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Kyoto (s, Kyōto) served as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. It is now the country's seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face.

Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.

Top attractions in Kyoto

Central Kyoto
Food and Drink

Pontocho

Narrow lane offering atmospheric dining.
3.7 / 5
1,030
Historic Site

Nijo Jinya

Former inn for visiting feudal lords.
3.7 / 5
503
Shopping

Kyoto Station

Kyoto's futuristic railway station building.
3.3 / 5
4,415
Zoo/Wildlife

Kyoto Aquarium

Modern aquarium west of Kyoto Station.
3.2 / 5
94
Viewpoint/Tower

Kyoto Tower

Modern landmark of Kyoto.
3.0 / 5
1,773
Show All Central Kyoto
Eastern Kyoto
Historic Site

Gion

Kyoto's most famous geisha district.
4.0 / 5
3,562
Temple

Eikando Temple

One of Kyoto's most famous autumn color spots.
4.0 / 5
424
Shrine

Yasaka Shrine

Popular shrine hosting the Gion Festival.
3.6 / 5
1,527
Park

Maruyama Park

Kyoto's most popular park for cherry blossoms.
3.4 / 5
629
Show All Eastern Kyoto
Southern Kyoto
Temple

Toji Temple

Large temple with Japan's tallest pagoda.
3.8 / 5
1,178
Northern Kyoto
Shrine

Kibune

Town with shrine in the northern mountains.
4.3 / 5
170
Temple

Kurama

Rural town with temple and hot spring.
4.1 / 5
434
Town/Neighborhood

Ohara

Rural area famous for Sanzenin Temple.
4.0 / 5
405
Temple

Hieizan

Mountain temple complex of the Tendai sect.
3.9 / 5
481
Temple

Takao

Wooded valley with temples north of Kyoto.
3.8 / 5
184
Temple

Enkoji Temple

Nice Zen temple known for its autumn colors.
4.1 / 5
139
Temple

Manshuin Temple

Important temple near Shugakuin Imperial Villa.
3.9 / 5
56
Show All Northern Kyoto
Western Kyoto
Town/Neighborhood

Arashiyama••

Pleasant district at the outskirts of Kyoto.
4.3 / 5
2,402
Temple

Kokedera••

Called moss temple because of its garden.
4.1 / 5
331
Scenic Ride

Hozugawa Cruise

Scenic boat ride down a river towards Arashiyama.
3.9 / 5
75
Scenic Ride

Sagano Railway

Nostalgic sightseeing train through a scenic valley.
3.9 / 5
259
Show All Western Kyoto
Events
Festival

Hanatoro

Twice annual light up event.
4.1 / 5
211
Festival

Aoi Matsuri

Historical parade from the Heian Period.
3.9 / 5
233
Festival

Jidai Matsuri

Historical parade covering an entire millenium.
3.7 / 5
188
Side Trips from Kyoto

Osaka••

Largest city of the Kinki Region.
4.1 / 5
6,791

Himeji••

Site of Japan's most beautiful feudal castle.
4.1 / 5
2,594

Uji

City south of Kyoto known for its temple and tea.
4.1 / 5
1,268

Kobe

Harbor city, recovered from 1995 earthquake.
3.8 / 5
3,300

Iga Ueno

Former castle town famous for ninja.
3.4 / 5
546

Miyama

Rural town with lots of thatched roof houses.
4.2 / 5
28

Koka

Rural city known as a homeland of the ninja.
3.1 / 5
115
Show All Side Trips from Kyoto

Access and Orientation

Hotels around Kyoto

Recommended Hotels
Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
Book:
Agoda Booking

Tours and Experiences

Page last updated: December 31, 2014