Do you ever go on a trip around the world with such high expectations that you fear the intending destination may not live up to the standard that you have set? On my trip to Kyoto Japan, I had those massive expectations with all the fantastic things I had read and heard about Kyoto city, so much so, I even feared that might have also set the bar too high.
Any fears of disappointment were wiped away within a few hours of arriving in the famous Japanese city, and by the time I departed Kyoto several days later, it had well and truly surpassed the high expectations I had expected of the popular tourist destination.
I instantly embraced Kyoto city with its proud tradition that was on show wherever you looked, the beautiful scenery that surrounded the city region and an abundance of exciting places there was to visit. Let’s get into it, shall we, the reasons that I fell in love with Kyoto – Japan and exactly why you need to visit this incredible city, that will deliver on its high expectations.
A City that Surpasses Everyone’s High Expectations – Kyoto Japan
Mesmerising Temples deliver a WOW factor
Many Temples make up a lot of the Kyoto region with over 400 to visit all up. Naturally, you’re not going to get to them all, but you will at least see a handful in your travels.
Kyoto has some truly mesmerising temples that feature beautifully designed buildings and come with picturesque scenery that gives the temples a real peaceful and serene atmosphere, even amongst a hoard of tourist.
A few of the best temples to visit in Kyoto city, include the Kinkaku-Ji, Tenryu-ji and the Kodai-Ji Temple, but you’ll find many more temples that are as breathtaking as they get.
Don’t forget those Shrines
Along with temples, there are plenty of Shrines to check out in the region. The most popular is the Fushimi Inari Shrine that has the famous orange Torii Gates, seen in the hit movie, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, it’s a must-see attraction in Kyoto and has thousands of tourists coming to the accessible location daily.
Another couple of shrines in Kyoto that needs to be visited which is situated close to the city centre is the Heian Shrine that comes with well-designed buildings and a delightful garden walk. Another is the Yasaka Shrine; it comes with a lot more vibrancy and features markets with souvenirs and street food.
The scenery in and around Kyoto is breathtaking
The city of Kyoto is tucked away in the surrounding mountains, and it makes the whole region look sensational. Further than that there are places in Kyoto that must be seen to be believed with scenery so beautiful that you never want to leave.
Firstly, there is Arashiyama, a popular tourist area that is known for its famous bamboo forest, hidden temples located on the slopes of the mountain and other gorgeous landscapes and water features that include the Katsura River and its beautiful riverside walks.
Kiyomizu- Dera is another beautiful area of Kyoto, based around the main temple which is an official UNESCO site, this attraction comes with more picturesque views of the surrounding scenery and towards the city and has a few marketplaces which are buzzing with tourist.
I’m only touching on a couple of the locations in Kyoto because quite honestly, several stunning attractions will make your photo album fill up with fond memories because Kyoto is one big postcard just waiting to be explored and shared on your Facebook profile.
Centuries-old landmarks that look incredible
Kyoto again takes you back in time with more monuments that are utterly mesmerising. Nijo Castle is a hit with the tourist that has several unique buildings, look-out towers, a large moat and centuries-old paintings on the inside of the main castle area. It may not be your European style castle, but you’ll still get that royal vibe.
Further down the road is the Kyoto Imperial Palace, not quite packed out with the tourists (that’s a good thing too), but it’s another history lesson to get educated about and even better enjoyed with complimentary walking tours to further knuckle down on the history of the palace.
More Instagram worthy pictures are waiting to be added to your profile of a lot more landmarks in the Kyoto City.
Tradition is alive on the streets of Kyoto City
The Japanese are proud of their cultures, and it’s evident from the outset when you are wandering the streets, as there are plenty of local women, and to a lesser extent, men, dressed in their traditional kimono clothes and proudly showing off hundreds of years of history. Even the western tourists will get on the party and hire a kimono at times. Why not? You won’t look out of place dressing up in Kyoto.
There is plenty of vibrant street markets and attractions where the kimonos come out, especially in attractions such as Fushimi Irani Shrine, Arashiyama, Yasaka Shrine and Ninenzaka, which is a pedestrian thoroughfare that has stunning Japanese architecture and tea houses. The atmosphere is electric.
Cleanliness and politeness is a way of life
It’s astonishing to walk the streets of Kyoto city with approximately 1.5-million people, and the roads are so clean, with any rubbish lying in the gutter of the way, a rare find. The cleanliness continues into Malls, restaurants, cafes and hotels too, where everything looks fresh and clean to detail.
It won’t surprise you to know that Kyoto or Japan for that matter is an amiable race, politeness in noticeable is from the outset, whether you are checking in/out of a hotel, buying a coffee or in general, just getting around the city and minding your own business.
Awesome food, Good Beer
What would a Japanese city be without great local food? I mean, who doesn’t enjoy dining at your local Japanese restaurant back home with delicious ramen, sushi or Teppanyaki, and it won’t surprise you to know that the Japanese do it even better in their own country.
Kyoto has many dining choices for tourist on various budgets when it comes to food, whether you want to eat in style at a fancy restaurant, grab a snack off the street, or sit down for a quick bowl of ramen, you can enjoy the pleasures of Japanese food and enjoy a bottle of Asahi beer while you dine.
Getting around Kyoto is no problem at all
With all these fantastic attractions that stretch out far and wide in Kyoto, it’s comforting to know there is public transport in the form of trains, buses and taxis that will take you anywhere you need to go with little hassle at all. Using google maps and purchasing an ICOCA card for trains and buses, I had no issues getting to all these great attractions.
At times, I would walk the streets of Kyoto and take in this great city at a steady pace. Savouring every moment of the little time I had in Kyoto and when it was time to leave, I could only hope that my return to Kyoto would not be too far away in the future.
There are many reasons I fell in love with Kyoto and why it was able to surpass the high expectations upon it. The city truly dazzled in many ways, and I know if you put Kyoto on your travel bucket list, it won’t disappoint you. It’s just not possible.
Check out these helpful travel books on Kyoto from Amazon