If you are looking for an enlightning getaway, Kyoto is the place to be. When you hear of Kyoto, think of the temples, the tea-shops and the breath taking geisha among other secrets of the city that only wanderlust can help you uncover.
When you first arrive at the station, you will experience the shinkansen bullet train that will take you to the wide streets. With the huge number of places to visit, you are definitely spoilt for choices and you will have a hard time deciding on where to visit. Whatever your choice, make sure you do not miss these places:
Staying at a Ryokan
When you are visiting Kyoto, you need to stay in a place which will give you memories and good rest. A Japanese Ryokan is a good place to be. However, you should choose a Ryokan strategically placed in relation to the places you wish to visit.
It is important to note that when traveling in groups of 2 to 4, you stand a better chance of having a Ryokan reserved for you. It is very hard to find one if you are traveling alone. The Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Inn which is full of fun activities. While residing here, make sure you do a onsen and you will create moments that you will live to remember.
The famous Nishiki Market is a five block long shopping street that is lined with several shops and restaurants. Here, you can find all food related items and you can find the Kyoto specialities as well as the Japanese delicacies.
Everything sold in this market is locally produced; it is time to forget the over-chilled stuff you take from your local market and eat food as it is. Food is in plenty here and all ranges of foods are present. You get a chance to marvel at the world’s finest and most expensive mushrooms. The green matcha tea is also present and snacks are in plenty. While you are here, do not forget to buy yourself the Grade A5 Wagyu beef BBQ for 1000 Yen a stick.
Arashimaya Bamboo Groove
Arashimaya Bamboo Groove is probably one of the most photographed areas in the city. Walking into this vast bamboo groove feels like entering a whole new world. The thick green stalks of bamboo hover above you in every direction like an eagle ready to attack.
You cannot resist the moment and you will definitely take more pictures than you can imagine. The place is open 24 hours and you can access it anytime you like. Tenryu-ji temple is not far away from here and you can double your fun by visiting it afterwards.
Have you ever heard of the legendary movie actor Denjiro Okochi from the 1920’s? Well, his legend is well served by the spectacular Okochi Sanso villa in which he invested a lot of his time and money. When you enter in the villa, you are welcomed with a tasty free cup of matcha tea.
Once inside, you can view the Momoyama-style Shoin, the tea hut and a Kamakura-style Jibutsudo (temple). Additionally, you get to see stone Buddhas and a well laid out observation platform. You will also get a first-hand history of Denjiro Okochi in the open air museum which highlights his life.
Of all the Temples in Japan, this is one you cannot afford to miss in your visits. Also known as the Pure Water Temple, it is among the most celebrated temples in Japan. While you are here, you will get to see the wooden stage jutting out of the main hall. You will see the Jishu Shrine which is a shrine dedicated to the god of love and matchmaking.
At the base of the main hall is the Otowa Waterfall whose waters are divided into three. The visitors use long poles to drink from the streams and it is believed that each of the streams has its own benefit. The benefits are a fortunate love life, longevity in life and success in school, do not make the mistake of drinking from all the three streams or you will be considered greedy.
Also known as the golden pavilion, Kinkakuji Temple has its two top floors covered in gold leaf completely. It is a stunning structure that is built overlooking a large pond. Each of the floors is made using a different architectural style. The temple gardens have interesting spots such as the Anmitaku pond that never dries up. Outside the gardens, there are souvenir shops and a small tea shop from where you can have the famous matcha tea.
Fushimi Inari-Taisha Temple
This is an important Shinto shrine in Southern Kyoto. It is renowned due to its numerous torii gates which are a must see. While you are here, you will enjoy exploring the mountain trails, the shrine buildings, the Romon gate and the various auxiliary buildings.