Courtesy Kendall Henderson

In dramatic contrast to Tokyo’s endless horizon of skyscrapers, the calm Kamo River flows through Kyoto. This historic UNESCO World Heritage city is marked by narrow alleys lined with 17th-century tea houses and mountains hovering in the distance shrouded in fog. Home to over 2,000 temples, the city served as the center of Japanese culture for over a thousand years.

  • Perfect for
    Art Lovers | Intellectuals | Foodies | Soul Searchers | Families | Romantics
  • When to go
    March-May | September-November | December-February
  • Ideal length of stay
    3-5 Nights

Designing Your Journey

Work with Indagare to design the perfect itinerary for an immersive journey. Our travel experts know the destination inside and out, and they can make recommendations based on your travel needs and preferences.

  • 3Days:EssentialKyoto-LP
    Courtesy Andre Benz

    3 Days: Essential Kyoto

    Indagare can plan a customized itinerary that includes exclusive experiences of Kyoto’s history and culture. Here is just one example of what our destination experts can create for you.

    • Day 1: Intro to Kyoto

      After settling in to your hotel, meet your guide for an introductory tour of Kyoto, which will take you to such sites as Sanjūsangen-dō, the hall of 1,001 Buddhas and the stunning temple of Daitoku-ji. After lunch at a foodie-adored restaurant, you will have the opportunity to visit a special garden that is only open to the public a few times a year. Later, visit the Golden Temple, Nijō Castle and Ryōan-ji, the most famous Zen rock garden, with your guide, who can teach you about Japanese culture and history. Finish your full day of touring with dinner at a classic Kyoto-style eatery.

    • Day 2: Cultural Exploration

      This morning, meet your guide for an early tour of Arashiyama, home to the famous bamboo groves. The adjacent Tenryū-ji Temple is also a must-see. After lunch, head to a tea ceremony where a monk from Kōdaiji Temple will host you at his private teahouse. With your guide interpreting, he will explain the history of the tea ceremony and how it has influenced Kyoto culture. Later, enjoy a private meal at a traditional restaurant, where you will be joined by Geishas and a musician. They will perform a dance as you enjoy a traditional dinner of ‘kaiseki’ cuisine.

    • Day 3: Fushimi Shrine

      This morning, meet your guide for an early visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. With its miles-long paths lined with distinctive red gates, Fushimi Inari is Kyoto’s most photogenic shrine. For lunch, enjoy a cooking class in a local family’s home, where you will learn to cook traditional and modern Japanese dishes under the instruction of a local chef. Later in the afternoon, take a guided tour of Gion District to see the charming wooden townhouses (machiyass) lining the ancient streets and maybe catch a glimpse of the beautiful, elaborately dressed geishas.

Indagare's Eliza Harris
“My most memorable meal was in Kyoto at a plain, ten-seat counter where the chef, known as Taisho  (‘the General’), cooked in front of my group, laughing and chatting, placing dish after dish before us, including grilled shishito peppers with garlic sauce and chicken thighs with a fiery spice rub.”

What To See & Do

Ready to go and in need of expert trip planning? Contact us today.
Pico Iyer, Travel Writer
“Japan is an ideal home for me because I’ll never get to the bottom of it, and I can’t begin to bring my linear ideas and preconceptions to its merry, promiscuous sprawl.”

What To Read

Everything we recommend is sourced first-hand by our well-traveled team and incredible network of insiders and resources around the world. Here are some the latest articles, interviews, and book and film recommendations not to be missed.

Become an Indagare Member Today!

Join sign in