Kansai Kyoto The old imperial capital and cultural heart of Japan
Kyoto is the former capital city of Japan and world-famous for its refined culture, dining, and charm of rural Japan
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. Consdier renting a car for more travel freedom.
- Grand temples, shrines, palaces and gardens in Kyoto City and around
- Sumptuous multi-course kaiseki cuisine and refined traditional ryokan accommodations
- White-sand beaches and mineral-rich hot springs on the Tango Peninsula
- One of Japan's three great views at Amanohashidate
Explore Kyoto by Area
Trending Attractions in Kyoto
Yudofu, literally "hot-water tofu", is arguably the best way to enjoy high-quality, freshly made tofu. Tofu is warmed through in a simple broth made of water and kombu, and simple condiments are served alongside. Kyoto is the place to enjoy this, as it is the epicenter of Buddhist cuisine, in which yudofu features heavily.
Kyoto Kiyomizu Ware
Handmade ceramics and porcelain known as kyo yaki or Kiyomizu yaki are characterized by painted overglaze enamel. This craft evolved alongside other sophisticated pastimes in Kyoto, including the tea ceremony and flower arranging.
Kyo-gashi are a type of wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweet. Kyo-gashi are beautiful, colorful and symbolic confections, custom-made for different occasions, so no Kyo-gashi will ever be exactly the same as another.
Before modern transportation was available, farmers grew only the vegetables most suited to the regions they farmed in. Kyo-yasai are vegetables traditionally grown in Kyoto for centuries, and they play an important role in modern Kyoto cuisine.
Green tea from Uji is among the oldest and most highly regarded teas in Japan. You'll find it in tiny soba restaurants and temple gardens and many places in between. There are a variety of ways to enjoy green tea while in Uji.
Kyoto Dyed Silk
Invented in the late 17th century, kyo yuzen is a dyeing technique distinguished by vivid colors, subtle gradations, complex patterns and precision linework. The subtle use of stencils, brushes and resists produces designs on textiles similar to traditional Japanese paintings.
Nishijin ori silk textiles originate in Nishijin, the garment district of Kyoto. Exquisitely decorated brocades have been handwoven here for centuries, and kimono and obi have been tailored from sumptuous gold brocade, damask, figured satin and velvet. Treated with care, these garments can last a lifetime.
Kyoto Folding Fans
Fashioned out of bamboo, the kyo sensu is a folding fan decorated with handmade Japanese paper or silk on thin wooden strips, traditionally cypress. These artful accessories are used at ceremonies, festivals and performances such as Noh theater.
Late March to April is the time to view the cherry blossoms and the fresh green maple leaves in shrine and temple gardens.
Highlights of the hottest season include riverside dining, cormorant fishing performances, beach excursions, the month-long Gion Festival, and fire displays to honor the spirits of ancestors.
Kyoto’s autumn foliage attracts visitors from the world over. Harvest moon festivals, such as the Jidai Matsuri, are another autumn highlight. The cool temperatures are perfect for hiking at Mt. Ponpon and Mt. Atago.
Kabuki’s biggest stars come to perform, plum blossoms emerge after the snows, and countryside onsen offer plenty of warmth. Winter festivals like Arashiyama Hanatoro illuminate the city of Kyoto.