View of Mount Fuji with beautiful cherry blossoms in the Spring in Kyoto, Japan
A TASTE OF OLD JAPAN

Cruise to Kyoto (Osaka), Japan

Easily accessible by train from Osaka, Kyoto was Japan's ancient capital city. Today, it remains the country's unofficial capital of culture, history and cuisine. Explore the centuries-old Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple, perched a top a hill surrounded by cherry trees. Center yourself at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shinto shrine, with its long, meditative rows of red <em>torii </em>gates. Cruise to Osaka and stroll through mysterious gardens of raked gravel at Ryoan-ji temple, or roam through a bamboo forest at Arashiyama, called the Philosopher's Path for its peaceful, reflective vibe. Then, see the bustling side of Kyoto at the Higashiyama District, where narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants wind up the side of picturesque Mount Otowa.
National Language Japanese
Currency Accepted Japanese Yen (JPY)

Things To Do in Kyoto (Osaka)

The Kinkakuji Temple, also called the Golden Pavilion for its yellow-colored walls atop a pond in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto (Osaka), Japan Golden Yellow Temple

Golden Pavilion

Golden Pavilion

A traveler's favorite for centuries and one of Japan's most famous sights, the gold-covered main hall of Kinkaku-ji temple seems to float between the sky and the pond of Kyoko-chi that it stands over. It was originally built in the 14th century as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, a samurai lord. Snap photos while walking around Kyoko-chi, and see the temple from Sekka-tei Cottage — the view from here can't be beat.

A zen rock garden in the Ryoan Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto (Osaka), Japan Zen Rock Garden

Garden Without Plants

Garden Without Plants

Not far from the Golden Pavilion, the Zen temple of Ryoan-ji is famed for its mysterious yet beautiful rock garden. This grouping of 15 rocks set in raked gravel is a delight to contemplate from the veranda of the Hojo, the residence of the temple's head priest. Walk around the tatami rooms, and admire the painted fusuma sliding doors. Don't miss the picturesque tsukubai stone washbasin with a bamboo pipe in the back — designed for the tea ceremony, it's inscribed with a Buddhist maxim saying one should be happy with what one already has.

The red Tori Gates pathway with tall red columns with Japanese letters written in black in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto (Osaka), Japan Red Tori Gates

Ten Thousand Gates

Beloved for its spectacular rows of red torii gates, this hilly, sprawling Shinto shrine is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and business; you'll see statues of his messenger, the fox, everywhere. During your visit to Osaka, take the four-kilometer path up the mountain and lose yourself in this vermilion wonderland — the number of gates totals around 10,000. Small restaurants along the paths sell kitsune udon noodle soup and inarizushi rice balls.

Kaiseki and traditional Japenese cuisine layed out on a table

Kyoto (Osaka), Japan Kaiseki Traditional Meal

Local Cuisine

As the kitchen for Japan's imperial court for centuries, Kyoto has a long tradition of excellent food. Get the full experience with Kyo-kaiseki-ryori, a multicourse meal of seasonal Kyoto cuisine: You'll be treated to many dishes made with exceptional attention to detail, including gently sashimi-style raw fish and vegetable dishes like turnips simmered in local water with white miso.

A kimono on a mannequin on the streets of Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto (Osaka), Japan Kimono

Shopping

Head to the Kyoto Handicraft Center near Heian-jingu shrine for a wide selection of Kyoto crafts including ironware kettles, woodblock prints, Japanese dolls, lacquer ware, as well as kimono and yukata (lightweight summer kimono). Visitors can also try their hand at making handicrafts, such as painting folding fans.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 For popular sites like the Golden Pavilion, be sure to arrive as early as possible to beat the crowds.
2 Two of the best times of year to visit Kyoto are spring and fall: Cherry blossom season is March through May, while October and November bring brilliant foliage.

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