Kyoto is Japan’s cultural and imperial capital, home to the nation’s finest temples, gardens and shrines.
Built in 794AD, Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for over 1000 years and the emperor’s residence up till the 19th century. Located on Honshu Island in southern Japan, 17 of Kyoto’s attractions are currently listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site as the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
With over 1000 Buddhist temples and more than 400 Shinto shrines, Kyoto is everything we associate traditional Japan with – imperial palaces, pavillions, ryokans, geisha dances, tea ceremony and ramen.
Today, Kyoto is the country’s seventh largest city with a population of over 1.5 million. It is also Japan’s centre of culture which has developed and influenced landscape gardening, wooden architecture and religious architecture all over the world.
Have a wander around the famous Nishiki Market for fresh local food, walk through the Endless Shrine Gates at Fushimi-Inari Taisha or take a day trip to the beautiful Hikone Castle. Kyoto is best experienced during spring or autumn, when serene temples can be admired against a backdrop of cherry blossoms or autumn foliage.
Spend a night in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn that originated during the Edo period of which Kyoto is so famous for. Complete with futon bedding, tatami floor and sliding doors, staying a night in a ryokan will be a truly unique experience.
As one of the world’s most culturally rich cities, Kyoto should be at the top of every visitor’s itinerary to Japan. Don’t go home without some of Kyoto’s best souvenirs like ceramics, antiques, scrolls, tea-ceremony articles and a kimono.