There are many good reasons to visit Kyoto – colourful shrines, maiko and geisha culture, and the multi-course kaiseki ryori meals are top of the list for many. But if you’re still hovering over the Book Now button, we’ve plenty more reasons why the ancient capital of Japan should be on your travel bucket list.
A trip to Kyoto is included as part of our carefully planned 12-day tour of Japan. Led by a local insider, you’ll get expert insight into Kyoto’s attractions and everywhere beyond.
Tour more than 1,600 Buddhist temples
Kyoto is home to more than 1,600 historic Buddhist temples with many dating back more than a millennium. The most famous temple district is Higashiyama, where you can find some of the best and oldest temples in Japan such as the celebrated Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
Visit more than 400 colourful shrines
Kyoto is home to more than 400 colourful shrines dedicated to the ancient religion of Japan. Some of the most famous include Fushimi Inari Taisha, Heian Jingu and Yasaka Jinja.
See the large collection of World Heritage Sites
Kyoto has one of the largest collections of Unesco World Heritage Sites on the plant, which includes 12 Buddhist temples, three Shinto shrines and one historic castle. No trip to Kyoto is complete, without visiting at least some of these amazing sites.
Stroll through sublime gardens
Take a stroll in one of the many gorgeous gardens in Kyoto, designed to be enjoyed as recreation by feudal lords and samurai shoguns. There are many places around Kyoto to enjoy these peaceful gardens from temples and shrines to public parks and ryokan (traditional inns).
Relax in tranquil Zen gardens
Relax and contemplate the world at one of the dry stone Zen gardens in Kyoto. One of the best and most famous is the Zen Garden at Ryoan-ji Temple, which features 15 mystical rocks floating in a sea of pure white sand.
See the birthplace of geisha and maiko culture
Kyoto is the birthplace of maiko and geisha (geiko in the local dialect) culture with the Gion district its spiritual home. The wooden teahouses and traditional restaurants of well preserved areas such as Hanami-koji Street and Pontocho offer the best chance to spot a geisha elegantly scurrying to their next appointment.
Stay in traditional ‘ryokan’ and ‘machiya’
Kyoto is home to many ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and machiya (traditional Kyoto townhouses) that offer a glimpse into old Kyoto. They are a fantastic place to stay to experience authentic Japanese accommodation and lifestyle.
Sample Kyoto cuisine
Kyoto has a rich and historic food tradition with various culinary styles that have been around for centuries. Enjoy the luxury of carefully prepared multi-course kaiseki ryori meals, or simply relax and reap the health benefits of shojin Buddhist cuisine.
Try matcha-flavoured goodies
If you are a green tea lover, then you will be in matcha heaven in Kyoto. Matcha goodies can be found everywhere and include treats such as as ice cream, chocolate, cookies, cream puffs, cakes and traditional yatsuhashi confectionary.
Drink traditional sake
Sake has been made in Kyoto since the 16th century with the Fushimi area home to many of the most famous sake breweries in Japan. Most places offer a chance to sample some of their finest with a great variety of tastes available.
We all love cute monkeys and the Arashiyama Monkey Park is home to around 130 wild monkeys. The park aims to replicate the wild habitat of the monkeys, so the adorable creatures roam free and hang out with the tourists who visit the park.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.