Kyoto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan and has a lot to offer. Surrounded by history, culture, and natural beauty, the city is the perfect place to experience the traditional side of Japan. Gourmet cuisine is also plentiful, offering delicious sweets, green tea sweets, and fresh seafood dishes.
With so much to see and do in Kyoto, where to visit if time and budget are limited? In this article, we will introduce a selection of sightseeing spots recommended for foreigners. When you come to Kyoto, please refer to this article and enjoy the charm of Kyoto to the fullest.
Enjoy Japanese culture to the fullest!
Welcome to Kyoto!
Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is a place you should not miss if you travel to Japan. The beautiful scenery with its historic temples and shrines, delicious traditional Japanese food, and warm people make Kyoto the perfect choice. From visiting famous temples and shrines to delicious local food, here are some of the many attractions of Kyoto!
When you come to Kyoto, you will first get a taste of Japanese culture in abundance! The ancient capital of Kyoto is home to numerous beautiful buildings, spectacular natural scenery, and many places where you can experience culture.
Visit Kinkakuji Temple
Have you ever heard of the world-famous Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto? Also known as the Phoenix Temple, the beauty of this temple is beyond description. With its tranquil pond garden and the beautiful gilded main hall, you can feel the nature and history of Kyoto at the same time, and it is loved by many.
Get a taste of culture at Ginkakuji Temple
Located near Kinkakuji Temple, Ginkakuji Temple is also famous. This temple is a majestic historical building with beautiful Kyoto nature and a very refreshing place to feel culture.
Enjoy Nature in Arashiyama
Arashiyama, easily accessible from Kyoto City, is a place of rich nature. The scenery surrounded by the river is exceptional. Why not take a walk in Arashiyama’s forest park and feel the beauty of Kyoto’s nature?
These are some of the best places to enjoy Japanese culture. Next, let’s take a look at Kyoto’s gourmet offerings!
Kyoto is a treasure house of gourmet food!
Come to Kyoto, eat, visit shrines and temples, buy souvenirs, and relax. This time, focusing on Kyoto’s gourmet treasures, we will introduce some of our favorite places to eat in Gion, shop and eat at Nishiki Market, and enjoy matcha green tea after a meal.
For a gourmet experience in Gion, visit Kitcho, a long-established restaurant that serves excellent tofu dishes. The restaurant’s atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing, as evidenced by the impressive photos of beautiful women that adorn the walls from the entrance.
If you decide to order, the “Tofu Champon,” a dish filled with sticky tofu about 3 cm thick, is a must-try. Gion is also famous for its maiko (apprentice geisha). Check out the plans available to enjoy lunch with maiko in the back alleys of Gion, where beautiful maiko come and go.
Next, go to Nishiki Market for shopping and gourmet food. Nishiki Market is a shopping street lined with stores, and is a fun spot with a wide variety of Japanese goods, pickles, seafood, souvenirs, and more.
We recommend “Kyoto Wagyu Beef Medicated Soup” where you can enjoy special local ingredients, and tempura restaurants where you can taste fresh seafood. Some of the best restaurants in Nishiki Market open early in the morning, so it is a good idea to stop by for breakfast before sightseeing.
Finally, enjoy matcha green tea after your meal. Matcha sweets are something you cannot miss if you come to Kyoto. At Ito Kyuemon, a matcha specialty store, you can taste a variety of matcha sweets filled with the taste and aroma of Kyoto. The “Green Tea Milk Ice” on the menu is a refreshing yet rich green tea sweet. It is also recommended as a tea souvenir, so why not encounter a memorable one?
This concludes our list of recommended spots in Kyoto, a treasure trove of gourmet food. Spend a full day with delicious meals, green tea sweets, and shopping at Nishiki Market. Next, let’s take a look at the recommended spots to visit shrines and temples.
Let’s tour around shrines and temples!
If you are visiting Kyoto for the first time, we want you to experience the rich history and culture of its shrines and temples.
Below are three recommended spots to visit to get a taste of what Kyoto has to offer.
First, Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Kiyomizu Temple, located halfway up a mountain, is one of the most famous temples in Japan. Its name comes from the fresh water gushing from the mountain.
On the approach to the main shrine, there are numerous souvenir stores and restaurants to enjoy.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is built according to the principles of feng shui and is famous as a place of good fortune. Experience the lore of Feng Shui as you visit the temple.
Next is Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. This is one of the largest Inari shrines in Japan, famous for its red torii gate. The Senbon-torii, which continues from the torii gate, is a spectacular sight and a must-see.
The vermilion-lacquered main shrine pavilion is massive, and you can feel the power of Fushimi Inari. At the amulet corner, get an amulet that suits you best and make a wish.
Finally, Nijo Castle. This is the site of the famous castle built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is highly regarded in Japanese history.
The castle from Ninomaru Garden is truly beautiful, and the vast grounds overflowing with greenery are truly Kyoto’s “green veins”. Let your mind wander back in time to the history of Japan as you listen to the explanations from volunteer guides.
At each of the three spots, you will be able to enjoy shrines and temples with different charms. Please visit them when you come to Kyoto.
Buy some souvenirs!
Many people visiting Kyoto for the first time wonder what to buy as a souvenir. So, let us introduce you to Kyoto’s souvenirs.
One of Kyoto’s most famous souvenirs is the yatsuhashi (eight-flute bridge). Among them, the yatsuhashi of the long-established shop “Suzune” has a crispy dough on the outside and is stuffed with red bean paste inside. Once you try it, you will become addicted to its deliciousness.
Another must-have souvenir for fans is coffee beans from Inoda Coffee. Many people are captivated by the aromatic coffee served in Kyoto cafes. If you can enjoy that coffee at home, it is a must-have for fans of the coffee.
Kyoto is also known for its matcha sweets. Among them, matcha parfaits and ice cream are particularly popular. Let’s fill up on them while feeling the Japanese taste that is typical of Kyoto.
These are the recommended souvenirs you can buy in Kyoto. Whether you are buying something for yourself or a gift for a loved one, please refer to them when you are in doubt about which souvenir to buy.
Kyoto is a place where Japanese culture and traditions remain strong. It is a wonderful place worth visiting for those who want to experience Japanese culture, for those who like green tea sweets, and for those who love shrines and temples.
There are many tourist attractions such as Kinkakuji Temple, Ginkakuji Temple, Arashiyama Nature, Gion Gourmet, Nishiki Market shopping, Kiyomizu Temple, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, and Nijo Castle.
Kyoto also has beautiful scenery and landscapes, and just looking at them is relaxing. You may be able to see how people live and see a different world from your own.
Furthermore, Kyoto offers many delicious souvenirs such as matcha green tea and Japanese sweets. Buy some for yourself.