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Kyoto: Into the Heart of Japanese Culture

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Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, is a city that best depicts the country’s  rich history and culture. From the architecture, food, temples and shrines, geishas and ryokans, Kyoto is definitely a place for Japan’s cultural experience. Walking along Kyoto’s stone paved roads makes you feel you are stepping into Japan’s shogunate period.

Most do a day trip from Osaka to Kyoto as it is a mere 15 minute Shinkansen ride. But an overnight stay in Kyoto’s ryokans is an experience one can not miss!

Here are my top 5 spots  in Kyoto to visit for a day:

1. Higashiyama District

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one should definitely not miss the Higashiyama preserved historic street lined with Japanese shops and restaurants. The architecture of houses in this street is beautifully preserved and showcases old Japan’s streets.

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a few minute walk north of the historic preserved streets is the Kodaiji Temple.

a few minute walk north of the historic preserved streets is the Kodaiji Temple.

2. Gion

Gion, famously known at Kyoto’s geisha district. It is also a good place to dine in traditional Japanese restaurants and tea houses.

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Shiji Street, Gion

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if you are lucky enough, you can spot authentic Maikos here elegantly making their way to work.

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ACCESS: it takes about 20 minutes to get to Gion by bus from Kyoto station. take the bus number 100 or 206 and stop at the Gion bus stop.

3. Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion

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Kyoto’s iconic Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion.

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ACCESS: reaching the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion takes around 40 minutes by bus. from Kyoto station, use bus numbers 101 or 205 to the Kinkaku-ji Michi bus stop.

4. Fushimi Inari Shrine

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Kyoto’s notable Shinto shrine famous for it’s thousands tori gates leading to Mount Inari. The hike to the summit takes around 2 hours, so be prepared for the long climb.

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ACCESS: Fushimi Inari is just a 5 minute walk from the Inari Station, JR Nara line.

5. Kiyomizudera Temple

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Kyoto’s historic Kiyomizudera temple during summer. It is best to go here during Spring or Autumn where the trees colors turn beautiful shades of pink (spring) and red (autumn)

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ACCESS: It takes about 15 minutes to reach Kiyomizudera from Kyoto Station. Take bus number 100 or 206 and go down at Kiyomizu-michi bus stop.

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