Kyoto is Japan’s greatest ancient city and was once the capital of this beautiful country.

Often known for it’s Buddisht temples, Shinto shrines, traditional wood houses and Geishas. Kyoto is one of Japan’s largest city and it is nestled in the Kansai region of the country. As well as being one the ancient cities, Kyoto is also one of the most visited cities in all of Japan. Which is why it was a must visit during our trip to Japan. We absolutely loved our time in Kyoto and only wish we could have stayed longer.

I’m sharing the top 5 must-do activities in Kyoto. Be sure to keep reading, because you won’t want to miss this list!

1. Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

Where else in the world can you wear a kimono and enjoy matcha tea while learning about harmony purity, tranquility and zen? Dressing in traditional clothing and getting a glimpse into the true tea ceremony was such a humbling experience. Not only are you dressed to the nines, but you also get to practice the impact of silence, respect and overall tranquility. (Another blog post coming 10/15/19 on the full tea ceremony experience)

2. Visit the Fushimi Inari shrine

This famous shrine is known for it’s thousands of torii gates. This beautiful shrine was dedicated to the god of rice and sake by the Hata clan in the 8th century. Each day, thousands of people walk uphill through this beautiful shrine to get a glimpse of the torri gates and of course, the perfect Instagram worthy photo. INSIDER TIP: Be sure to get to the entrance of the shrine early (I’m talking before 7AM). This is one of the most important shrines in Japan making it the busiest.

3. Wander through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most beautiful forests in the world. The natural bamboo forest is an oasis of tranquility, beauty and various walking paths to enjoy the gardens. This is one of the most photographic spots in all of Kyoto. Thousands of people come here each day to see this glorious forest which makes the small pathway VERY crowded. Another INSIDER TIP: Get to the shrine before 7AM. It is open 24 hours per day so I would suggest getting there in between 6-6:30AM to get some good photos without other tourists in them. You’ll thank me, I promise.

4. Stay at a traditional ryokan

A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that offers an authentic Japanese experience. You typically sleep on futons or mats on the ground and your traditional Japanese meals are typically included in your stay. If you’re looking for the most authentic Japanese experience, look no further. There are so many ryokan options from budget to luxury so be sure to decide where your budget is and enjoy the experience!

5. Enjoy a Geisha & Maiko Dinner Show

If you’re looking to indulge in traditional Japanese cuisine while watching geishas performs elegant dances, look no further. There are an unlimited amount of Geisha and Maiko dinner experiences in Kyoto and they are definitely worth a visit. Most will need a reservation in advance to attend but will be one of the most pleasurable experiences you have in all of Kyoto.

Kyoto is such a beautiful and unique city. The recommended activities above make any trip to Kyoto a memorable one. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, be sure to visit Kyoto and check out some of these once in a lifetime experiences. You won’t be disappointed!

If you’ve been to Kyoto and have any recommendations on activities to do or things to see in the area, please let me know in the comments below.

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