Hello, travel enthusiasts! Today we’re heading to Kyoto, a city brimming with history, culture, and beautiful sights at every turn. This ancient city is renowned for preserving the past with an unrivaled commitment, and there’s no better place to explore the rich tapestry of Japanese history.
Here are 10 must-do sightseeing spots in Kyoto for first-time visitors.
* Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion): Your Kyoto journey should start with the awe-inspiring sight of Kinkaku-ji, the Zen Buddhist temple covered in gold leaf. This iconic spot provides a breathtaking reflection on the surrounding pond, offering beautiful photo opportunities.
* Fushimi Inari Shrine: Famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, the Fushimi Inari Shrine is a must-visit. Each gate has been donated by a Japanese business, and the path provides an intriguing walk up the sacred Mount Inari, punctuated with scenic views of Kyoto.
* Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: Step into another world as you wander through the towering bamboo stalks at Arashiyama. Follow your visit with a trip to the nearby Tenryu-ji Temple and its beautiful gardens.
* Kiyomizu-dera Temple: For panoramic views over Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera Temple is the place to go. This historic site offers more than just scenery; the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an important place of worship.
* Nijo Castle: A stroll around Nijo Castle offers a glimpse into the world of the shoguns. Don’t miss the ‘nightingale floors’ in the Ninomaru Palace, designed to chirp like birds when walked upon to signal the presence of intruders.
* Gion District: Experience Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. Walk along Hanami-koji Street lined with old wooden buildings, teahouses, and restaurants, and you might be lucky enough to spot a Geiko or Maiko on their way to an appointment.
* Philosopher’s Path: Named after the famous Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro who used this path for daily meditation, this canal-lined walk is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season.
* Nishiki Market: Often referred to as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, this vibrant market is perfect for foodies. From fresh seafood and vegetables to Japanese sweets and pickles, you’ll find all sorts of culinary delights here.
* Kyoto Imperial Palace and Gardens: The residence of the Imperial family until the capital moved to Tokyo, the Kyoto Imperial Palace provides a peek into royal life. The surrounding gardens are beautifully maintained and perfect for a leisurely stroll.
* Sanjusangen-do Temple: Known for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, Sanjusangen-do is an awe-inspiring place. Each statue is unique, and the sight of all these figures in one place is unforgettable.
For an enriching and memorable journey, be sure to add these 10 locations to your Kyoto itinerary. However, don’t forget that part of Kyoto’s charm lies in its side streets, tea houses, and local shops. Take time to wander, to soak in the ambiance, and to enjoy the local cuisine. Kyoto isn’t just a city; it’s an experience. So, embrace the history, the culture, and the beauty. Happy travels!