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 Will Japan Reopen? (September 2021 Update)

When will Japan lift its travel ban and reopen for international tourists? Will borders open in late 2021 or early 2022? These are two common questions among those planning trips to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and beyond. We monitor foreign visitor advisories, news, states of emergency, vaccine passports, and inoculation progress for answers. (Updated September 1, […]

Where to Stay in Kyoto, Japan

Choosing the best hotel, ryokan, or other accommodations when visiting Japan is important. This guide covers where to stay in Kyoto, with recommendations regarding the perfect location, luxurious rooms, Japanese lodging (machiya & ryokan), top Airbnbs, and more. (Updated July 14, 2021.) No matter how long you’re staying in Kyoto, you won’t have enough time. […]

October 2021 in Kyoto, Japan: Crowds, Weather & Events

October 2021 is the start of fall in Kyoto, Japan. The leaves begin to change color, the weather improves, and big festivals celebrate the season. October is a great month to visit to enjoy lower crowds and a good calendar of special events & night illuminations, with lots of things to do in the city […]

%ARABICA – Kyoto, Japan’s Most Popular Coffee Shop

%ARABICA is the most popular coffee shop in Kyoto, which is the heart of Japan’s third wave coffee scene. The iconic % coffee cups are now ubiquitous in Arashiyama and Higashiyama, where %ΔRΔBICΔ was founded–and is now incredibly busy and beloved. This post reviews %ARABICA, shares photos from the cafes, and discusses worth your time, […]

When to Visit Kyoto, Japan: Best & Worst Times in 2021 & 2022

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 in 2021 or 2022 to visit, and when you should travel to Kyoto depends in large part on your priorities. (Updated March 26, 2021.) For […]

Kyoto Cherry Blossom Guide & Sakura Season Viewing Tips

This guide to sakura season in Kyoto, Japan covers our favorite cherry blossom spots, best temples & shrines, 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 March 26, 2021.) This guide assumes multiple […]

November 2021 in Kyoto, Japan

November 2021 will bring Kyoto’s peak fall colors, cool temperatures & great weather, a full calendar of 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. In this […]

Ultimate 2021 Kyoto, Japan Planning Guide

Our 2021 Kyoto, Japan guide offers planning tips & tricks, hotel recommendations, best temples & shrines, transportation hacks, where to eat, crowd info, why we love the city, and more. Before we get to the basics, we’ll offer a brief note on travel to Kyoto later this year. (Updated March 14, 2021.) For obvious reasons, it’s […]

Hanatoro in Kyoto, Japan: Higashiyama & Arashiyama

Hanatoro (花灯路, Hanatōuro) is a set of illumination events in Kyoto, Japan that occur in mid-March and mid-December in the Higashiyama and Arashiyama districts, during which thousands of lanterns light the streets, there are public art displays, and other illumination events. Translated literally to “Lanterns and Flower Lane,” Hanatoro is a festival in Kyoto that […]

Kyoto’s Hidden Gem Special Night Illumination

One of Kyoto, Japan’s best autumn illuminations is held at Konkaikomyo-ji or Kurodani Temple. This is near Heian Shrine, Shinnyodo, Honenin, Eikando, and other popular fall colors spots. We attended its special evening opening and share our photos and thoughts on the experience here. If you’re looking for a normal overview of the temple, daytime […]