Jan
8
2015

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kyoto

If you visit Japan for the first time it’s quite possible that Kyoto is on your bucket list. Well, I will not talk you out of it because there are several good reasons why Kyoto should be one of the places you wanna see on your trip and that will make you want to come back (like I want to do for sure).

Reasons to visit Kyoto

I will share my personal top 5 reasons why you should visit Kyoto as well.

 

1. Temples and Architecture

Let’s start with the obvious: The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Kyoto is probably “temples” – lots of temples actually. With about 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines there is a good chance that this might be enough for your whole vacation. So if you visit Japan to see temples you have come to the right place. In the temples it’s often possible to attend a tea ceremony so don’t miss this opportunity if you like green tea.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

The most impressive (but also most crowded) temples are in the Higashiyama district. If you don’t mind all the other people this will be a good place to find the best temples in Kyoto.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

The sign says: “No parking!”

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Kinkakuji – The Golden Pavilion

 

2. Landscape

The landscape in places like the Higashiyama district is so spectacular that it’s almost unreal. I was lucky enough to visit this area on a perfect, sunny day and it looked like straight from a fairytale.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Arashiyama is famous for the bamboo forest and besides Higashiyama this will be a place you don’t want to miss either. The two days I spent in the Higashiyama district were the most memorable ones of my trip to Japan and that says a lot.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Beautiful and calm. Just sit down and relax in Kyoto.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

 

3. Shopping and Downtown

Besides the traditional temples and the beutiful landscape Kyoto offers a nice shopping district where you can find lots of cute things and interesting food. In the main street Kawaramachi there’s nearly nothing you can’t find and if you want proof that Japanese people react a little sensitive to alcohol you can see some of it here later in the evening. ;)

Reasons to visit Kyoto

I stayed in a ryokan during my time in Kyoto and they offered sake tasting on one evening. Sake has an interesting history and production process with a great variety of taste, so if you have a chance to taste some don’t miss the opportunity.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

A typical Japanese shotengai (shopping street).

Reasons to visit Kyoto

A teddy bear dressed up as a Geisha. How adorable is that?

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Cute souvenirs are everywhere in Kyoto.

 

4. People

The people of Kyoto (and Japan in general) were the real highlight of my travel to Japan. They are very friendly and polite and I didn’t have a single negative experience. Japanese also like to take photos so I came to right place.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Before visiting Japan I was not into Street Photography that much but that changed on this trip and now I like taking pictures in the street wherever I travel.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

In summer you’ll see a lot of ladies wearing a yukata.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Japanese students taking a photo with a Maiko.

 

5. Visit Kyoto to Hang out With Cats

Let’s face it: Every picture looks better with a cat in it. Yes, Tokyo has more cat cafés (and some of them are great) but chances to see street cats are way bigger in Kyoto and the combination of the beautiful landscape with cats makes the perfect picture to win the Pulitzer Price.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

Well, maybe not quite, but still you can take great pictures of cats in Kyoto.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

A cat chilling out in Kyoto.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

 

There are several other reasons why you should visit Kyoto like the great food or culture, but I wanted this to be a top 5 list.

One last recommendation: Visit a Geisha Dance if you have the chance and if you are lucky you’ll be able to catch one (or two) of the gifts the Geisha / Maiko throw into the crowd. Even if you don’t understand a word this will be quite an experience.

Reasons to visit Kyoto

 

Author Bio:

guest blogger

Pierre lives in Frankfurt, Germany. When he isn’t working in a bank he is a passionate travel photographer. On his homepage you can see more photos including those of other Japanese cities like Tokyo, Nara and Koyasan as well as of other places around the world (and pictures of cats, cats are important…). All photos are also available as prints and for licensing.
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Disclaimer:
I think sometimes it’s really important to hear how a first-time visitor to Japan experienced her/his trip. I cannot share these kind of impressions with you anymore as I’ve just been in Japan for too long. Thus, Pierre did it instead. Hope you enjoyed it.
“The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kyoto” is a guest post. Information, opinion or photos are provided by Pierre. Therefore Zooming Japan doesn’t take any responsibility for the content.

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