What to do in Kyoto

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    With its long history and traditional culture, Kyoto has many locations registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. No trip to Kyoto would be complete without visiting some of them. This high concentration of world cultural heritage sites is one of Kyoto's unique attractions.
  • Gardens
    Kyoto is a garden lover's paradise. It has been the political, religious and cultural capital of Japan for several centuries, and this environment has fueled the development of all major Japanese traditions. Emperors, aristocrats, samurai - they all included wonderful gardens in their residences, some of which can still be explored today.
  • Gion
    Gion is one of the main districts of Kyoto. The area developed as a town around the Yasaka-jinja Shrine, and is now famous for its traditional architecture and the elegant 'maiko' (apprentice geisha) dancers, who can often be seen taking a stroll through the area. The houses here continue to retain their latticework with a refined appearance, and the district is designated as a protected area to preserve its historical value.
  • Cuisine
    There is a wide variety of cuisine available in Kyoto. Besides Washoku, or Japanese food, which was designated an intangible culture heritage by UNESCO in 2013, there are also restaurants where one can enjoy other cuisines such as Italian or French, and many reasonably priced eateries as well. Halal and vegetarian-friendly restaurants are also available.
  • Tea ceremony
    Kyoto offers the unique opportunity to learn about Japanese culture in the birthplace of many Japanese traditions. Though tea ceremony is practiced throughout Japan, the major schools were developed and still flourish in Kyoto. Hands-on traditional culture experiences will give participants and accompanying persons a taste of the unique appeal of Japan.
  • Shopping
    Kyoto is not all temples and shrines; it is a wonderful place to shop for traditional Japanese arts and crafts as well as modern items. There are two main shopping districts in Kyoto: The Kyoto Station area and the traditional “downtown” area of Kyoto running along Shijo-dori Street. Kyoto Station has a lot of shops right inside and underneath the station building, as well as vast electronics and camera emporiums. Shijo-dori Street features several large department stores, hundreds of smaller shops and the famous food market, Nishiki Market.
  • Cycling
    Kyoto is regularly voted one of the best bicycle cities in Asia, and for good reason: the city is largely flat, roads are well maintained, drivers are sane and there are plenty of places to rent a bicycle. Feel the wind and explore Kyoto by bicycle!
  • Sake and Japanese whisky
    Kyoto sake brewers are gathered in Fushimi district where the pure water nurtures delicious rice and produces excellent sake. Kyoto sake is classed as a more sweet style. Kyoto is also known for its world-class whisky production. Award-winning whisky Yamazaki Single Malt is made in Yamazaki, where Suntory built its first whisky distillery in the country in 1923. Located in the outskirts of Kyoto, Yamazaki’s water quality remains legendary even today.