Kyōto is not Japan as we say. It's traditional Japan. Former capital of Japan, Kyōto is located, like Tōkyō, on the island of Honshū and in the Kansaï region. The Shinkansen, a high-speed train, links Tōkyō to Kyōto in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Kyōto is 1h15 from Kansai International Airport, next to Ōsaka. The old city is home to a profusion of temples, palaces and gardens, each more fascinating than the next. There are more than 2,000 Japanese gardens at Kyōto ! The Kinkakuji Temple and 16 other temples and shrines are classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and make Kyōto an essential spiritual destination. In the alleys with wooden houses, you will meet the geikos, the beautiful geishas of Kyōto. See the traditional Nishiki market, go on the tea roads, enjoy matcha tea ice cream and enjoy local sencha tea, attend a traditional theatre performance. Kyōto it is also a remarkable natural environment. Plan mountain hikes on the slopes of Mount Hiei, not to mention an excursion to the shores of Lake Biwa and, of course, a day to discover Ōsaka, your tour guide in hand.
When to go to Kyoto?
When to go to Japan? Spring and autumn are the high tourist seasons in Japan, so it is at this time that hotel rates are highest and since accommodation is the most important budgetary expenditure in Japan so it can be interesting to travel out of season to save money. To avoid the highest crowds and pay less, the best time to travel to Japan is late November-early December, late February-early March, or late May and June, i.e. during the low tourist season. If you go to Japan in the spring you can attend Hanami, the festival of flowering sakura cherry trees. A national event. May 5th is the children's day. In autumn, the flamboyance of maples and ginkgo bilobas is celebrated. It's Moniji. In any season, know that you can find an old apartment, not very popular with the Japanese, for rent at a reduced cost. Western tourists will appreciate its retro charm. Avoid winter, however, as heating in older homes is limited. Finally, the Gion Matsuri Festival of Kyōto takes place in mid-July. It is the most famous in Japan. It takes place around the Yasaka-jinja sanctuary and sees the parade of about thirty tanks, called yamaboko. This millennial festival was initiated to appease the divinity in order to fight against plagues and diseases. Finally, you should know that to visit the Imperial Villa of Katsura, one of the most beautiful jewels of traditional Japanese architecture and landscape garden, as well as the Imperial Villa of Shugakuin (17th century) you must obtain a permit from the Imperial House Agency. The authorization may take more than a week. Make your request as soon as possible.