The glorious old capital of Japan is rich in culture and tradition with an abundance of activities and sights, but here are some things you just cannot miss.

1. Get decked out in traditional Japanese wear

This full yukata and kimono rental service not only rents out gorgeous pieces of traditional clothing, they also have a hair stylist, makeup artist, photographer and photography to help you full get into the zone. Children and men can also get in on the action as Yumeyukata also has rental kimonos for them as well. For a truly authentic Kyoto experience, why not go all the way and get a full Maiko Makeover?

〒600-8103 Housai Bldg. 353 Shiogama-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture |
10am – 7.30pm (Subject to seasonal change)| Rentals start from ¥3,500 | yumeyakata.com

 

2. Gion Corner 

Kyo Mai (京舞), Kyoto dance

From the popular Tea Ceremony and Flower Arrangement to the entertaining Kyogen Theatre and Bunraku Puppet Theatre, plus the musical Koto Zither and Gagaku Court Music, at Gion Corner, you can experience seven different kinds of performing arts right in the heart of the city.

Yasaka Hall, 570-2 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto | Daily 6pm & 7pm | Tickets start at ¥3,150 | www.kyoto-gioncorner.com/global/en.html

 

3. Indulge in Sake History

Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum (月桂冠大倉記念館)

Located in Fushimi, Kyoto City, here you can discover the traditions and methods behind brewing the perfect cask of sake. Apart from its nostalgic buildings and educational KIKIZAKE tasting tours, you can also pick up a special retro sake bottle souvenir.

247 Minamihama-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto 612-8660 JAPAN | Open year around (Except middle of Aug. and end of year) |9.30am – 4.30pm | Tickets start at ¥300 (includes one door gift) |www.gekkeikan.co.jp/english/

 

4. Stopover at a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ninna-ji Omuro Kaikan (仁和寺 御室会館)

Also known as the Omuro Imperial Palace, the temple was built in the Heian period and is found along the foothills to the west of Kyoto. Apart from visiting the temple, gardens and the late-blooming, low hanging Omurozakura, overnight guests are also given exclusive entry to the kondō, one of Japan’s national treasures and allowed to attend morning service with the monks.

616−8092 Omuro-dairi 33 Ukyo-ku Kyoto |ninnaji.wordpress.com |Prices start at ¥5,400 | ninnaji.wordpress.com

5. Hop on a romantic train ride

Sagano Romantic Train (嵯峨野観光鉄道)

Home to Japan’s largest train diorama, the railway is also famous for its gorgeous scenery along the Hozugawa Ravine. This seasonal ride showcases sakura in spring, cicadas in summer and maples in autumn before becoming a snowy wonderland in winter.

601-1248, 31 Kusao-cyo Oohara Sakyo-ku Kyoto |Tickets start at ¥620 | sagano-kanko.co.jp/english.php

6. Have a one-of-a-kind Theatrical Experience- GEAR (ギア)

A moving story set in the future about a toy doll finding her human heart, GEAR is a unique, full sensory theatrical performance that fuses traditional Kabuki techniques to the latest stage technology available. There are usually three performances a week (with two extra performances on holidays) twice a day, at 2pm and 7pm on weekdays and at noon and 5pm on weekends and holidays.

ART COMPLEX 1928 | 56 Benkeiishicho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City 1928 building 3F |10am – 7pm |Tickets start from ¥2,700 |gear.ac/en

 

7. Stay at a Minshuku

Oohara no Sato (大原の里)

Housed in a traditional Japanese residence, this casual tourist home is mostly self-service, famous for their miso (味噌) dishes and has goemon buro (五右衛門風呂) that use real hot spring water to pamper your skin and soothe your body.

601-1248, 31 Kusao-cyo Oohara Sakyo-ku Kyoto | Stays start at ¥8,518 | oohara-no-sato.co.jp/english/

 

8. Dig into delicious dishes at Ishibei Koji Mamecha Kyoto (石塀小路豆ちゃ京都)

Experience authentic obanzai ryori (おばんざい料理, traditional Kyoto home-style cooking) and savour the rich flavours of seasonal dishes made at this traditional Japanese inn hidden in a rustic little street.

Ishibei koji Yasakajinjya minami-mon Higashiyama-ku Kyoto | Daily 5pm – 11.30pm | Dinners start at ¥3,500 | commercial-art.net/wp/kansai/mamecha_kyoto/

9. Visit Kyoto International Manga Museum, a manga lover’s paradise 

Opened in 2006, this museum holds one of the world’s largest manga collection of about 300,000 items (as of 2011) including comics from all over the world and often hold manga related events and workshops throughout the year.

604-0846 Karasuma-Oike, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto | Daily 10am – 6pm (Last entry 5.30pm) | Tickets ¥800 | www.kyotomm.jp/english/

10. Enjoy a Rushing River Ride

Hozugawa River Cruise (保津川下り)

Originally a route meant for transporting goods along Tanba-Kameoka to Arashiyama, you can now take an exhilarating ride along the rapids and go past historical and cultural hot spots such as Kameyama Castle, Uketa Shrine and Shishigaguchi.

6210-005, 2 Shimo-Nakajima Hozu-cho Kameoka | Daily 10am – 3.30pm (10 Mar- Mid Dec) | Rides start at ¥4,100 | hozugawakudari.jp/en/tickets-en

 

 

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