7 Things You Should Do When In Kyoto, Japan

If you are planning to visit Japan, one of the top places that you need to visit is Kyoto. This city is situated at the center of Honshu Island and is among the top tourist destinations in the country. It served as the capital of the Rising Sun from 794 to 1868. Serving as the capital for such a long period of time, it offers so many beautiful sceneries that tourists will surely enjoy. Here are some of the things that you need to do if you find yourself in Kyoto.

Meditate at the Kinkaku-ji temple


The Kinkaku-ji temple is a national historic site that boasts of breathtaking landscape and amazing history. This Zen Buddhist Temple is a symbol of the wonderful culture of the Muromachi period. Its amazing look is known for consisting three distinct architectural styles. It is surrounded by lush green trees and the resulting landscape is reflected on the serene waters. Because of the wonderful and peaceful ambience it offers, Kinkaku-ji temple is definitely one ideal place to do some reflecting and soul-searching.

Have fun at the Gion district

If you want to feel how it was like to have fun in Medieval Japan, you should consider touring the Gion district. This district was a very popular pleasure quarter in Kyoto. In the past, numerous samurais, farmers, and weary travelers flock this district just to have a good time. It is in here where they can get great wine and talk with their friends. As they have a great time, they are also entertained by the lovely geisha. What is interesting is that even until today, Gion district still has some stalls where visitors can drink and eat snacks.

Marvel at the Kiyomizu-dera temple

Another marvelous temple to visit at Kyoto is the Kiyomizu-dera temple. Another national treasure, this site attracts more than four million visitors every year. What is very interesting with its main hall is that the building is assembled with 139 pillars – get this, nails were never used to erect them. The main hall supports a stage which offers a birds-eye view of the city. From this stage you can view the ever-famous cherry blossoms as well as the magnificent maple trees. You should also never miss the temple’s significant statue, Kannon – an object of worship with eleven faces.

Tour the grounds of Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is also a must-see, being the official Kyoto residence of no other than Tokugawa Ieyasu. This castle is considered as UNESCO World Heritage Site and it boasts of the typical castle architecture during the feudal era of Japan. As an option for tourists, English audio guides are available at the gate and can really come in handy for an informative tour of the place. Some of the features that the castle has include tatami mats, elaborate ceiling designs, and artistic sliding doors. The buildings of the castle are connected by nightingale floors or floors that are designed, for security purposes, to make noise when stepped on.

Celebrate Kyoto at the Heian-jingu shrine

Kyoto is indeed one of the finest treasures Japan has. The beauty of Kyoto can always be celebrated by visiting Heian-jingu shrine, a shrine founded to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto as the country’s capital. The shrine has so many interesting pieces to behold including wonderful halls that represent features of the first Imperial Palace in the city. There is also the garden which takes about half of the land area. This garden is considered to be one of the best cherry blossom spots in the city because of its numerous cherry trees.

Enjoy the bamboo forest at Arashiyama

Have you ever been to a bamboo forest? Arashiyama has truly one of the most beautiful bamboo forests in the world. You can enjoy seeing the beautiful bamboo groves while riding a rented boat. The best time to visit Arashiyama is during the cherry blossom period. This place has always been a popular retreat for those seeking a serene natural ambience. Numerous Japanese nobles of the past, especially during the Heian Period, flocked to Arashiyama to get peace and quiet.

Take a stroll at the Ginkaku-ji

You will also have a great time at the Ginkaku-ji. It is situated along the eastern mountains of the city. The temple has a very rich history. Japanese art thrived in this place for at the height of glory, the temple hosted numerous tea ceremonies, cradled poetry writers, and featured countless flower arrangments. Ginkaku-ji is composed of numerous temple buildings including the well-known Silver Pavilion. Though not made of silver, the temple gets a silvery appearance when the moon used to shine on its black lacquer covering.

Secure a trip to Kyoto as soon as possible? If you need help in planning your visit, contact Dove Travel and Cruises International, a travel agency based in Nashville.