Kyoto is what most travelers dream of when envisioning Japan.

It was the capital of Japan for over a thousand years, and is still considered the heart and soul of traditional Japan.

Traveling to Kyoto? See our guide on what to do with 3 days in Kyoto, and dishes you have to eat!

Today Kyoto is a large modern city of over a million residents, but retains many of its long-established traditions. Home to a stunning 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you can easily spend months wandering its backstreets, stumbling upon ancient temples, gardens, and craft shops.

Kyoto’s highlights include Fushimi Inari Shrine, the Gion geisha district, Arashiyama’s bamboo forest and the historic Higashiyama District. Kyoto is also a culinary center, and for food lovers there is no better place to begin than “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” the colorful and boisterous Nishiki Market.

Vermilion torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine), Kyoto, Japan
Some of the thousands of vermilion torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine), Kyoto

Kyoto’s location makes it ideal for day trips to the ancient capital Nara, the bustling city of Osaka, as well as Kobe and several other destinations.

Sample Trips

Thinking of visiting Kyoto but not quite sure where to begin?

For more Japan travel ideas and inspiration, take a journey with one of our sample Japan trips.