In drastic contrast to Tokyo’s endless horizon of skyscrapers, the calm Kamo River flows through Kyoto. This historic UNESCO World Heritage city is marked by narrow alleys lined with 17th-century tea houses and mountains hovering in the distance shrouded in fog. Home to over 2,000 temples, the city served as the center of Japanese culture for over a thousand years.
Perfect forArt Lovers | Intellectuals | Foodies | Soul Searchers
When to goMarch-May | June-August | September-November
Ideal length of stay3-5 Nights
Designing Your Journey
Work with Indagare to design the perfect itinerary for an immersive journey. Our travel experts know the destination inside and out, and they can make recommendations based on your travel needs and preferences.
3 Days: Essential Kyoto
Indagare can plan a customized itinerary that includes exclusive experiences of Kyoto’s history and culture. Here is just one example of what our destination experts can create for you.
Day 1: Intro to Kyoto
After settling in to your hotel, meet your guide for an introductory tour of Kyoto, which will take you to such sites as Sajusangendo, the hall of 1,001 Buddhas and the stunning temple of Daitokuji. After lunch at a foodie-adored restaurant, you will have the opportunity to visit a special garden that is only open to the public a few times a year. Later, visit the Golden Temple, Nijo Castle and Roanji, the most famous Zen rock garden, with your guide, who can teach you about Japanese culture and history. Finish your full day of touring with dinner at a classic Kyoto-style eatery.
Day 2: Cultural Exploration
This morning, meet your guide for a tour of Arashiyama, home to the famous bamboo groves. The adjacent Tenryuji Temple is also a must-see. After lunch, head to a tea ceremony where a monk from Kodaiji Temple will host you at his private teahouse. With your guide interpreting, he will explain the history of the tea ceremony and how it has influenced Kyoto culture. Later, enjoy a private meal in Yoshikawa Ryokan, a famous traditional inn, where you will be joined by two Geishas and a musician. They will perform a dance as you enjoy traditional dinner of ‘kaiseki’ cuisine.
Day 3: Fushimi Shrine
This morning, meet your guide for an early visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. With its miles-long paths lined with distinctive red gates, Fushimi Inari is Kyoto’s most photogenic shrine. For lunch, enjoy a cooking class in a local family’s home, where you will learn to cook traditional and modern Japanese dishes under the instruction of a local chef. Later in the afternoon, take a guided tour of Gion District to see the charming wooden townhouses (machiyass) lining the ancient streets and maybe catch a glimpse of the beautiful, elaborately dressed geishas.
Where To Stay
We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities, including upgrades, early check-in, breakfast, spa credits and more. Look for the Indagare Plus logo in the reviews.
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Four Seasons Kyoto
Centered on an 800-year-old garden and charming pond, the Four Seasons is a luxurious property that is slightly removed from the heart of Kyoto.
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The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Spoiled travelers have a home in Kyoto at the Ritz-Carlton’s riverside property, which manages to encompass contemporary design with traditional Japanese elements, and achieves the distinctly Japanese balance of calm zen and lively buzz with top-notch service.
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