Kyoto is a city of magical temples, delicious food, and true Japanese culture. We loved our week there and felt like we really connected with Japan and its fascinating history. Kyoto was one of the most important Japanese cities throughout history and served as the capital and home to many emperors and temples. Here are my favorite 4 places to visit!
Fushimi Inari was my favorite place in Kyoto! It is known as the shrine of 10,000 torii (gates) and was built in the 700s dedicated to the god of rice Inari. It is a whole complex of little shrines and many mystical pathways created by thousands torii that are like vibrant red tunnels. I loved visiting Fushimi Inari and learning all about Shintoism and exploring the many vibrant pathways!
Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, was such a beautiful and fascinating place. The temple itself is a Zen Buddhist Temple and attracts thousands of visitors each year. The temple is located right on a lake and it a photographers heaven with the enchanting forest behind and the reflection on the lake. I loved taking pictures at the temple and walking around the complex which had many other smaller temples and food stands with traditional Japanese snacks.
Just an hour away from Kyoto is the beautiful town of Nara known for its many friendly deer, giant Buddha, and many parks. We spent a whole day there exploring the parks, feeding the deer, and visiting the temples. The Todaiji Temple, which has the giant Buddha statue, was absolutely incredible! Although there were many people, it was such a peaceful place and I loved feeding the deer that had no fear of humans whatsoever. I would definitely recommend Nara for anyone traveling to Japan!
Kiyomizu-dera is known as one of Japan’s most famous temples and has an amazing view of all of Kyoto. Located up in the mountains, the street to reach the temple is very old and in traditional Japanese style – making you feel like you stepped back in time!
The whole area has small Japanese houses, traditional shops, and many cherry blossom trees. As you walk towards Kiyomizu-dera, there are many other smaller temples that are so vibrant and quaint. This was my favorite neighborhood in all of Kyoto!
Kyoto was such a beautiful and colorful city and the perfect place to have a real Japanese experience. I loved seeing all the beautiful temples and shrines and could have explored the city for many more weeks – I can’t wait to go back!
Have you ever been to Kyoto? Share your favorite sights with us!
My name is Kaitlin and I love to travel, write, and volunteer. I am 18 years old and have been traveling my entire life with my family. I was born in Amsterdam and also lived in Los Angeles, Dusseldorf, Paris, and Rome all by the time I was seven. For the next 7 years, I lived in Venice, Italy – yet in September 2013, my family went back on the road for an open-ended journey to see the world. So far we have visited 61 countries throughout 6 continents and have no plans on stopping!. My greatest joy is meeting and helping others as we travel and sharing their stories through my writing – opening hearts and minds to the realities and amazing people of the world. Join me on my journey at Travelin Kait and follow my family as we volunteer with kids in need around the world at Kids Unite 4 Hope.