Kyoto is the old imperial capital and cultural heart of Japan. Located in the Kansai region of Japan, is the country’s seventh largest city. Steeped in history, Kyoto is roughly home to one quarter of Japan’s national treasures, countless shrines and temples.
Regardless of the season, it’s hard not to succumb to romance as you wander Kyoto’s atmospheric streets, gaze at the glimmering Kinkaku-Ji Pavilion, enjoy the traditional dances of the geisha or feast at restaurants over the Kamo River. Only Rome has more World Heritage Sites than the former Japanese capital. But happily, unlike Rome, Kyoto maintains its calmness and romance even among throngs of summer tourists.
Kyoto City attracts millions of local and international visitors each year looking for traditional Japanese culture. Temples and shrines such as Kiyomizudera Temple and Kinkakuji draw lots of attention from visitors, as do the bamboo groves of nearby Arashiyama. Stay in a traditional ryokan, take a dip in a rejuvenating onsen, and enjoy the seasonal changes of cherry blossoms and brilliant autumn foliage. Kyoto’s magic is only a short bullet train ride from Tokyo. Beyond the city lie Kyoto Prefecture’s many attractive rural areas. In the north, Amanohashidate has long been considered one of Japan’s three most scenic places. Nestled in the mountains, Miyama is one of the last towns with thatched-roof farmhouses, many of which are still inhabited. Enjoy delicious local vegetables and the famous green tea grown in Uji.
What Is So Special About Kyoto?
Kyoto is Japan in a nutshell. It’s the cultural and historical heart of the country. It’s the best place in all of Japan to experience traditional temples, shrines, gardens, geisha, shops, restaurants and festivals. In short, Kyoto is the most rewarding destination in all of Japan and it should be at the top of any Japan travel itinerary. Indeed, I may be biased, but I’d go so far as to say that Kyoto is the most rewarding single city in all of Asia.
How to Get There?
Access Kyoto on the bullet train from most major cities in Japan. The nearest airports are Itami and Kansai International. Both are in Osaka Prefecture, between 1 hour and 1 hour and 20 minutes away.
Kyoto City is a prime destination for most travelers with easy access from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and beyond by the Tokaido Shinkansen. Frequent commuter trains to and from Osaka are also an option. To reach other towns in Kyoto Prefecture and the Tango Peninsula, you’ll need to take local trains and buses. It takes just over two hours from Kyoto Station to Miyazu on the coast at Tango, where buses take you on to Ine and the beaches. Consider renting a car for more travel freedom.