Best of Kyoto

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Kyoto
Plan your trip to Japan
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
A bridge in the Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden
Discover Japanese Culture in Kyoto - 5 Days

Enjoy the quiet scenery and traditional Japanese culture in Kyoto on this refreshing adventure. In just five days, you'll visit sacred shrines, wander through ancient forests, take a boat cruise down a river lined with cherry blossoms, practice meditation with a Buddhist monk, and learn about the traditional arts of calligraphy and flower arranging. You'll also detour to the historic city of Nara, famed for its giant Buddha statue and resident population of deer, before returning to Kyoto for one last evening of sampling sushi and sake.

A cable car above the ski slopes in Japan
Winter in Japan: Skiing, Sumo, Sake & More - 14 Days

Ski, snowboard, and sip sake on this two-week adventure around Japan's wintry landscapes. From Kyoto to Tokyo, this active journey will give you the opportunity to see both the modern and traditional sides of Japan. You'll also see futuristic art and have some fun on the slopes of Niigata, dipping in the nearby natural hot springs afterward.

Kyoto's Higashiyama historic district
Map of Best of Tokyo & Kyoto - 7 Days
Best of Tokyo & Kyoto - 7 Days

This weeklong adventure splits its time between two of Japan's most important cities with a mix of customizable tours and free time to explore on your own. Start off in Tokyo for a taste of modern Japan with top-notch architecture, animé, modern art, high fashion, and cuisine. Then head to traditional Kyoto for beautiful temples and shrines, ancient gardens, and cultural experiences like tea ceremonies and calligraphy.

Autumn scenery in Kyoto, Japan
Explore Old & New in Japan - 7 Days

Slow down and savor the spiritual and traditional elements of Japan on this weeklong trip. You'll start by sampling regional street food in Osaka, nicknamed "the kitchen of Japan," followed by a day of sightseeing with a local guide. Then you'll move on to the holy temple complex of Koyasan, where you'll have the chance to observe monks during their early morning prayers. Continue to Kyoto, the ancient imperial capital of Japan, to learn about traditional fine arts, including tea ceremonies and flower arranging. Side-trip to the forest trails and UNESCO-honored temples of Nara before the trip comes to an end.

Colorful Japanese Lanterns
Map of Family Adventure in Japan: Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto - 10 Days
Family Adventure in Japan: Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto - 10 Days

Traveling together as a family is such a special experience, and this 10-day action-packed adventure is specifically designed with families in mind. From Kanto to Kansai, this trip takes you from Tokyo and its modern, bustling streets to Kyoto with its tight hold on tradition. It's the perfect way to take in all that Japan has to offer while having plenty of family fun.

The traditional farmhouses of Shirakawago in winter
Scenic Japan - 7 Days

This photogenic 7-day tour of Japan offers an unbeatable mix of popular attractions and off-the-beaten-path gems. You'll experience the country's beauty, starting in vibrant Tokyo and continuing to the temples, shines, and gorgeously landscaped gardens of Kanazawa. Side-trip to Shirakawago, where charming wooden farmhouses were built to withstand heavy snow in winter — if you're lucky, you'll see the village under a blanket of white! Then end with a couple of days in Kyoto, learning about geisha culture and traditional arts like flower arranging. From start to finish, this colorful itinerary is a visual extravaganza.

Boating in Arashiyama
Map of Natural Wonders of Japan - 10 Days
Natural Wonders of Japan - 10 Days

Just as fascinating as Japan's ultra-modern urban culture is its spectacular natural scenery. On this 10-day adventure, you'll venture beyond the glittering cities to explore Japan's stunning natural wonders and learn about the country's ancient cultural traditions. Visit ancient shrines, climb mountain peaks, wander through lush bamboo forests, learn about geisha culture and fine arts customs, and marvel at the country's most prized landscape garden. You'll end the journey in quiet Kyoto, enjoying a boat cruise on the Hozugawa River past vibrant cherry blossoms.

Torii gate at Lake Ashi, Hakone.
Map of  Highlights of Japan: Cities, Mountains & Temples - 14 Days
Highlights of Japan: Cities, Mountains & Temples - 14 Days

This two-week itinerary takes you on a whirlwind tour through Japan's greatest highlights. Walk the streets of hyper-modern Tokyo and Osaka, hike to a sacred Buddhist monastery at Koyasan, soak in hot springs under Mount Fiji, and step back in time in historic Kyoto. From ancient temples to futuristic art shows, vibrant cities to secluded mountaintops, you'll experience a little bit of everything on this adventurous journey.

The original paved stones of the old Nakasendo Trail
Map of Walking the Historic Nakasendo Trail - 10 Days
Walking the Historic Nakasendo Trail - 10 Days

Take a walk through time on this 10-day Japan tour. The highlight of this journey is a self-guided walk on the Nakasendo Trail, a historic walking route that's part of feudal Japan's original network of highways. Historically, travelers on the mountain path between Kyoto and Tokyo took several days to travel the distance, staying overnight in jukus (post towns or post station villages). You'll retrace their footsteps as you meander through serene forests, dip in thermal springs, and rest in local inns by night, taking time to explore the vibrant cities of Kyoto and Tokyo at the start and end of the trip.

The Kiyomizu-dera Temple overlooking Kyoto's skyline
Map of Japan's Big Four: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & Hiroshima - 10 Days
Japan's Big Four: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & Hiroshima - 10 Days

This diverse 10-day itinerary leads you through Japan's four major cities. Start in Tokyo, exploring the city's ultra-modern technology and ancient monuments. Then head to the quiet shrines of traditional Kyoto, the buzzing food scene of trendy Osaka, and the historic landmarks and lively downtown of Hiroshima. Along the way, you'll visit beautiful islands and bamboo forests, sample regional delicacies on a food tour, see sumo wrestlers in action, and try locally produced sake and whiskey.

Stop in Mount Fuji on your way to Kyoto
Map of Japan Golden Route - 10 Days
Japan Golden Route - 10 Days

This 10-day itinerary follows the path of Japan's ancient Tokaido Highway (the Golden Route) from the skyscrapers of ultra-modern Tokyo to the cultural heart of Kyoto. In between the two cities, you'll stop in the beautiful town of Hakone to soak up Mount Fuji views, hot springs, and excellent museums. Traveling by bullet train, your flexible Japan Rail Pass offers plenty of day-trips for a truly customizable adventure.

The Arashiyama bamboo grove
Map of Explore Japan: Tokyo, Nikko, Hakone, & Kyoto - 10 Days
Explore Japan: Tokyo, Nikko, Hakone, & Kyoto - 10 Days

Along with two major cities–modern Tokyo and traditional Kyoto–this itinerary also takes you to the beautiful mountainside areas of Nikko and Hakone. The former is a place of much spiritual significance, and the latter is one of the best areas in the country to experience the Japanese hot springs. A mixture of old-meets-new Japan, this trip has all you need to experience multiple sides of the country.

Tokyo Skytree in the Spring
Map of Explore Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, & Hiroshima - 14 Days
Explore Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, & Hiroshima - 14 Days

This 14-day trip takes you to the major cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, where you'll experience a mix of modern culture and timeworn traditions. You'll also venture to the temples and shrines in Nikko and a hot springs retreat in Hakone. The last leg takes you to Nara, known for its free-roaming deer, and Hiroshima, where you'll witness the flourishing rebuild of one of Japan's most historically significant towns.

7 days in Japan: Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto
Map of Explore Japan: Tokyo, Hakone, & Kyoto - 7 Days
Explore Japan: Tokyo, Hakone, & Kyoto - 7 Days

This weeklong trip to Japan packs in plenty of exploration, so you can discover a good amount of the country’s culture and history. Experience life in bustling Tokyo, and then immerse yourself in a slower way of living among the mountains and temples of Kyoto. In between your visit to both major cities, you’ll get to relax, kick back, and soak in the rejuvenating hot springs of Hakone.

Walking through the bamboo grove at Arashiyama
Family Adventure in Japan - 10 Days

This action-packed 10-day adventure around Japan is perfect for families! The itinerary leads you from the neon lights, futuristic interactive art, and whimsical character cafés of Tokyo to peaceful Lake Kawaguchi, where you'll have the option to visit a nearby ninja theme park or ride one of the steepest roller coasters in the world. Then it's onward to Kyoto, where you'll learn how to make creative Japanese-style sweets and attend a tea ceremony. Travelers of all ages will enjoy visiting temples, bamboo groves, and shrines on the last few days of the trip in Arashiyama, Nara, and Osaka.

Tokyo's Shinjuku Park
Map of Classic Highlights of Japan - 14 Days
Classic Highlights of Japan - 14 Days

Welcome to Japan! On this two-week journey around the main island, Honshu, you'll enjoy a mix of cultural sightseeing and active adventures. Visit sacred temples and shrines, cycle through the countryside, and wander around Tokyo's most fashionable neighborhoods. From the history of Hiroshima and the wonders of ancient Kyoto to the historic farmhouses of Shirakawa-go and the quiet island of Miyajima, there's so much to see and do.

Best of Old and New Japan
Map of Best of Old and New Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, & More - 14 Days
Best of Old and New Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, & More - 14 Days

The combination of historic and modern beauty makes Japan the ideal vacation destination. On this journey of old world-meets-new world, you will explore the progressive city of Tokyo, along with strolling through pockets of old Japan. Excursions into the hot springs of Gero Onsen and the gardens of Kanazawa will allow you to experience the preservation of nature. Even still, you can channel Japan’s past–in present-day–by taking up residency in a thatched-roof farmhouse in Shirakawa-go, connecting with long-time local artisans in Takayama, and exploring the ancient temples of Kyoto.

Walking in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto
Map of Family Adventure in Japan - 14 Days
Family Adventure in Japan - 14 Days

Offering ancient traditions and futuristic fun, Japan is filled with one-of-a-kind attractions for the young—and the young at heart. This two-week family-friendly itinerary features a great mix of cultural sightseeing and hands-on activities, like a sushi class and a samurai sword-fighting course. You'll explore the character cafés and comic book shops of Tokyo, boat on a lake near Mount Fuji, and wander through towering groves of bamboo in Arashiyama, taking time to learn about history in Hiroshima and Kyoto. Rounding out the trip are day trips to two world-class theme parks: Disney Sea and Universal Studios Japan. This action-packed journey is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Mount Fuji framed by cherry blossoms
Japanese Cherry Blossom Tour - 7 Days

The sakura, or cherry blossom, is the national flower of Japan and a symbol of renewal. It's no wonder that spring is the best time to visit the country! If you're lucky enough to travel to Japan during the brief blooming season, you'll be treated to the sight of the pale pink flowers almost everywhere you look. This 7-day tour takes you around to top sakura-spotting destinations in Osaka, Kyoto, and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, with breaks for cultural sightseeing along the way. You'll end the itinerary with a dedicated cherry blossom tour around Tokyo, including classic photo ops of Mount Fuji in the distance — framed by flowers, of course.

Golden Route Japan
Map of Explore the Golden Route of Japan - 12 Days
Explore the Golden Route of Japan - 12 Days

Equally known for its vibrant city life and mountainous beauty, Japan offers a well-rounded visit, filled with liveliness, adventure, and variety. On your 12-day journey, you will explore the high-energy tech and fashion trends of Tokyo, enjoy the breathtaking views and temples of Kyoto, and relax at a hot springs retreat in Hakone. Immerse yourself in Japanese culture, complete with the exceptional, authentic dining of Osaka.

Geishas in Kyoto
Map of Explore Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, & Hiroshima - 12 Days
Explore Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, & Hiroshima - 12 Days

This 12-day trip combines the best of Japan's major cities, historic places, and natural areas. You'll explore Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, as well as to the beautiful mountainside town of Nikko and the relaxing hot springs of Hakone. Enjoy everything Japan has to offer, including its culture, art, temples and shrines, and tasty, traditional cuisine.

 The shrine of Fushimi Inari
Map of Tokyo & Kyoto Cultural Adventure - 5 Days
Tokyo & Kyoto Cultural Adventure - 5 Days

This short but sweet five-day trip to Japan is filled with cultural experiences. Covering two major cities, Tokyo and Kyoto, the adventure takes you to see two completely different sides of Japan. In Tokyo, you’ll experience modern art in Odaiba and dine at Robot Restaurant. In Kyoto, you’ll learn about ancient Japanese traditions and geisha culture. Try your hand at sushi-making, then tour some of the country's most famous shrines and temples before the trip comes to a close.

Buddhist temple in Japan
Map of Magical Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima - 13 Days
Magical Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima - 13 Days

This trip will take you to all the places you shouldn't miss on your first trip to Japan. Discover both the traditional and modern sides of Japan at shrines and temples, witness technological innovation at an amazing digital art exhibition and a crazy robot cabaret, and get involved in hands-on cooking and craft classes. This 13-day tour is a perfect introduction to the best of Japan.

The Nakasengo Trail entering the town of Magome in the Kiso Valley.
Map of Central Japan Highlights: Tokyo, Kyoto & the Kiso Valley - 9 Days
Central Japan Highlights: Tokyo, Kyoto & the Kiso Valley - 9 Days

This active 9-day itinerary takes you on a memorable journey through central Japan's history and culture, from ultra-modern Tokyo to the historic imperial capital of Kyoto. In between, you'll visit the famous gardens of Kanazawa, cycle through traditional thatched villages of the Hida region, walk portions of the ancient Nakasendo Trail, and explore the preserved post towns of the Kiso Valley.

Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo
Map of Explore Nature in Traditional Japan: Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto & Osaka - 9 Days
Explore Nature in Traditional Japan: Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto & Osaka - 9 Days

Explore Japan's natural beauty and intricate rituals on this fascinating 9-day itinerary. In Tokyo, you'll travel back in time by wandering the streets in a kimono. Head to Hakone to cruise on Lake Ashi, enjoy spectacular views of Mount Fuji, and finish the day in soothing natural thermal springs. Continue to Kyoto for Buddhist temples, gardens, palaces, and shrines, then end in Osaka to revel in the city's dynamic "foodie" districts.

Evening view over Nagasaki
Map of Off the Beaten Path in Japan - 14 days
Off the Beaten Path in Japan - 14 days

This unique 14-day tour will take you to the major cities and destinations of Japan as well as hidden destinations that few tourists explore. You'll see Tokyo's futuristic neon lights, explore rice fields during a homestay in Izumo, wander through traditional temples in the company of native deer in Nara, relax on pristine beaches in the remote Goto islands, and more. Traveling through various destinations by steam train, ferry, and traditional boat, you'll get an intimate glimpse into Japanese ways of life.

Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji Temple
Map of Culture & History of Japan - 14 days
Culture & History of Japan - 14 days

Embark on a journey through Japan’s cultural past with this immersive two-week itinerary. Starting in the modern capital of Tokyo, you’ll travel north to traditional mountain hot springs before making your way through the historic post towns of the ancient Nakasendo Trail. Wander through the 16th-century architecture of Takayama, discover the alpine valleys and traditional thatched-roof farmhouses of Shirakawa-go, and step back in time in the imperial capital of Kyoto. Spend a night with Buddhist monks at the mountaintop temples of Mount Koya before returning to Tokyo for a final evening in the city that never sleeps.

Kyoto, Japan
Map of Japan's Culinary Heritage - 11 Days
Japan's Culinary Heritage - 11 Days

Eat your way through the Land of the Rising Sun on this immersive culinary tour. Get to know Japanese history and culture through its legendary cuisine, and treat your taste buds to everything from home-brewed sake to the freshest sushi, to delectable street food and a fancy gourmet feast.

Two women wearing Kimonos walking through Kyoto
Map of Ultimate Japan Tour: Tokyo to Kyoto - 11 Days
Ultimate Japan Tour: Tokyo to Kyoto - 11 Days

This exciting itinerary goes beyond normal expectations by including a diverse range of activities for an authentic travel experience. Immerse yourself in Japan's state of the art tech in Tokyo and visit an interactive art museum on the man-made island Odaiba prior to traveling to Fujikawaguchiko where you can look at the famous Mount Fuji volcano while relaxing in an onsen hot spring. You will then depart for Nagoya and visit interactive robots as well as the Ise Jingu Grand Shrine before a bullet train takes you to Kanazawa which has many historic samurai homes and the charming village Gokayama and finally, you will tour your final destination Kyoto by bicycle and discover breathtaking temples as well as the lively city culture.

Japan's Nakasendo Trail
Map of Nakasendo Trail: Tokyo to Kyoto - 12 Days
Nakasendo Trail: Tokyo to Kyoto - 12 Days

Perfect for active walkers, this trip combines a four-day walk on Japan's Nakasendo Trail, which connected Tokyo and Kyoto during the days of shoguns and samurai, with a visit to three historic Japanese capitals, Tokyo, Nara, and Kyoto. You'll begin your trip in Tokyo, then take to the trail and stay in post towns once used as feudal-era stopover points.  You'll visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nara, Yoshino, and Mount Koya, then spend two nights in Kyoto, where geisha still entertain well-heeled guests and Buddhist temples beckon.

A street scene in Tokyo
Discover Japan's Cities - 7 Days

This weeklong journey focuses on Japan's busy cities, including ultra-modern Tokyo and historic Hiroshima. You'll explore the contemporary art scene, dine in a character café, walk around streets lit up with neon at night, and tour temples and historic sites. But the itinerary also features quieter experiences, featuring day trips to the shrines of Nara, a traditional village where you'll learn about the art of kimono design, and a lookout point where you'll get the best photo ops of snow-capped Mount Fuji.

Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima Island, Japan
Map of In the Shadow of Mountains: From Sea to Sea in Southern Japan - 12 Days
In the Shadow of Mountains: From Sea to Sea in Southern Japan - 12 Days

Explore the coast of the Sea of Japan, then head across southern Japan to visit towns and islands on the Seto Inland Sea. You'll spend twelve days discovering Japanese history and culture as you visit shrines, temples, castles, museums, and even a preserved silver mine. See how miso paste, sake, and pottery are made and soak in hot spring baths. You'll come away with a true appreciation for the traditions and history of southern Japan.

Other popular travel destinations in Japan
Tokyo · Osaka · Okinawa · Hokaido · Hokkaido/Northern Honshu · Western Honshu