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About Kyoto

Kyoto was the capital of Japan from 794 until 1868, and you can still see the imperial palace, along with numerous shrines, temples and other buildings that escaped the allied bombings of Japan. There are 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto to visit, meaning it’s packed with breathtaking sights to see. 

Find a place to stay in the heart of it all by booking a FlipKey vacation rental.

About Kyoto

Kyoto is on the island of Honshu. Its name means 'capital city' in Japanese. It is the cultural capital of Japan, where many Shinto festivals and traditions can be seen. The Japanese think of Kyoto as the heart of Japan.

Kyoto has many traditional tea ceremonies, as well as numerous arts and crafts. It is home to traditional fan-making and craftsmen still make Kyoto lacquerware, Kyoto ceramics and tabi (socks).

Eating in Kyoto is a culinary adventure. You can eat wonderful, simply prepared dishes of fresh vegetables and fruit, or go for the truly elaborate Kaiseki Ryori meals. Be prepared to sample many courses. You can get this cuisine in many restaurants in Kyoto, or if you stay in a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan).

There are so many different things to see, you should plan on staying in Kyoto for some time, not just a couple of days.

What to do in Kyoto

If you visit Kyoto when the cherry trees are in blossom (last week of March until mid-April, usually), you can see the beautiful blossom everywhere. One of the best places to experience it is in the park around the Imperial Palace, or as you walk along the Philosophers' Path.

Perhaps the most famous festival is the Gion Matsuri, held throughout July. The highlight of the festival is on the 17th of July - the Yamaboko Float Parade.

Visit the Fushimi Sake District and try sake, a traditional Japanese wine, at one of the many breweries in the area. You can also take a trip in a flat-bottomed wooden boat. The docks near the Gekkeikan Brewery or the Teradaya Inn are great places to pick one up.

If you are lucky you will be able to visit the Imperial Palace, but check for opening times as it isn't open often.

Top travel tips for Kyoto

Kyoto has a very good transportation system with subways, trains and buses. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle or take a taxi.

If you go from Kyoto to Tokyo, take the Hikari or Kodama train (local ones are very slow). Alternatively, fly from Itami airport in Kyoto, to Haneda airport in Tokyo. There are also highway buses.

Visit one of the flea markets in Kyoto. One is held on the 21st of every month at the Toji Temple, south of Kyoto station. Do your souvenir shopping shop at the Kyoto Handicraft Center just north of Heian Shrine. You’ll find some unique items to take home as mementos.

Kyoto is a fascinating blend of the old and new with traditions that have been passed down through the centuries. Every visitor will find something of interest here, from the traditional ceremonies to the modern shopping malls. 

Why not go and explore Kyoto for yourself? Check out vacation rentals on FlipKey.