3 Days in Kyoto: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, June 2014

4.5 709 Reviews | Add your review

Known as the cradle of Japan's cultural heritage, Kyoto was Japan's capital. Today it's the country's seventh largest city, thoroughly modern while remaining Japan's most traditional city. Get to know Kyoto with this three-day itinerary.

Day 1: Kyoto in a day

If you've got limited time, trying to explore a history-drenched city like Kyoto can be a daunting prospect. Take a one-day sightseeing tour to acquaint yourself with the layout of the city and its highlights, such as Nijō Castle, the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kyoto Handicraft Center.

Day 2: Sushi and Nara

Artfully constructed Japanese food is a favorite the world over. So how about taking home some Japanese cooking tips as a souvenir with a difference? Take a guided walk through the mile-long, covered Nishiki food markets and eclectic back streets of Kyoto, then learn how to make Japanese home-cooked food from market ingredients. Follow that up with a visit to a sake brewery museum to really cover all your Japanese gourmet bases.

If you've got enough time, consider an afternoon spent in nearby Nara – it's less than an hour from Kyoto and full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest temples and the delightful Deer Park - home to hundreds of friendly free-roaming deer.

Day 3: Bamboo groves and neon light

For a totally tranquil start to the day, stroll the rural bamboo groves and mountain temples of the Arashiyama and Sagano districts just outside of Kyoto. The lush Sagano Bamboo Grove is surrounded by mountains and will make you feel instantly relaxed. When you're ready, head up a mountain to the Jojakkoji Temple- its history dates back to the 6th century and it has a pagoda surrounded by Japanese maples.

For the rest of the day, move from the past and speed into the future. Kyoto is a modern city full of concrete and neon and downtown Kyoto can more than provide for those feeling templed-out. Kyoto's shopping district (which offers everything from notebooks to the latest fashions or traditional fans) is located around the intersection of Shijo-dori and Kawaramachi-dori.

Tours & Tickets

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Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple

4.5 star rating: Recommended 278 Reviews

Experience the magic of Kyoto on a full-day sightseeing tour of Japan's cultural jewel. You'll visit Kyoto's most popular attractions by coach and enjoy a ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $123.25

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

4.5 star rating: Recommended 163 Reviews

Explore the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara on a full-day tour from Kyoto. See all the highlights of Kyoto including visits to Nijo Castle and the ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $134.47

Kyoto Morning Tour - Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle

4 star rating: Recommended 91 Reviews

Soak up the sights of Kyoto on this guided half-day city morning tour. Travel by coach and visit Nijo Castle, the gold covered Kinkakuji Temple and Golden ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $58.95

Nara Afternoon Tour of Todaiji Temple, Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine from Kyoto

4.5 star rating: Recommended 81 Reviews

Venture to Nara from Kyoto for the afternoon. Due to its past as the first permanent capital of Japan, Nara remains full of historic treasures, including some ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $68.94

Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 36 Reviews

Take a guided walk through Nishiki food markets and enjoy a Japanese cooking class on this small-group walking tour from Kyoto. You'll explore the back streets ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $111.91

The Art of the Geisha: Private Dinner in Kyoto

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

Spend an incredible evening dining in Kyoto at an exclusive private restaurant accompanied by a geisha. The highly skilled performer typically entertains ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $372.79

Arashiyama and Sagano Morning Walking Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 36 Reviews

Stroll through rural bamboo groves and visit mountain temples outside Kyoto on this morning walking tour of the Sagano and Arashiyama districts. You'll ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $88.93

3-Day or 4-Day Self-Guided Hike on Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route Including Lodging and Transport

Visit mountaintop villages, soothing hot springs and Japanese temples along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kumano Kodo during this 3- or 4-day self-guided ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: Varies

From USD $740.00

Kyoto Small-Group Tour: Introduction to Japanese Culture

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Learn about the art of the tea ceremony, the correct way to wear a kimono, and the architecture of old Kyoto during this introduction to Japanese culture. ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $72.74

14-Day Classic Japan Tour: Nikko, Hakone, Takayama, Hiroshima and Kyoto from Tokyo

Discover the cultural highlights of Japan, from the neon-lit streets of modern Tokyo to the ancient temples of Kyoto, on this 14-day tour through the Land of ...  Read more

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 14 days, 13 nights

From USD $4,625.00

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