Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, it is easy to discover why Kyoto was Japan’s capital for over 1,000 years. Resplendent with temples and tradition, this City of a Thousand Shrines brings one back to the age of Japanese emperors and shoguns.
From the awe-inspiring collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites to Michelin-starred restaurants and museums, the unhurried pace of living invites you to take your time. Exploring Kyoto is in itself an art form – learning to see through the eyes of artisans who hold dear centuries-old traditions, walking on cobbled paths where monks, samurais and philosophers once strided on, and sipping from springs famed for their clear, sweet water.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (右京区嵐山)
Walk through the Sagano forest where bamboo grows to almost 10 metres tall.
Kyoto’s most popular venue for cherry blossom viewing comes with the famous weeping cherry tree.
HISTORIC & RELIGIOUS
Nijō Castle (元離宮二条城)
Tread on ‘nightingale floors’ (floors designed to squeak like birds when walked upon) in this UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a 10-minute walk from Noku.
Ryoanji Temple (竜安寺)
Home to the mysterious ‘15 rocks’, gaze on this famous garden from the Hojo (head priest’s residence).
Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) (金閣寺)
This Zen temple features a second floor completely covered in gold leaves and the third gilded inside-out with gold, topped with a golden phoenix poised to fly.
Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺)
Enjoy an unobstructed view of cherry and maple trees, and sip from the Otowa Waterfall for luck.
ART & CULTURE
National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAK)
20th century artists take the spotlight here, with a curated collection of Japanese and Western art.
Kyoto’s most famous geisha district comes alive in the evening when the entertainment begins.