Kyoto is one of the most popular destinations in Japan, especially for foreign tourists who want to experience the rich culture and history of the country. But did you know that Kyoto is also a great place to visit in winter? In this blog post, I will share with you some tips and recommendations on how to enjoy Kyoto in the cold season, from sightseeing to food to accommodation.
Kyoto Winter Trip
Why Visit Kyoto in Winter?
You might think that winter is not the best time to visit Kyoto, since it can get quite cold and snowy. However, there are many advantages to visiting Kyoto in winter, such as:
- Fewer crowds: Winter is the low season for tourism in Kyoto, which means you can avoid the long lines and crowds at the popular attractions. You can also enjoy a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in the temples and gardens, and take better photos without other people in the way.
- Cheaper prices: Since winter is not a peak season, you can find cheaper deals on flights, hotels, and tours. You can also save money on transportation by using the Kyoto City Bus One-Day Pass, which costs only 600 yen and allows you to ride any city bus within the designated area for one day.
- Beautiful scenery: Winter in Kyoto can be very scenic, especially when it snows. The snow-covered roofs and gardens create a contrast with the red and black colors of the traditional buildings, creating a stunning sight. You can also enjoy the winter illuminations at night, which light up some of the famous landmarks and streets.
What to See and Do in Kyoto in Winter?
There are many things to see and do in Kyoto in winter, depending on your interests and preferences. Here are some of the highlights:
- Visit the temples and shrines: Kyoto has over 1,600 temples and shrines, each with its own charm and history. Some of the most famous ones are Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizu-dera (the Pure Water Temple), Fushimi Inari Taisha (the Thousand Torii Gates), and Ryoan-ji (the Zen Rock Garden). In winter, these places look even more majestic and serene with the snow.
- Enjoy the hot springs: Nothing beats soaking in a hot spring after a long day of sightseeing. Kyoto has many hot spring resorts, both inside and outside the city. Some of the most popular ones are Kurama Onsen, Arashiyama Onsen, and Kinosaki Onsen. You can also try a foot bath or a hand bath at some of the public facilities around town.
- Experience the tea ceremony: The tea ceremony is a quintessential part of Japanese culture, and Kyoto is one of the best places to experience it. You can learn about the history and etiquette of this art form, as well as taste some of the finest matcha tea and sweets. There are many places where you can join a tea ceremony, such as Camellia, En, and Maikoya.
- Try the local cuisine: Kyoto is known for its refined and elegant cuisine, which reflects its history as the former capital of Japan. You can find many restaurants that serve traditional dishes such as kaiseki (multi-course meal), shojin ryori (vegetarian cuisine), yudofu (tofu hot pot), and obanzai (home-style cooking). You can also try some of the winter specialties, such as nabe (hot pot), oden (stewed ingredients), and yakiimo (roasted sweet potato).
- Shop for souvenirs: Kyoto has many shops that sell unique and high-quality souvenirs, such as pottery, lacquerware, fans, kimonos, sweets, tea, sake, and more. You can find them at various places, such as Nishiki Market (the Kitchen of Kyoto), Teramachi Street (the Temple Street), Shijo Street (the Main Street), and Gion (the Geisha District).
Where to Stay in Kyoto in Winter?
Kyoto has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxurious hotels and ryokans (traditional inns). Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing where to stay in Kyoto in winter:
- Location: Depending on your itinerary and preferences, you might want to stay near the main attractions, near the train station, or near the nightlife area. You can also choose between staying in the city center or in the outskirts.
- Facilities: If you are visiting Kyoto in winter, you might want to look for a place that has heating, hot water, free Wi-Fi, and other amenities that will make your stay comfortable. You might also want to check if they have a hot spring, a restaurant, a laundry service, or a shuttle bus.
- Price: The price of accommodation in Kyoto can vary depending on the season, the location, the type, and the quality. You can find some cheap and cozy places for as low as 2,000 yen per night, or some expensive and luxurious places for as high as 50,000 yen per night. You can also look for discounts and deals online or through travel agencies.
Kyoto Winter Trip Conclusion
Kyoto is a wonderful place to visit in any season, but winter has its own charm and benefits. You can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the ancient capital, as well as the culture and cuisine of the region. You can also find some great deals on flights, hotels, and tours. If you are looking for a memorable and enjoyable winter trip, Kyoto is a perfect choice.