Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is in this city that the traditional Japanese ‘high arts’ flourished. Tea ceremony, calligraphy, poetry, philosophy or religion, Kyoto is the number one place to visit. Numerous temples and shrines are located throughout the city and walking along canals, next to traditional wooden houses and through the small streets really gives you an idea of the ancient Japanese imperial culture.

Kyoto is not just about the high arts however. The city is also famous for its crafts: textile, kimono and pottery. Although there is very much to see and do in Kyoto, even a short-time visitor can soon get an appreciation of what this ancient capital has to offer.

What to Do in Kyoto

  • Samurai Kembu - Become a samurai and learn sword
  • Japanese Cooking Class
  • Cycling Tour in Southern or Northern Kyoto
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Ikebana Flower Arrangement
  • Calligraphy
  • Tea Farm Visit and Lecture about Tea
  • Noh Theater Lecture
  • Japanese Potter Lecture
  • Sake Tasting
  • Japanese Pottery Lecture and Gallery
  • Other authentic Japanese experiences

Posted with permission from our partners at Japan-Guide

Tours that Visit Kyoto:

Cultural Diversity Tour - 10 days

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Ancient Japan

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Kyushu Hot Spring Tour - 7 days

Natural hot spring baths, or onsen, are fairly common in Japan but Kyushu island is home of one of the best, Beppu.

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Classical Japan Tour - 14 days

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Shoguns and Samurai - 14 days

Our journey takes us through Japanese history from modern Tokyo to end near Kyoto, Japan’s capital for 400 years.

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Land of Fire Tour - 15 days

Visits to grand temples and shrines will be balanced with a visit to Asuka, Japan's first permanent capital.

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Nakasendo Trail - 12 days

Walk along the ancient route as it passes through beautifully-preserved villages.

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Kumano Ancient Trail - 9 days

Kumano Ancient Trail is a pilgrimage route to Kumano, part of the mountainous Kii Peninsula

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Japan's Culinary Heritage - 11 days

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Mountains, Food and Culture of Japan - 14 Days

Discover the must-see destinations of Tokyo and Kyoto while also visiting more off the beat destinations like Kamikochi and Matsumoto. Along the way, you will sample some amazing food.

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In the Shadow of Mountains - 12 days

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Golden Route Japan - 12 days

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Winter Nakasendo Trail - 8 days

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Rural Family Adventure: Treasures of Japan's Heartland

A family tour with amazing insights into Japan’s traditions, with unparalleled local connections

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Cycling Japan Highlights - 10 days

See the best of Japan, cycling in 10 days!

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Rural Discovery Tour - 7 days

Sit down with Japanese people, learn how Japanese live, and experience something beyond traditional sightseeing.

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Additional Resources

Japan-Guide Kyoto
Sightseeing in Kyoto by the JNTO
Kyoto Travel Guide by Kyoto Tourism Council
Kyoto Guide