Touristic Suggestions

There is so much to see and do in Kyoto, we’re sure everyone will find something and enjoy it. Here are just a few suggestions among others.

Be sure to check out our other web pages with suggestions and information to enable you to prepare and enjoy your stay in Kyoto — Visiting KYOTO 

Gion Matsuri Festival, User Manual

The Gion Matsuri, the most important festival of the year in Kyoto takes place in July. This is not just Kyoto’s biggest festival, it’s one of Japan’s biggest annual events. It’s a month-long series of events, culminating with the spectacular Yamaboko Junko Parade on July 17.

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Maiko Theater

The Maiko Theater is a brand-new facility where you can enjoy performances by a maiko, an apprentice geisha. You’ll have a chance to see a traditional dance or a tea ceremony, and in both cases discuss with the maiko, ask her questions, and learn about their life.

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Relaxation Massage

After a long day visiting temples and gardens, or walking shopping, there is nothing more soothing and relaxing than a good massage. When traveling, the problem is often to know where to go! Well, we may just have a good address for you: Yuga, Refresh Salon

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Hanami Party in Maruyama Koen

Hanami (“flower viewing”) is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers. This often involves a picnic party to enjoy the cherry blossoms as well as food and drinks. People have a Hanami party with friends, family or colleagues . . .

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Honen-In Temple

This is definitely one of our favorite temples in Kyoto. Honen-in, is small, only fully opens twice a year for a short one-week period, but it is a very special place for its atmosphere and its calm beauty. Its entrance gate is quite spectacular especially... read more

For photographers

The Photographer’s Guide to KYOTO — A 94-page e-book giving you the best and broadest coverage of Kyoto’s most photogenic locations. The book includes a Bucket List locations and includes over 100 photographs, maps, suggested itineraries and planning essentials . . .

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Okame Cherry at the Chotokuji Temple

This year’s cherry blossom is a bit late…. But there are still various places where one can see and enjoy cherry flowers. The Omake Cherry Tree in front of the Chotokuji Temple is one of the first to bloom in Kyoto. And it’s been an amazing view for the last few days.

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Kuromontsuki Kimono

If you walked around one of Kyoto’s Hanamachi (flower town or Geisha District), early January, you may have seen Maiko and Geiko beautifully dressed in their formal black “Kuromontsuki” kimono, and wearing a real rice stalk “kanzashi” or ornamental hairpin.

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Arashiyama Hanatouro 2016

“Light and Blossoms Pathway” is the way this year’s illumination of the whole area of Arashiyama is called. Hundreds of lanterns placed along the way, inside temples and gardens, and mainly along the famous Bamboo Grove, make it easy to move around.

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Kyoto dining with Maiko

We are often asked about two of Kyoto’s unique features, namely the famous “Kyo Kaiseki” or Kyoto Haute Cuisine, and the Geisha / Maiko. Here is a great opportunity to experience and enjoy both at the same time.

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Unryû-In Temple Light Up

The Unryû-In Temple is a Buddhist sub-temple of the large Sennyûji Temple. The season night illumination has just started and we enjoyed our time visiting the gardens of this wonderful little temple.

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Light-Ups in Autumn

Enjoy the beautiful Autumn foliage by taking advantage of the evening opening and illumination of these gardens. Here is a list of some of this year’s light ups around Kyoto, together with the dates and opening time.

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Samurai Kembu Theater

Samurai Kembu is one of the traditional Japanese arts, just like the tea ceremony, the flower arrangement or the Noh play, and many others. This traditional art is performed using a Japanese sword “katana” and a Japanese fan.

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An evening at the Eiga Mura

Toei Kyoto Studio Park , also known as “Eiga Mura”, is the only theme park in Japan where you can observe the filming of period dramas (jidaigeki films). Samurai, Ninja, Geisha, Oiran, traders, gamblers, and more, they were all present, and fun.

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The Aoi Matsuri Festival

The Aoi Matsuri (葵祭) is one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals and takes place every May 15th. The festival’s main attraction is a large parade in Kyoto, in which over 500 people dressed in the style of the Heian Period (794-1185)

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Shuba-Shinji Archery Ceremony

In preparation of the Shimogamo shrine’s main festival, the Aoi Matsuri that takes place on May 15th, the Busha-Shinji ceremony is held and members of the Ogasawara-ryu School of Archery shoot arrows to a target representing evil and bad spirits, to drive them away.

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Seeing Maiko and Geiko

It rains a lot in Japan. I actually don’t mind the rain so much as it often is a great opportunity to get interesting photos. The light is different, the colors are more saturated, often we can get some beautiful reflection of lights on the paved streets. But most of all, ….

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Last flower viewing of 2016

As this year’s Hanami season comes to an end, the last place to visit around Kyoto is often the Ninna-Ji Temple (仁和寺). Located in the North West part of town, this temple is quite famous for its Omuro cherry trees, ancient, dwarf, late-flowering trees.

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Cherry flowers and People

One of Kyoto most popular hanami spots in April is without doubt The Path of Philosophy (“Tetsugaku-no-michi” in Japanese). It is a pleasant stone path through the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, that follows a canal lined up by hundreds of cherry trees.

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The Sakura Season has started!

On 23rd of March, 2016, Kyoto weather forecast station announced the first bloom of cherry, or in other words, the beginning of this year’s Hanami — the Cherry Blossom Season.
This is four days earlier than last year and five days earlier than the average year.

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Dedication dance at Yasaka Jinja

Maiko from Kyoto’s five entertainment areas (Hanamachi) will perform dances dedicated to the gods at the Yasaka shrine. This event takes place outside on the shrine’s stage at the beginning of the Higashiyama Hanatouro (Lantern) Festival.

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Here are a few more suggestions to visit Kyoto.

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