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 forArt Lovers | Intellectuals | Foodies | Soul Searchers | Families | Romantics
When to goMarch-May | September-November | December-February
Ideal length of stay3-5 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.
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.
Where To Stay
We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities, including upgrades, early check-in, breakfast, spa credits and more. Look for the Indagare Plus logo in the reviews.
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Four Seasons Kyoto
Located a short drive from downtown Kyoto, the Four Seasons is a luxurious property that balances modern comforts with a distinctly Japanese aesthetic.
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The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
Seamlessly melding contemporary style and historic Japanese elements, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto is a thoughtfully designed riverfront hotel within walking distance of Kyoto’s city center. During the Edo period (1603-1867), the residences of aristocrats and nobles lined the shores here. The...