kyoto things to do and itinerary

kyoto things to do and itinerary

Kyoto Things to Do and Itinerary for First Timers

Overview of Kyoto

There are so many things to do in Kyoto, a city full of charm and wonders. Every years tourists are flocking to Japan to see the nature wonders, like the bamboo forest or learning more about Japanese culture thought its temples. Kyoto resonates to me in so many way, as deep inside I love a slower paced city. See my must visit attractions and sample
itinerary for first timers. To get the most of travelling around Kyoto, you can get this Kyoto Osaka Sightseeing Pass that allows you to take the Keihan railway freely that connects different places explained below.

Check out the video below for my Kyoto vlog and let me know what do you think!

Attractions in Kyoto

Kyoto Bamboo Forest Arashiyama.

I'm sure you might have seen this Kyoto Bamboo Forest somewhere in instagram or the internet. Visiting Kyoto won't be complete before stepping in into the nature wonder like this. To go to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, take the JR train and alight at Saga Arashiyama station. Upon alighting, you will see a sign that point to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, just follow the path. See my full post about Arashiyama Bamboo Forest here.If you are visiting the Bamboo Forest, you can also take the Arashiyama Rickshaw Tour that will take you around Arashiyama area.

Kiyomizu Dera

Kiyomizu Dera is one of the most famous shrine in Kyoto. The architecture looks magnificent even from afar. Take the 206 or 86 bus to visit it from Kyoto station. The complex is huge and may take up to three hours to explore. On top of that, renting a kimono while visiting the temple will be a great experience in Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari is another captivating shrine in Kyoto which contains hundreds of red Torii gates. You can walk uphill and enjoy the scenery while making several pit stop to pray, writing your wishes or fortune telling. More than two million people flocks here during the first three days of new year as the shrine is associated with good luck for business and prosperity. See my full post about Fushimi Inari Taisha here. 

Visiting Gion Area

Stepped back in time while visiting the infamous Gion Area. The place is well known for the centre of Geisha and Geiko performance. Learn more about Japanese culture by visiting the theatre or taking part in a Tea Ceremony lesson.

Kyoto Downtown Shijo Kawaramachi

Most probably the busiest area in Tokyo filled with malls, boutiques, shops, and restaurant. It is easily reached by Kyoto Hankyu line and stopping at Kyoto Kawaramachi. There are plenty of lunch or dinner options in the area like Ichiran, Yasai Hori, or Brasserie Cafe Onze. Make sure to checkout the Takashimaya for shopping and Japanese goods.

Nishiki Market

I always love to visit a traditional market wherever I go. Fortunately, Japan has so many attractive markets to visit no matter where you are. One of the most popular market in Kyoto is Nishiki Market. Located near the downtown area, this market is packed with both tourists and locals alike. You can find rows of stalls selling fresh produce, seafood, sweets, household items, and many more. Spend an afternoon here and indulge on various food sold here. I'm sure, your tummy will thank you ! You can find many street food like the taco tamale, mocha, dumplings, strawberries, okonomiyaki, and many more. It's really the perfect way to try all the Japanese street food on your list. The market closes at about 5.30 pm on daily bases (4.30 pm on Saturdays). The easiest way to visit it is by taking the Karasuma subway line and alight at Shijo Station or you can the bus number 4, 5, 17, 26, 73, 205.

Kyoto Itinerary

Day 1
Taking train from Osaka to Kyoto
Rest in hotel
Visiting Gion Area and dinner

Day 2
Coffee at Kurasu Kyoto
Lunch at Sushi no Musashi
Visiting Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Taking Sagano romantic train
Visiting Kyoto Downtown - Shijo Kawaramachi area
Dinner at Ichiran

Day 3
Lunch at Nishiki Market
Visiting Kiyomizu Dera Temple
Coffee at Arabica Higashiyama
Visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha
Dinner at Teuchi Udon Kendonya
Leaving Kyoto for Osaka, Nara, or other cities

Kyoto Hotel Choices

Kyoto is filled with a lot of Ryokan style hotel (traditional japanese hotels/guesthouses), boutique hotels, as well as several luxury hotels. I would suggest you to try Ryokan once as it gives a more authentic Japanese feeling. Check out Ryoda Sawaka Honten and Yasaka Yutone Ryokan.

I think that's it for this post. Make sure you bookmark this page if you are planning to visit Kyoto in the future. Stay safe and well!

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! We visited Kyoto a couple of years ago and loved it. I sure hope we can go visit again soon!

  2. These places look amazing. I would like to visit it one day. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I love Japan Your images look amazing Thanks you for the guide I cant wait to reviset this beautiful country again. xoxo Cris

  4. Your post always inspires me to travel and explore more! Thanks for sharing!
    The Wallet Review

  5. One of my goals is to travel to Kyoto!

  6. Another place to visit... I hope asap!
    Kisses, Paola.


  7. Kyoto is really amazing! Recently I watched a travel video on Youtube and I love it! I want to go there in the future :)

    xoxo ❤
    Melania | mimalditadulzura.com

  8. Your photos are amazing and these places are so beautiful. I would like to visit them one day. Thank you for travel guide.

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  9. Hey dear! Hope you're having a nice weekend so far :)

    I haven't been in Japan and it is one of the countries that are on my bucket list. Actually one of my best friends from Mexico lives in Kyoto and she had send me some postcards from this beautiful city, she told that it has a more traditional vibes if you compare it to Tokyo, but I see that the options you posted here can take us to unlimited alternatives to learn and have fun!

    Stay safe!

  10. That ramen looks so good!
    Taking notes for my trip to Kyoto!
    Visit my blog!

  11. Oh my goodness, definitely bookmarking this for future reference!

    xo Logan

  12. Wow it looks like such an amazing city! I've never visited but I would love to xo

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  13. This place looks awesome! :)

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  14. If the hole pandemic wouldn't have happened I would have been in Kyoto last month as well and it Looks so stunning on the Pictures! Hope I can visit on a different occasion soon.

    Have a great day,


  15. It looks amazing there! I would love to visit, once we are able to travel again!
    Beautiful photos,
    Julia x

  16. Love reading your blog, I enjoyed so much your video from Kyoto. Keep up the good work.

    Be safe, xx

  17. I'd just love to visit Japan in general, always felt like such a different world to me, and Kyoto seems like a really interesting place <3


  18. My mother has been to Kyoto. She went there on tour when she was at the MET. It would be great to travel here on one day and thanks for all the suggestions. And the food porn oh la la I am so hungry now!

    Allie of

  19. I am in love with the photos ✨ I would love to visit Kyoto one day 💚

    Shades of Silvie

    Have a lovely day ✨

  20. I will keep this in mind when we do finally get to travel to Japan, we were planning to go this summer but that won't happen now, it will be at a later date.


  21. Wow, amazing places!
    Knowing Japan must be sensational.
    I loved the video :)


  22. All looks amazing and makes me even more wanting to go away! xx

    Elegant Duchess xx

  23. Thank you for sharing! Visit Asia is my dream!!


  24. Oh I had plans with my friends to emabrk on some country tour, and u fortunately the pandemic happened... This place looks really good.

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  25. I would love to visit Kyoto. You took some amazing shots. I'd love to walk in that bamboo forest. Thank you for sharing.


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