recommended Giro GiroGiro Giro is one of the best restaurants I have ever visited. Full stop. There is no menu here, only 'The Menu', a 9-course feast of haute kaiseki Kyoto cuisine selected by the chef for that evening, ... read moreand featuring small plates like foie gras sushi with fresh mango. Each new course is a delight and a discovery, innovative combinations that blend novel flavors, textures and colors into some of the most subtle cuisine available anywhere. A full meal with drinks runs around $60+ USD per person, and if you (like most visitors to Japan) find yourself in Kyoto, you owe it to yourself to visit this restaurant. Phone/fax: 075-343-7070. Reservations recommended.Matthew Crompton
I don't have much to add that people haven't said already, except that you should GO TO THIS RESTAURANT. You'll thank yourself for doing so. =)
- Fushimi Inari Shrine日本, 京都府京都市伏見区深草藪之内町６８recommended Fushimi Inari ShrineMy favorite thing in all of Kyoto! The paths through the shrine are lined with varying sized orange gates all the way through. There is a two hour trail in the temple through the gates up into the ... read morerocky hills of this area. I walked the entire thing, there was almost no one out there (even in tourist season). It was so peaceful and beautiful and magical to be all alone in the woods when you are technically still in the middle of a city!recommended Fushimi Inari ShrineFushimi Inari Shrine is famous for its thousands of torii gates that look like a tunnel going through the forest up the hill. The torii gates are donated by individuals and companies (the donor's name ... read moreand the date of the donation are inscribed on the back of each gate). The cost starts around 400,000 yen for a small sized gate and increases to over one million yen for a large gate. The shrine is dedicated to Inari – the god of rice. There are lots of statues of foxes (Inari’s messengers) on the grounds. Walking through the tunnel up and down the mountain is the most exciting part of the visit. If you go all the way to the end, it could take you up to 3 hours. But you can walk only a part of the trail and then turn back (walk back is mostly downhill). It’s best to visit late if the afternoon on a sunny day – the glowing gates are spectacular! This is one of my favorite sites in Kyoto. Anyone who has seen The Gates installation in Central Park in New York by Christo and Jeanne-Claude can easily guess where they got the idea.
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recommended KyotoLoved Kyoto! There is so much to do there and with such variety. I would have to say I liked it even better than Tokyo and I was glad I chose to spend an entire week there. There is so much to see ... read moreeverything from traditional Japan to modern. I recommend people base there trips out of Kyoto and focus as more of their time here. Kyoto has a sampling of pretty much everything Japanese all in one location.recommended KyotoBeing Japan’s capital city in the past for over thousand years, Kyoto has a lot of cultural and historical sites (many of them being on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage sites). Temples, shrines, ... read morepalaces, gardens, old and new architecture, museums, restaurants, traditional culture and much more makes this city a must-see in Japan, especially on your first visit. Traditional Kyoto is so much different from modern Tokyo – visiting both cities gives good introduction of life in Japan. Excellent public transportation allows for fairly easy sightseeing (after you figured out how it works). It’s convenient to stay at a hotel near the Kyoto Station – you can easily get anywhere by trains and busses that depart from there.
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The one must visit place is Kiyomizu Temple, arrange half of day or above to walk around there. Before you reach top at the Kiyomizu Temple, rent a kimono with all-in-fare about USD60. They will dress up for you, cause it is not easy and need about an hour. Then, Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji in a day. Don't forget dropping around Gion perfection, I m sure you will have a fruitful trip.
recommended Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji)One of the flashiest of Kyoto's historical Buddhist temples, Kinkakuji is also the subject of a Yukio Mishima novel. Visit early or late in the day, when the light hitting the temple is at its best ... read morefor photographing. The surrounding traditional Japanese gardens are also beautiful, so take time to wander.recommended Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji)The Golden Pavilion at Kinkakuji Temple is gorgeous. With the top two floors completely covered in gold leaf, with big reflecting pond in front of it and being surrounded by beautiful gardens it ... read morecreates a picture perfect setting. Some practical tips: • The main photo spot right after you enter – from the front and the side of the pond • Morning or late afternoon sun is the best for photos • Try to visit on a sunny day • It’s best to come here early in the morning • 30 minutes is enough to see it (if it’s not too crowded) • If you are visiting this site on your own (not as part of a tour), you can easily combine it with visiting two other famous temples (Ryoanji Temple and Ninnaji Temple) which are located within walking distance from each other. You can take a bus 101 or 205 from Kyoto Station to the Kinkakuji Michi bus stop, then walk to Kinkakuji Temple, then to Ryoanji Temple, and then to Ninnaji Temple. Try to get to the first temple (Kinkakuji Temple) at the opening time, so you can visit it before the tour busses get there.
- Ryoanji13 Goryonoshita-cho Ryoanji, Kyoto-Shi, 26 616-8001 Japanrecommended RyoanjiRyoanji Temple is famous for its rock garden - 15 rocks are arranged in small groups in such way that from any vantage point you can never see all 15 rocks. Try to get there early in the morning when ... read moreit’s not crowded, so you can quietly enjoy it. Besides the rock garden, the grounds of the temple are very nice – make sure you take a walk there. It is especially beautiful when the cherry trees are blooming. I never have seen such tall (probably very old) blooming cherry trees. They were spectacular, and for me they were the highlight of the visit to the Ryoanji Temple. Practical Tip: If you are visiting this site on your own (not as part of a tour), you can easily combine it with visiting two other famous temples (Kinkakuji Temple and Ninnaji Ttemple) which are located within walking distance from each other. You can take a bus 101 or 205 from Kyoto Station to the Kinkakuji Michi bus stop, then walk to Kinkakuji Temple, then to Ryoanji Temple, and then to Ninnaji Temple. Try to get to the first temple (Kinkakuji Temple) at the opening time, so you can visit it before the tour busses get there, plus still get to Ryoanji Temple early enough to enjoy it without tons of tourists.
- Kyoto Station, Kyoto PrefectureKyoto Station, Kyoto Prefecture, Japanrecommended Kyoto Station, Kyoto PrefectureKyoto Station is a transportation hub of the city (besides trains, there is also a bus station right outside the building). This is not your typical train station – it is also an interesting ... read morearchitectural creation, looking like it is from the 22nd century. Some observations and details: • There is a great tourist information center on the 2nd floor (another one is on the 9th floor), with English speaking people working there; they give good advice (it was a rainy day when we stopped by and a lady working there gave us lots of great ideas what to do on a rainy day) • There are lots of restaurants here • There is a huge department store spanning several floors • Huge underground shopping mall has tons of nice stores and lots of restaurants • There is an open air observation deck on the top floor • The area around the train station is nice • It is very convenient to stay at a hotel near or at the train station • Colorful water show between the train station and the bus station in the evening ( 7, 8, 9 pm) is a nice way to finish a busy day
- GionGion, 교토 부, 일본recommended GionGion district is famous for its traditional wooden houses, restaurants, shops and teahouses where geishas entertain. You can actually spot geisha or maiko (geisha in training) on the streets here, ... read moreespecially in the evening hours. There are lots of tourists here, but they only add to the scenic atmosphere of this area.
- Ginkakuji２ Ginkakujicho, KyotoSakyo Ward, Kyoto Prefecture, Japanrecommended GinkakujiThe grounds of Ginkakuji Temple contain so called Silver Pavilion and some other buildings, very interesting sand garden in perfect condition, beautiful moss garden and traditional gardens. It’s ... read morefairly small but very nice. There are good views of the city as you climb up a hill behind the buildings. You can easily get to Ginkakuji Temple from the Philosopher’s Walk.
- Philosopher's Walk日本, 京都府京都市左京区浄土寺石橋町recommended Philosopher's WalkThe concentrated site of blooming sakura in early April can be found along the narrow canal that goes through a neighborhood (in Higashiyama district) with small old houses, lots of souvenir shops and ... read morerestaurants. It’s called The Philosopher’s Walk (or Path), and it’s about 2 km long. It is probably beautiful here during any other season, but of course, the blooming cherries lining the sides of the canal make this a must visit site for cherry blossom viewing. Young women dressed in colorful geisha outfits add unique flavor. There are a lot of tourists here but it doesn’t take away the magic from seeing this amazing display of beautiful celebration of spring.
- Kiyomizudera日本, 京都府京都市東山区清水１丁目−２９４recommended KiyomizuderaKiyomizudera Temple has the most beautiful grounds and views. It is located on the top of the hill and has huge wooded balcony hanging over the hillside, offering picturesque views of the city and the ... read moregardens. It is especially wonderful to visit when the cherry trees are blooming. Behind the main building, there is a shrine dedicated to love and matchmaking. There is also a waterfall with 3 separate steams; water from each stream has different benefit (love, success, longevity); drinking from more than one stream is considered greedy. The street leading up to the temple (uphill walk) is very interesting too – lined with nice souvenir shops and restaurants.