Things to do in Kyoto

The epicentre of Japan's cultural and historical tourism, Kyoto has more than its fair share of national treasures, historical monuments, shrines and temples.

Kyoto is on most people's to-do list when visiting Japan, and with good reason. As a former capital of Japan during the Heian and medieval periods, this city's rich history is obvious as you explore its ancient streets and buildings.

Kyoto is home to some famous tourist sights, such as Gion - the area of eastern Kyoto known for its Geisha, teahouses and traditional wooden architecture. Kyoto has a huge number of large and well preseved temples and shrines, notably Kiyomizu-dera and Tenryū-ji in Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and a fantastic castle in the centre of the city - Nijo Castle.

It's a busy and touristy city, and it's hot and humid in summer - but it's worth the effort to explore Kyoto and to seek out the quiter and more tranquil spots.

Here are our favourite places to go in Kyoto:


Explore Kyoto's food specialities in Nishiki Market

Explore Kyoto's food specialities in Nishiki Market

A bustling indoor market in the centre of Kyoto

Kyoto, markets, food


Tendan Yakiniku restaurant, Kyoto

Tendan Yakiniku restaurant, Kyoto

Visit this yakiniku (barbeque) restaurant in Kyoto for a fun night cooking your own food

Kyoto, food, restaurants, yakiniku


Arashiyama bamboo forest, Kyoto

Arashiyama bamboo forest, Kyoto

The touristy but fascinating rural town of Arashiyama near Kyoto has a stunning bamboo forest and other attractions

Kyoto, Arashiyama bamboo forest, walks, temples


Visit Nijo castle in Kyoto for an amazing historic and cultural experience

Visit Nijo castle in Kyoto for an amazing historic and cultural experience

A beautiful Japanese castle with a palace and gardens, an essential part of any trip to Kyoto

Kyoto, castle, historic, Japanese gardens