Visiting Kyoto for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Kyoto is an unmissable stop on the itinerary of any first-time visitor to Japan, seducing with its ancient temples, shrines, and serene Zen gardens. Ensure your visit goes as smoothly as possible by following our top tips for your first time in Japan’s ancient capital.
Get an early start
And beat the crowds.
Kyoto can get overwhelmingly crowded with tourists at times, so ensure a hassle-free experience by booking a tour that visits the most popular attractions early. Stroll around the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove before the tour groups arrive, visit the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji Temple) right as it opens, and walk through the torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine before it gets packed.
Explore traditional culture
From dance to dinner dates.
Kyoto is one of the best places in Japan to experience the Japanese arts. Packages are available that combine watching a range of performances, including maiko (apprentice geisha) dancing, flower arrangement, court music, and puppet theater, with a tea ceremony and dinner.
Deepen your knowledge
Learn more about Japanese traditions.
Ditch the crowds
See a quieter side to Kyoto.
Go to Samurai school
Learn an ancient art.
Take a bite out of the food scene
Kyoto has some of the country's best cuisine.
More things to do in Kyoto