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Things to do in Kyoto

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Landmark
“Nijo Castle (二条城, Nijōjō) was built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). His grandson Iemitsu completed the castle's palace buildings 23 years later and further expanded the castle by adding a five story castle keep. After the Tokugawa Shogunate fell in 1867, Nijo Castle was used as an imperial palace for a while before being donated to the city and opened up to the public as a historic site. Its palace buildings are arguably the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era, and the castle was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. Nijo Castle can be divided into three areas: the Honmaru (main circle of defense), the Ninomaru (secondary circle of defense) and some gardens that encircle the Honmaru and Ninomaru. The entire castle grounds and the Honmaru are surrounded by stone walls and moats.”
  • 201 locals recommend
Buddhist Temple
“Here is Kiyomizu Temple. One of the best and largest traditional Buddhist temple. Very crowded with tourists and students on busy season. Must see. The structure is massive! You can enjoy wearing Kimono Japanese Traditional Dress from young to adult and walk around take some photos as a good memory. You can go on foot. It will take you 44 minutes!”
  • 212 locals recommend
Buddhist Temple
“Here's Kinkakuji Temple which is called The golden Pavilion. Covered in glittering gold leaf, the pavilion dazzles admirers as it shimmers in the sunlight over its mirroring pond. Both the temple and its delightful Zen stroll garden are a must visit location for any visitor to Kyoto. You can visit Kinkakuji for 30 min by bus from Unagi Inn”
  • 151 locals recommend
Shrine
“Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital's move to Kyoto in 794.”
  • 184 locals recommend
Palace
“Kyoto's Imperial Palace used to be the residence of Japan's Imperial Family. The Kyoto Imperial Park, which surround the palace, is a great place to have a relaxing time. Open all day long, locals like to come to run, walk or just sit on a bench and read a book. Distance: 10 minutes' walk Entrance fee: free”
  • 141 locals recommend
Shrine
“Yasaka Shrine (Yasaka Jinja), also known as Gion Shrine, is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto. Founded over 1350 years ago, the shrine is located between the popular Gion District and Higashiyama District, and is often visited by tourists walking between the two districts. From Unagi Inn, you can get to Yasaka shrine for 30 min on foot”
  • 114 locals recommend
Art Museum
“Kyoto Manga Museum is a good place for manga lovers. You can read manga (mainly in Japanese) all day long! Distance: 7 minutes' walk Entrance fee: - Adults: 800JPY - Junion High-High School students: 300JPY - Children: 100JPY Opening hours: 10:00~18:00 (closed on Wednesday)”
  • 111 locals recommend
Souvenir Shop
“This is a very famous aquarium in this area. The grass as I look up, we can see so many kinds of fish. These makes not only your eyes but also your mind so happy. ”
  • 82 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“The Expo’70 Commemorative Park is about 260 Hectares. In the huge park, there are a part of facilities of the Expo’70, such as the Japanese Garden and the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Osaka. Parking lots at that time were converted into sporting facilities and recreation spots. The site of theme pavilions is forests and seasonal flower gardens now. The park is known as a cultural park embracing natural environment. You can relax in the park. The park has five areas; the Japanese Garden, the Natural and Cultural Gardens, cultural institution area, sports and recreation area, and parking area.”
  • 32 locals recommend
Place of Worship
“The Byōdō-in Temple, established in AD 988, boasts many unique buildings, shrines, and artworks worthy of a visit.”
  • 18 locals recommend
Market
“Nishiki Market (錦市場, Nishiki Ichiba) is a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. Nishiki Market has a pleasant but busy atmosphere that is inviting to those who want to explore the variety of culinary delights that Kyoto is famous for. The stores found throughout the market range in size from small narrow stalls to larger two story shops. Most specialize in a particular type of food, and almost everything sold at the market is locally produced and procured.”
  • 81 locals recommend
Buddhist Temple
“Ginkakuji (銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion) is a Zen temple along Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama). In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today's temple, modeling it after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), his grandfather's retirement villa at the base of Kyoto's northern mountains (Kitayama). The villa was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa's death in 1490. As the retirement villa of an art obsessed shogun, Ginkakuji became a center of contemporary culture, known as the Higashiyama Culture in contrast to the Kitayama Culture of his grandfather's times. Unlike the Kitayama Culture, which remained limited to the aristocratic circles of Kyoto, the Higashiyama Culture had a broad impact on the entire country. The arts developed and refined during the time include the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, noh theater, poetry, garden design and architecture. Today, Ginkakuji consists of the Silver Pavilion, half a dozen other temple buildings, a beautiful moss garden and a unique dry sand garden. It is enjoyed by walking along a circular route around its grounds, from which the gardens and buildings can be viewed.”
  • 81 locals recommend
Shrine
“Fushimi Inari(伏見稲荷大社)" Shrine is a popular spot for foreign tourists.The scenery that countless torii lined is magnificent.”
  • 120 locals recommend
Buddhist Temple
“World Heritage Toji Temple, walk 3mins. Every 21th, Kobo Antique Market is held. This is one of leargest Antique Market in Kyoto. There are many antiques, Kimono, Crafts, food and ceremony. 世界遺産 東寺、徒歩3分 毎月21日は、弘法市開催。 アンティークの着物、骨董、地元野菜等々、京都ならではの出店であふれます。”
  • 88 locals recommend
Buddhist Temple
“The Sanjūsangendō sis known for its impressive collection of Buddhist statues. There you can have a good introduction to Buddhist deities as the whole gods are represented in a long wooden buildings made of 33 intervals (hence the name of the building itself).”
  • 71 locals recommend
Shrine
“Here's Heian Jingu Shrine. This shrine has a relatively short history, dating back just over a hundred years to 1895. The vermillion-lacquered Otenmon Gate and Daigoku-den (main hall) are especially beautiful. Behind the main buildings there is an attractive, paid garden with a variety of plants, ponds and traditional buildings. Must-visit spot! You can go Heian Jingu Shrine by bus or train.”
  • 62 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Shrine
“Fushimi Inari(伏見稲荷大社)" Shrine is a popular spot for foreign tourists.The scenery that countless torii lined is magnificent.”
  • 120 locals recommend
Ramen Restaurant
“A famous chain store that sells some insane flavors. Unlike your normal chain store, Ippudo does not cheap out for anything. Experience delicious properly made ramen that is with out a doubt tasty!”
  • 26 locals recommend
Restaurant
“京都といえば名物のゆどうふ! 旬の食材をふんだんに使用した京会席を四季折々の美しい庭園を眺めながら、ゆったりとお召し上がりいただけます。 食後には順正書院のあるお庭の散策など、南禅寺順正だから味わえる、京都ならではの贅沢な時間を過ごすことができます。 Nanzenji Junsei is a Japanese restaurant located near Nanzen-ji Temple that is famous for its simple but superb tofu dishes. Here you can savour the subtle flavour of Yudofu (tofu in hot broth) served with spring onions, ginger or red peppers. You can enjoy traditional dishes while admiring the scenery of the restaurant’s beautifully maintained Japanese garden. You can even take a walk around the vast stroll garden after your meal. It’s perfect for vegetarians!!”
  • 8 locals recommend
Café
“It is a popular sweet shop where you can eat delicious parfaits while in Japan. We can recommend because it is close to various temples.”
  • 12 locals recommend
BBQ Joint
“京の焼肉処 弘 京都駅前店(Yakiniku Restauran Hiro) Cheap and it is delicious Yakiniku Restauran’s. I am also going to eat well!”
  • 6 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Modern and inventive Kaiseki. Open: 5:30AM-11PM TIP: Make a reservation +81 75 343 7070”
  • 13 locals recommend
Ramen Restaurant
“Delicious Japanese noodle famous for its soup. It customizes the service for different needs of quests. Before ordering, the staff will give you a sheet that you can choose your own taste. Even one person can have a meal easily and don't feel pressure in the shop because there are seats for one person.”
  • 12 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Ok so sushi is expensive, but fear not! Kurazushi is here to save your wallet and your appetite for delicious sushi with plates that only cost 100 Yen! Not to mention its a conveyer belt style restaurant so it adds a bit of fun to it!”
  • 20 locals recommend

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