Kyoto has a rich history; for more than a thousand years, it served as the capital of Japan. Despite the fact that this is no longer the case, a significant amount of the city’s history and culture has survived till the present day. When traveling through Japan, it is impossible to bypass this city due to its stunning natural beauty. The ease with which Kyoto transforms with the changing of the seasons is another source of the city’s allure, among the city’s venerable Buddhist temples, vividly colorful Shinto shrines, and shadowy geisha districts. When snowflakes fall into Zen gardens and the little courtyards of traditional teahouses in Kyoto, the weather can define the mood of the city. When the sakura is in full bloom, the city is water-colored in pastel pink hues. Even though every Kyoto travel book will tell you about the must-see attractions, they won’t inform you about a few things that will make your trip to Kyoto more enjoyable.
Since there is such a massive diversity of accommodations to choose from in Kyoto, the one best for you will depend heavily on your finances and tastes. Staying in a ryokan is necessary if you want an authentic Japanese experience when visiting Japan. The rooms of these inns are traditionally decorated with tatami mats, and visitors sleep on futons. After a long day of sightseeing, unwinding in one of the onsens (public baths) available at many ryokans is the perfect way to wind down and relax. There are a large number of hostels and capsule hotels available in the area of Kyoto if you are traveling on a more limited budget. And if you prefer to stay in a hotel with all the comforts of home, there are plenty of Western-style hotels in the city for you to choose from.
Must-see attractions in Kyoto
There is numerous must-see in Kyoto, but let’s focus on just five.
1. Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine: Known for its tens of thousands of vermillion torii gates, this shrine is one of the most visited in Japan. Even a hiking track ascends to the shrine, making it a well-liked location for photographers.
2. Kinkaku-ji Temple also referred to as the “Golden Pavilion,” is one of Kyoto’s most visited tourist attractions and is magnificent. It is now a Zen Buddhist temple, although it was once a retirement home for a shogun.
3. Arashiyama is a stunning region outside of Kyoto that is worth a visit. Visit one of the numerous temples in the area, such as Tenryu-ji Temple or Nonomiya Shrine, or take a stroll through the bamboo forest.
4. Gion: The geisha area of Kyoto is awash in traditional Japanese design and culture. Go for a stroll through the streets and see if you can spot any geishas!
5. Philosopher’s Walk: This charming 2-kilometer path winds along a canal surrounded by cherry trees. Even though it’s beautiful year-round, cherry blossom season is lovely.
Cultural considerations when visiting Kyoto
There are a few cultural aspects to keep in mind when visiting Kyoto. First and foremost, show respect for religious sites, including graves, temples, shrines, and other places of worship. Second, dress correctly by avoiding skimpy outfits, especially in front of sacred spaces. Thirdly, be mindful of your surroundings and avoid making too much noise. Many people share close quarters in Kyoto, so be considerate to your neighbors. Keep Kyoto clean by not littering; preserving the city’s beauty is crucial.
Maiko in Kyoto
Maiko, or trainee geisha, is a must-see while visiting Kyoto because of their exquisite traditional attire! Even though you might find a maiko out and about or at a teahouse, the most fantastic time to view them is at a performance or over a special meal.
There are a few various approaches you can use if you want to see Maiko. The first option is to attend a public performance, like one by the Gion Corner theater group. Every evening, these events include a variety of traditional Japanese entertainment, such as maiko dance and music performances. Online pre-sale or day-of-show purchases of tickets are both options.
Visiting an ochaya and asking for a private meal with maiko or geiko entertainment is an additional choice. Here, you may watch the Maiko perform up close while enjoying a cozy atmosphere. Because this choice is costly, saving it for a special event is preferable.
A Netflix drama about a maiko in Kyoto has become so popular that many people around the world have taken an interest in maiko. In this drama, the main character is a young girl who dreams of becoming a maiko and gets a job working at a yakata (maiko house) cooking makanai for maiko. What is a makanai in Japanese? It is a meal cooked by a chef for employees rather than for customers at workplaces such as restaurants. The heroin of this drama is good at cooking and her makanai dished were liked at everyone at the maiko house.
The experience of planning a trip to Kyoto may be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. Now that you have gained the knowledge and insight from this post to successfully plan the trip of a lifetime. We have done our best to provide you with all the essential information required to make your trip through the enchanted city of Kyoto go as smoothly as possible. This includes researching the best places to stay and visit and understanding which mode of transportation is most suitable for you. Have a fantastic time discovering the history of this old city.