It’s fair to say that when you think of Japan: geisha disappearing into hidden doorways, Zen pebble gardens, bamboo groves and incense filled serene temples, your imagination will be realised in Kyoto! It is the epicentre of traditional culture in Japan and with 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines, Kyoto is also one of the world’s most culturally rich cities. Fair comparisons can be made with Paris, London and Rome as one of those must see world cities and it is also fair to say that it really must be included on any visit to Japan, whether for the first time visitor or even if you have been to Japan countless times. There is always something new to discover in Kyoto!
On arrival many travellers can sometimes feel something of an anticlimax – especially disembarking at the monolithic Kyoto train station where you are confronted with the neon and concrete jungle similar to that found in Tokyo! However, after a little time and help from our very specialised local guides (who have lived in Kyoto for many years and can lead you to so many hidden gems that the independent traveller will never find), you will discover a city that will enthral and delight you that is essentially veiled from casual view.
To complement the cultural riches the accommodation in the city varies from international standard hotels to sublime ryokans where heads of state and Hollywood royalty have relaxed on the incredible futons! The restaurants are also amongst the best in Japan – it is almost impossible to get just “an average” meal in Kyoto, everywhere is simply superb. If you are going to spend a few days in any one place in Japan, Kyoto should certainly be your number one choice.