Kyoto Holidays: An Overview

Traditional Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan and makes a wonderful contrast to Tokyo, offering visitors an insight into the Japan that once was.

With over 2,000 temples and shrines the city is a great example of Japanese architecture and plenty of time should be dedicated to exploring these different sites. We can arrange a guided tour which will really bring the history and culture of the temples to life, but if you prefer to explore independently then some of the must-sees are Kinkaku-ji, whose gold plated exterior overlooks a large, tree lined pond, and the Fushimi Inari shrine, which is reached via snaking avenues of bright red torii gates.

Kyoto is also the home of the geisha and around 200 geiko (mature geishas) and 100 maiko (apprentice geisha) still live and practice in the city. A really unique Japanese phenomenon, spotting the painted white face of a geisha is a memorable experience, for the best chance, head to the Gion area where the geishas live.

As opposed to the skyscrapers, busy streets and big city industries in Tokyo, the low rise buildings in Kyoto are complemented by an array of lush gardens and a traditional arts and crafts culture. Ornate tea shops and traditional paper factories are found nestled between the traditional townhouses.

Cuisine also plays a big part in shaping a Kyoto stay, though unlike the rest of the city's highlights, the food has moved with the times. Michelin starred restaurants, cool cocktail bars and sushi spots in food halls now serve up fresh and flavourful Japanese cuisine with a contemporary twist, and to wash it down, there are abundant traditional sake bars and breweries to choose from.

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samurai japan
If You Do Three Things
Samurai Lessons

Be it the peaceful and relaxing art of Kenbu (Japanese sword dancing) or the fast and focused martial art of Iaido (quickly drawing a sword), Samurai lessons lift the curtain on the culture of these mighty warriors. Don a pair of traditional hakama pants and listen closely to the master sensei explaining the mentality and technique required to properly handle and wield a beautiful handcrafted katana (traditional Japanese sword).

geisha kyoto
If You Do Three Things
Kyoto By Bike

Discover the ancient capital of Japan in a fun and culturally curious way. See the every day life of locals and admire the traditional wooden houses; spot the graceful geishas and maiko in the Gion District (ask to take a photo and they will happily will), and stop for some matcha tea and Japanese sweets at one of the many ochaya (tea houses) around the peaceful Shirakawa canal.

sake barrels
If You Do Three Things
Sake Tour

Delve into the Fushimi Sake district in southern Kyoto to discover the history and manufacturing methods of this world-renowned rice drink. Visit the local breweries -some of which date back to the middle of the 17th century - learn to the secrets of making the best sake at the Gekkeikan Sake Museum and head down to the izakaya (traditional Japanese pub), to enjoy some local varieties of the delicious drink.

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Map of Kyoto

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A Note on Price

All of our holidays are completely tailor-made and prices will vary based on things like when in the year you will be travelling, how far in advance you book, the class of flights included and the level of accommodation you choose. The guide prices shown across this website are designed to provide you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your trip.

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