Things to do in Kyoto
Before going to India, we explored quite a few places during the Golden Week, the first being Kyoto. Today I will share all the lovely captures and things to do in Kyoto from our day 1 of the short 2-day trip.
Kyoto is an ancient city and the capital of the Kyoto Prefecture. It was earlier the imperial capital of Japan. If you are like me who loves ancient structures and history you will love this city; even if you are not fond of history much, this city will definitely find a way to please you with its charm, which is ancient and metropolitan at the same time. The city is full of shrines, temples, art galleries, museums, nature and more options that will suit everyone’s liking. It gets a heavy footfall of tourists because of all these highlights.
If you are not well prepared and try to look for a place to stay in Kyoto during Golden Week you will never find anything—not even hostels—it is that crazy flooded with tourists. It is not very close from Tokyo but at a suitable distance of ~460 km and you have various means to access this city: you can rent a car if you hold a valid driver’s license, take an overnight bus which is very comfortable or board the super fast Shinkansen.
Kyoto has thousands of attractions; if you are on a tight schedule I suggest you take time and plan what all you want to cover in your trip otherwise Kyoto can be a bit overwhelming with all it has to offer. We were definitely on a very tight schedule of 1.5 days so it was crazy but all the rigorous planning and jotting down of all the tiny details helped us save a lot of time and we could enjoy more. We covered quite a few places; it was definitely not enough but good for the first time and I’d love to go there again sometime. We used the city bus service for most of the commuting, it was very convenient and there were day passes available to select from.
There are so many things to do in Kyoto that if you are not well planned you might loose out on so many things. We covered quite a few places in our 2-day trip: Kinkaku-ji - Golden Pavilion; Togetsu-kyo bridge - Moon Crossing Bridge; Tenryu-ji Temple; Arashiyama Bamboo Forest; Romance train ride in Sagano; Fushimi-Inari Taisha; Gion district (Geisha capital); and Kiyomizu-dera.
We took the 7:03 am Shinkansen from Tokyo station and reached Kyoto station at 9:47 am. Our hotel check-in was at 3:00 pm so we carried our bag (1 pc) with us but you can always keep your luggage in your hotel’s cloak/locker room.
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Kinkaku-ji - The Golden Pavilion
The first spot that we hit after reaching Kyoto was Kinkaku-ji aka the Golden Pavilion. It is a World Heritage Site with gorgeous views of the temple set in the middle of a pond surrounded by lush greens. It is so mesmerizing and positive at the same time.
Access: Bus no. 101/100 Admission Fee: ¥400 for adults (including high school students); ¥300 for children
Next stop of our trip was Arashiyama. It is also one of the most visited, World Heritage Site in Kyoto. Unlike Kinkaku-ji, Arashiyama is a cluster of famous spots like Togetsukyo bridge also the moon crossing bridge, Tenryu-ji temple, Bamboo grove/forest, romance train ride in Sagano, etc. We were very excited to reach Arashiyama, it is such a lovely place; you can sit near the river, walk around the local market, stroll on the bridge, and click pictures everywhere 😀
This is also called the moon crossing bridge. It looks perfect during the night with the reflection of the bridge in the river, we loved sitting next to the river just chit-chatting 🙂
Sagano Romance Train
Our train ride in Sagano Romance Train was splendid. It is a sightseeing train that runs along the Hozugawa river between Arashiyama and Kameoka. The train in itself is an old world vintage train with one open car and four closed cars. We obviously took the open car as we wanted to breathe in the lovely breeze. It takes about 22-25 minutes for a one-way ride.
Hours: 09:00 to 16:00 Fare for train ride: ¥620 one way
Another World Heritage Site with a perfect view of pond and gardens from the verandah. We loved the tranquility at this place.
Fee (only the gardens): ¥500 for adults and high school students; ¥300 for elementary and middle school students; free for preschool kids
This is the most serene walk that I’ve had in my entire life, believe me, you guys. Walking on a path with bamboo trees on both of your sides is pure bliss - only con is the plethora of tourists alongside - we wanted that long walk to continue for so long! TIP: Carry a mosquito repellant 😀 I realized this after a few bites and scratches.
Access: Bus no. 205 from Kinkakuji Michi to Nishinokyo Emmachi and from there bus no. 93 for Arashiyama Tenryu Teramae.
By now you know Kyoto has a large number of shrines and temple. Fushimi-Inari shrine is yet another gorgeous one. It is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari: the God of rice, sake, and prosperity. Fushimi-Inari is known for its remarkable 10,000 small torii gates (shrine gates).
It takes around 2 hours to reach atop Mt. Inari, which we couldn't as we took some wrong turn halfway and ended from where we started, i.e. the main gate of the shrine. 🙁 And then we just didn't go back up! But if you go up the hill you get to experience gorgeous views of the city and if you can make it around sunset it’s icing on the cake! Foxes are believed to be the messengers of Inari; hence, you will find many fox votives across the trail at many stops. The sight of the torii gates is just so gorgeous with bright orange color.
Access: Inari Station (JP Nara Line), 5-min walk from Fushimi-Inari station (Keihan Main Line). Admission Fees: Free
Consequently, that was majorly our day 1 in Kyoto, I hope you liked Things To Do in Kyoto | Day 1. Don't forget to check out the second part, i.e. Things To Do in Kyoto | Day 2 featuring Gion (Geisha capital) and Kiyomizu-dera.
I hope you have a lovely week ahead. Thanks for stopping by and reading!