Kyoto is Japan in a nutshell. It’s the cultural and historical heart of the country. It’s the best place in all Japan to experience traditional temples, shrines, gardens, geisha, shops, restaurants and festivals. In short, Kyoto is the most rewarding destination in of Japan.
City of shrines
Kyoto with around 2000 temples and shrines becomes a city of true masterpieces of religious architecture. The retina-burning splendour of Kinkaku-ji the famed Golden Pavilion displays astonishing scenery collaborating with the beautiful nature of Kyoto. The cavernous expanse of Higashi Hongan-ji. is where robed monks shuffle between temple buildings, prayer chants resonate through stunning Zen gardens, and the faithful meditate on tatami-mat floors. Even as the modern city buzzes and shifts all around, the sight of a bright vermillion torii gate marking a shrine entrance, is a reminder that Kyoto remains the spiritual heart of Japan.
A City of Artisans
While the rest of Japan has adopted modernity with abandon, the old ways are still clinging on in Kyoto. With its roots as the cultural capital of the country, it’s no surprise that many traditional arts and crafts are kept alive by artisans from generation to generation. The streets of historic Gion and past machiya which are the traditional Japanese townhouses of the Nishijin textile district ancient speciality shops from tofu sellers, washi the Japanese handmade paper and tea merchants, to exquisite lacquerware, handcrafted copper chazutsu, the tea canisters and indigo-dyed noren the hanging curtains can be found.
This is the place to immerse onself in the intricacies of Japanese culture from matcha, the powdered green tea to your manga, the Japanese comic. One can also sleep on a futon and can even have a bath with naked strangers and Kyoto can bring you one step closer to understanding the unique Japanese way of life.
A Trip for the Tastebuds
Few cities of this size pack such a punch when it comes to their culinary cred, and at its heart is Nishiki Market. Kyoto is crammed with everything from Michelin-starred restaurants, chic cocktail bars, cool cafes and sushi spots to food halls, izakay, craft-beer bars and old-school noodle joints. Splurge on the impossibly refined cuisine known as kaiseki while gazing over your private garden, taste the most delicate tempura in a traditional building, slurp down steaming bowls of ramen elbow-to-elbow with locals, then slip into a sugar coma from a towering matcha the powdered green tea sundae of Kyoto.