Kyoto is a fantastic city, with soooo much to see…and being only 1 hour 15 minutes train journey from Kansai Airport is usually our first stop on our travel itinerary.  We normally spend a few days here depending on our itinerary before moving on to our other destinations in Japan.

Throughout our article’s we share our experiences, but also add some facts and history.  So on that note Kyoto served as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868 and is one of Japans ten largest cities. It is just steeped in history and is famous for its many classical Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto Shrines, and traditional wooden houses. Kyoto not only has one UNESCO World Heritage Sites like most cities but has 17!! Meaning it has one of the largest collections of World Heritage Sites in the world, hence why there is plenty to see and do!

We just love visiting Kyoto and have been fortunate to have visited many of these wonderful sites. For us it is really enjoyable walking amongst the traditional streets, historical sites and gardens…it’s certainly easy to lose all track of time! But like most of Japans cities Kyoto has its modern side too, which is most evident in central Kyoto. 


Kyoto Ticket

After getting off the plane and being awake for 24hours we usually catch the train from Kansai Airport straight to Kyoto. We then find our hotel and drop off our bags and go exploring! Most hotels have an afternoon check-in around 3pm, but most allow you to leave your bags at the reception, which is handy. As in our previous article we have completed all our research and itinerary beforehand, allowing us to travel and explore the sites un-guided.

To help us navigate around its useful to use a mobile phone map we also like to print our itinerary and maps as well… (Just in case our phone battery dies). it is worth noting when using UK mobile sim cards in Japan, it can incur an expensive phone bill!  What we do is purchase Japan data sim cards beforehand, here in the UK, which we activate when we arrive in Japan. The data sim cards last for so many days, either 8, 16 or 31 days, but they have unlimited data usage. Another option is a pocket Wi-Fi which can be pre-ordered and picked up at the airport. 

When we are exploring the sites, we like to walk wherever we can, if this is not possible due to distance there are other means of transport such as the subways, buses or taxis, etc. When we are in Kyoto if we cannot walk, we like to use the buses, which is an experience in itself. In Japan the buses are quite interesting and different to the UK, for example in Kyoto the fare is a flat rate of 230 yen, (approx. £1.60)…which is quite strange for us, as you could go one stop or 10 stops and the price would be the same! Also, when paying you need the exact change, so when you get on the bus there is a 1000 yen change machine! We have found the best way to use the buses is to either purchase a one-day pass from Kyoto Station costing 600 yen (approx. £4.30), which is cost effective if using the bus for more than two journeys or as we do use a SUCIA Card (スイ). The SUCIA Card we really like, they can be purchased here in the UK with £19 (2700 yen) on the card, the card can then be used for getting on local trains and buses…although depending on the city not all the buses take them, the card can then be simply tapped on the contactless symbol when paying. Even getting on the buses is interesting…in Kyoto the buses have two doors, one in the centre and one at the front, when the bus arrives everyone gets on via the centre door, and then just sits down, no one pays!! Then when you get off at your destination stop you pay when you leave at the front door! So, bearing in mind the centre door is opening and closing every stop, there is nothing stopping you just hopping off and not paying! I suspect this system would not work so well here in the UK! It just goes to show what type of honest people the Japanese are…

As we have said there is loads to see in Kyoto, so here is a selection of some of the sites and places we have visited, which we hope will help give you an insight into what Kyoto has to offer… 

Some of the Kyoto Sites We have Visited

Entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine Crop
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto Autumn Colours -Arashiyama
Arashiyama District
Sanmon Gate_1
Higashiyama District
Kyoto Palace Walls
Kyoto Imperial Palace
Kyoto Kinkakuji Temple
Ryoanji Temple Zen Garden_2 crop
Ryoanji Temple
Ninnaji Temple building
Ninnaji Temple
Ginkakuji - Silver Pavilion
Part of The Philosopher's Path crop
Philosopher's Path
Eikando Temple _1
Eikando Temple
Nanzenji Temple_1 crop
Nanzenji Temple
Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle
Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple
Shosei-en Garden
Shosei-en garden
Imamiya jinja shrine
Imamiya Jinja
The Kamo shrines
The Kamo Shrines