Reasons Why You Need to Visit Kyoto at Least Once in Your Lifetime

higashiyama district kyoto

There are many cities in Japan where you can immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture, but nowhere has more history and tradition than the ancient capital Kyoto. It’s totally worth a visit – even if you only have 48 hours to spare – and regularly tops the list of must-visit destinations for travelers around the world. Here are some reasons why you need to visit Kyoto, Japan at least once in your lifetime.

Reasons Why You Need to Visit Kyoto

Temples and Architecture

Reasons Why You Need to Visit Kyoto | Temples and Architecture

Let’s start with the obvious: The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Kyoto is probably “temples” – a lot of temples, in fact. With around 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto temples, chances are this is enough for your entire stay. So if you are visiting Japan to see the temples, you have come to the right place. In temples, you can often participate in a tea ceremony, so don’t miss this opportunity if you like green tea.
The most impressive (but also the most crowded) shrines are located in the Higashiyama district. If you don’t mind all the others, this would be a good place to find the best temples in Kyoto.


The scenery in places like the Higashiyama district is so beautiful it’s almost unreal. You would be happy to visit the area on a beautiful sunny day and it looked like straight out of a fairy tale.
Arashiyama is famous for its bamboo forest and apart from Higashiyama, it’s also a place you don’t want to miss.

Shopping and downtown

Besides the traditional temples and beautiful scenery, Kyoto also has a beautiful shopping district where you can find a lot of cute things and interesting food. On the main street of Kawaramachi, there’s almost nothing you can’t find and if you want proof that the Japanese have a sensitive reaction to alcohol, you can drop by here in the evening.


People in Kyoto
Reasons Why You Need to Visit Kyoto

The people is one of the reasons why you need to visit Kyoto. People in Kyoto (and Japan in general) would be the real highlight of your travels to Japan. They are very friendly and polite so you haven’t to worry about the negative experience.

World Heritage Sites

Kyoto has one of the world’s largest collections of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including 12 Buddhist temples, 3 Shinto shrines and a historic castle. No trip to Kyoto is complete without visiting at least some of these amazing sites.

Geisha and Maiko Culture

Geisha and Maiko Culture | Reasons Why You Need to Visit Kyoto

Kyoto is the birthplace of Maiko and Geisha culture (Geiko in the local dialect) with the Gion district as its spiritual home. The wooden teahouses and traditional restaurants in well-preserved areas like Hanami-koji and Pontocho Streets are the best chance to find an elegant Geisha hustling to their next date.

Ryokan and Machiya

Kyoto is home to many ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and machiya (traditional Kyoto townhouses) that offer a glimpse of old Kyoto. They are a great place to stay to experience authentic Japanese accommodation and lifestyle.

Kyoto Cuisine

Kyoto has a rich culinary tradition and history with many different culinary styles dating back many centuries. Enjoy the luxury of carefully prepared multi-course kaiseki ryori meals, or simply relax and reap the health benefits of shojin Buddhist cuisine.

Matcha flavored cake

If you are a green tea lover then you will be lost in matcha paradise in Kyoto. Delicious matcha can be found everywhere and includes things like ice cream, chocolate, cookies, cream puffs, cakes, and traditional yatsuhashi candies.

Kyoto International Manga Museum

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is the largest manga museum in Japan and exhibits the history of manga and manga publishing in Japan. It’s a must-visit for any pop culture fan with a collection of some 300,000 manga and manga-related exhibits. If you are bored of temples and shrines then check out this shrine in the manga.

Great vegetarian

Japan isn’t a particularly vegan or vegetarian country, but non-meat eaters love it – there are so many great options in Kyoto, from dishes like yuba, tofu skin, to shojin ryori, the traditional meal of a Buddhist temple.

Traditional Sake

Sake has been produced in Kyoto since the 16th century in the Fushimi area, home to many of Japan’s most famous sake breweries. Most places offer the chance to sample some of the best with the wide range of flavors available.

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