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Kyoto is Japan’s ancient capital; a charming city teeming with ancient shrines, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and traditional neighbourhoods that are still home to the ubiquitous Geisha.
This mountain-flanked, picturesque city is the perfect compliment to the neon screens and robotic voices that characterise Tokyo. Kyoto is home to over 2000 Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples; some grand and majestic, others quiet and idyllic, making it the perfect destination for getting to know Japan’s vast history and getting up close with its stunning architecture.
Along the outskirts of the city sits the neighbourhood of Arashiyama, a beautiful riverside destination that boasts a wide variety of both shrines and temples, as well as the world-famous Bamboo Forest and a mountain populated with monkeys! Venture a little further south and you’ll discover Fushimi Inari; a tunnel constructed from 10,000 vermillion torii gates which you may have seen in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. Kyoto is also close to some other incredible and worthwhile destinations, including the beautiful city of Nara and Tokyo laid-back sibling Osaka. With plenty of romantic ryokans and family-friendly hotels to choose from, there’s never been a better time to visit Japan for a luxury holiday.
With so many incredible destinations to choose from, it can be a bit difficult to fit in every city you'll want to visit into the perfect Japan holiday, but we'll ensure all your needs are met with our tailor-made luxury Japan tours and itineraries.
The best time to visit Japan is between March and May, as this is when the spring weather brings sunshine and warm temperatures as well as it being the right time to view the cherry blossoms. Outside of this, September through to November is also a great time to visit as the humid summer is easing off to leave behind much milder sunny days and beautiful autumn colours.
One of the first images that comes to mind when someone thinks of Japan, is often the pastel pink hues of the cherry blossoms that drift dreamily across the country during the Spring months.
With a fleeting blooming period of just two weeks in March or April, catching a good view of the cherry blossoms (or ‘Sakura’ in Japanese) can be a bit a difficult to plan but certainly not impossible when you know where to go. A great place to view the sakura in bloom is Maruyama Park! Why not do as the Japanese do and bring some food and drink for a picnic under the blossoms; an experience known as ‘Hanami’.
This beautiful zen temple is undeniably one of Kyoto's most famous landmarks, thanks to it's beautiful golden exterior and enchanting backdrop of Japanese forests.
This breathtakingly beautiful two-storey golden temple was once the retirement villa for an the ancient shogan Ashikaga Yoshimitsu but soon became a Zen temple after his death in 1408. Since then the temple has been burned down numerous times, with the present structure existing since 1955. The temples sits amid a beautiful forest that overlooks a stunning pond, be sure to visit during cherry blossom or autumn seasons for the most photogenic experience.
Arashiyama is a beautiful neighbourhood within the ancient capital city of Kyoto, which is home to an abundance of enchanting shrines, the famous Bamboo Forest and so much more.
Discover some of the country’s most incredible ancient shrines, UNESCO World Heritage Site’s full of natural beauty, and even a mountain that’s home to a few families of wild monkeys! If all of that isn’t enough, Arashiyama is also home to the world-famous Bamboo Forest and a wealth of beautiful luxury hotels and ryokans. Spend a day discovering the sights, and then wander beyond the beaten path and you’ll start seeing Japan’s authentic traditional houses, streets and parks that have evaded the tourist eye.
If you’ve ever seen ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ you’ll have seen the dreamlike vermillion-red torii gate tunnel that she runs through, which almost seems too beautiful to be true. However, it exists just a short train journey from the ancient capital of Kyoto.
This absolutely incredible tunnel is made up of 10 000 vermillion tore gates, with some dating back to 711 A.D.! The pilgrimage through the gates takes a few hours, but it’s worth every second as you’ll discover every gate was donated by a different person and company, and at the top of the mountain sits a shrine populated with tiny torii gate tokens. Be sure to visit either during the early morning or near the end of the day to avoid the crowds and get a good shot of the tunnel without any visitors.
You may think you’ve had Japanese food already, but we can guarantee you that you’ll never look back after trying real, authentic Japanese cuisine.
What’s makes Japanese cooking so special is the celebration of seasonality and how dedicated chef’s are about learning how to master the art of their speciality, and with more Michelin-awarded 3-starred restaurants than any other country in the world; they must be doing something right! Discover the art of Kyoto's Kaiseki cuisine, devour steaming bowls of mouth-watering ramen noodles along the bench of a tiny restaurant, or discover the comforting nabe (hot pot) dishes that’ll keep you warm in the winter.
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