Kyoto Travel Guide

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Part of southern Japan and neighbor to Osaka, Kobe and Nara. The old capital and popular among tourists for its beautiful environment and all its temples & shrines. If you plan to travel around Japan and live in Tokyo during part of the trip, most people recommend living in Kyoto instead of Osaka as Osaka is far too similar to Tokyo with its big city while Kyoto is anything but a big city.

Philosopher’s Path

The philosopher’s path in Kyoto – a quiet hike with the opportunity to enjoy a nice walk in perfect nature.

The trail begins at Ginkaku-ji and runs along a canal in pleasant surroundings – surrounded by shrines, temples, small local shops and cherry trees. Those who visit the trail in April can expect a unique experience as hundreds of cherry trees bloom.

The walk is 2 kilometers long, takes about 30 minutes to walk and takes you to a beautiful temple called Eikando. Once in Eikando, you will find buses back to central Kyoto for those who feel ready. By the way, there are more temples to visit since Higashiyama is full of shrines and temples.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

233 meters above sea level you’ll find the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. A must on your trip! The Shrin is popular because of all its “Senbon Torii”, or rather its nearly 5,000 Senbon Torii. This shrine is one of Japan’s most popular destinations for influencers as well as for those looking for a unique holiday image.

Each post is covered with the name along with a message to honor the company that donated the post to the shrine.

Unfortunately, there are usually a lot of people in and around the shrine. However, the secret is simple, you just need to be a little quick. The higher up in the mountain you go, the less people and better photo opportunities. A couple of minutes walk is enough to escape the crowds.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is a narrow market that runs through 5 blocks with over 100 shops, stalls and restaurants. The area is known as “Kyoto’s kitchen” with its lively environment and unique food. Here you will find all Kyoto specialties.

In the market you will find a unique knife shop where the knives are engraved with the desired text with purchases. The store is run by a family and has been in the family for over 400 years. You will not find finer knives than these at home.

The market runs along Shijo Avenue and you will find the market one street inside the main street. It’s easy to find as entrance as the market is only a couple of minutes walk from Shijo Station (Karasuma Subway Line). It costs nothing to walk around and the market is usually open between 09:00 – 18:00.

Yasaka Pagoda

Yasaka Street is clearly Kyoto’s best photo location, but be in a time as the area attracts a lot of tourists. As previously mentioned, the area attracts a lot of tourists due to its well-preserved and charming streets. The main street moves from Ninen-zaka to Sannen-zaka.

In addition to its beautiful streets, the area also consists of Yasaka-no-to Pagoda, also known as Hokanji Temple. The pagoda was built in 592 and is the oldest in Kyoto. Tourists are welcome to enter the building, but only to the second floor. Open 10:00 – 16:00 and costs about 400 JPY in admission.

The area is 10 minutes per foot from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station and Gion-Shijo Station but can be easily reached by bus number 100 and 206 for those who can’t bother to walk.

Kamo River

Also known as the Kamogawa River, is an iconic river in central Kyoto. Along the river you will find several restaurants on pillars overlooking the river. During the summer, you have the opportunity to enjoy your food on the terraces, which is called Kawadoko – a tradition in the area.


The Kiyomizu-dera Temple was completed in 780 and was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1994. Expect a world-class view. The name means Pure Water Temple and attracts crowds of tourists daily to all its sights. Behind Kiyomizudera Main Hall you will find the Jishu Shrine.

If you walk further, you will find Otowa Waterfall at the bottom of Kiyomizudera’s main hall. The waterfall’s water is divided into three separate pillars and allows tourists to drink its water with the help of longer ladles. The water from the three pillars must have different properties. happiness in love, progress in school and longer life. Unfortunately, it is considered greedy to drink from all three. Do not expect a real waterfall because the water from the waterfall is divided into its three pillars out of sight.

The temple also offers a bell tower, a three-story pagoda, popular Butai and much more. A fantastic temple to visit up in the mountains.

The temple can be reached by buses 100 and 206 from Kyoto Station. Jump off on either Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi then continue for 10 minutes per foot. Alternatively, get off at Kiyomizu-Gojo Station along the Keihan Railway Line and walk 20 minutes up to the temple.

Kyoto Railway Museum

A 20-minute walk from Kyoto Station takes you to the Kyoto Railway Museum, in the old premises of the Umekoji Train and Locomotive Museum. The museum opened its doors to the public in April 2016 and has since attracted train fans from all over the world to its pleasant exhibition.

The hall houses 53 trains of various kinds, old and new on its entire 30,000 square meters of exhibition space.

Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of the city’s most visited places. Here you walk around among thousands of bamboo trees and cozy little loops.

Note, however, that it is crowded with people at certain times, which can make the park feel a bit overrated. Try to be out in good time for the perfect holiday image before all the tourists arrive!

Imperial Palace

Kyōto Gosho was home to the royal family until 1868 when the country moved its capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. The palace is located in the beautiful Kyoto Imperial Park, Kyōto Gyoen.

The Imperial Palace is easily accessible from Kyoto Station via the Karasuma Subway. Get off at either Marutamachi or Imadegawa Station. Note that Imadegawa is closer to the main entrance than Marutamachi, but only with a few minutes difference.

Nijo Castle

‘Nijōjō’ was built in 1603 and was home to Tokugawa Leyasu, the first shogun during the Edo period. The area is divided into 3 areas, Honmaru, Nnomaru and the large garden.

The entrance is just a couple of minutes walk from Nijojo-mae Station via the Tozai Subway Line. You can easily get here from Kyoto Station. Take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and change to Tozai Line. Then get off at Nijojo-mae Station. The whole trip takes no more than 15 minutes and costs about 260 yen.


Higashiyama District is the perfect destination for those who want to experience the older Japanese environment and buildings. A traditional and historical area, especially between Kiyomizudera and Yasaka Shrine. You will find more about these higher up on the page.

The area is crowded with small cozy shops, restaurants and cafes. Here you’ll find, among other things, Kiyomizudera Temple, Kodaiji temple, Yasaka Pagoda, Yasaka Shrine and beautiful Maruyama Park.

Busses goes all the way to the top, but for the ones who want to walk, a walk from the bottom up to Kiyomizudera Temple is highly recommended.


Ginkaku-ji, also known as The Silver Pavilion, is a Zen temple in Higashiyama. The area consists of a beautiful moss garden, lots of older buildings temples and a unique sand garden.

Ginkakuji can be reached by bus number 6, 17 and 100 from Kyoto Station. The journey takes about 35 minutes and costs no more than 230 yen. Ginkakuji can also be reached by foot through the Philosopher’s path from Nanzenji.

Fushimi Sake District

The traditional and charming Sake district is located along the Horikawa River in southern Kyoto. The area is home to more than 40 breweries and many offer tastings of various types.

Take the opportunity to take a trip along the canal in one of all the small wooden boats for a complete sake experience.


Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto similar to Ginkakuji, but on the other side of town. A beautiful park and a large temple area that is recommended to visit. Do not miss the beautiful Sekkatei Teahouse, a small tea garden in the park.


Known from social media and a very unique experience that is highly recommended. Dine at Kibune waterfall and Kibune Shrine with the one you love and enjoy a real Kawadoko dining experience. Perfect for couples and those who want to be able to show a picture from the restaurant and brag when they get home. Guaranteed something that not everyone has experienced!

Note that the restaurant only serves Kawadoko between June and September. In addition to its unique restaurant, the area consists of a lot of sights, ryokan and temples.



Saihoji, also known as Kokedera and Saihōji is one of Kyoto’s world heritage sites. A reservation well in advance is required to even enter the park. Make sure to book well in advance.

The park consists of over 120 different types of moss along all the park’s rest areas and paths.

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En kvinna och en man står och tittar på ett stort frågetecken.

You do not have to worry about holding on to your valuables or walking around with large sums of cash. The Japanese are a very loyal and well-educated people with very few thieves. Seeing younger children ride the subway home from school alone is not an unusual sight to see in Japan. Of course, there are jerks everywhere, but Japan has very few of them.

Buy a JR Pass if you plan on going to other cities. If you only plan to stay in Kyoto, you will manage well with paying for your transport at a time. But most visitors take a week in Tokyo and then move on to Kyoto, Osaka and other popular cities. These routes are quite expensive without a JR Pass. Nalatrip is an official reseller of these train passes. Buy your Japan Rail Pass now!

The metro is well-functioning and cheap – a recommended means of transport. Tickets are purchased very easily through a machine on site before entering or via a pre-charged Suica card. Many are even covered by your JR Pass.

The Suica card – a fantastic IC card that can be pre-loaded with money to easily flip beverage machines, the subway and other machines for a cash-free and fast payment. Alternatives to the card are Icoca Card & Pasmo Card.

Taxis are everywhere, but are quite expensive. The subway is so functional that Taxi is not needed.

The city has lots of beautiful parks and offer good food every where. Take it easy, enjoy your visit to Japan.

Kyoto does not have its own airport. The closest are Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Osaka International Airport (Itami, ITM). As a foreign traveler, the chances are very high that you will land on Kansai. ITM mostly handles domestic flights and is the airport you visit if you plan to travel on to, for example, Okinawa.

From here, several trains go to Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka and Shin-Osaka. If you travel with a JR pass, you visit the airport’s JR counter and book a train ticket to Osaka. Once in Osaka, it is easy to get around the city by subway.

Double check with the staff at JR’s information desk regarding which train best suits your final destination.

Japan uses the Japanese Yen – JPY.

We recommend a small change before the trip at Forex or another currency exchange to be able to pay for any transport from the airport, food and drinks on site.

Secure ATMs for cash withdrawals are available around the city. You do not have to worry about walking around with larger sums of cash as the country is very safe.

7-eleven usually have a very good exchange rate. We therefore recommend that you only bring a small amount and withdraw more cash on the spot.

Do not change at the Airport. Visit a bank or 7-eleven in town.

Tips are not appreciated by the staff and can sometimes be considered offensive.

If you want to tip, in that case ask the staff before if it’s okay. Most likely you will get a no, as tips are not part of their everyday life.


Japan uses socket A, adapter might be required.


Check the status of your country here.


Japan is in the timezone GMT+9. Expect jetlag.

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