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Tokyo is the capital, Osaka is the business and Kyoto is the culture of Japan. If you wish to get a glimpse of Japan’s traditional charm, unchanged through the years, then don’t wait too long; search now for cheap air tickets to Kyoto! Tokyo is the cultural centre of the country, reflecting the majesty of older times in Japan. Buddhist and Shinto temples, colourful shrines, imperial palaces, magnificent gardens and beautiful geishas, with the serene background of cherry blossoms. Organise your accommodation in Kyoto, make your plans and see for yourself that, if Tokyo is Japan’s gateway to the future, Kyoto is the window to its mysterious past.
If you’re travelling to Japan, Kyoto is definitely where you want to land on. The reasons are countless; Kyoto’s historical heritage, majestic past, religious tradition and authentic aura are some them.
Kyoto is the only Japanese city that didn’t get bombed during World War II. As a result, 17 of Kyoto’s monuments are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Kyoto owns 20% of Japan’s national treasures.
Your experience in Kyoto will be enhanced by the fact that local people, despite other cities’ adaptation to a modern lifestyle, have remained unchanged. In Kyoto everything seems to be as it always was; and that’s wonderful!
Kyoto is served by the Kasai International Airport, 114 kilometres from Kyoto city centre. The airport is accessible by railway and bus.
Getting around Kyoto
You can get around Kyoto by metro, bus and train. Fares start at 220 JPY and minimum taxi fare costs 640 JPY.
Central Kyoto is the most modern area of the city, since the largest portion of it has cherished the modern developments of the 21st century. Still, this is a good place for you to start your tour in Kyoto and see some impressive attractions.
- The Nishiki-Koji Dori fish market is located at the heart of the city and has been Kyoto’s primary food market for 4 centuries. Today, the best restaurants in the city still get their supplies from there.
- The imperial palace (Kyoto Gosho) is the most significant building in Central Kyoto. It dates back to 1855 and had served as the imperial palace from 1331 to 1868, when the imperial seat was moved to Tokyo.
Continue to Northern Kyoto, where you’ll have the opportunity to see the Kinkaku-ji Buddhist Temple, also known as the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”. The temple was built in the 14th century, and was later purchased by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. In 1950, the pavilion was burnt down and the present building was constructed in 1955. The three-story building was later covered in gold leaves and the decorations were completed with a Golden Phoenix topping.
The Kinkaku-ji Zen temple is enlisted as one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is one of Japan’s most popular attractions.
Eastern Kyoto is considered as the most culturally and historically wealthy region of Kyoto. The Kiyomizu Temple, at the Higashiyama-ku district, was built in 1633 by Shogun lemitsu and, perched on Mount Otowa, it offers idyllic views of the city.
Now it’s time for you to head to Gion, the most impressive area of Kyoto.
Gion district forms the main historic core of traditional Kyoto. Famous as a geisha training and education centre, it is filled with temples, shrines, traditional theatres and antiques.
Two are Gion’s most notable temples:
- The Nanzen-ji Temple, built on the location of a 13th-century palace, famous seat of the Amida Buddha Statue and
- The Ginkaku-ji Temple, built in 1482 to serve as the home of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. Inspired by the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Ashikaga had been meaning to coat the temple with silver leaves, a mission he didn’t get to complete before he died.
The temple is sometimes referred to as the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”; it is a marvellous two-story wooden structure, dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy and Jizo, protector of the children.
Kyoto’s official language is Japanese.
To travel to Japan, you need a passport with validity extending 6 months after your travel dates. Greek citizens do not need a tourist Visa, for a maximum stay of 90 days.
When to Go
Kyoto has four distinct seasons:
Summer (June-August) is hot and humid with frequent downpours, while from August to September, Japan goes through the monsoon period. Autumn (September-November) is cool and pleasant, forming possibly the best time for you to visit Kyoto, weather-wise.
Winter could also be a good time for your travel, as winter in Japan is always mild, with medium to low relative humidity and temperatures not falling under 0ºC.