View of Kiyomizu-dera temple during skura season in spring time with Mt. Fuji in the background

Kyoto

A refined imperial city with priceless cultural & historical legacies

Surrounded by mountains, rural heartlands and gorgeous natural scenery in Central Honshu, it’s no wonder that Kyoto frequently tops the lists as one of the world’s leading travel destinations and attracts millions of visitors each year. For over a thousand years, Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan until Emperor Meji decamped to Tokyo in 1868. Today, Kyoto is still regarded by many as the spiritual, cultural and historical heart of the nation and birthplace of much of Japanese traditional culture – including geishas, tea ceremonies and imperial cuisine. Maintaining a reputation for cultural finesse, this evocative city still emanates a calm pace and refined, sophisticated air.  

As one of Japan’s best-preserved historic cities, Kyoto boasts the nation’s largest concentration of designated cultural properties, with an unprecedented 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and some of its most important works of art. Kyoto’s astounding legacy of historic buildings, priceless structures and architectural wonders covers majestic gardens and around 2,000 temples and shrines, each representative of the period in which they were built. Although ravaged by wars, fires and natural disasters, Kyoto was spared much of the destruction of aerial raids during World War II, thanks to foreign recognition of its exceptional historical value.

Eleven centuries of rich heritage is evident at every turn. However, Kyoto is also a bustling modern city, with its progressive music, design and arts scene, contemporary culinary excellence and stylish cafés exemplifying the ever-evolving spirit of a former imperial city.

WHY WE THINK YOU’LL LOVE IT

  • This well-preserved ancient city boasts the nation’s highest concentration of cultural and architectural treasures and presents the quintessential old face of Japan
  • Japan’s spiritual hub is the perfect spot to practice Zen meditation and tranquil contemplation amid one of Kyoto’s exquisite Zen Buddhist temples
  • Boasting a legacy of distinguished traditional arts where artisans still practice age-old crafts, Kyoto offers endless opportunities to participate in authentic cultural experiences
  • From spring cherry blossoms and autumnal ‘koyo’ foliage, to centuries-old festivals and culinary offerings, Kyoto is magically reflected in its distinct four seasons
  • Known as the ‘Imperial Court Kitchen,’ Kyoto remains the home of traditional Japanese cuisine with a refined food culture and unique specialities such as Kaiseki Ryori
Within Easy Reach Of...
Osaka 14min by Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
Tokyo 2hrs 30min by Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
Sapporo 11hrs by Train
Travel Tips
  • Amongst ancient religious masterpieces, admire glittering Kiyomizudera Temple, the ‘Golden Pavilion’ and the iconic, vermillion torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Take a classic rickshaw ride through the famous bamboo grove in mountainous Arashiyama and immerse yourself in a towering tunnel of emerald-green forest
  • Book an exclusive evening of refined geisha entertainment at a private traditional teahouse in historic Gion, Kyoto’s atmospheric geisha enclave
  • Don a traditional kimono and stroll through Higashiyama, a beautifully-preserved ancient district, where heritage temples, shrines and strolling gardens line old streets
  • During the sultry summertime, keep cool and join locals for casual al fresco dining (‘Kawadoko’) on makeshift platforms placed beside or over shaded rivers

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