Kyoto, Japan
Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu
experience
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari is the shrine of the God of Rice, also worshipped as the patron of business. Business men donate tori gates to bring good luck to their business. The bigger your donation, the bigger your gate! You probably recognize Fushimi Inari, there are countless pictures of it floating around on the internet. So thats why you must get there before 8 am. What you may not realize from the pictures is that the Fushimi Inari gates continue all the way up the hill. I highly recommend you follow these gates and ‘hike’ up (it’s really a very easy hike). Crowds get much thinner as you go up, and you can also enjoy some fabulous views over Kyoto! There’s not much to see beyond the view point, but if you have time definitely complete the hike! There is a cool little shrine at the top too!
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京都市, 京都府
experience
Nineizaka (Ninenzaka)
Inside the district of Higashiyama, one of the most preserved districts in Kyoto. I loved walking past the wooden houses, imagining I was traveling back in time! Ninenzaka is very popular and when I say popular, I mean expect it to feel a bit like Disneyland. The place was packed! However, it is still fun, and you can always wander off to the little alleys and immediately lose the crowds.
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Kyoto, Kyoto
cafe
二年坂 cafe 我楽苦多
One of my favorite coffee shops in the world! Everyone there was so friendly, they roast their own coffee which is amazing, and they had a cute little pet West Highland terrier! We spent a lovely afternoon there, sipping our hot cappuccinos while looking at the rain splatter on to the little rock garden outside. Totally zen!
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Kyoto, Kyoto
experience
Hōkanji Temple (Yasaka-no-Tou)
Where you'll find Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera (orange temple). Beautiful area around sunset; I rec going on a romantic post sunset stroll. You won’t find many restaurants open here after dark however as the area closes at 6pm.
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Kyoto, Kyoto
experience
Kyoto Station
You could easily spend the entire day exploring Kyoto Station. Our friends Alan and Ashley spent a rainy afternoon scoping out the best of Kyoto Station and they recommend going up to the tenth floor observation deck to see the views! Thank you to them for sharing the next couple of pictures! We also tried and loved Ramen Street on the 10th floor! It’s basically a food court with different types of Ramen from all over Japan.
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
outdoors
Arashiyama
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a short, pretty walk from the JR Saga-Arashiyama train station. Since you are there very early, you should definitely walk a little past the grove, past these train tracks and on to some other, less-frequented bamboo groves. If you don’t like sharing your bamboo groves with crowds, it’s best to get there by 7 am.
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Kyoto, Kyoto
outdoors
Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama
The location is stunning, overlooking the Arashiyama mountain and river. It is a tiny coffee shop so go as soon as it opens, but you can book the private room there if you are in a group.
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Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu
experience
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
I’m not a huge fan of monkeys after being scratched by one when I was a kid, so I didn’t go. But my friends went (one was even interviewed for a Japanese TV show!) and they had so much fun!
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Kyoto, Kyoto
outdoors
Kimono Forest
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Kyoto, Kyoto
restaurants
Shigetsu
This is a Michelin guide recommended restaurant serving vegetarian food set in the Tenryu-ji gardens! We did not get to eat there, but I would have loved to. Don’t forget to make reservations before you go. A walk in the beautiful flower garden after lunch would be a beautiful way to wind down your visit to Arashiyama!
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Kyoto, Kyoto
experience
Tenryuji Temple
If you go in the Spring or Winter, know that you have to take off your shoes, and floors are freezing! However, I think it’s still totally worth it for the sense of peace that will descend on you! It’s like a walking meditation. Oh and this picture postcard view is amazing too!
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Kyoto, Kyoto
experience
Kinkaku-ji
The Golden Temple, Kinkaku-ji, is a Zen-Buddhist temple originally built in 1397. The current building however was re-built in the 1950s due to a tragic fire. This is truly one of the most picturesque buildings in Japan!
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Kyoto, Kyoto
experience
Higashiyama Jisho-ji
The Silver Pavillion, Ginkakuji, is set along Kyoto’s eastern mountains, Higashiyama. The name ‘silver’ seems to have arisen either in contrast to the ‘Golden’ temple, or due to the silvery light of the moon’s reflection on the pavillion. Either way, don’t head there expecting it to be made of silver. I think the best reason to visit Ginkakuji is as a starting point for a short one hour hike up Mt. Daimonji-yama. You can see incredible views of Kyoto from the top!
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Kyoto, Kyoto
experience
Bar Honami
On a quiet street in the City Center. Their private rooms for large groups are just so cozy! They specialize in whiskey, but we tried their hot sake too, which was delicious!
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