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Edited by: Declan Murphy
Suggested Itineraries
Favorite Kyoto moments...
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Kyoto Photogallery
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Kyoto today only has 1.4 million inhabitants, but has tremendous cultural assets including around 20% of Japan's National Treasures, and 15% of the Important Cultural Properties. Capital of Japan from 794 until the 1868 "Meiji Restoration", this city is cupped in a ring of mountains and cut through by rivers. Home of several UNESCO World Heritage sites, the city remains beautiful in parts, but has an unfortunate micro-climate - Kyoto is notorious for uncomfortably hot/humid summers and frigid cold winters. Kyoto is a must see for any traveller interested in Japan, with a long history and rich culture. Although the genteel rooflines and historic cityscape have largely been replaced by a concrete, steel and neon mess, traditions remain vital to the city - people flock to see raked pebble gardens at Zen temples such as Ryoan-ji or Ginkaku-ji, experience the artworks and history of Nijo Castle, dine in Pontocho or experience an overnight stay in a traditional ryokan in Gion.

A major business center and home of high tech corporations such as Kyocera (Kyoto Ceramic), there are as many temples to mammon as to deities. Kyoto is also a major student town with more than 35 universities and colleges - and although some may be attracted by famous colleges, one of the major lures attracting young Japanese university students to Kyoto is the raucous nightlife. It is a particularly great place during the Gion Festival and New Year.

Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavilion

  • City Highlights - Ryoan-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Nijo Castle, Kiyomizudera, Jishu Shrine, Sannen-zaka & Ninnen-zaka walk Ginkaku-ji, Path of Philosophy, Nanzen-ji, Imperial Palace, Mt. Hiei and Enryaku-ji, Heian jingu, Saiho-ji, Tenryu-ji, Ichiriki Ochaya
    Gion District & Festival: - Yasaka (Gion) Shrine | Gion Festival | Maruyama park | Pleasure quarters | Pontocho | Teramachi | Shijo Street Shopping
  • Region Highlights - Uji, Byodoin, Ujigami Shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Obakusan-Manpukuji, The Tale of Genji sites & museum, Uji Bridge, Tea Ceremony

    Tours - Japan Discovery visits Kyoto.
    Click here for more information regarding when Discovery visits this destination.

    Photographs and contributions

    Ninomaru Palace Garden, Nijo Castle
    Ninomaru Palace Garden,
    Nijo Castle
    Do you have good photographs or a story to share about this destination? Please share it with us.

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