is the official capital of the Kyoto Prefecture and was initially the capital city of Japan
. The city is located in a valley within the Yamashiro Basin to the eastern side of the Tamba highlands. Kyoto is home to a great combination of ancient architecture and modern designs that make the cityscape even more intriguing.
Kyoto is dotted with numerous ancient Buddhist temples amid beautiful natural planted gardens, as well as several mighty imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, and traditional stunning wooden houses. Kyoto is also famous for intricate traditions like the Kaiseki dining, which involves tables being set with different courses of individual dishes as well as geisha, which is primarily female entertainers of all sorts found along the District of Gion.
The Philosopher's Walk is a fantastic setting of a beautiful walk path set on the side of a canal, along which the stunning natural cherry and maple trees are lined. Here, numerous temples can be viewed by visitors, like the Ginkaku-Ji Temple, with a magnificent pond framed in pines. The Nanzen-Ji is another of the temples, set amid a beautiful Zen garden. The Kyomizu-Dera Temple, built on the hillside, features a large structure with a beautiful and intricately done veranda.
The shrine of Fushimi Inari-Taisha represents a tunnel extension of stunning brightly colored orange "torii" gates inside the forest. This unique spot attracts numerous tourists to itself, owing to its magnificent beauty. Then there is the Nijo Castle dating back to the Shogun era, complete with intricate wood carvings for its interior, which has remained a key attraction spot to date.
A visit to Kyoto is not complete without a walk through the towering groves of bamboo stalks at the Arashiyama area. The vicinity and the panoramic views of nature from this spot remain unbeatable.
When to visit Kyoto
Kyoto experiences a humid subtropical climate. The climate is characterized by hot, humid, and mildly rainy summers and cold, moderately dry, but tolerable winters. Summer runs between mid-May
, and winter goes from December
As much as Kyoto can be visited at any time during the year, most tourists arrive in the city during spring, from March
to May, and during the fall, between September and November
. Both of these seasons are a perfect choice as they have brilliant weather and are devoid of the extreme summer heat as well as the cold winter chill.
In April, the Cherry blossoms festival is held in Kyoto amid the colorful decorations of flowers that are in full flowering around this time. Feasting and decorations are some of the activities the people of Kyoto engage in.
From late April to May, the people of Kyoto have a series of public holidays usually called the Golden week, where businesses and shops may remain closed for the celebrations to take place. In May, the Aoi Matsuri festival sees Kyoto hold religious processions from the palace to the famous Shimogamo-Jinja Shrine. The Gion Festival held in July
aims at celebrating and honoring the history of the geisha, amid parades and music. Finally, in August
, the large Daimonji Gozan Okuribi bonfire festival is held, brightening up most nights.