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Things to do in Kyoto
Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan, is a city steeped in rich history and tradition. It is a city of stunning temples, serene gardens, and delicious food. In this blog post, we will explore the best things to do in Kyoto, from exploring the city’s historical landmarks to immersing yourself in Japanese culture, indulging in its culinary scene, and experiencing its natural beauty.
Explore Kyoto’s Historical Landmarks
Many historical landmarks can be found in Kyoto, each with its own unique story and beauty. A must-visit landmark is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of bright orange torii gates that lead up the mountain. It is a spectacular sight, especially during sunrise or sunset when the light casts a warm glow on the torii gates.
Another landmark to visit is the Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features a stunning three-story pavilion covered in gold leaf. The temple is surrounded by a tranquil pond and beautiful gardens, making it a perfect spot to relax and soak in the beauty of Kyoto.
For a more serene experience, visit the Ryoan-ji Temple and its famous rock garden. The garden features fifteen rocks arranged in a specific pattern on a bed of white gravel, creating a calming and meditative atmosphere. Nijo Castle is another historical landmark that is worth visiting. It was built in the 17th century and served as the residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns during their visits to Kyoto.
Immerse Yourself in Japanese Culture: Kyoto
Kyoto is also an excellent destination to experience Japanese culture firsthand. A unique cultural activity to try is the traditional Japanese tea ceremony at Uji’s Taihoan. The ceremony involves the preparation and serving of matcha tea in a traditional tea room, and it is a chance to learn about the art of tea and the customs surrounding it.
Another way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture is by dressing up in a kimono and exploring the streets of Gion, Kyoto’s famous geisha district. There are a lot of rental shops in the area where you can rent a kimono and accessories for the day. It is a unique and memorable experience that allows you to feel like you have traveled back in time.
For a more peaceful experience, visit the Katsura Imperial Villa, a traditional Japanese garden that was once the residence of an Imperial Prince. The garden features beautiful ponds, stone lanterns, and perfectly manicured landscapes, making it a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Lastly, for those interested in learning about Japan history, the Kyoto National Museum is a must-visit destination. It features a vast collection of art and artifacts that showcase the cultural history of Japan, from ancient times to the present day.
Indulge in Kyoto’s Culinary Scene
Kyoto is famous for its cuisine, and there are many delicious dishes to try while visiting. One of the must-try dishes is tofu, and a great place to sample it is at Okutan. Okutan has been in business for over 200 years, and it is renowned for its tofu dishes, which are served in a variety of ways, including fried, grilled, and boiled.
For breakfast, head over to Yojiya Cafe, which serves traditional Japanese breakfast dishes such as rice porridge, miso soup, and grilled fish. The cafe is also famous for its skincare products made from locally sourced ingredients.
For a more luxurious dining experience, head over to Kikunoi, a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves Kyoto’s famous kaiseki cuisine. Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course meal that features fresh seasonal ingredients, and Kikunoi is known for its innovative and creative take on the classic cuisine.
And, lastly, don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth by visiting Nakamura Tokichi Honten, a tea house, and confectionary shop that specializes in matcha desserts. The shop is located in the heart of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district and is a perfect spot to unwind and indulge in some delicious treats.
Experience Kyoto’s Natural Beauty
Kyoto is not only known for its rich history and culture, but also for its natural beauty. One of the best ways to experience Kyoto’s natural beauty is by taking a stroll through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a serene and picturesque bamboo forest. The sound of the bamboo rustling in the wind creates a calming and peaceful atmosphere that is perfect for a relaxing walk.
For a breathtaking view of the city, head over to Kyoto Tower, where you can take an elevator to the observation deck on the 11th floor. The observation deck provides a stunning panoramic view of the city and is a great spot for photography.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful experience, visit the Kyoto Botanical Gardens, which features over 12,000 plant species and is a perfect spot for a peaceful stroll. It is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons.
Lastly, for those who love hiking, the Higashiyama mountains offer a scenic and challenging hiking experience. It is the perfect spot for nature lovers as it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding city and nature.
To put it in a nutshell, Kyoto is a city that can easily surprise everyone, from historical landmarks to cultural experiences, delicious cuisine, and natural beauty. It is a city that is rich in history and tradition and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese culture. We hope this blog post has inspired you to plan a trip to Kyoto and experience its many amazing activities for yourself. Don’t forget to pack your camera, since Kyoto will leave a lasting impression on you.