Coming to Kyoto

Once the capital of Japan, and now the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is stereotypical Japan in a nutshell. The city sprawls 828 kmĀ² and can all be explored on train, bike and foot. Kyoto is known for its hundred of Buddist temples and Shinto Shrines, which seem to be on every corner. You could spend a year visiting every temple, and another eating in different restaurants serving tasty tempura, ramen, izakaya, takoyaki and other Japanese favourites. Kyoto is also known for its Cherry Blossom season, starting around the 20th March and lasting about two weeks. The cherry blossoms start to bud and then quickly blossom, falling from the trees after a short time. Millions of tourists flood in between March and April to catch a glimpse of these beautiful blossoms. Kyoto is home to many geishas, and if you want to get a glimpse of them in full dress head to the Gion area, where you are sure to see dozens trotting around in their wooden sandals. Kyoto is famous for its tofu and other vegetarian cuisines. Many monks and religious Japanese live in Kyoto and do not consume meat, so if you are a vegan or vegetarian Kyoto is the best place to get some good eats.

If you are staying in Kyoto for an extended period of time, it is cost effective to buy a bicycle. It will cost you around $80-$120 but is a much nicer way to see the city and everything is within an hour bicycle ride away. There are no rules when it comes to cycling in Japan, residents will switch between sidewalk and road and drive on both sides. When in doubt, use your bell to alert others you are behind, beside or in front. Japan is a very safe country so many Japanese will leave their bikes unattended outside shops, and they will never be stolen! Kyoto will stimulate all your senses with all its colours and tastes. Make sure to check out the monthly flea market selling all sorts of quirky goods on the 21st of each month. The most popular places to stay are Downtown and Kyoto Station areas where you can find a selection of hundreds of guesthouses, hotels and hostels. For the full experience opt for a Japanese Ryokan where you will sleep on tatami mats and eat traditional Japanese breakfast prepared for you in your room. Both of these areas are close to the most popular tourist destinations and can be reached by foot. There is a JR station on almost every corner so you are sure to get around easy. Relax, enjoy and take in the beauty of Kyoto