I actually did not really like Kyoto (hahah what a great way to start a travel report on a city…). I liked it as being a japanese city with Temples, Shrines, traditional houses and amazing food but was not a big fan of the number of tourists by square meters and the general vibe. It made me feel like we were more in a museum city than anything else. That said I have amazing memories I would like to share here.
Kyoto: 5 days
- Kanra Kyoto (3 nights)
Our most expensive nights in Japan but so worth it!
Beautifully designed rooms amazing service,
free electric bikes to hire and
perfect location near the central station.
- Motonago (Ryokan almost as expensive as the Kanra
hotel but without any perks.)
The service was cold and military,
I still don't understand
why this place had so many good reviews.
We were forced to shower at the communal onsen very late,
did not have the choice for our dinner time and
got woken up 30 minutes before our breakfast time
(without asking for it!),
not sure which one was worst...
Best places to visit
I will let you check any good guide books for more but
here is my list of things I remember even 1 year later;
- The philospher's path
- The Nishiki Market
- Ponto Cho
- The pique niques along the river
- Bamboo forest
- The Golden Pavillion
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- Gion's streets (especially Ishebei Koji lane)
- Zen garden ryoan ji
- Fushimi Inari-taisha temple
Beside taking a train to go to the Bamboo forest and Fushimi Inari-taisha (the famous red gates temple) we pretty much cycled everywhere in Kyoto. I loved it as in Kyoto and, I believe, in Japan in general cyclists have priority and can cycle on the sidewalks (which is totally forbidden in France). Make sure to hire electric bikes though as Kyoto is actually a bit hilly !
Food & Drinks
Where to enjoy the best sushis
There are two restaurants in Kyoto so be careful
when booking, there is one in Nishiki market and
one on Ponto Cho ! Booking mandatory.
Can't have fish anymore, want to have some good meat
- Restaurant Matsukiya Kyoto Shijo
Last meal before going back home
- Mame-cha in Gion
Want to get a cocktail
- The Sodoh in Gion is probably
the most amazing restaurant in Kyoto.
If you don't have the budget to indulge
yourselves there, try one of their amawing cocktail
at the bar counter.
Need some beer
- Bar Hopseed on Ponto Cho
We fell madly in love with the small Banana mochi/crepes
that you can find in any touristy store in Gion
(just follow the kids in uniforms they are probably getting some too)
- Pass the Baton
The street leading to this boutique
and the boutique itself is definitely worth a visit
Day Trip to Nara
How to get there
Daily trains from Kyoto station (1hour),
double check but the non direct ones are faster
and included with your jr pass.
What to do
- Spend time with the deers !
Make sure to buy some biscuits
from the different vendors (you will find loads and
the price is fixed)
then hide the packet otherwise it will be gone in no time!
- The Lanterns temple Kasuga Taisha
- The Todai Ji temple (one of the biggest Bouddha
in Japan for sure)
- Cafe Etranger Narad (not far from the station
perfect stop to get an icecream
before getting your train back to Kyoto)
- Nakatanidou's mochi (with live pounding if you are lucky)
- Okonomiyakis at Kameya
Hope you enjoyed my travel report on Kyoto, overall I hope I managed to show that I still enjoyed the city 🙂 let me know where your favourite place in Kyoto is in the comments below.