Kyoto

Planning resources and itineraries for Kyoto, Japan. Tips to save money, avoid crowds, best temples & shrines, plus tons of photos by Tom Bricker.

When to Visit Kyoto, Japan: Best & Worst Times (2023)

When to visit Kyoto to avoid crowds, experience seasonal beauty, and enjoy the top festivals is important for first-timers to Japan. There will be no single worst or best time–it depends on your priorities. (Updated February 15, 2023.) In this guide, we’ll narrow down your options to help you assess when is the best time […]

What’s New in Kyoto, Japan for 2023

Following the reopening of Japan to tourists, we returned to Kyoto and spent several weeks in the city. Suffice to say, a lot has changed. We revisited every major temple and shrine, checked in on hotels, wandered Gion, Arashiyama, Higashiyama, and other districts to see what things are like as of 2023. This update shares Kyoto photos, how […]

2023 Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast & Kyoto Sakura Season Viewing Guide

This guide to sakura season in Japan and 2023 cherry blossom flowering forecast covers our favorite spots, best temples & shrines in Kyoto, tips & tricks for avoiding crowds. We also take a deeper dive into the topic, highlighting hidden gems where you’ll find fewer people and no busloads of tour groups. (Updated February 15, […]

Ultimate 2023 Kyoto, Japan Planning Guide

Our 2023 Kyoto, Japan planning guide offers tips & tricks, recommendations for hotels and other accommodations, best temples & shrines, transportation hacks, where to eat, crowd info, what it’s like to visit post-reopening, why we love the city, and more. (Updated January 8, 2023.) For the first time in a long time, it’s now possible that […]

1-Day to 1-Week Japan Itineraries for Kyoto, Tokyo & Beyond

Our 2023 Japan itineraries provide plans and step-by-step strategy for self-guided tours of Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, Nara, Miyajima Island, Kyoto, Uji, and more. These offer tips & info for temples to visit, where to eat, transportation, and efficiently seeing the highlights as part of a 1-day itinerary. With our 1-day to 1-week Japan plans, you’ll […]

November 2023 in Kyoto, Japan: Crowds, Weather & Events

November 2023 is Kyoto’s peak fall color dates, great weather, special events & night illuminations, and festivals at temples & shrines. Despite heavy crowds, it’s an excellent month to visit Japan, and you’ll have too many choices for seasonal things to do during a November trip to Kyoto. Note that exact dates listed below are tentative and based […]

October 2023 in Kyoto, Japan: Crowds, Weather & Events

October 2023 is the start of fall in Kyoto, Japan. Leaves begin to change color, weather improves, and big festivals celebrate the season. It’s a great month to visit to enjoy lower crowds, special events & night illuminations, with lots of things to do in the city, its temples & shrines. This guide to October […]

2023 Japan Fall Colors Forecast & Autumn Foliage Viewing Guide

Our fall colors forecast for Japan offers peak viewing info & tips for popular autumn foliage spots, including Kyoto, Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Himeji, and Nara. We’ll also share strategy for visiting the best temples, shrines, and evening illuminations. Autumn is one of the most stunning times of the year in Japan, and one […]

Kiyomizudera Temple Fall Foliage Evening Illumination

In autumn, vibrant fall colors are illuminated at Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto, Japan for a special night lighting. We’ve done the event multiple times, and share info, our experiences, and tips we’ve learned during visits to see the 1,000+ maple trees that form a veritable sea of red koyo along the temple’s hillside. (Updated November […]

10 Hidden Gem Kyoto Photography Spots

One of the dirty secrets of Kyoto photography is that the reality of what you’ll end up shooting is rarely the serene, uncrowded temples and peaceful landscapes you see in marketing photos. To the contrary, most images of Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kiyomizudera, Yasaka, and other locations are taken incredibly early in the morning […]