Kyoto offers the classic image of Japan, traditional wooden houses, weeping cherry and the sound of geta (wooden soled shoes) on the paving stones. The capital of Japan for over a thousand years Kyoto has an overwhelming number of ancient Buddhist Temples, majestic palaces and gardens of every size and description, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is also one of the only places in Japan where it is possible to cross paths with a real Geisha, a magical experience.
ABOUT kyoto & nara
Kyoto is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, whilst strolling through a bamboo thicket, or savouring the sight of cherry blossoms overhead with the locals on the banks of the Kamogawa River. In the midst of this ancient culture is a thriving city, home to cutting edge industries and upscale shopping.
Kyoto is a lovely slow paced city, perfectly combined with a few days in Tokyo and is the perfect place to experience a stay in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn.
South of Kyoto and easily reached by train as a day trip is Nara, home to some of Japan's largest and oldest temples. Most of the temples are located within a picturesque park, also home to around 1200 deer. Once considered messengers of god these deer now enjoy royal status and are incredibly tame.
- Take part in a traditional tea ceremony
- Spend an evening with Geisha and gain an insight into this ancient and fascinating world
- Visit some of the thousands of temples and shrines from the Golden Pavillion to the Pure Water Temple
- Wander the vast temple complex at Nara on foot
- Explore Nishiki Market and sample local specialities from Soy ice-cream to sweet-spicy octopus skewers!
- Purchase some of the local arts and crafts from ceramic ware to beautiful fabrics, folding fans and Japanese dolls
BEYOND THE ORDINARY
Spending time with a Geisha can be an expensive business but well worth the money as it offers a window into a world that is otherwise largely closed. For a really special experience spend a little more and include a Geisha performance in your evening – watching these young women dance so gracefully using their stunning kimonos to accentuate and bring to life the dance is truly mesmerising.