6 days in Kyoto
We spent 6 days in Kyoto and had a pretty jammed packed schedule. Read on to find out where we stayed and our day by day itinerary.
Hotel in Kyoto
We stayed at Sakura Terrace a very spacious modern hotel which is only £40 pp per night. It was so nice to have more space after the small rooms in Tokyo!
We chose to stay near Kyoto station given the city is fairly spread out and we wanted to have good links to transport. Whilst there is not that much to do in the area, we found it a great place to base ourselves.
The other real plus point was the free elcome drink every night between 6pm and 10pm. You can choose from wine, beer, prosecco and spirits. The hotel has a gorgeous terrace area outside to sit with fairy lights and blankets if it gets a bit chilly.
If you do not have time to try an onsen in Japan, definitely give the public baths at the hotel a go. You can go there from your room in a dressing gown and slippers (provided) and the baths have space for around 8 people . It is compulsory to be naked for an onsen and they are so glorious and warm on your skin.
We absolutely recommend staying in this hotel – great location, transport links and helpful staff.
6 days in Kyoto
We arrived from Tokyo into Kyoto main station from the bullet train (you must get a bento box onboard) and walked 10 minutes to our hotel.
Below is an overview of how we spent 6 days in Kyoto.
Our first stop was Nishiki Food Market in central Kyoto, which is open from 9.30am to around 6.30pm. It is essentially one stretch of road with all sorts of street food on offer. Think sushi, squid, yakitori, octopus and so much more. The best bit is they are all priced between £1 and £3 so make sure to choose a few dishes!
At the end of the market (and to the sides as you walk through) are souvenir and clothes shops. There is also a small Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple to visit. There is plenty to keep you busy for the afternoon!
Day 2 in Kyoto – Miyajima Hiroshima
Please see here for information on our day trip to Miyajima and Hiroshima.
Day 3 in Kyoto
We visited Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine (68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 612-0882, Japan). It was free entry which is just amazing!
Fushimi Inari is famous for the rows and rows of endless orange tori (shinto shrine) gates which lead upwards into the mountains. We climbed half way up through hundreds (maybe thousands) of tori gates and then meandered our way down. If you have time, we recommend walking the whole way up (around 4km).
On the way, there were mini shrines and tori gates. As you explore the shrines, you will come across many stone foxes, which are considered the messenger of Inari.
We then visited Kiyomizu-dera, a huge Buddhist temple overlooking the city. Just the walk up to the entrance is bustling with souvenir shops on each side (and queues of people!)
You get gorgeous views of the city from the main hall which has a huge varandah over the hillside. Walking down from the hall is the waterfall Otowa-no-taki where you can drink sacred waters believed to give you good health and longevity.
Around the main hall there are a number of smaller shrines and pagodas. You can spend a couple of hours just wandering around and admission is only £3.
We then walked from Kyomizu-dera via Ishibei-koji and Kodai-ji through to Maruyama-koen park. A short walk from there is Chion-In, a vast temple, which has huge steps to climb up before entering the grounds. We visited near to closing time and didn’t have to pay to visit the grounds and part of the temple.
Before dinner, we took a romantic walk down the Ponto-Cho along the river.
Day 4 in Kyoto
We visited lovely Nara to see the deers. Read about our day Here.
Day 5 in Kyoto
One of my favourite days was on the Sagano Scenic Railway (which is not actually mentioned in many books and is also called the ‘Romantic Train’).
It is a wonderful 30 minute ride on an old steam train taking in the beautiful surroundings and stopping off for picture time (£8 fee).
The trains run every hour at 7 minutes past. We arrived for the midday train but, as there is only one open aired carriage on each train, we bought tickets for the later train. Just look at the views!
Whilst we were waiting for the train, we visited Tenryu-ji Zen Temple which had an amazing garden and a stunning lake with all different coloured trees surrounded it.
We then moved on to Arashymia bamboo forest. If you have time, walk the trail after the initial work through the towers of trees.
Given we had our train booked, we turned left and walked around the forest and found some really stunning viewpoints.
We moved on to Kinkaku-ji (also known as the Golden Temple). This was another extremely popular tourist point but, again, worth a visit, especially if you tie it in to other activities around the area. Around £4 entrance fee, the temple itself is stunning and you can get some fantastic pictures of the reflection in the water. The crowds are so big so can take a while to walk around what is actually a small area. You probably only need around 1-1.5 hours.
Day 6 in Kyoto
We visitied Kurama-dera – Mount Kurama – around a hour out of the city and initially travelled to Kibune-guchi station and visited the temple there.
We then walked to the start of the Mount Kurama hike which took around one hour with various viewpoints on the way. It cost around £2.50 to enter and we were given a map at the entrance. The terrain wasn’t too difficult or steep and it was great to be out of the city.
After the hike, we walked to Kurama Onsen (520 Kurama Honmachi, Sakyo-ku) which is open until 9pm. It is a very affordable way to visit an Onsen without paying for a stay at a Ryokan at just £12 entrance for the outdoor bath access.
Open to the public, you could be with two people or ten people! It is compulsory to be naked but it is single sex. Just enjoy being in the hot springs and listening to nature. Our only tip is to take a towel, as you have to pay around £5 for hiring one. We spent a couple of hours there just completely chilling out!
Kyoto is one of the most amazing places I have visited. Similarly to Tokyo, the people are so friendly and willing to help. There is so much to do in 6 days in Kyoto and it is just such stunning. a city. Make sure this is part of your Japan trip!
East London Girl: 6 day itinerary in Kyoto