1. Visit Kyoto and Enjoy Amazing Kyoto Tours

Visit Kyoto and Enjoy Amazing Kyoto Tours

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Yuichi Nagai

Yuichi Nagai

I am Nagai Yuichi ,CEO of S-fleage a company in Kyoto. We are spreading the charms of Kyoto to the world. I hope this article is helpful for your experience in Kyoto!

Kyoto is probably one of the most historic and alluring cities in Japan. Once its capital, the city attracts more than 50 million tourists each year, and it’s no wonder. There are so many places to visit and things to do here, that it may at first seem overwhelming. But there is no need to worry. The city welcomes its visitors with tons of exciting tours and places where you can enjoy rare and exotic experience. If you are looking to have that special experience in Kyoto, here we present you some of the post popular Kyoto tours and the deep spots that will surely fascinate you. Let us help you plan the perfect trip to enjoy thoroughly the ancient city that is Kyoto. It will be the one-and-only experience that will leave a lasting impression.

 

Get to know the Citykyoto tower

Kyoto is one of the most popular cities in Japan among tourists. It will help to have at least some basic knowledge about the city before you go. What’s the city like? How do you get there once arriving in Japan? Here is some basic information that you may find helpful.

The Ancient Capital

The city of Kyoto is considered to have once been the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, from 8th century to 19th century (it was only in 1869 when the capital, along with the Imperial Family, was moved to Tokyo). It is no wonder why the city boasts countless culturally and historically significant places and activities, which include the likes of Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Gion Festival. With the population of 1.5 million, it is one of the largest cities in the country, and one of the most renowned.

The city sits in the southern-central region, just about an hour’s drive to the east from Osaka (the third largest city in Japan). You can also take the train; the two cities are conveniently interconnected with several different lines. Those who are coming from abroad would benefit from arriving in Japan via Kansai International Airport. There are trains as well as buses that connect the two cities, which also takes about an hour. Kyoto is located 450 kilometers to the east of Tokyo, and it will take you approximately six hours driving, which is not be the optimal option. The bullet train, on the other hand, will only take you three hours.

Climate of Kyoto

Kyoto has a humid subtropical climate, and usually the weather poses no serious problem for most visitors. The temperature is moderate during spring and autumn. In the winter it can get quite cold, with the average low temperature of just above 1℃ in January, and there will be occasional snow. Its summer is infamous for being uncomfortably humid and hot (the highest on record is 39.8℃), as the city is located right in the Kyoto Basin. Also, know that the city faces typhoon seasons each year, from around late August up to October.

Utilize Buses and Trains

Means of transportation is abundant. If you are looking to go around the central part of the city, driving is almost never the best option. Use instead its sophisticated public transportation network. Bus lines include the Kyoto City Bus and Keihan Bus. Train lines include JR, Kintetsu, Keihan, Hankyu, and the Kyoto Subway. Most of these lines are connected at some point, which makes it very easy to transfer. There are numerous stops and stations all over the city, so no matter where your destination is, using the public transportation will always be one of the easiest and energy-saving ways to get there. Kyoto Station is the main hub whether you are coming from Osaka or Tokyo.

Places to Go, Things to Seekiyomizu temple

The historic city of Kyoto is a great vacation destination. And one of the biggest reasons is the fact that it offers so many UNESCO World Heritage sites for visitors to appreciate. Also, there are so many other historically and culturally significant places in the city not limited to the World Heritage sites. Here are some of the well-known spots that are must-see.

-UNESCO World Heritage Sites

One of the most popular spots in the city, Kiyomizu-dera is famous for its magnificent Main Hall. Enjoy the scenery from atop the hall, or you can walk around the temple to appreciate the history and the nature surrounds it. It is accessible by bus from Kyoto Station. Entry fee is 400 yen per adult.
Nijo-jo, located a few kilometers north from Kyoto Station, is a very important piece of architecture, as it had once been the residence of the great Tokugawa Shogun during the Edo period. It’s a great place to learn the rich history of Kyoto, as well as Japan in general. There is a subway station right by (Nijojo-Mae Station) which makes it easily accessible, and entry fee is 600 yen per adult.

Ryoan-ji may be one of the lesser known temples, but its iconic Zen garden is a must-see. Note that the place is not big and thus can get very crowded. Take the bus from Kyoto Station. The fee is 500 yen per adult.

Kinkaku-ji is another renowned temple that is adored by people of Japan. The golden temple is accompanied by lush green in the summer; in the winter you may get a chance to see a beautiful snow-covered temple as well. Take the bus from Kyoto Station. Entrance fee is 500 yen per adult.

-Other Important Cultural Properties of Kyoto

Kyoto Imperial Palace is situated close to the Nijo-jo. The palace was once the home of the Imperial Family, and its vicinity is now open to anyone. It is easily accessible by subway. The place is so big it spans across two subway stations, between Marutamachi and Imadegawa.
Another great place to pay a visit is Yasaka Shrine, the birthplace of the Gion Festival. It is situated within a walking distance from several stations, including Gion-Shijo Station of Keihan line and Kawaramachi Station of Hankyu.

Accommodation in Kyoto

There are so many places to visit all over the city. Depending on the sites you are planning to visit, accommodation options may differ, so you may struggle to choose the best place to stay during your trip. Here are some tips that will help you make the best itinerary in Kyoto.

Shijo/Sanjo Area

Mixing the modern with the ancient, the Shijo/Sanjo area (about 5 – 10 minutes’ train ride to the north from Kyoto Station) is bustling with the locals and the tourists alike. Pay a visit to Yasaka Shrine, one of the most famous shrines not just in Kyoto but in all of Japan. In July, see the streets’ liveliness go up a notch with the celebration of Gion Festival. Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shijo is located on the south side of the Shijo-dori, just a few hundred meters to the west of Karasuma Station. Both the subway and the Hankyu line go through the station, so the location is great if you are planning to visit elsewhere in the city.

Kyoto Station Area

Of course, if you are visiting Kyoto then you must see the Kyoto Tower, one of the most well-known sites around the city. The tower is located right in front of Kyoto Station, welcoming its visitors. The station is a hub both for bus and train lines, including the bullet train, so choosing a hotel around here makes a lot of sense. There is a hotel at the base of the tower itself: Kyoto Tower Hotel may not be the most luxurious hotel out there, but with its high accessibility and the fact that it is located within the tallest building in the city, you will not regret it.

Okazaki Area

Head to the eastern part of the city, and you will end up in the Okazaki area, which boasts many fantastic places to see as well. Heian Jingu is a must-see for those seeking to experience the cultural and the religious side of Kyoto. The shrine itself is a beauty to behold, but make sure to snap a photo of its giant torii (a gateway to the shrine) as well; don’t worry, it’s hard to miss. As the area is a bit far from the central part of the city, accommodation is scarce. One suggestion is Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto, which is very close to Kyoto Shiyakushomae Station. The hotel sits in the western outskirts of the Okazaki area, and it being within the walking distance from the station makes it that much easier to use the public transportation to get around, be it bus, train, or taxi.

Gion/Kiyomizu-dera Area

Kiyomizu-dera is easily one of the most popular temples in Japan, and it is located just a couple of kilometers to the northeast from Kyoto Station. Walking there may be a good choice, as there are so many shops and cuisine spots along the way. If you wish to find a place to stay nearby, then Terrace Kiyomizu Kyoto is a great pick, as it is only a 5 minutes’ walk from the temple area.

Imperial Palace/Nijo-jo Area

Head north from Kyoto Station and you’ll find another aspect of the city that you may find a bit more slow-paced. The peaceful Kyoto Imperial Palace and the historic Nijo-jo are mesmerizing, and a walk in either of these places will offer you a peace of mind. They are both easily accessible by subway. The Palace Side Hotel, as its name suggests, sit right across the street from the Imperial Palace, and the nearest train station is only 500 meters away.

Ten Kyoto Tours to Experience

There are so many tours you can enjoy in Kyoto. Some are widely known, and some are not. Don’t just choose blindly; pick the right ones that fit well in in your itinerary. Also know that there are some places and experiences that are only available through exclusive tours. Here is a list of ten immersive tours of Kyoto that you may find interesting.

Kimono Tea Ceremony Experience

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The Kimono Tea Ceremony offers a rare opportunity for you to experience the traditional tea ceremony (sado), whilst wearing kimono. The ceremony lasts up to 90 minutes and you can also enjoy the tea (which is accompanied by traditional Japanese sweets) and photo opportunities. The company that offers the tour, Miyakoya Kyoto, is located just a few minutes’ walk from Sanjo Station of Keihan line, and the tour costs just over 6000 yen. If you wish to take the tour privately, the cost is about 12000 yen.

Kyoto on Bikes

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Touring around the city in bike is one of the most fun and convenient ways to see Kyoto, and there are many places where you can rent a bicycle to do so. Kyoto Cycling Tour Project offers you not only a reliable rent-a-cycle service, but also private tours to show you around the various sightseeing spots in the city. There are 5 “cycle terminals,” including the one right by Kyoto Station. The price is reasonable with a one-day rental costing just over 1000 yen.

Bar Hopping

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A great way to engage with the local people and the food culture is to join a bar hopping tour, and Kyoto Bar Hopping Night Tour offers you just that. The tour takes you to three izakayas (bar-like restaurants) at night, led by one of their trusty local guides. These places may be difficult to find if you are not familiar with the area, let alone go in at night. Join this tour and you will have a great time without any worries. The tour can be booked online, and the cost is approximately 7000 yen per person.

Private Tour in Kyoto

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Private English Tour in Kyoto is a great option if you want a more relaxed way to see around the city. The tour takes you along by car to some of the most popular spots around the city, such as the Nijo-jo and Kinkaku-ji, guided by an English-speaking driver. The tour will take around 4 hours (or more depending on the plan) and costs about 6000 yen per hour.

Nishiki Market Food Tour

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Ninja Food offers a tour of the famous Nishiki Market, where you can find some of the best foods in Kyoto. Walk through the market bustling with tourists and the locals alike in this two-hour tour. The tour guide will meet you at Gion Station and the price is 7500 yen.

Local Food Tour

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Another great way to experience the food culture of Kyoto is to join the Kyoto Night Foodie tour. This tour also lets you enjoy the cuisine of Kyoto at night and mingle with the locals. It is approximately three hours long and costs about 10000 yen to book.

Arashiyama Tour

kyoto arashiyamaArashiyama area is a must-see for any Kyoto travelers, with the Bamboo Grove being one of its most popular sites. A walking tour is a great way to enjoy the beauty and to learn about the history of the place, and Kyoto Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Walking Tour from the travel company JTB offers you just that. The four-hour tour also includes visiting nearby temples. The price is 8900 yen.

Enjoy Kyoto in Silence

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Fushimi-inari Shrine is located to the south of Kyoto City, and is one of the main attractions in this early-morning tour, which starts at 6:30 am: “See the morning freshness in an early bird tour,” which you can book from the travel site Voyagin, takes you to places like Fushimi-inari Shrine, Kiyomizu-dera, and Arashiyama. You will appreciate the peace and quiet that is excusive for early birds. The meeting spot is JR Inari Station and the price is around 14000 yen.

Visit Saiho-ji (Moss Temple)

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You need a reservation if you wish to visit Saiho-ji, also known as Koke-dera (literally translating to “moss temple”). The tour includes going through a traditional temple ritual and seeing around the temple. It takes about 90 minutes and the fee is 3000 yen per person. A bus ride from Arashiyama will take about 15 minutes.

Private Dinner with Maiko

maiko

 

Dinner with a maiko is something very few Japanese can even dream of, but there are tours that offer you the rare opportunity. Enchanted Time with Maiko offers a rare and authentic experience of interacting with a real maiko. The dinner is held in one of the top-ranked restaurants in Kyoto, Yasaka-Dori Enraku, and the two-hour event will be in English accompanied by a friendly and trusty interpreter. It will be an experience of a lifetime. It is held every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and the price is 19000 yen for an adult.

 

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Yuichi Nagai
Yuichi Nagai
I am Nagai Yuichi ,CEO of S-fleage a company in Kyoto. We are spreading the charms of Kyoto to the world. I hope this article is helpful for your experience in Kyoto!