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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto
Suggested Kyoto Itineraries and Side Trips

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At least two full days are needed to get a taste of Kyoto; however, the city is extremely rich in history and culture, and you could easily spend a week exploring Japan's ancient capital and not run out of first class attractions to visit.

Suggested full day schedules:

Eastern Kyoto Full Day (more details)
A full day exploration of Kyoto's eastern hills, this walking itinerary includes many of the city's most popular temples and shrines including Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji, Yasaka Shrine, Heian Shrine and Nanzenji. The route also leads through the narrow streets of the Higashiyama District and along the Philosopher's Path.

Arashiyama Full Day (more details)
This full day itinerary includes the major sites in Arashiyama, such as Tenryuji Temple, the bamboo groves and the monkey park, in addition to the quiet streets and small temples in the quaint, rural district north of Arashiyama. Best done by rental bicycle.

 
Suggested half day schedules:

Higashiyama Half Day (more details)
Essentially the southern half of our Eastern Kyoto Full Day itinerary, this half day plan covers the most popular temples of the Higashiyama District plus the popular Gion entertainment district. This is one our most highly recommended itineraries for first time visitors to Kyoto.

Philosopher's Path Half Day (more details)
This is basically the northern half of our Eastern Kyoto Full Day itinerary. This plan leads along the Philosopher's Path and makes stops at Ginkakuji, Nanzenji Temple and Heian Shrine along the way to Gion.

Arashiyama Half Day (more details)
A shortened version of our Arashiyama Half Day itinerary, this walking tour sticks to the main attractions around central Arashiyama including Tenryuji Temple, the bamboo groves and the monkey park.

Northern Kyoto Half Day (more details)
This is another of our recommended plans for first time visitors to Kyoto, as it covers some of the city's most iconic attractions including Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) and Ryoanji with its world famous Zen garden.

 
Suggested side trips:

Nara (more details)
Nara, less than one hour south of Kyoto, was Japan's first permanent capital and remains full of historic treasures, particularly some of the country's oldest temples. While half a day is enough to cover just Todaiji Temple and surroundings, a full day is recommended to better appreciate central Nara. Two days are needed to also cover the attractions outside of central Nara, such as Horyuji.

Himeji (more details)
Himeji Castle is Japan's best preserved and most beautiful, remaining feudal castle. From Kyoto it can be reached by shinkansen in 50 minutes. The cheaper, special rapid train takes about 85 minutes for one way. Himeji Castle is currently being renovated until March 2015.

Mount Koya (more details)
Mount Koya is the center of Shingon Buddhism and one of the holiest places in Japan. It is also great for experiencing a night at a temple.

Osaka (more details)
Osaka, only 15 minutes by shinkansen from Kyoto, is the center of Western Japan, offering various attractions to travelers.

Kobe (more details)
Kobe is an attractively situated city, 30 minutes west of Kyoto by shinkansen. Devastated by a 1995 earthquake, it has recovered completely.

Kinosaki (more details)
Kinosaki is a charming hot spring town about 2.5 hours north of Kyoto along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Visitors can experience the nostalgic feel of an old fashioned hot spring town as they strolling about in the evenings dressed in yukata and geta (wooden clogs).

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

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Hotels and Ryokan
Kyoto offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and tastes, including historic ryokan, Western style hotels and low-budget hostels. Among the most attractive districts to stay are the Kyoto Station area, the city center around Shijo Street and the Higashiyama District.
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Arashiyama Hanaikada
A little, superior ryokan right near Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama. Free transfer at JR station. Private onsen bath.
Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto
Voted No.1 hostel chain worldwide for 2010&2011 by Hostelworld.com customers. 9 min. walk from JR Kyoto Station. Beds from 2,300 yen.
Gion Hatanaka
A real Japanese inn in a quiet area of Gion, famous for Geisha. 15min walk to Kiyomizu-dera. 5min to Yasaka-jinja.
Ryokan Saka-no-ue
Traditional, cozy ryokan with 12 rooms. Japanese cottage style houses available. Located near Yasaka Shrine and Gion.
Ryokan Hirashin
3min walk to Shijo Karasuma Sta. Spacious Japanese-style rooms. 140 years of history. Public baths renovated in 2006.
Japanese hotel, Ryokan Nishiyama
Experience the real Japan at our affordable ryokan. Close to major tourist spots in Kyoto.
Ryokan Motonago
A real traditional inn at Gion with 11 rooms, friendly staff. Walking distance of Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka-jinja and more.
Hotel Sanoya
3 min from north exit of JR Kyoto Sta. but in quiet area. Cozy, clean Japanese rooms with bath. Internet PC in lobby.
Recommended Hotels around Kyoto - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
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Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
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Agoda or Booking
Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
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Agoda or Booking
Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
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Agoda or Booking
New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
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Agoda or Booking
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
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Tours and Packages
Kyoto Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.
Kyoto Kamo River Terrace Dining
Easy online reservations through Japanican.
JR Tokai Tours
Your Shinkansen and hotel package professional. Fantastic Kyoto tours from Tokyo at excellent prices!

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