Welcome to our 🇯🇵 Kyoto Travel Guide 🇯🇵! You’re in the right place to find out EVERYTHING you need to know start your own Japanese adventure!
We’ll cover how to get to Kyoto from the UK, the best ways to get about the city, where to eat, things to do and a whole lot more.
So whether you’re looking for the gracefulness of Gion or the delights of the departments stores, put your feet up and take a peek at all that Kyoto has to offer.
Want to watch more on Japan? 🇯🇵
🇯🇵 TOKYO TRAVEL GUIDE 🇯🇵
Discover KYOTO – https://youtu.be/duCHWeuIw_o
Discover TOKYO – https://youtu.be/0mGgzV0Tofg
If you want to read more about Kyoto – https://goo.gl/DkWwhU
Some useful links for your own Japanese adventure!
Tokyo Tourism – https://www.gotokyo.org/en/
Travel Planner App – http://www.heha.com/
Book an airport Lounge – goo.gl/Y7zv5y
Pre-book an airport taxi – http://bit.ly/2DQmGv3
Travel Insurance – http://bit.ly/2v1fZ9f
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I’m Dan and this is Kyoto.
I’m going to let you in on a secret… Kyoto is my favourite place in Japan.
Its 17 UNESCO world heritage sites, made up of temples, shrines and gardens are everything I wanted to Japan to be. Traditional… beautiful… peaceful.
But what gives Kyoto its understated edge is the blend of old and new. Sitting alongside the ryokan, pagodas and kagai flower streets is a modern city that may not have the buzz and general craziness of neon neighbour Tokyo, but I think it’s the perfect introduction for your first time in Japan.
As you can see, Kyoto is a pretty awesome place, and for me it’s probably one of the most unique destinations I’ve ever been to. So, let’s take a look at how I got here.
Flights from the UK will arrive at Osaka Kansai International airport 60 miles south of Kyoto. From here you can take one of Japan’s super-efficient trains into the city or hop on the Airport Limousine bus.
The JR Haruka Express takes 75 minutes to Kyoto Station, stopping at Shin-Osaka along the way. My one-way ticket cost 1,880¥.
The Limousine Bus departs from the first floor of both terminals and takes 90 minutes to reach Kyoto Station, after which it makes several further stops across town. If one of these stops is near your hotel, the bus may end up being quicker than the train, so check their online timetable before making your journey.
If you hold a British passport you will not need a visa to enter Japan and can stay for up to 90 days as a tourist. You’ll need to fill out a landing card when you arrive and may need proof that your departure flight is booked.
When it comes to discovering new cities, I am a massive advocate of getting the bus. Why? Because it’s a great way to do some cheap sightseeing, and in Kyoto it’s also a particularly good option and here’s why.
Somewhat surprisingly for Japan, Kyoto does not have an extensive subway network. Yes, there is a metro, but we found that when visiting Kyoto’s tourist sites it generally worked out quicker to get the bus. And like I said, you get to really see the city.
When boarding, get on at the back and off at the front. Kyoto buses have a single flat fare of 230¥ that you must pay as you get off. The driver will not have change, so make sure you have the exact money when buying a single. However, I recommend doing what I did and picking up a 24-hour pass for 500¥.
I picked mine up from one of those vending machines right there, which are outside Kyoto train station, which is super nifty because as you can see, the buses are right there. As for navigation, get your data sorted and use Google Maps, it’s as reliable as ever in Kyoto. Alternatively, you can use the Arukumachi Kyoto route planner app, which is free on iOS and Android.
Up next, my top tips for Kyoto’s surprisingly busy tourist hotspots.
First up is Kyoto’s old town, Gion. This is the place to go for traditional Japan and my personal favourite; if you’re a fan of Memoirs of a Geisha and all things historical and cultural, while topping up your Instagram feed, this is an absolute must-visit, though it can get rather busy…
Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, is you guessed it, covered in gold. According to local custom the gold plating will purify negative energy. The temple itself is stunning although there isn’t a whole lot else to do here once you’ve got the obligatory photo. My top tip for visiting this popular tourist attraction: go early to avoid the crowds and then move on to my personal favourite, Ginkaku-ji, or the Silver Temple..