3 Days in Kyoto: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, August 2015

4.5 1279 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 426 Reviews

Discover tranquil temples, Imperial palaces and ancient shrines on this 9-hour full-day Kyoto sightseeing tour. Explore top city attractions such as Nijo ...  Read more

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

From USD $123.14

Kyoto and Nara Day Trip from Kyoto including Nijo Castle

4.5 star rating: Recommended 265 Reviews

Explore the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara on this full-day tour from Kyoto. In the morning, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites Nijo Castle and ...  Read more

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

From USD $137.13

Private Custom Tour: Kyoto in One Day

4.5 star rating: Recommended 10 Reviews

Create your own sightseeing itinerary on a private, customized tour of Kyoto. You’re accompanied via public transport to a few of the cultural capital’s 2,000 ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: Full-day: 8 hrs (approx.)
Half-day: 4 hrs (approx.)

From USD $181.91

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima Island Tour from Kyoto

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

Visit Hiroshima’s most important historic sites on this 12-hour tour from Kyoto. After taking the bullet train from Kyoto Station, enjoy a boat ride to ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $359.16

Maiko Performance with Kaiseki Dinner in Kyoto

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 30 Reviews

Witness the beauty and elegance of the lovely ‘maiko’ (apprentice geishas, or ‘geiko’) at Gion Hatanaka during an exquisite 2-hour evening of culture, ...  Read more

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

From USD $177.25

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 124 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 $69.03

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

4 star rating: Recommended 135 Reviews

Soak up temple and palace sights on this half-day guided city tour, great for those who want to see Kyoto’s top attractions in a short time. Travel by ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $59.70

Japanese Tea Ceremony with a Tea Master

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 37 Reviews

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony and learn the sophisticated philosophy behind serving a bowl of tea. You’ll have three options for this experience: a 1-hour ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: Varies

From USD $36.27

Fushimi Inari and Sake Brewery Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 26 Reviews

Visit two landmarks of Kyoto’s Inari district during this guided morning tour. Start by walking through one of the iconic sights of Kyoto, the stunning red ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $106.80

The Art of the Geisha: Private Dinner in Kyoto

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Spend an incredible evening dining in Kyoto at an exclusive private restaurant accompanied by a ‘maiko,’ or apprentice geisha. The highly skilled performer ...  Read more

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

From USD $527.90

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