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Making a list of things to do in Kyoto as you plan a trip to the cultural capital of Japan is one way to enjoy a vacation and have maximum fun during your trip. Kyoto is a magical place, rich in historic and cultural attractions including; numerous Buddhist temples, Shrines, palaces, and gardens, and a major tourist destination where you can visit the bamboo forest, participate in tea ceremonies, and get entertained by perfectly trained entertainers called Geisha with their extravagant kimonos.

Although Kyoto is known for its historic and cultural values, it is a city full of life and huge modern buildings, countless vending machines, and different kinds of Japanese cuisines. If you want to get the most from this trip, visit during spring or fall when the weather is friendly and you can experience the beautiful blooming cherry blossoms in some cherry blossom spots.

Let us dive into the list of top 10 things to do in Kyoto to help you have a memorable vacation:

Participate in the Kyoto Tea Ceremonies

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Japan is known for its calming tea ceremonies which represent harmony, respect, purity, and tranquillity. Tea ceremonies in Japan have many deep meanings, one of which is to give you peace of mind in the midst of this chaotic life. This is one very important part of Japanese culture and it dates back to the 11th century. The drinking ceremony usually begins with the host bringing in the tea utensils, offering the guests special sweets called higashi/monogashi, and then preparing and serving them tea made with freshly powdered matcha leaves.

It is said that the tea prepared in tea ceremonies can wade off evil, strengthen friendships, promote health, discipline your body and give you peace of mind. Participating in tea ceremonies is a good way to introduce yourself to and learn about Japanese culture.

Explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

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The Arashiyama bamboo forest is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Kyoto that is located northwest of Kyoto. This natural forest has several pathways for tourists and visitors. A bamboo forest is a magical place for lovers to have a date, no need to worry about food, there are a lot of eateries around. It is a different world on its own; green and peaceful. When it is windy the bamboo stalks move back and forth gently, this is usually a mesmerizing sight to behold. 

Read also: 11 Top Places To Visit In Japan You Should Never Miss 

The Arashiyama bamboo forest is surrounded by several other attractions like the Kameyama Koen Park where you can sometimes see snow monkeys, the 14th-century temple – Tenryu-Ji – the main attraction in Arashiyama, and others that will help you enjoy the Arashiyama bamboo grove. The groove is open 24/7 and there’s no entrance fee.

Visit the Samurai and Ninja Museum with Experience

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Located in Japan, 〒604-8043 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Higashidaimonjichō, 292Utanokoji-bldg, The samurai and ninja museum is home to so many great exhibits of Japanese history. Although it is not free, there are a whole lot of new experiences you will gain in this museum; You can learn family-friendly martial art skills, how to play darts and other games, you can dress in Samurai customs and take pictures and see all the historical armors and swords from the Edo periods.

Book your basic tickets here.

Visit the Kinkakuji Temple

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Located at 1 Kinkakujichō, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan, the Kinkakuji temple is one of the 17 historic monuments of Kyoto which are world heritage sites. It is a popular zen Buddhist temple. Although entry to the main building is not allowed, it has a breathtaking golden pavilion where you can take pictures, a lake, soothing trees and two other temples – the Waratenjin Shrine and the Hirano Shrine – you can visit. tickets are 300 yen for children and 400 yen for adults.

Have a Geisha Experience

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Geishas are Japanese hostesses who often adorn themselves with beautiful makeup, accessories, and Japanese traditional kimonos, highly trained in traditional Japanese arts such as dance, music, and singing. They are also trained to entertain guests in engaging conversations. You can go to Gion Districts where you can see geishas perform and you can even dress like them to get the full experience. Sounds fun right? 

 Visit the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple

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The Kiyomizu is a beautiful tourist spot in Kyoto located at 1-chōme-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan. The Kinkakuji temple is one of the 17 historic monuments of Kyoto which are world heritage sites. The temple is popular for its wooden stage where you can get a view of numerous cherry and maple trees. The view is breathtaking, especially during spring. The entrance fee is 400 yen and the temple is open from 6 am to 6 pm every day.

There is an eleven-faced, thousand-armed Kannon in the main building and it is the primary object of worship, you can visit the Jishu Shrine behind the hall, the waterfall at the base of the main building, and other attractions in Kiyomizu to expand your knowledge on the culture and history of Japanese.

Enjoy a Wide View of the City at the Kyoto Tower

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Located at 721-1 Higashishiokōjichō, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8216, Japan. The Kyoto tower is a 9-story building that houses restaurants and several stores. It is also the tallest building in Kyoto with an observatory deck where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the cultural capital of japan.

Read also: Complete List Of 25  Fun Things To Do In Japan

Visit the Eikando Zenrinji Temple

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The Eikando Zenrinji Temple is the head of the Seizan branch of japan located at 48 Eikandōchō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8445, Japan. It used to be a center of learning and is surrounded by soothing trees that change color in autumn. The temple has a pagoda where you can see the temple ground and other parts of the temple. The Eikando has other side attractions to explore.

Tour the Nishiki Market

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If you want to enjoy the vibrant food scene of Kyoto then you must tour the Nishiki Market. it is located at 609番地 Nishidaimonjicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8054, Japan. It is a retail market where you can find all kinds of Japanese food – dried seafood, sushi, and other delicious traditional cuisines – and food-related utensils – knives and cookware. This is a great place to enjoy traditional Japanese meals, know them as well as learn new recipes.

 Get lost in the beauty of the colorful Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine

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The Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine is at the base of the Inari mountain, it is located at 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan. It is a beautiful sight to behold with 10,000 torii gates where you can hike to the top of Mount Inari with your loved ones. There are many other smaller shrines and restaurants you can visit on your hike to the mountaintop, this usually makes the hike interesting. It is a free park for everyone.


Kyoto, Japan was once the most beautiful and prosperous city in all of Asia. Today, it is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations for its unique blend of traditional Japanese culture and contemporary attractions.

It is a beautiful city located in the heart of Japan that offers an interesting mix of traditional and modern culture. Here are some things to do if you’re looking for a fun and enriching experience:

  • Visit one of the many temples, including Gion Matsubara, Daishoji Temple, Fushimi Inari Taisha, or Ujiyamada Shrine
  • Take a stroll along Nakanosei River where you can enjoy gorgeous views of Mount Akagi while sampling local food (try fugu eel!)
  • Stroll around Arashiyama Bamboo Grove where you’ll find traditional houses built from bamboo shoots and landscaped with colorful flowers
  • Visit Kyoto University which has numerous museums on campus (including the Emperor’s Palace) as well as gardens containing cherry blossom trees in full bloom. 
  • Kyoto is also home to several delicious restaurants such as Sukiya Teppanyaki restaurant or Kojimachi Bentosushi-no-mise ramen shop. So whether it’s cultural exploration or tasty eats that brings you joy, Kyoto will have something for everyone!

Save this list of things to do in Kyoto, Japan for your next vacation experience.

Hi there! I'm Enema OJ, a travel enthusiast who loves exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. Through my blog and social media, I share travel tips and experiences with a focus on responsible and sustainable tourism. Apart from traveling for the most part of the year, I enjoy doing search engine optimization and other digital marketing activities like content writing and blogging. Let's connect and inspire each other to have our own adventures!

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