Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Kyoto, Japan. #Top Attractions

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Looking forward to exploring Kyoto, Japan? For the best things to do in Kyoto, Japan, and the coolest places to visit in Kyoto, Japan. Scroll down for our top travel recommendations in Kyoto, Japan. As a Web 3.0 travel startup, Wondrous Drifter aspires to make a huge impact on the world.

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto, Japan / Pedro Szekely / Flickr

The beginning of a thrilling journey. The biggest attractions and activities await you in a magnificent city. The center of Japanese spirituality is Kyoto, Japan.

For more than a thousand years, Kyoto served as Japan’s capital. The name Kyoto translates to “Capital City.”

The world noticed this when Tokyo first emerged as an important trade center in the late 1800s. As a result, Tokyo was renamed Japan’s capital city in 1868. However, there was no formal announcement that Tokyo would become the capital, so some people still consider Kyoto the capital.

At the end of the 16th century, Tokyo and Osaka were the two major cities in Japan. Kyoto used to be Japan’s largest city but is currently Japan’s 8th largest city.

In Kyoto, some shrines date back more than 1,000 years. Several well-known tourist attractions may be found in Kyoto.

It used to be both Japan’s capital and the biggest city. If you believe Tokyo is better than Kyoto, think again, or even go and see for yourself. Visit Kyoto because there are so many other things and places to see.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest , Kyoto Japan
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kyoto Japan / WIL / Flickr

As the wind blows through the bamboo, the leaves of the trees rustle in the pleasant air. A terrific area to get away from the chaos of the city and a great site to shoot memorable photos.

When you’re at the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, you’ll feel you’ve stepped into another world. It’s one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist attractions.

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is situated at the base of the Storm Mountains in the north of Kyoto. Visitors to Japan may enjoy a peaceful break in nature by visiting this world-famous, apparently unending bamboo grove.

This attraction is accessible to everyone and is open around the clock. Access to this place is unrestricted and cost-free. Visit the Arashiyama area, famous for its unusual fishing methods with trained cormorant birds.

“Tourist circus” has been used to describe it. A visit to this well-known Japanese tourist site is a lifetime experience and pleasure.

To get away from Kyoto’s bustling streets, this is a must-see. In Japan, you’ll never forget this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Address: Japan, 〒605-0028 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Bunkicho, 61 City House JOY Sanjo

Festival in Kyoto

Festival in Kyoto , Japan
Festival in Kyoto, Japan / Amy Jane Mitchell / Flickr

Participating in or witnessing a Japanese festival is essential for anybody who wants to understand more about their culture and history.

Festivals are a good indication of Japan’s rich cultural traditions. Make time to see the fun festival in Kyoto when visiting this town.

You’ll see a lot of festivals in the anime you watch. As a result, you’ll get the most authentic festival experience possible.

The largest and most important is a two-week-long celebration known as the Gion Matsuri. Numerous residents in traditional attire would take part in this celebration.

When it comes to festivals, Kyoto truly shines. They’ll be a big hit with tourists at any celebrations they participate in. It’s also a lot of fun to see, from the dancing performance to the costumes.

This is one festival you do not want to miss. You may be sure that your vacation will be more enjoyable and intriguing. Choose the month when the event will be held and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Address: Kyoto, Japan

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine , Kyoto Japan
Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto Japan / lwtt93 / Flickr

Ready your OOTDs together and explore the 10,000 Gates for a photo op! The incredible perspective is made possible by the apparently endless rows of orange torii gates.

It’s dedicated to Inari, the god of commercial prosperity and a bountiful crop. Fushimi Inari Taisha, Japan’s most important shrine, heads all of the country’s Inari shrines.

One of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations is the Fushimi Inari! A hiking experience in the elusive bamboo forest is accessible from here. Despite the high elevation, there are many cafés, tea shops, and noodle stores along the path.

On the way to Mt. Inari, a seemingly unending route of vivid orange torii gates creates a stunning scene that has become one of Japan’s most recognizable visuals.

Besides the 10,000 torii gates, Fushimi Inari has a lot to offer visitors. Tofukuji Temple and the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, which used to be a sake factory, are just a short walk away from the main temple.

You must see this 10,000-gate landmark, not simply because it’s popular but because it’s a stunning sight in its own right. Take many pictures to remember the wonderful time you spent in this place.

Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

Kaiseki Meal

Kaiseki Meal, Kyoto, Japan
Kaiseki Meal is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

People in Kyoto enjoy their city’s traditional food, which is a treat for tourists. Who wouldn’t want to eat these foods with lovely utensils?

Kaiseki is a multi-course Japanese meal. This one has just been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list as an essential cultural experience in Japan.

Every visitor will be charmed by the appealing presentation of the ingredients. To taste Kyoto’s local cuisine, try this dish, which uses ingredients that are in season.

Many different ingredients go into making the meal. There are five distinct preparation methods, five distinct flavors, five distinct colors, and several seasonal variations.

A kaiseki meal is a special occasion meal served in style. There is no other way to describe it than Japanese haute cuisine.

An austere Kaiseki is said to have been introduced as early as the 16th century by Sen-no-Rikyu, the tea master.

Visiting Kyoto isn’t complete if you don’t eat one of the city’s most beautiful delicacies. Try this one out since you’ll miss it when you return home.

Address: Kyoto, Japan

Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkakuji Temple , Kyoto Japan
Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto, Japan / Ray in Manila / Flickr

This magnificent edifice will leave you speechless. Gold-plated walls and a stunning landscape make this temple a sight to see. It’s impossible to put into words how gorgeous this site is.

As its name suggests, it is a gold pavilion. It is a two-story temple with a gold leaf covering the outside. It’s even more spectacular when reflected in the Mirror Pond’s water. 

The temple grounds, located at the foot of Kinugasa Hill, are lush and serene, making them ideal for quiet contemplation.

The Golden Pavilion is attracting a lot of visitors. From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., the temple is open. To avoid the crowds, arrive early, ideally well before the time it opens.

Entering the Chumon Gate in Kinkakuji, a path surrounded by pine and maple trees awaits. The temple has Shinden and Bukke samurai-style buildings from the Heian Period and more recent examples of these styles. The Chinese Zen Hall may also be found here.

Just taking a stroll around the stunning Golden Pavillion highlights every trip to Kyoto. Visit the temple for yourself and take in its splendor; it truly is a sight to behold.

Address: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple , Kyoto Japan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto Japan / sergejf / Flickr

The iconic wooden temple, surrounded by cherry blossoms, will provide the most romantic and gorgeous ambiance.

In the temple’s main hall, which is composed of wood, no one piece of metal serves as a support.

This temple is one of Japan’s most famous. Its name Kiyomizudera is taken from the waterfall, which means “Pure Water. Otowa Waterfall, located in the forested hills east of Kyoto, was the location of its first foundation in the year 780.

In 1994, the temple was included in UNESCO’s world-historic monuments list. It wasn’t until 1965 that the Hosso sect was linked to the shrine. 

The temple is a wooden structure that rises 13 meters above the surrounding landscape. Among the cherry blossoms and maple trees is a lovely spectacle for the traveler. 

Kiyomizudera’s main hall has a shrine dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking, Jishu Shrine, located beyond it. There are two stones, 18 meters apart, outside the shrine.

You must travel there to find the sanctuary of love and matchmaking hidden beyond this temple. When locating the two secret stones, you can create a wish for your passion.

Address: 1 Chome-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

Kodaiji Garden

Kodaiji Garden, Kyoto, Japan
Kodaiji Garden is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

The tranquil and serene surroundings. The attraction, with lots of natural vegetation, provides you with a breath of fresh air and a place to rest and unwind.

Discover the majesty and significance of nature in this traditional Japanese garden. Explore historic buildings, stroll through bamboo forests, and sip tea in tea houses away from the throngs of tourists that descend on Kyoto’s most famous attractions.

While Kodaiji isn’t as well-known as other Kyoto sights, it’s undeniably gorgeous and worthwhile to explore.

An essential part of Japan’s political unification and the end of the turbulent Sengoku era was to honor Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s position as a legendary feudal lord and statesman in constructing Kodai-Ji in 1606.

These pink blooms and tree-framed views of Daiun-in Temple and its distinctive Gionkaku tower will enchant your eyes as you go around this site.

Bring your family, especially if you’re coming with your elderly relatives. They will likely enjoy this location because of the tranquility provided by the lush greenery.

Address: 526 Shimokawaracho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0825, Japan

Kyoto Tea Ceremony

Kyoto Tea Ceremony, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto Tea Ceremony is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

Do you want to know what it’s like to be Japanese? Isn’t it incredible that you may wear Kimono, traditional Japanese clothing? As if you were transported back in time, this tea ceremony will make you feel like you’re in the middle of an epic.

The Japanese Tea Ceremony or Way of Tea is practiced in Japan to prepare and savor matcha.

Visitors are welcome in this tradition. Kimono rentals are available for those who want to truly immerse themselves in the Japanese tea culture. Additionally, the ceremony will be conducted by members of the community.

While traditional tea ceremonies might run for hours, they are now more commonly held in a tea shop or tatami room. They can be kept to a more manageable length.

Aside from renting a Kimono, the visitor is advised to sit kneeling with their rear resting on their feet. Before you sip the tea, you must spin it around to the correct angle.

This ceremony is a must-do in Kyoto because of its historical significance and popularity. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any traveler in Japan to witness this.

Address: Kyoto, Japan


Ninenzaka , Kyoto Japan
Ninenzaka, Kyoto Japan / Terence Lim / Flickr

This place believes that if a couple wants a healthy kid and safe birth, this is the place to go. If you’d like to learn more about it, come see it!

Visiting Ninenzaka’s historical landmarks and antique shops is well worth the time. In Higashiyama, a paved pedestrian path is known as a “two-year hill.”

Tourists go to this area of Kyoto to get a glimpse of what life was like in Kyoto before the presence of Western and contemporary influences.

Just walk down the street to understand the country’s culture. There are a lot of stores to see, despite the crowds.

Additionally, there are a few potteries in the area. You should buy a pot here if you’re interested in the subject. The people here are kind and welcoming; if you buy a lot, they’ll be happy to give you discounts.

There are a variety of eateries and cafés along the street. You should give it a whirl since a very Japanese ambiance greets you.

Because of the street lights, this is a must-see attraction at night. It’s like if you’re in a telenovela while strolling around in search of some treats.

Address: Kyoto, Japan

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Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle , Kyoto Japan
Nijo Castle, Kyoto Japan / Alper Çuğun / Flickr

With its breathtaking scenery, this Kyoto castle is worth visiting for more than simply its historical significance.

Kyoto tourists go to this castle for a variety of reasons. Nijo Castle is home to the 17 Kyoto Historical Monuments, which you may observe as you walk around. UNESCO also recognized the ancient ruins at this site as a World Heritage Site.

In the year 1603, Nijo Castle was constructed during the Edo Period. It was the home of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which lasted from 1603 to 1867, when it was abolished.

Rather than a traditional palace, the castle appears to be a shrine. It is for this reason that they construct the distinctive design during peacetime. 

If you go, make sure to arrive before 3 p.m., because it will close at 4 p.m. A supplementary charge is also required to enter the palace.

Inside the Nijo Castle, you can witness the exquisite palace apartments, old walls, and picture-perfect gardens. This is also one of the reasons why you should go.

Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8301, Japan

Ninja Museum

Ninja Museum, Kyoto, Japan
Ninja Museum is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

Become a Ninja by dressing like one and fighting like one! It’s safe to say that both children and adults will have a blast at the Ninja Museum.

You may learn about the ninja’s place in Japanese history in this museum. During a conflict, you’ll be able to see what weapons and tools they have at their disposal.

Everyone who comes to this museum will have a great time participating in the workshops and learning how to dress like a ninja from the museum personnel.

Also known as the “Fukiya,” is the blowgun, a tool that may be used for various purposes. It’s a game dart, except you’ll blow it instead of launching it. You and your pals may play competitive games in the museum once you’ve mastered the basics.

In addition, there is a Samurai-themed performance. Samurai masters will be on display for all to see. Additionally, they want to stage a dance performance in the style of a Samurai battle.

The Ninja Museum is a fun place for people of all ages. If you plan on attending, bring the entire family.

Address: Japan, 〒604-8043 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Higashidaimonjicho, 292Utanokoji-bldg

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market , Kyoto , Japan
Nishiki Market , Kyoto , Japan / Olivier Bruchez / Flickr

Sushi eateries known for their quality may be found in this area. Who wouldn’t want to sample some of Japan’s most famous sushi while on vacation?

The town’s most well-regarded market! This is a great spot to sample some of the town’s cuisine during the rainy season.

“Kyoto’s pantry” is a common phrase used to describe Nishiki Market, known for its large selection of local products and delicacies. Located one block north of Shijo, between Teramachi and Shinmachi, Nishiki Market is Kyoto’s largest traditional food market.

Though many contemporary stores are moving in, a few historic shops still provide a peek at what an old-fashioned retail strip looks like.

A few sit-down restaurants nestled in amid the merchants provide takeout meals like skewers of yakitori or sushi. As long as you can read Japanese, whale meat may be found for sale at some market stalls.

This market caters to those who enjoy eating since there are more than 600 delicacies.

The tiny octopus with fried egg is a must-have. One of the most well-regarded foods on the market is this!

Address: 609番地 Nishidaimonjicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8054, Japan

Ryoanji Zen Garden

Ryoanji Zen Garden, Kyoto, Japan
Ryoanji Zen Garden is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

The Rock Temple Garden, one of the area’s most well-known attractions, offers a tranquil setting that will drive you to spend as much time there as possible.

It is one of Kyoto’s most renowned gardens. As a result of its popularity, the moniker “Japanese rock gardens” has become a popular buzzword worldwide. Ryoanji Temple Garden Rock is the name given to it.

Traditional architecture is evident in the garden’s design. The white sand is strewn across a granite structure inside. In addition, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

‘Temple of the Dragon at Peace’ is the literal meaning of Ryoanji’s name. During the 1970s, Queen Elizabeth visited this garden, making it a more prominent tourist attraction. 

As a result of the garden’s popularity, it has been the subject of several articles and publications and numerous photographs that have been shared on social media. Also, musician John Cage has inspired some music to be made with the garden’s stunning views.

In the rear yard, there’s an old water basin. It’s a must-see when you visit this renowned garden. A trip to Kyoto is more than worthwhile just by taking in the park’s sights.

Address: 13 Ryoanji Goryonoshitacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8001, Japan

Street of Pontocho

Street of Pontocho , Kyoto Japan
Street of Pontocho, Kyoto Japan / shankar s. / Flickr

This street will undoubtedly provide you with various Bars and Restaurants to choose from for people who appreciate having fun and having a good time.

Concerning dining, Pontocho offers some of the most memorable settings. Shijo-Dori to Sanjo-Dori is a tiny street, one block west of Kamogawa River.

The Pontocho was formerly a popular marketplace for Osakan merchants to sell their items.

This street is home to various eateries, from high-end establishments to more approachable joints.

Restaurants of all kinds may be found in Kyoto, from cheap yakitori to high-end establishments that need unique connections and a lot of money to dine at.

Several pubs and restaurants line the Street, which is also home to Japan’s largest geisha district.

The finest nightlife in Kyoto can be found here, so check it out on your visit. Sports bars in the city are great places to hang out with friends and maybe even meet new ones.

Address: Kyoto, Japan

Teramachi and Shinkyogoku

Teramachi and Shinkyogoku, Kyoto, Japan
Teramachi and Shinkyogoku is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

Interested in visiting some vintage stores? Thanks to its retro-Japanese vibes, you may also get an Instagram-worthy shot on this street.

One of Kyoto’s most popular shopping sites, these two covered arcades are always full of schoolchildren.

The bulk of Kyoto’s traditional shopping takes place on these two streets. Almost every gaudy souvenir may be found on Shinkyogoku, Tokyo’s easternmost street.

There are several retail establishments in the vicinity of these locations. Art galleries, booksellers, and retail boutiques are among the offerings. Shops offering religious items like incense, Buddha statues, and prayer beads are also available.

Since the 16th century, the stores in this area have been open for business. As a result, this area is highly well-liked and serves as Kyoto’s primary shopping district.

Kyoto’s two most popular retail districts are a must-see for any shopper. Visit this location if you’re seeking souvenirs and low-cost goods! Also, various antiques can be found here.

Address: Kyoto, Japan

The Ginkakuji and the Philosopher’s Path

The Ginkakuji and the Philosopher's Path, Kyoto, Japan
The Ginkakuji and the Philosopher’s Path is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

Get a glimpse of these stunning trees; the best time to go is during the Sakura season. The walkway is adorned with pink Sakura, making it a beautiful sight.

Ginkakuji, a Zen temple in Kyoto’s eastern suburbs, is known as the “Silver Pavilion.”

The Kinkakuji inspired Ashikaga Yoshimasa’s retirement residence in Kyoto. After Yoshimasa died in 1490, the mansion became a Zen temple.

Between Nanzenji and Ginkakuji temples, the Philosopher’s Path is a lovely stroll through cherry blossom-lined paths and along the stream.

Walking along the Lake Biwa Canal, also known as Tetsugaku no Michi, in Kyoto’s Northern Higashiyama area, you’ll be surrounded by lovely natural scenery.

In this area, you’ll be able to see various Japanese shrines and temples as you make your way around the neighborhood. Other alternatives include lovely eateries and comfortable cafés.

Visiting this place is a must-do activity. While it’s impossible to predict, you never know when your fiancee will accept your proposal amid the cherry blossoms and say “yes.” It’s also great to feel like you’ve finally arrived in Japan.

Address: 2 Ginkakujicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8402, Japan

The Mame Shiba Cafe

The Mame Shiba Cafe, Kyoto, Japan
The Mame Shiba Cafe is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

It’s a novel way to spend time at your cafe while getting to know a local pet and its tranquil surroundings! To put it mildly, it’s cute.

In Japan, there are many Animal Cafes. However, Kyoto is the most famous tourist destination for this type of establishment.

A popular Kyoto animal café in the city is Mame Shiba Cafe. As in the movie and the true story of Hachiko, this dog breed is descended from the standard Shiba Inu and contains small Shiba Inus.

The cafe’s pets are friendly and won’t bite you. Additionally, the mugs used to serve your coffee are decorated with various animals.

The café has two floors. Each floor contains four dogs. When they see you enter the café, they’ll come running to give you a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

That isn’t all, either! They’ve got the most fantastic coffee shop in town, and you’ll be desperate for a cup of coffee. 

This experience is a must-go for animal lovers who like a good cup of coffee. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to form a close relationship with some furry friends.

Address: 548-1 Nakanocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8042, Japan

The Samurai and Ninja Museum

The Samurai and Ninja Museum , Kyoto Japan
The Samurai and Ninja Museum, Kyoto Japan / Maikoya Kyoto / Flickr

Even better, if you’re on vacation with your children, they’ll love being here! Visitors to the museum will see ninjas and Samurai with real-world experience up and personal.

Many fascinating artifacts from Japan’s past may be found in this museum. The museum displays artifacts from Japan’s medieval period. It features the Samurai’s armor and weaponry.

This museum displays the Ninja’s tools and weapons. Every weapon has a list of its hidden components and a description of its accomplishments.

Many original articles are on show in the museum, accessible to the general public.

The museum where Japan’s Edo Period displays huge armor over three centuries. This is an incredible opportunity to witness these armors in person.

For the most part, museums would rather keep such relics concealed behind glass, where they might be admired only by a select few. There are no such limitations at the Museum of Samurai and Ninjas in Kyoto.

This is an excellent spot for both children and adults. Training courses using armor and weaponry are also available, allowing tourists to get a firsthand look at how the Samurai and Ninjas fought. An unforgettable experience awaits.

Address: Japan, 〒604-8043 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Higashidaimonjicho, 292Utanokoji-bldg

Yasaka Pagoda

Yasaka Pagoda, Kyoto, Japan
Yasaka Pagoda is one of the best places to go in Kyoto, Japan

Who wouldn’t want to see the cherry blossoms from the most excellent vantage point at night? These fantastic views may be had from this historical park in the city.

The Nishiromon Gate, a lovely crimson gate, greets you as you enter. The main hall, known as Gion Zukuri, was created in 1654 using a unique building method.

Yasaka Temple is the most visited shrine in Kyoto because of its reputation for warding off bad luck.

According to mythology, crawling under the large stone will forever ward off ill luck. The Yasaka Pagoda, which is located adjacent to Ninenzaka, is the most popular venue for wedding photography in Kyoto.

This temple is also home to Marayuma Park, which provides the most fabulous view of the cherry blossoms.

Among the park’s many features are a Japanese-style strolling garden with a central pond and various plants.

This is the spot to go if you want a picture-perfect vista and cherry blossom backdrop. It is said that visiting the site would help you to avert bad luck in the future.

Address: Japan, 〒605-0862 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 清水八坂上町388

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