This World Heritage site city that is visited by 50 million tourists annually has nothing but famous sightseeing spots

Area Characteristics

Kyoto was the capital of Japan for approximately 1000 years starting from 794 and is a major tourist city in the country. The greater Kyoto area has a long north-south axis, and it is divided into 4 areas consisting of Tango which is filled with the grand nature of the Sea of Japan starting with Amanohashidate, one of the Three Scenic Views of Japan, from the north; Tanba which is attractive for its tranquil rural landscape; the old capital of Kyoto which is the center for tourism; and Yamashiro which is known for its many cultural properties including the World Heritage site of the Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple.

Major Sites

There are 17 shrines, temples and castles which have been registered as World Heritage sites under the collective name of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. These sites make up the center for tourism concentrated in Kyoto as they include the most popular Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Nijo Castle, and Ryuan-ji Temple (famous for its rock garden), along with the Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple and Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei in the Yamashiro district. Besides the World Heritage sites, Kyoto is also famous as a place for cherry blossoms and autumn colors with the charming Arashiyama and Gion districts of which the latter is an area where you can try to pretend to be a maiko (apprentice geisha). The areas outside of the city proper are also tourist spots where you can participate in activities such as a boat cruise down the Hozu River in the Tanba district and a tour of Amanohashidate in Tango.



Tofu is a famous product in Kyoto. You will want to taste dishes such as yuba ryori (tofu skin cuisine) based on tofu making use of the clear streams and yudofu (boiled tofu). There is a wealth of cuisine in Kyoto with restaurants using Kyoto vegetables such as Kujo green onions and Kamo eggplants, wonderful examples of Kyoto home cooking, the hospitality dishes involved in traditional kaiseki, and other dishes served in establishments ranging from popular eateries to high-class restaurants catering to VIPs all over the world. Also if you have the chance, you should also try having a meal on a raised platform over a river as a reminder of summer only found in Kyoto which believes that the surrounding landscape is very much a part of any meal.



From Tokyo, it takes at least 2 hours and 20 minutes by Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to reach Kyoto. Navigating within the city limits of Kyoto by bus is smooth since there are usually bus stops by the famous temples and shrines. Along with buses serving the Tango area, there is a free ticket that you can use to ride on transportation such as cable cars and tour boats, and there are also trolleys within the Tanba district, with plenty of public transit even outside of the city.



There are many hotels and ryokans in Kyoto. Along with Kyoto Station, Gion and Arashiyama among other districts in the downtown area, there are plenty of accommodations available in places such as Tango and Amanohashidate, in addition to several hotels and ryokans which have received 5 stars in the Michelin Guide Kansai.