Top 5 Places to Visit in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. It is well-known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan, as well as being one of the major religious city.

You can spot not only foreign tourists but also locals who happily wander around. There’s so much beauty in Kyoto, I love the quaint feels of the city and it has a great number of cultural sites too. I would definitely be back, but for now here are my top 5 recommendation that you must visit when in Kyoto. (feel free to click on each photo for more information).

1.Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. It’s said to be dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds.

2. Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is divided into two — the Ninomaru Palace and the ruins of the Honmaru Palace. The entire castle grounds and the Honmaru are surrounded by stone walls and moats. The elaborated gates are quite impressive too which I can’t help but to take a pose.

The palace consists of multiple separate buildings that are connected by corridors with floors (called nightingale floors) that squeak when you stepped on, served as a security measure against intruders.

Inside the palace are several masterpieces of Japanese art and huge rooms which some of it are intended for meetings and receiving of guests. It’s not allowed to take photos inside and you have to remove your shoes and leave it on the shoe racks upon entry.

3. Maruyama Park

Maruyama park is the oldest park in Kyoto and most popular for cherry blossom viewing. The centerpiece of the park is a tall weeping cherry tree that lights up at night. This is a good place to food trips and if you want to experience dining under the cherry blossom trees. It’s pretty when it’s sakura season.

4. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

(photo: inside kyoto)

It was very crowded when we reached the grove. I found myself standing in the middle of the bamboos with a disappointed face. It’s very difficult to take a solo photo standing in the middle of the path. I think you have to visit this place at early morning or wait until the tourists subside if you want to take that postcard worthy shot.

5. Golden Pavilion Temple 

It’s a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, one of the famous temples in Japan. Also known as Kinkaku-ji and officially named Rokuon-ji.

This temple is one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Kyoto. It is indeed as beautiful as you can see it in post cards. It’s surrounded by lush green and you can see its reflection on the pond. I think, it’s even prettier during autumn.


Have you traveled to Kyoto, Japan? Feel free to add on to this list at the comments below. 


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