It’s Jessica of Bon Traveler right here and I’m excited to share a three-day itinerary to Kyoto. In the case of Japan, there isn’t a vacation spot fairly like Kyoto. Having been thrice, I discover myself falling extra in love with every go to.
One thing about its historic previous, the preservation of arts, and pure magnificence set it aside from different cities. Although it’s an expansive metropolis, it’s fairly completely different from Tokyo and Osaka, two others continuously visited in Japan.
The slower tempo in Kyoto offers you an opportunity to immerse your self in conventional Japanese tradition.
Close by, pure landscapes like Arashiyama are alternatives to get open air. And naturally, you’ll be able to’t overlook the temples, 1,600 of them to be precise. It’s the final word place to go to on any journey to Japan.
Able to discover Kyoto? Right here’s my final three-day itinerary to town!
Finest Time to Go
For the reason that climate is fairly temperate in Kyoto, it may be a great year-round vacation spot. Every season ranges in temperature however nothing too excessive. The summer season months of June-August are hotter and extra humid and the winter months of December-February are colder.
The perfect time to go to for me can be within the fall months to catch autumn colours or spring for the cherry blossom festivals. Within the fall, the maple timber gentle up in shiny pops of oranges and reds, making it extremely scenic. After all, these delicate pink cherry blossoms within the early spring is an iconic expertise for Japan as properly.
The place to Keep
My private desire for Kyoto is to be near the Gion District or close to Nishiki Market. The central location for each of those means quick access to close by sights.
One journey tip can be to ebook lodging close to a metro station as you’ll typically use the native metro to get out to the temples and experiences.
One nice resort within the Gion District is the Kyoto Granbell Hotel. On the final journey, I stayed a bit additional north however conveniently close to a metro cease on the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. It’s a splurge keep however price each penny.
Airbnb can also be an unimaginable method to expertise native houses in Kyoto. I typically mix an Airbnb stick with a resort keep when touring right here.
Your First Night
On arrival, I’d recommend making the scenic walk alongside the Kamo River near Gion-Shijo station. At night, the buildings light up and reflect across the river.
If you catch the sunset here, it’s even more scenic.
Adjacent to the river is the wonderful Pontocho Alley. A tight alley filled with endless restaurants and bars where there is something for everyone. I like to walk through the alley (the atmosphere is lively!) and head to my favorite gyoza restaurant, Chao Chao Sanjo Kiyamichi.
They serve traditional thin skin gyoza made extra crispy, stuffed with an assortment of meats and cheese.
Day 1: Explore Arashiyama + Philospher’s Path
If there’s one expert tip for making the most of Kyoto, it’s getting up early. Beating the crowds can be challenging but waking up for an early morning is a sure bet. Head straight out to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (reachable by metro or taxi) to have it to yourself. I usually show up at sunrise and love how quiet it is with just a few locals running through.
Tip: Walk to the end of the grove where the split is and look back for an incredible photo.
Nearby, as you wait for the famed % Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama to open up for coffee (daily at 8 am), take a beautiful walk along Katsura River. The morning light here is beautiful for photography and the traditional wooden boats are incredible.
Lunch + Afternoon Walk to a Quiet Temple
As you’ll already be on the outskirts of town, I find it worth heading across to one of the other furthest experiences across town. Take the metro across and consider a taxi to get to where the Philosopher’s Path is.
Tip: If the metro option is too long, Uber is a convenient and affordable way of getting across Kyoto.
You can grab lunch at a traditional udon restaurant called Omen to fuel up for the day — don’t forget to slurp your noodles! Just outside of the restaurant is the start of the scenic path that follows a riverfront. In season, the cherry blossoms here are famous. Along the way, small boutiques and ice cream shops are there.
Just another 10-minute walk up the hill is a favorite place to beat the crowds.
Hōnen-in Temple is a moss-covered temple that sits perched up on the hillside. In the late afternoon, you’ll find you often have it to yourself.
Day 2: Local Goods + Flavors of Kyoto
Start the day by heading over to Here Café for a beautiful space and a slow breakfast. Their coffee bar has a wonderful selection of drinks as well. Traditional Japanese breakfast often can be more savory than sweet, but Here Café has some great sweet pastries as well.
Tip: Kyoto has a wonderful selection of local coffee shops. Here are 7 not to miss.
Discover the Market + Store Native
One factor distinctive to Kyoto is the plethora of artisanal items made domestically. One spot to get to see a variety is at Nishiki Market. This market corridor sells every thing possible and a great place to get a chew to eat from one of many many distributors. If you happen to like Takoyaki (fried dough balls stuff with octopus), the stands out there are an exquisite spot to attempt it.
For extra Japanese kitchenware and ceramics, you’ll be able to take a look at these 7 shops in Kyoto as well. Just a few are simply across the nook from the market and make for excellent presents to deliver dwelling.
A must-do thing in Kyoto is eating ramen. There are hundreds of styles of ramen and each chef has their own take on it. Hunting for new ramen in Kyoto has become a favorite experience and there are a few I love to recommend.
The first is the iconic chain Ippudo. You order from a ticketing vending machine and get seated behind a wall where magically your order appears. The ramen here is a great introduction.
One of the best local spots in Kyoto for fattier broth ramen is at Honke DaiichiAsahi near the train station. I’ve waited in the line for forty-five minutes before and it’s worth it. This is my favorite ramen spot in Kyoto after trying several locations.
For a more upscale and refined ramen experience, wait in line for Wajouryoumen Sugari. The line will move fast here, so just buy a ticket with your ramen preference and follow the line. The ramen here has a stronger fish broth than most but rich in taste.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Day 3: Sights + Temples
Morning at the Red Gates
Fushimi Inari Shrine features a path creates by traditional, bright red gates leading up the mountainside. This another amazing experience to do while in Kyoto and worth waking up early to have it less crowded. It’s one of my favorite photography locations in Kyoto alongside these.
Tip: Take the metro to Inari Station for fast entry to the trail.
Discover the Historic District of Sannenzaka
This can be one of the crucial scenic areas of Kyoto to see. These pedestrian streets are lined with conventional picket houses and buildings. The ambiance is great. You possibly can store for native items right here as properly and cease in for lunch at one of many many eating places.
Just a few favourite locations to see on this district embrace Kōdaiji Temple, the wired good retailer Kanaamitsuji, dessert at Rakushō, and Nineizaka road.
Afternoon With a View
To end the day, head up to the Kiyomizu-dera temple. Later in the afternoon, the crowds tend to be milder. As you climb up, you have expansive views over the city. If the timing is right, you can catch the sunset here as well. This temple is one of the most impressive in Kyoto.
Tip: Be sure to check opening hours as the times vary depending on the time of year.
Afterward, there are many options for dinner nearby or reference this list for the 20 best restaurants.
Total Kyoto is a superb vacation spot for an itinerary in Japan. The normal structure, a plethora of sights to see, and a deep sense of historical past make it really distinctive. You possibly can simply spend every week right here and never see all of it.
Try this ultimate guide to Kyoto to see extra issues to do within the metropolis.