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Jillian Geer

Los Angeles, California

One week in Kyoto enough?

First time traveling to Japan! Friends told me I need to visit Kyoto, so planning on spending a week there. Is that enough time? If so, what are the best food spots and cultural places to see? 

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4 Answers

  • Tony Conrad

    top answer by

    I was just in Kyoto, and would recommend three days as the perfect amount of time.

    Day 1

    If you happen to be at there the first Saturday of the month, start off at the Toji Temple Market. If not, head to the Toji Temple for some amazing Buddha's. Then make your way to the Temple of the Golden Pavilion which is a bit over hyped, but the gold leaf painted temple is still fun to check out and stop for tea on the way out!

    Temple of the Golden Pavilionimage from travel.nationalgeographic.comIt's a short walk to the Ryoan-ji Temple, which was my second favorite spot on the visit, and definitely get lunch at Ryoanji Yudofuya which is located inside. Order the tofu hotpot. It's super fab.

    Ryoan-ji TempleFor dinner, you must eat at the 400 year old restaurant Hyotei. Try to get a reservation ahead of time because it will book up. The place is amazing.

    Day 2

    Begin at the Kyoto Imperial Palace(Gonaitei Garden).

    Kyoto Imperial PalaceThen for a must-try lunch place, go to Tohru Soba. It's an amazing spot that is a short walk from the Imperial Palace where you can get soba noodles at the bar only. It's a really, really special place.

    Next up, the Katsura Imperial Village. You have to reserve tickets in person in advance (architects love it and it's a bit of a must-see for them, but I thought it was a bit so-so). We then walked around the Gion District, which was a bit touristy, but cool. You'll see a lot of futuristic, weird architecture if you look closely on some of the side streets.

    Gion Districtimage from colinelliott.netFor dinner, go to A WOMB for yuba cream curry with rice; shrimp & vegetable tempura on rice. This place is a total WOW. Very modern but it was perfect and empty as they served just us two, a baby that could be heard, but not seen and a child's mom and dad doubling as a chef & server.

    Day 3

    Highlight of the trip: Kiyomizu-Dera. Trust me on this one.

    清水寺 (Kiyomizu-Dera)image from img365.comThen check out the Ginkankuji Temple (World Cultural Heritage Site) before heading to the Philosopher's Walk along the eastside of town. There are temples all over town, but that walk is special. End the day at the Sentō Imperial Palace to wrap up the three days.

    Kyoto is pretty incredible, enjoy the trip!


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    • Jillian G.

      Jillian G.

      Tony, these are amazing tips. Must try A Womb. And the picture of the Ginkankiju Temple - wow. Really good to know you were able to do all of this in three days. Thank you! · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Toji Temple Market (attraction)
    2. Toji Temple (attraction)
    3. Temple of the Golden Pavilion (attraction)
    4. Ryoan-ji Temple (attraction)
    5. Ryoanji Yudofuya (restaurant)
    6. Hyotei (restaurant)
    7. Kyoto Imperial Palace (attraction)
    8. Tohru Soba (restaurant)
    9. Katsura Imperial Villa (attraction)
    10. Gion District (attraction)
    11. A WOMB (restaurant)
    12. Kiyomizu-Dera (attraction)
    13. Ginkankuji Temple (attraction)
    14. Philosopher's Walk (attraction)
    15. Sentō Imperial Palace (attraction)

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  • Michael Kwok

    answered first by

    One week in Kyoto is enough, but I could spend much more time there. I can't say Kyoto is overly exciting, but its a nice break from the sensory overload that Tokyo and Osaka can be. Kyoto is full of Shrines (the places with the wooden entrance ways that look like a "pi" symbol) and Temples (Buddhist), so definitely the place to be if you need to find some inner peace. The typical touristy stuff like

    are worth visiting. It's the old capitol so there's plenty of history to be explored.

    We found a used Kimono shop where my friend acquired an authentic traditional Kimono for 1/10 of the cost of a new one. There's a lot of traditional Ryokans there (but they tend to also be very pricey). Tea ceremonies, which are generally reserved for family and honored guests to experience, are available to visitors at some tea houses. Definitely rent yourself a bike and explore the city. We stayed in the opera district (Gion) which was a great centralized location.

    Also note that bank ATM's in Kyoto, don't always have English, so if you need to pump cash out, look for a 7 eleven or other convenience stores which typically have ATM's with translation.

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    • Jillian G.

      Jillian G.

      Thanks, Michael. I hadn't thought about renting a bike, but I LOVE that idea. Amazing tips on the Kimono (I really want to buy one!) and bank ATM's. Seriously awesome, thank you. · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

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    2. Ginkakuji (attraction)
    3. Nijo Castle (attraction)

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  • Edgar Diaz

    answered by

    Kyoto is amazing and full of many places to go, the sightseeing route is very intuitive and you will be able to follow the people as everyone is seeing the temples. I had a travel guide with me like one of those of lonely planet which was incredible helpful for the whole trip to Japan, I recommend you to buy one. I think one week is more than enough as is not really that big, you should try to give it more days to Tokyo.

    I spent only 1 full day in Kyoto and although I wish I would had more time in there, the 7 days I stayed in Tokyo weren't enough. Good luck!

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  • Takashi Okuno

    answered by

    Welcome to Japan !!

    How long will u staying in Japan at your first time to Japan?

    I studied at a university at Kyoto for 4 years.

    I don't know so much now where you would like to visit and do in Kyoto, I guess it's enough for 1 week to stay in Kyoto.

    Kyoto is the most typical place in Japan, so you can see all traditional aspect of Japan in Kyoto.

    I wish you have a nice trip in Japan !!


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