My Travel Itinerary - Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto Travel Itinerary

This was a rough itinerary for our short stay in Kyoto. Feel free to use it and share it with your friends!  I'll try and condense this to a list with comments. Keep in mind we did a lot of exploring and shopping in between activities that aren't included in this post.

Day One (half day)
Kyoto is only about an hour away from Osaka by bullet train (which we used the JR Pass for), so we had some time to kill before we were allowed to check in to our Airbnb.

horse-meat-sashimi-Musashi-Sushi-kyoto-station
I tried raw horse meat (above) for the first time at Musashi Sushi...
  • Lunch at Musashi Sushi, located inside Kyoto Station. This an affordable conveyor belt sushi restaurant with lots of variety. There was about a 10-15 minute wait when we arrived around lunch time, so keep that in mind if you're planning to go.
  • Another spot we visited at the station was Hoshino Coffee.
  • Coffee again at Vermillion Espresso Bar, which is located just outside of the shrine.
  • The Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of Kyoto's top places to visit and is famous for their rows of torii (traditional Japanese gate). It's best to come here during the day if you want good photos.
  • Dinner at Kendonya, a handmade udon noodle restaurant. Some of the best udon noodles I've had! (my photo on IG)
Day Two (full day)
Kiyomizu-Temple-Takinoya-Shaved-Ice-Menu
Menu from Takinoya at the Kiyomizu Temple
  • The best season to visit the Kiyomizu Temple is fall when the leaves are changing colours. Unfortunately, we went a little too early and all of the leaves were still green and intact. You should still visit the temple regardless because it is beautiful!
    • Since it was so humid out, we made a quick stop at Takinoya (located within the temple grounds) for some condensed milk shaved ice.
  • We visited the Sannenzak Ninenzaka stairs, which is an "attraction" but is really just a set of stairs.
  • Next stop: Tsujiri Honten for matcha drinks and desserts! We walked through the Gion area to get to this cafe. We were hoping to catch sight of some geishas, but learned they're only around in the evening so we went back later and managed to spot two!
  • We explored one of Japan's most iconic marketplaces, Nishiki Market. Try the famous tamago (octopus with a quail egg in its head) snack!
  • For lunch, we went to Gogyo Ramen - famous for their burnt ramen. This is definitely one of the more "fancy" / trendy ramen places in Japan. The atmosphere was dark, decor was on point, music was hip hop (although in English), and the washroom was nice.
  • I think after this, we went back to the shopping area to explore and visit the Pokemon Centre (the only one where you can find Pokemon dressed in traditional Japanese clothing).
Day Three (last full day)
Otsuka Steakhouse - Kyoto
  • Will found Steak Otsuka, this amazing wagyu beef place online so we decided to go there for for lunch. This spot is only open for three hours a day and only take two reservations to accommodate walk-ins. We were too late to reserve, so we decided to head there an hour early and were the first in line! This was the best steak we ever had.
  • After lunch, we walked through the Arashiyama Bamboo Groves and visited the Tenryuji Temple.

Iwatayama Monkey Park - Arashiyama, Kyoto

  • Before heading to the monkey park, we made a stop at % Arabica for coffee. Both of their Kyoto locations have a minimalistic design and totally Insta-worthy.
  • The Iwatayama Monkey Park was one of my favourite places of the trip. The monkeys are located on a mountain, so it's quite a hike to get up there but definitely worth it for the monkeys and view. (see my pic on IG)
  • For dinner, we went to the Kyoto Tower area, had dinner at an omurice place (forgot the name), and walked around.

In case you missed it, check out my last blog post for tips to read before travelling to Japan! You can also take a look at my Osaka itinerary if you plan on visiting.

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