 500m long, with rows of bamboo planted on the sides of the road, between Tenryuji Temple and Nonomiya Temple.
I love wandering around this beautiful forest in the morning, seeking the lights amid the bamboo forest.
There are plenty of shrines and temples around the areas, so don’t forget to pay a visit.
A fascinating way to explore Arashiyama is by rickshaw. The local guide will take you to the best spots and show how pretty the town is!
3. Discover the best food spots
On your trip to Kyoto, don’t forget to try ramen. Although you can find ramen everywhere in Japan, each region has its recipe for noodles, so does Kyoto.
Raku Raku Raku Ramen is a great stop for Ramen lovers. Famous as one of the cheapest restaurants in Kyoto, so not only are the noodles here delicious, but the price is also very affordable.
If you love sushi, Musashi-sushi is an excellent choice. A conveyor belt sushi shop in the Sanjo-Kawaramachi area, Musashi offers delicious tasty dishes and a pleasant experience.
4. Enjoy Japanese dance performed
Don’t miss the chance to enjoy traditional Japanese dance on your trip to Kyoto.
Visiting the former capital of Japan, you can experience one of the Japanese entertainment forms – a traditional Japanese dance performed by Maiko.
A maiko is an apprentice geisha in Kyoto and Western Japan. They usually perform songs, dances and play the Shamisen or other traditional Japanese instruments.
5. Enjoy a panoramic view of Kyoto
Located in the city’s heart, Kyoto Tower is an iconic attraction that you should not miss.
Its 100-meters-above-ground observation deck offers impressive views of famous Kyoto sightseeing spots such as Toji Temple, Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, and Chion-in Temple.
You can even see Osaka on clear days, and don’t forget to use free telescopes on the 5th floor for a closer look at the attractions.
Opening hours: 9 am to 9 pm with the last admission at 8:40 pm
Address: 〒600-8216 Shichijo-sagaru Karasuma-Dori, Shimogyo-Ku, Kyoto
6. Learn how to make Japanese Bento
Learning how to make Bento is highly recommended if you love to cook!
Bento lunch boxes are no stranger to anyone who has ever learned about Japan. It’s is a Japanese culinary art and beautifully presented with everyday dishes like rice, eggs, and vegetables.
7. Experience Hot Springs
Another fabulous experience that you should try in Kyoto is taking a hot spring bath.
Onsen culture has been a long-standing tradition of the Japanese people.
With excellent indoor and outdoor bathroom systems, you will be able to take a relaxing dip in hot water, mingle with nature in a quiet, peaceful space.
Onsen also often has other areas for relaxation, massage equipment, sauna, reading with Japanese layout.
8. Visit the Golden Temple
Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavillion thanks to its magnificent gold inlaid, is located in Northern Kyoto.
Each floor of the Kinkakuji temple has a different architectural style. The building was destroyed many times, and the current temple was rebuilt in 1955.
9. Walk the Torii tunnel
Another must-visit place on your trip is the temple Fushimi Inari with thousands of Torii gates.
This temple is located at the foot of Inari Mountain, at 233m above sea level.
In Japanese, Torii means the gate in front of each temple. Because the temple has more than 10,000 gates, you should expect to spend 2-3 hours visiting the temple.
Tens of thousands of Torii gates are the contribution of individuals and companies with the belief that doing so will bring good luck, prosperity, and success to the business.
Along the two sides of the trail are waterfalls and lakes, making it a peaceful and beautiful place to enjoy every moment of my visit fully.
10. Go shopping
Japan is a paradise for shopping, especially electronic devices. One of my favorite stops is BicCamera.
Due to the name, I first mistakenly believed that this place specializes only in camera products, but actually, it was a shopping center with more than just electronic devices. You can even purchase cosmetics, daily necessities, and alcohol here.
BicCamera Kyoto is located conveniently next to Kyoto station, selling products at reasonable prices.
Tips: Use this coupon to receive a 7% discount on cameras, home appliances, toys, and contact lenses. Don’t forget to get your 8% VAT refund when purchasing here.