Kyoto is Japan’s largest city and the capital of the Empire; that has been the capital of the Empire for more than a thousand years and has dozens of places worth seeing.
Kyoto, which preserves Japan’s cultural values very well, stands out as the country’s most tourist-attracting city after Tokyo.
Kyoto is the largest city in Japan, where traditional values and modernity live together. Kyoto, being served as the capital city of Japan for thousands of years during the imperial period.
Kyoto is described as the “capital of the capital.” We can say that this historical capital is the heart of Japanese culture because it is more traditional than Tokyo, which has become a technology giant.
With its temples, streets, and parks, Kyoto, has been voted “the best city in the world” over and over. The traveler feels like being entered into a period movie of Japan.
Also, You can find answers to the questions of where to visit and what to eat in Kyoto, where the whole city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Here is the list of major attractions and cuisines of Kyoto city in Japan:
1. Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari Taisha, one of many Shinto temples in Japan, where Buddhism and Shintoism religion are prevalent, is perhaps the most photographed and known temple in the world.
There is not much information about the history of Fushimi Inari Temple, built on the foothills of Inari Mountain.
The orange gates running along the road called “Torii” in the temple, visited by those who believe in the Shinto religion to wish, stand out as the most striking structures.
Each torii is donated to the temple by visitors whose wishes get fulfilled. Donors’ names are displayed on the gate.
Fushimi Inari Temple, used in Hollywood movies, is among the routes widely shared and requested on social media.
Although the general history of the temple is unknown, the main building inside is the newest building, built in 1499.
2. Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle, built as an administrative palace in 1603 during the Tokugawa Shogunate, is a massive complex of gardens, palaces, moats, and towers.
Although many buildings in the complex were burnt or damaged in the past, they still maintain their glory today.
In the palace, where you will see the best examples of Japanese aesthetics, wooden structures, a white college, large halls, a black temple, and one of the original illustrations of Japanese garden art will be waiting for you.
You can also see decorations and artifacts reflecting Japan’s traditional arts at Nijo Castle.
3. Higashiyama District
Kyoto’s Higashiyama region is like a film set where traditional Japanese culture is still alive.
While strolling the streets of Higashiyama, where traditional houses, magnificent temples, and parks are located, you will be impressed by the magical atmosphere created by both locals and tourists wearing kimonos.
If you wish, you can also rent a kimono and pamper yourself like a native of Japan for one day.
Kiyomizudera Temple, one of Japan’s most familiar temples, is located in the Higashiyama District.
Kiyomizudera, a must-see place in Kyoto, offers a 4-season color feast among the sakura that stretches along the slopes of Otowa Mountain.
The waterfall, which caused the temple to be built centuries ago, still flows today, and those who visit the temple drink this water, which they believe gives a healthy and long life.
In Higashiyama, Chenin, Shorenin, Ginkakuji Temples, the Philosopher’s Way, and the Forbidden Monument are particular areas you will not regret if you visit.
4. Golden Pavilion Temple
Golden Pavilion Temple is both a mansion and a temple, as you can understand from its name.
It was built in the 14th century as a mansion where Commander Ashikaga Yoshimitsu would rest in his retirement but was later converted to a temple by his son.
The three-story temple adorned with gold-plated twice shines like the sun in the lush nature.
The large temple garden designed with the designs of Muromachi, the last period of the Ashikaga family in their possession of the Empire, provides a peaceful environment with greenery.
5. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Arashiyama Forest, one of the most impressive forests in the world, creates a unique view with the thin bamboo trees rising to the sky.
The forest, where the sunlight glides and reflects from the top of the bamboo trees, brings you together with landscapes you cannot encounter anywhere else in the morning.
In Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, walking along and narrow path on the 500-meter hiking trail surrounded by bamboo trees on the right and left sides will relieve you of all your stress.
In the forest, which is among the world’s wonders, the bamboo length can sometimes exceed 30 meters.
5. Sanjusangen do Temple
Sanjusangen Do, known as the Temple of 33 Niche due to its extraordinary architecture, is dedicated to the goddess of mercy in the Japanese faith.
The 33 pillars represent 33 different personalities. The built-in 1164 temple had a fire in the past, but in 1266 it was restored to its former appearance.
The three-and-a-half meter statue of the goddess Kannon and the figures of the 28 celestial helpers behind it are among the essential works in Sanjusangen do Temple.
6. Kyoto Imperial Palace
Located in downtown Kyoto, the Kyoto Imperial Palace was built in 794 but suffered the same fate as Japan’s other wooden temples and was destroyed by fire several times.
However, after several renovations, the palace still maintains its impression and is the most visited structure in the city.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace is nowadays open to touristic tours as well as for important state ceremonies.
You can also visit the palace rooms and see the best examples of Japanese decoration.
When to go to Kyoto?
Japan is hot in the summers and relatively cold in the winter. The most challenging aspect of the Japanese summer is the extended monsoons.
Therefore, if you want to visit Kyoto in June and July, we recommend you plan your trip by risking the rain.
Apart from the weather conditions, the summer season can bring you to witness the most enjoyable state of the streets of Kyoto, as Japan’s oldest and biggest event, the Gion Matsuri Festival, is held.
If you want to visit Kyoto under the sakura rain, you can find cherry blossoms in every corner of the city between March and April.
What to eat in Kyoto?
One of Japan’s traditional cities, Kyoto, was once the cuisine of the Imperial Palace.
Therefore, you can find the most delicious dishes of Japanese cuisine in Kyoto.
Japanese cuisine, which is very low in oil and spices, is an oasis in terms of seafood.
If you are making your first trip to Japan, we do not need to remind you to eat sushi in this homeland.
If you start looking for different tastes after tasting sushi, we recommend trying Kabayaki by keeping up with the Japanese who consume eel a lot.
Kabayaki is a very healthy flavor, which is cut into thin fillets of the back and belly of the eel, then fried on skewers, and served with soy sauce.
If we move away from meat and fish and look at vegetarian dishes, Shojin Ryori is among the tastes you can prefer.
Shojin Ryori, made with tofu, the main ingredient of Japanese dishes, obtained by cutting into cubes after soy milk has the consistency of cheese, is a kind of juicy gossip that includes beans and fruits.
It is strictly forbidden to add meat, fish, onion, leek, and garlic to Shojin Ryorin.
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