Kyoto - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


Japan's cultural and spiritual capital.

About Kyoto
Kyoto was the capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, and the city is still home to what most of us think of as classical Japanese: zen gardens, temples, tea ceremonies, and geisha. Kyoto is a very manageable city to explore by foot as the streets run perpendicular to one another.

Temples, gardens and geisha​​​
With more than 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines and a wealth of UNESCO-protected buildings and works of art, Kyoto is one of the world's largest cultural treasures. Some of the highlights are the Golden Pavilion, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of vermillion gates. Other unique places are the lively street market Nishiki, the old samurai fortress Nijo Castle and the Imperial Palace, where free guided tours in English are available most days. Some of the finest Zen gardens can be found in the Daitoku-ji, Nanzen-ji and Silver Pavilion temples. In the evening, visit the Gion neighborhood. In Hanamikoji Street, you might be lucky enough to catch a fleeting glimpse of a geisha on her way to work, and the whole area is full of small backstreets with excellent restaurants. The Arashiyama area of western Kyoto is famous for its beautiful bamboo forests and fine temples. Japan's first capital, Nara, is a 45-minute train ride away, and holds huge cultural treasures. If you are interested in art or architecture, the Miho Museum is a must. It is designed by the famous architect I.M. Pei and is built halfway into a mountain in harmony with nature. It is located one-and-a-half hours by train and bus southeast of Kyoto.

Other attractions in Kyoto
Read more about Kyoto and the many sights in each district on our website.

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