Kyoto City Add-On
No visit to Japan would be complete without a visit to the ancient capital, Kyoto.
- Family Friendly
- Non-Ski Activities
- Off the Beaten Track
- Quick Transfer Time
- Village Charm
With over 1800 temples, shrines and famous gardens there is no shortage of cultural treasures to explore and uncover.
Adding a city stay in Kyoto to a ski trip couldn't be easier. There are a number of flights from Sapporo Airport in Hokkaido to Osaka airports Kansai or Itami, and from either airport, it's then a short hop on the handy Osaka Airport Limousine bus to Kyoto Station. From the Nagano resorts, you would use the 7, 14 or 21 day Japan Rail Pass to travel to Kyoto via Nagoya.
The city itself is easy to navigate with an excellent bus system and numerous tours to take in the main sights. Most people will arrive into Kyoto Station which itself is a sight to behold, the second-largest station building in Japan with over 15 different floors, housing a shopping mall, Granvia Hotel (see our Kyoto accommodation tab) and movie theatre.
"Kyoto is steeped with history and there are so many hidden gems to uncover in exploring this city. Famed for its temples, geisha district and cuisine - this is a stop not to be missed."
- Gion District - the famous entertainment and geisha quarter, which makes for an enjoyable walk through the quaint streets lined with old wooden buildings, teahouses, and exclusive restaurants. The chances of catching a glimpse of a geisha in their zori sandals and kimono are highest here!
- Kyoto Imperial Palace - the old residence of the imperial family until 1868 when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. The palace is located within the Kyoto Imperial Park, which can be entered freely, but the palace grounds can only be entered on guided tours held by the Imperial Household Agency - worth booking in advance!
- Kinkaku-ji Temple - also known as the Golden Pavilion, this is one of Kyoto's must-see sights. The famous Zen temple is located in northern Kyoto, and the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf.
- Fushimi Inari Shrine - found close to the city centre, you can walk through more than 4kms of red ‘torii gates’ which have been donated to the shrine. An impressive sight and great for photo opportunities!
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple - the ‘Pure Water Temple’ is one of Kyoto’s most popular temples and, perched on a hill, affords great views of the city. Part of its charm is the walk through the steep lanes of Higashiyama past a number of trinket shops and local restaurants catering to its many visitors.
- Nishiki Market - this 400 year old market can be found within a five block long shopping street lined with more than 100 shops and restaurants. Specialising in all things food-related, this is the best place to explore the culinary delights that Kyoto is famous for.
- Pontocho - a narrow alley running along the Kamagawa River, it is a pretty and atmospheric area packed with restaurants offering a range of dining options from inexpensive yakitori to traditional Kyoto cuisine.
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