Kyoto City attracts millions of local and international visitors each year looking for traditional Japanese culture. Temples and shrines such as Kiyomizudera Temple and Kinkakuji draw lots off attention from visitors, as do the bamboo groves of nearby Arashiyama.
Stay in a traditional ryokan, take a dip in a rejuvenating onsen, and enjoy the seasonal changes of cherry blossoms and brilliant autumn foliage. Kyoto's magic is only a short bullet train ride from Tokyo.
Beyond the city lie Kyoto Prefecture's many attractive rural areas. In the north, Amanohashidate has long been considered one of Japan's three most scenic places. Nestled in the mountains, Miyama is one of the last towns with thatched-roof farmhouses, many of which are still inhabited. Enjoy delicious local vegetables and the famous green tea grown in Uji.
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When to visit
Spring (March to May): Late March to April is the time to view the cherry blossoms and the fresh green maple leaves in shrine and temple gardens.
Summer (June to August): Highlights of the hottest season include riverside dining, cormorant fishing performances, beach excursions, the month-long Gion Festival, and fire displays to honor the spirits of ancestors.
Autumn (September to November): Kyoto’s autumn foliage attracts visitors from the world over. Harvest moon festivals, such as the Jidai Matsuri, are another autumn highlight. The cool temperatures are perfect for hiking at Mt. Ponpon and Mt. Atago.
Winter (December to February): Kabuki’s biggest stars come to perform, plum blossoms emerge after the snows, and countryside onsen offer plenty of warmth. Winter festivals like Arashiyama Hanatoro illuminate the city of Kyoto.