I always felt that from all the Asian countries I might like Japan the most. After all, delicious food, rich history and a meticulous sense of punctuality and order, the Swiss in me can only relate too well, are only few of the things that made Japan always high on my travel bucket list. Instead of traveling all around the country, I decided to stay a full week in Kyoto, and the city did not let me down. I encourage you to fully take in the beauty of Kyoto in a mindful travel approach: be present in the moment, soak in the foreign smells and embrace all cultural differences. From my experience, Japan is a brilliant country to travel independently and that is one of the reason’s why Kyoto is one of my favorite cities. Kyoto is small enough to cover a lot of ground on foot but yet, so foreign and rich in history and tradition. Scroll down to my take on Kyoto: my Kyoto travel guide.
I have more travel guides ready for you. Just check them all out.
Kyoto in three words?
Gracious, subtle and holistic
Saijo-Ji (Kokedera) temple and garden
Entry permit for the Saijo-Ji (Kokedera) temple and garden.
Kyoto travel guide
A travel guide for foodies and urban explorers
- Murin-an garden
31 Kusakawa-cho, Nanzenji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8437
This small park in the centre of the city is a perfect getaway from crowded sights and busy streets. It is a little tricky to find, as it is tucked away in a residential area. Enjoy a cup of strong matcha green tea in their tea house, while you enjoy a view over the well-kept grounds. You can get the tea voucher at the entry.
- Saijo-Ji (Kokedera) temple and garden
56 Matsuojingatanichō, Nishikyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 615-8286
This garden is my personal highlight in Kyoto. The tranquility of Saijo-Ji
moved me deeply and its serene lake and moss-covered trees softly whipping in the wind, will forever hold a dear place in my heart.
If you plan to visit this gem, please keep in mind that you will need a written permission card. To request such a permit, best apply early. I suggest at least 8 weeks prior to your prefered date. I recommend to use a third-party provider to get that permission. Visiting Sajio-Ji is a unique cultural experience. Prior to visiting the garden, you will have the chance to participate at a Buddhist ceremony.
- Fushimi Inari-Taisha
68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 612-0882
The approx. 4km long walk up Mt. Inari is lined with the famous red torii gates.
At the top, you will be rewarded with nice views of Kyoto and better photo opportunities, as the first part of the walk is usually pretty crowded.
- Adachi restaurant
491-24 Nakatsukasachō, Kamigyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 602-8158
This family-owned restaurant is a bit off the beaten track.
There isn’t a real menu: every morning father and son choose the freshest ingredients at the local market and create wonderful authentic Japanese dishes.
- % ARABICA coffe shops
〒605-0853 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Hoshinochō, ８７−５
Oh so good coffee. Sometimes it can be tricky to source good coffee in Japan. But % Arabica has you covered. There are several shops all over Kyoto and they roast their own coffee in-house.
- Cafe Rhinebeck
692 Ishiyakushicho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-8226
Two words: fluffy pancakes. Still need more convincing? Scroll down to the pictures.
- Loft Kyoto
〒604-8031 京都府京都市中京区 河原町通三条下ル大黒町58 mina Kyoto
You’re one-stop shopping temple: beauty products, stationery, electronics,...
- Nishiki market
〒604-8054 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地
Big covered market area for all your local products. Great place to buy authentic food and lovely teas.
- Gion district
I recommend the free Gion Night Tour. From March through November: 18:00-19:40. From December through February: 17:00-18:40. Meetingpoint: In front of Izutsu Yatsuhashi pastry shop (178 Tokiwacho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto), near Shijo Bridge. It costs ￥1,000 per person, cash only. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
〒616-8375 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Ukyō-ku, Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamachō, 嵯峨天龍寺立石町1-1−13
Discovering the Arashiyama area can take up a day easily. The bamboo forest itself is not too big, but stunningly beautiful. The soft woosh’s of the bamboo leaves accompany you on your journey.
Delicious fluffy pancakes at Cafe Rhinebeck.
View from Mt Inari
Red torii gates to Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine
Best street food: Imagawayaki filled with anko (red bean paste)
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Meet Miss Walter’s
Hi, I’m Jennifer. I create sweet vegan recipes and take semi-messy photos of food. I’m always hunting for good places to eat and where to go to for my next cup of Oat Latte. A supermarket is usually the first place I visit in a foreign place. I created Miss Walter’s so that you can wow your vegan an non-vegan friends alike with decadently delicious vegan recipes. Also, I’ll share my favourite foodie spots from my travels with you.