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Best Places to Visit in Kyoto

Uncover the alluring beauty of Kyoto, Japan's prominent destination, as this article unveils the best places to visit in this captivating destination.

  • 25 Jul 2023
  • 2 min read

From historical districts to scenic wonders, Kyoto promises to enchant you with its timeless beauty and cultural treasures. In this guide, we will explore some of the top places to visit in Kyoto and discover the exciting activities they offer. When planning your visit to Kyoto, it's essential to consider the best time to go. Try to plan your visit when the city's natural beauty with cherry blossoms and vibrant foliage comes to life. However, remember that these periods are popular among tourists, so plan accordingly. Remember to secure travel insurance that covers medical expenses and trip cancellation, ensuring peace of mind during your Kyoto adventure.

Top Places to Visit in Kyoto

  1. Gion District
  2. Arashiyama
  3. Uzumasa Eigamura
  4. Ginkakuji
  5. Nishiki Market

1. Gion District

Gion, a historic district, is one of the best places to visit in Kyoto. It offers a captivating blend of tradition and beauty. Known for its association with Geisha and Maiko, Gion entices tourists with its charming streets lined with old townhouses showcasing Japanese architecture. Gion is a beloved destination, but be cautious about photography restrictions in certain areas.

Things to Do at Gion District

  • Visit the iconic Tatsumi Bridge, featured in “Memoirs of a Geisha,” surrounded by cherry blossoms.
  • Explore the Japan Kanji Museum & Library for an interactive experience with the Japanese written language.

2. Arashiyama

Arashiyama, located in western Kyoto, is among the must-see Kyoto places to visit. It is known for its scenic beauty. The area comprises the Katsura River, mountains, and historic temples. It attracts visitors who enjoy strolling around in a traditional kimono or yukata, relishing local cuisine, and exploring the local temples. Rickshaw drivers offer their services to transport tourists to various attractions. 

Things to Do at Arashiyama

  • Don't miss the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge for stunning photos and the enchanting Bamboo Forest for a rejuvenating experience. 
  • Explore the Arashiyama Monkey Park for an up-close view of Japanese macaques. 

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3. Uzumasa Eigamura

It is one of the most entertaining places to visit in Kyoto. It offers an immersive experience of the world of historical drama. Dressing up as a ninja and experiencing sword battles are highlights. Nearby stations, such as Satsueijo-mae, Uzumasa Kouryoji, and Uzumasa, ease commuting woes for travellers. The place is ideal for families exploring Kyoto.

Things to Do at Uzumasa Eigamura

  • Visitors can explore streets depicting different town scenes, including replicas of the Nihonbashi Bridge and a courthouse. 
  • If you want a hair-raising experience, visit attractions like the renowned haunted house, the House of Horrors.

4. Ginkakuji

Ginkakuji, one of the best places to visit in Kyoto, is also known as the Silver Pavilion. It is a Zen temple located in Kyoto’s eastern mountains. Initially constructed as a retirement villa by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1482, it got converted into a Zen temple after his death. The temple played a huge role in the Higashiyama Culture, a vibrant contemporary art and culture period.

Things to Do at Ginkakuji

  • Visitors can stroll along a circular route, admiring the gardens and buildings.
  • The Silver Pavilion, formally called Kannonden, showcases two architectural styles and houses a statue of the Buddhist goddess Kannon.

5. Nishiki Market

Discover the culinary delights of Kyoto at Nishiki Market, the city’s renowned “central kitchen.” This 400-year-old market is one of the most interesting Kyoto places to visit. It offers a tempting array of local produce, seafood, tofu skin, and wheat gluten used in high-end restaurants and homes. Rain or shine, the market’s colourful roof ensures a pleasant shopping experience. Just a short walk from various subway and train stations, this culinary paradise awaits your exploration.

Things to do at Nishiki Market

  • At Konna Monja, try their soymilk doughnuts in three flavours.
  • Fuka Nishiki Store offers mushi fu manju with nori and azuki bean jam.
  • Marutsune Kamaboko Store tempts with buttered potato tempura.

Best Time to Visit Kyoto

The best possible periods to check out Kyoto places to visit are from March to May and from September to November, as these months offer pleasant weather conditions. Spring showcases the captivating cherry blossoms, while autumn dazzles with its vibrant foliage, attracting numerous tourists. During these peak seasons, hotel rates tend to be higher with limited availability. Consider your preferences for weather, crowds, and events when planning your visit to Kyoto.

Travel Insurance for Kyoto

Although it is not legally mandated, when planning a trip to Kyoto, it’s important to consider the need for travel insurance. While Kyoto offers a peaceful retreat, unexpected injuries or illnesses can occur. Travel insurance provides coverage for medical treatment, protecting you from hefty out-of-pocket expenses. Kyoto’s advanced medical facilities come at a cost, and your domestic health insurance may not offer sufficient coverage abroad. Additionally, your travel insurance policy provides coverage for flight delays, trip cancellations, costs for extending your stay due to unforeseen circumstances, and more.

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