Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan’s capital, is a compact city that contains all the desirable elements that make it one of the sought-after cities in the world. Every district of Kyoto boasts of attractions and touristic activities that make this part of Asia a perfect holiday destination. Kyoto’s tourism annually generates almost 30 million visitors all over the globe,  which proves how famous this affluent city is worldwide. Kyoto is a wealth of historical significance and its string of temples, shrines, museums and other priceless structures are highly-maintained up to the present. Almost 20% of the country’s natural treasures and 15% of cultural structures are in this city, which makes Kyoto a proud lister of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Despite the wars that it has faced over the years, Kyoto survived the wrath and smoothly morphed into such a stunning beauty that it is today. The urban parts of Kyoto comprise of ultra-modern establishments, glass-and-steel structures, and futuristic-designed tall buildings. Despite the modernity, Kyoto has never turned its back from its natural assets. The city center is enclosed by parklands accentuated by old-styled temples and palaces. Suffice it to say, Kyoto is an example of the lovely contrast the future and nature creates.

Apart from world heritage sites, imperial palaces and majestic villas, Kyoto’s natural splendor is one of the most-adored attractions here. There is no doubt that Kyoto, the eastern part, in particular, is the best place to view the blooming of cherry blossoms. The walk to the streets of Eastern Kyoto, with cherry blossoms, as well as temples and shrines in the background, is one fine experience.

The festivals of Kyoto make the city even more alive and colorful. Leading the pack of glorious festivals is Gion Matsuri, the country’s most famous event which is highlighted by the parade of huge, intricately-done floats. Most of the festivals that happen in Kyoto require processions of floats, lighting of candle lanterns, and honoring the ancestors. Part of the trip is purchasing a token that reminds of the Kyoto adventure. Several souvenir shops pop in the streets of all the districts of Kyoto. Kyoto traditional souvenirs include carved wooden dolls and parasols.

The perfectly-landscaped gardens and parkways serve as an oasis in the busy city. Kokedera and Katsura Villa in the West and Shugakuin Villa in the North are only a few of the many breath-taking parks found in the city. For a different kind of fun, there’s Gion, a famous gisha district in the East. Gion, being a favorite spot of tourists, hosts most of the expensive high-end restaurants that most of the visitors prefer to dine during the night time. Gion is also where cultural shows happen daily.

Most of the hotels in Kyoto cater to travelers and foreigners, and because accommodation is abundant here, finding a place to spend the holiday is never a hassle. Most of the lodging units are found at the center, around Kyoto Station and in Karasuma Oike’s nearby downtown.  Ryokan type of accommodation is popular because of its low rate yet decent space. To sleep in Kyo-Machiya, or small, wooden traditional houses, is like experiencing the tradition of the country. The Western-like ones are found in the busy urban side of Kyoto, groomed to provide top-notch facilities and five-star treatment.