Things to Do in Kyoto

Kyoto, full of tradition, culture and heritage, possesses 1200 years of captivating history in one beautiful location.

Kyoto, full of tradition, culture and heritage, possesses 1200 years of captivating history in one beautiful location. This imperial city is positioned as the spiritual center of Japanese Buddhism and offers more than what is possible to see in a lifetime.

Gion

While in Kyoto, do not miss the chance to walk through the cobbled lanes of Gion. You wouldn’t want to miss a chance to gaze at a beautiful geisha (“geiko”) and maiko walking by. While on your tour of the city, be sure to stop by the entertainment quarter near the ancient Yasaka Shrine, protected by its patron deities. Gion is also home to the locally known “flower and willow world” of the geisha for over three hundred years, making this part of the district’s preservation land. If you are visiting in the spring, make time to stop by Miyako Odori, the traditional spring dance festival held in the entertainment district. This festival dates back to 1872 in the Kaburenjo Theater where this remains the setting for this vibrant cultural tradition. From dance performances, to city festivals and Gion’s geisha world, Kyoto is a hidden gem.

Karesansui

Kyoto is a city of gardens, but the term broadens here to include the Zen gardens of Buddhism, a unique genre known as karensansui (“Mountains and waters without water”). These rock gardens provide a peaceful location for meditation, so if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, grab a rake and bask in the tranquility. To continue your spiritual journey, be sure to also visit “Ryoanji Temple,” the most famous temple with Karesansui garden in the world.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Dedicated to Inari, the god of grains and commerce (the foundation of the Japanese economy), this grand shrine is the spiritual center of more than thirty thousand Inari branch shrines across Japan. Walk through the famous torii gates lining footpaths through the grounds. You have never seen anything like it. Fushimi Inari Taisha attracts millions of visitors looking for a unique place to pray and seek blessings of good health and fortune.

Sakura & Momiji

The best months to visit Kyoto are in April and November when nature takes its most breathtaking course across the city. Between the cherry blossom trees (sakura) and the fiery, Japanese maples (Momiji), you don’t want to miss the vibrancy of this landscape. There are many seasonal excursions and celebration parties you don’t want to miss while taking in these surroundings.