Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Your Guide to Japan's Historic City

By Phoebe Yu

Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto remains a destination where it's easy to imagine imperial rule at the center of the many shrines, temples and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If Tokyo is the city of bright lights and Harajuku the center of style and nightlife, then Kyoto is its genteel counterpart with majestic landmarks, serene landscapes and refined architecture.

A visit to Kyoto is your chance to immerse yourself in this historic city of 1.5 million people. Consider staying at a ryokan (Japanese-style inn), soaking in an onsen (hot spring), indulging in a relaxing treatment at Riraku Spa in Kyoto and enjoying a multi-course kaiseki meal and authentic geisha entertainment to fully appreciate this city that is steeped in the oldest of Japanese traditions.