A Destination in its Own Right: Kyoto Train Station
This striking steel and glass structure is an Instagram-worthy attraction in its own right. It also boasts a 15th-floor observation deck, several performance spaces, a multitude of restaurants, and a department store. From the station you can hail an English-speaking taxi driver to help you explore further afield too.
Forest-bathing in Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by day
Autumn is a great time to visit Kyoto as the weather tends to be warm and dry. This is also the best season to try shinrin-yoku (forest-bathing); the Japanese art of spending time in nature to reduce stress and increase a sense of wellbeing. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is spectacular, as the bamboo stalks reach to the sky and surrounds in a boundless way.
Then Take a Stroll Around Gion at Night
Gion is Kyoto’s entertainment and famed geisha district, which is a mix of the historically beautiful and modern architecture. In Gion, modern entertainment establishments mix with traditional 17th-century teahouses.
The district has beautiful streets like Shimbashi illuminated at night; and if you are lucky you may spot a geiko or maiko in this area. While they’re known as geishas in Tokyo, in Kyoto the correct term is geiko, which means “women of art”. Geiko spend at least five years in training as an apprentice – also known as a maiko – to perfect their abilities, including to play musical instruments, dance, and host games for guests.
Visit a Temple
With 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, over 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines (Shinto is a unique ancient Japanese faith system), Kyoto is one of the world’s most culturally rich cities.
Kyoto Traveler’s Inn is well-suited for those who want to see the cultural sites of Kyoto since many of the city’s shrines and temples are located within walking distance from the hotel. These include the Shoren-in Temple, Ginkakuji, Heian Jingu Shrine and the Yasaka Shrine. The Yasaka Shrine is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto and accessible in just 15 minutes by foot.
Explore Kyoto’s Pantry: Nishiki Market
Enjoying the cuisine in Japan is an important part of any trip there, so a great Kyoto institution to explore is Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto. There you will find a vast array of foods on display and to try, and the engaging market stall holders will make new visitors to the market feel very welcome.