Kyoto is famous as the residence of the emperor and Japan's principal cultural center for almost 1,100 years. The city may not be the largest, is one of the most historic cities boasts numerous fine examples of sculptures, paintings, and other art forms in its many museums and galleries. However you choose to spend your day, your experience will be unique to Kyoto.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
The castle was built in the 17th century and all the feudal lords in Western Japan was required funding the construction. The design is highly unusual and the castle is entirely of cypress wood with a circular courtyard between the two concentric rings. Gold leaf is extensively used in the décor and some of the ceilings are dotted with gold mosaics.
2.FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE
Dated back to the 8th century this shrine is the most famous in Kyoto. Perched on a wooded hillside in southern Kyota this 1 300 year old temple is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto deity of rice and sake. Close to 10,000 red and orange lacquered torii 'poles' line the 2.5-mile-long path up Mount Inari, where the shrine sits. The gates are engraved with names of Shinto devotees who donated them. Also notable are the sculptures of foxes, reputed to be messengers of the gods.
3.KINKAKU-JI – THE GOLDEN PAVILION
As one of Kyoto’s most picturesque attractions, the pavilion was originally built in the 14th century as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Named after the gold leaf adorning the top two floors - a design element believed to alleviate any negativity associated with death.The pavilion is also famous for its beautiful grounds built over a large pond and the old stone pagoda.
4.ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO FOREST
The forest is undoubtedly the most popular attractions in Kyoto and can be found on the western outskirts of the city. It is almost surreal standing next to thousands, or perhaps millions, of green bamboo stalks growing straight up into the sky. The forest is also home to a number of monkeys who are quite friendly and will come greet you as you stroll along the grove.
5.THE KYOTO NATIONAL MUSEUM
Established in 1897 the museum is widely considered the most important such museum in Japan. The museum focus predominantly on pre-modern Asian art, particularly examples from Japan and also boasts numerous examples of historic art and applied arts spread across a number of buildings.
The walk runs alongside a canal in Kyoto and is surrounded by cherry trees what gives the route a mystical and particularly scenic appearance. Numerous important shrines and temples are passed on the short two mile walk. Named after the iconic Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro who used to walk along this stretch daily as a form of meditation.
The temple is a Zen temple in the north side of Kyoto. Known as a art form, dry landscape, the garden features a bed of small, smooth pebbles and a few larger, distinctive rock formations.It also features a collection of 15 carefully placed rocks, apparently adrift in a sea of sand, enclosed by an earthen wall. Dating back to the 11th century, the temple also serves as mausoleum for Japanese emperors after their passing. Their tombs can still be visited.
8.KYOTO INTERNATIONAL MANGA MUSEUM
Opened in 2006, the museum focus on currant forms of Japanese art. Originated during the post-World War II the Manga style of comics has steadily gaining popularity in the past 60 years. Massive collections of Manga - from famous works like Astro Boy to more obscure comics by non-Japanese artists are on display in the museum.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The subway and trains are the most onvenient way to get around Kyoto. You can also use buses, taxis and bicycles to get around.
The best times to visit Kyoto are October and November and between March and May.