The capital of Japan, Kyoto is the classy older sister of Tokyo and the know-it-all cousin of Osaka, which almost became the capital. Experience the country’s incredible nightlife, oldest traditions and best attractions all in one place—with our Kyoto accommodation, your Japan holiday can have it all.
Things to Do in Kyoto
Your trip will be golden with a visit to Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion, which not only gleams in the sun—it also seems to float on water. Channel your inner shogun as you walk through the temple’s gardens, then wish for good fortune at the coin toss. If it’s more temples you seek, accommodation near Fushimi Castle will suit you as perfectly as a samurai’s armour. Visit the grounds of this storied temple and learn about its history as a warlord’s retirement home (yes, even warriors need to retire sometime) and popular target of sieges.
Still not feeling peaceful enough? At the Ryoan-ji Temple, which translates to “Temple of the Peaceful Dragon,” even mythological beasts can find their centre. While it’s home to the mausoleums of some of Japan’s great emperors, the real draw is the Zen rock garden. One of the best examples in the county, it’s also the most mysterious: no one knows who built it or what it represents, making it the perfect place to meditate on these questions.
Getting To & Around Kyoto
International flights to Kyoto are serviced by Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka. Kyoto is about 90 km northeast, but you can get there quickly thanks to Japan’s excellent railway lines. Use the subway to hook up with the Shinkansen Bullet Train, which will get you to Kyoto Station in under an hour. From there, the subway can take you to popular attractions like Imperial Palace Park and Southern Higashiyama, with its geishas and temples. However, there are only two lines, so if your accommodation in Kyoto isn’t convenient to the subway, just catch a cab at the taxi rank outside the train station—easy!
Best Time to Travel
Cherry blossom season in the spring is a major tourist draw car, when Japan’s famous cherry trees are in bloom. Late March through May sees temps in the teens and low 20s and lots of clear, sunny days—perfect for sakura hanami (cherry flower viewing). Autumn is a great time to look for deals on Kyoto hotels after the tourist high season, and in November you’ll catch another stunning display of nature as the leaves turn. Winters are also relatively mild, and partiers will have a ball joining in the Japanese New Year celebrations around January 1st. Enjoy traditional o-sechi ryori at a fancy hotel restaurant, then get into hatsu-mode (first shrine visit) at one of the city’s grand shrines. Whenever you visit, Kyoto holidays are always a trip to remember.
Ready to experience the yin and yang of Japan’s capital city? Check out Wotif’s selection of hotels in Kyoto, then get ready for temples, traditions and toasts with new friends—yours should be “kampai!”