Kimono-clad geishas tripping down lanes lined with impossibly quaint wooden houses; ethereal gilded pavilions and their watery reflections; lush bamboo groves and exquisite Zen gardens of moss, sand and rocks: everywhere you look in Kyoto, there’s a scene that could have come straight from a centuries-old woodblock print. In short, this enthralling city is the classic image of the country in a nutshell.
Japan’s former imperial capital is overwhelmingly blessed with Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and imperial palaces, the most captivating of which would be reason alone for a visit. But it’s experiencing what UNESCO calls ‘intangible culture’ that will stay with you for years to come, whether that’s immersing yourself in the meticulous ritual of preparing and serving matcha tea in an artfully rustic private teahouse, savouring the refined flavours and eye-pleasing artistry of a formal kaiseki meal or browsing traditional craft shops in sleepy back streets where time has stood still.
For the ultimate Kyoto visit talk to our Japan experts, who will guide you to the best of the best of this imperial capital’s bewilderingly rich array of things to see and do.