Centrally located on the island of Honshu, Kyoto is famous for its temples, culture, history and architecture.
The city was named Japan’s capital in the 8th century and flourished as a centre for culture, politics and the country’s economy until Tokyo was named the new capital in the 19th century. Kyoto was largely unscathed by the bombings Japan suffered during the world wars, so much of the historic architecture built during the city’s heyday as a capital of culture remains to this day. Famous and important sites to explore here include the 17 Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, which are UNESCO World Heritage-listed.
Just some of the unmissable sights include the magnificent Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji (also known as the Golden Temple), the rock garden at Ryoanji temple, and the Higashiyama District, home to Kiyomizudera temple. Stop to dine in the Pontocho district, wander the stalls and get a taste for Japan at Nishiki Market, and make sure to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, an important Shinto site known for its torii gates.
Our Travel Specialists recommend spending at least three nights here, as there is so much to see, do and discover. Kyoto has a humid subtropical climate; rainy season usually begins around mid-June, giving way to hot and sunny weather towards the end of July.