Japan Orbit: Information about Japanese Culture, Japanese History, and Travel in Japan Japan Orbit: Information about Japanese Culture, Japanese History, and Travel in Japan
Main TravelCultureLiving InformationLinksPicturesSite MapContact


Hutong School



Kyoto, Japan’s former ancient capital in the late 1800’s, has the reputation for

being Japan’s most beautiful city.  Having an abundance of traditional temples,

shrines, gardens, and castles, you will surely find beauty, peace, and relaxation.

Kyoto is located on the western island of Honshu surrounded by mountains.  It has survived many wars and is now on the UNESCO World Heritage sites list.


Getting there


The best way to get to Kyoto is by bullet train.  The Shinkansen train is a super fast and convenient way to travel from Tokyo station to the JR Kyoto station.  Hikari trains are another alternative from Tokyo.  However these trains are a little slower and run less frequently.
If you are coming from the western Kansai area, you can easily take the JR Shinkaisoku that also connects to Osaka, Kobe, and Himeji.


Another option is by bus.  There are several bus services that provide nighttime and daytime buses from Tokyo to Kyoto.  Check the Tokyo Bus Station and Shinjuku Bus Station for accurate departure times and costs. 



Northwest Kyoto

Northwest Kyoto has many temples and shrines.They bring a great sense of relaxation, peacefulness, and Zen. 

Many have beautiful landscapes, gardens, and architecture.  Here are some of the most beautiful ones.


Daitokuji: This small temple consists of several even smaller temples inside.  It
house 24 smaller temples however only 8 are viewable to the public.  The
Daisen-in, the most famous inside the temple, is on the north side and displays
a beautiful Zen style garden.  Admission is approximately $4 USD.

Kinkaku-ji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, properly called Rokuonji is the most famous attraction to see in Kyoto.  The pavilion was converted from a villa to a temple by the son of a famous Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.  Unfortunately the temple was burned down in 1950 but was rebuilt even more lavishly than before.  The gold leaf and beautiful garden landscape will calm your mind, provided you can block out the numerous amounts of tourists. Admission is approximately $4 USD.

Ryōan-ji: This Zen garden is recognized by its dry landscape style garden.  Pure white gravel contrasts well with the other rock formations.  Here there are no trees, ponds, or flowing water streams, which makes this place a very different and unique garden to explore.  Admission is approximately $5 USD.


Western Kyoto

Nonomiya Shrine and Okochi Sanso: Walking through the bamboo forest to get to the Noomiya Shrine and Okochi Sanso is a spectacular treat.  The size and amount of bamboo surrounding the trail is quite impressive.  The shrine is peaceful and has free admission.  Okochi Sanso is approximately $10 USD but this also includes traditional Japanese tea in the tea garden.

Iwatayama Monkey Park: Come here and feed the monkeys as many peanuts as they can eat.  The macaque monkeys are friendly, cute, and always hungry.  You can buy peanuts at the park.  Admission is $5 USD.

Tenryu-ji: One of Kyoto’s five great Zen temples.  Built in 1334, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Rinzai sect of Buddhism lies.  The Zen garden made by Muso Soseki is quite a sight and worth a look.  Admission is $6 USD.


Central Kyoto

Nijō Castle: A spectacular castle that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, leader of the Edo Shogunate in the 1600’s.  It is famous for its architecture and squeaking floors that sound like nightingales.  The top has great views of the entire castle layout.  Admission is $6 USD.

Imperial Park: Inhabiting many species of trees and plants, this park is located in the center of Kyoto.  This is a beautiful place to spend enjoying the sun and relaxing.  The Imperial Palace is only open to tour groups, so if you would like to see the palace check with times and prices at the agency there.

Museum of Kyoto:  Ancient pottery and artifacts show you a glimpse into the old Kyoto.  Admission is approximately $5 USD.

Toji Temple: Come here if you want to see the tallest wooden pagoda in Japan.  This temple is located in the center of Kyoto.


Eastern Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera: A beautiful temple offering great views of the city at the main hall's wooden veranda.  Check out the Jishu-jinja love stones, drink the Otowa-no-taki waterfall water, and hike the mountain that has great scenery.

Gion District: You may be able to catch a glimpse of a Japanese geisha here.  The flagstone paved streets and traditional buildings are a nice view of old times.  A war memorial is also here at Ryozen Kannon, dedicated to Japanese WWII soldiers.

Ginkakuji or the Silver Pavilion: A beautiful Zen garden with ponds, gravel, and moss.  Although never covered in silver it is truly a Zen atmosphere.  Admission is approximately $5 USD.

Mt. Daimonji: The best view of the city is here.  A tough hike but it might be worth it.


Websites about other countries:

Korea China Korea English versions

Korea China German versions


Hutong School