Activities around Kyoto

Fun activities to do around Kyoto

Get off the beaten track and away from the tourist hot spots and discover Kyoto's surroundings, where our expert guides will invite you into hidden spots. Go hiking on Mount Takao, venture beyond the famous bamboo forest, or meet tea growers in the Uji region. 

Though central Kyoto is an essential destination for those wanting a peak at historic Japan, the prefecture of Kyoto as a whole is home to uncountable treasures. Additionally, leaving the borders of Kyoto gives way to some amazing spots throughout Kansai. 

A stop in Uji brings you to the capital of Matcha. Home to some of the most treasured crops of tea leaves in the world, Uji encapsulates an important part of Japan’s culinary history. Pass through this town’s countryside and meet the owners of the tea plantations that you’ll see on the way!

Another area famous within Kyoto Prefecture is Takao. Surrounded by mountains, the scenery is picturesque and represents a Kyoto that many may not even realize exists. The hike around Takao is relatively easy, allowing for a relaxed means of taking in the tranquil environment. 

Move outside the borders of Kyoto the prefecture, to the even more ancient capital of Japan, Nara! See historic temples and shrines that existed during Japan’s olden days and, of course, greet the famous deer that are said to be sacred descendants of the traditional Shinto gods. Nara is like no other place in the world, let alone Japan. 

Historical Heritage

Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, is renowned for its exceptional cultural and historical heritage. The city is home to over 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines, and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the famous Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) and Nijo Castle. The picturesque streets of Gion, the geisha district, offer a dive into the living history of the city. But the area around Kyoto, including Kyoto the prefecture itself, and other spots within the greater Kansai Region, such as Nara, the capital before Kyoto, and Takao, home to sacred mountains. 

Surrounding Landscapes

The surroundings of Kyoto are also famous for their natural beauty. Arashiyama, to the west of the city, is well-known for its bamboo forest and mountain landscapes, which are particularly spectacular in autumn and spring. The Philosopher’s Path, a walk along a canal lined with cherry trees, is another popular spot to enjoy the seasons. Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, located near the city of Otsu, offers opportunities for boating and water sports. Go out to locations like Takao and Uji to see a modest Kyoto with gorgeous scenery and roaring plains of standout views. 

Unique Cultural Experiences

Visitors to Kyoto and its surroundings can immerse themselves in Japanese culture through various activities and traditional events. The tea ceremony, the art of ikebana (flower arrangement), and Noh and Kabuki theater performances are some of the cultural experiences not to be missed. Kyoto is also known for its festivals, like the Gion Matsuri in July, one of the oldest festivals in Japan, which provides a unique insight into local culture and traditions.