Kyoto City Guide – Introduction

I have gotten many request to put together an encompassing guide to my favorite city. And through this blog, I hope to share some of the gems in this city. But before I begin, why should you even visit this place to start?

Kyoto is one of the best kept secrets within Japan. Tokyo by default is what everyone talks about, and although a great city in it’s own right, the unassuming will fall hard for Kyoto. When you think of Tokyo, think of NYC. Hustle. Grind. Repeat. There are plenty of places in Tokyo on the west side that do offer something less intense (and I will post seperately for this gigantic city some time soon)

Kyoto on the other hand seperates itself from the other big cities in Japan by offering nature, amazing food, bicycling, and amazing bars

It boasts more world heritage sites in one city than any other place in the world and there is no shortage of michellin rated restaurants either. 

Upon arriving via the bullet train (15min) or regular train (30 min) from Osaka you will find yourself at Kyoto station (south of the city). The city is centered in a valley surrounded by mountains, streams and shrines. From smack middle downtown, it would take one 15 minutes by biking to get to most of the temples and shrines that surround the city. I would suggest staying near the Kamogawa river seen above and renting bikes to explore the city. 

Riding from temple to temple is fairly easy and after a half a day of riding on the perimeter of the city you can coast downhill back towards downtown. I’ll try not to get into specifics as to which temples to go to and which ones to avoid as there are many other guides and blogs that already do this but I will say my most memorable experiences are from the smaller temples a bit further away from tour groups are the most enjoyable for me. Nothinf ruins my zen moments like 30 selfie sticks in my face. 

My aim is to show you a place as far away as a tour guide will take you. If you wanted a “top 30 things to do” in Kyoto you came to the wrong place. 

I want you to walk into a bar, restaurant and experience something few people or outsiders will ever get to. I want to show you my favorite italian restaurant located in a 200 year old Machiya and slurp Arabiata pasta next to a newly initiated Maiko. I want to show you a hidden bar ran by a French Magician that makes the best elixers in Japan. I promise you if you walk in with an open mind, you’ll leave a bit shocked but smiling. 

This city series will be broken up by the following with regular posts to supplement new places I find. 

  • Food
  • Bars
  • Sights 
  • Shopping 

Stay tuned for part I

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