The Top 5 Things to Do and See in Kyoto

Despite being known for a city of classical Buddist temples, Kyoto offered a surprising range of sights and attractions when I visited the region last year. It is one of the most popular destinations besides Osaka in this region of Japan, which is only 1 hour by train away. With the centuries-old history in Japan’s old capital, the wooden houses and Shinto shrines were just breath-taking and inspired a lot of introspection on my travels. Here I explore the most unmissable things to do and see in the city.


1. Gion

To see Japan as it was back in the Edo period, Gion is an area of Kyoto that was preserved in time. Iconic in its own right, this is the area where geishas gain their skills in the ancient art of entertainment. For those who really want to experience life as it was in the old days, they can dress up in traditional Japanese kimono for photoshoots and explore the historical streets.

2. Nijo Castle

For a piece of military history of Japan, Nijo Castle demonstrated the supreme power of the warlords, Shoguns, who onced ruled over Japan for much of its history. The castle is surrounded by gorgeous gardens, and featuring decorating panels and carvings in its interior, which is preserved in its original form. A must see, but remember to get there early as it’s on everyone’s must-see list!


3. Fushimi Inari-taisha

With thousands of endless arches of bright orange torii shrine gates extending its journey into the thick-wooded mountain, this is one of the most impressive sights in all of Kyoto for me. As I walked up, I quietly asked for the blessing from the Inari for my family, friends and the world around me. It is a spiritual journey as much as a photographer’s dream as I explored the mountain. It can become very eerie into the late afternoon and evening as the crowds clear out, with graveyards and miniature shrines along the path giving off a different vibe. Just make sure to have a friend or loved one with you!


4. Arashiyama

Located just 20 minutes by train from Kyoto, Arashiyama is a must visit during your time in this ancient city. The famous bamboo forest alone makes this a worthwhile trip. The best time to go is in the early morning before buses of tourist groups arrive, so you can appreciate the peace and quiet walk through this forest. Its small windy path is flanked by sky-high bamboo grooves, maintained meticulously to perfection.


5. Iwatayama Monkey Park

While you are in Arashiyama, Iwatayama Monkey Park is only a short walk away opposite the Ōi River. These cute little creatures can be spotted in close distance over panoramic views of Kyoto on the top of the mountain. Ironically, it’s the animals who are free to roam the mountain, while humans are kept in a closed cage for protection while feeding these hungry little creatures.

  • Ritz Carlton Kyoto Hotel Review

    Situated alongside the banks of the River Kamogawa, the stunningly beautiful and luxurious Ritz Carlton Kyoto blends in effortlessly with its historical surroundings. Its central location (many sights are within walking distance and the closest subway station is just a 10mins walk away) is actually where the Heian nobility of

    Continue Reading
  • Shoryu Ramen in London

    Shoryu Ramen Bottomless Brunch Review In the street stalls of Hakata in Japan, you’ll likely stumble upon the type of ramen that you’ll find in Shoryu Ramen in London. Thick, creamy broth of pork bones boiled until every bit of fat and marrow have melted into the umami-rich soup. This

    Continue Reading
  • Top Things to Do in Cambridge This Weekend

    The historical town of Cambridge offers some of the best museums, universities, parks, and theatre. It’s also a friendly place with lots of ambitious students and professors. I was excited to find out that my good friend Tevong decided to get married in Cambridge, which also gave Simon and I

    Continue Reading
  • 10 Best Instagram Spots in Los Angeles

    I bet that you just checked Instagram 3 seconds ago… And it’s not just you, it’s probably everyone around you at work, at home, at the dinner table, before you tuck into that amazing looking oh-so-Instagram-worthy plate… Well, as much as it is addictive, Instagram is also a fantastic way

    Continue Reading
  • Counter Vauxhall Arches Bar & Brasserie

    From the weekend street markets that line up along Maltby Street Market to the plethora of recent restaurant openings residing under Hackney’s railway arches, London appears to be making clever use of the space provided under these arches. Over the recent bank holiday weekend, we checked out Counter Vauxhall Arches,

    Continue Reading
  • Taste in the Dark Wine Event with Laithwaites

    In the past, I was clueless when it came to picking wines, often selecting the one that sounded the nicest or had a decently presented label that would catch my attention. Does this resonate with you?! It wasn’t until my recent travels to wineries in Tuscany and Northern California, that

    Continue Reading