To your left and to your right are massive red beams with blackened footings. Above you, too, are red beams with sparklings of sunlight filtering through in between. The color, called shuiro in Japanese, is said to represent the sun. The torii gates tower above you, but lessen in number as you ascend the mountain. When you reach the Yotsutsuji intersection, halfway up the mountain, all of Kyoto sprawls before you in a breathtaking panorama. This is what a trek on the hiking trails of Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari shrine is like.
Traveling between Osaka and Kyoto is easier than ever. The two cities are well-connected and there are numerous ways of making the journey.
The fastest way to travel from Osaka to Kyoto is by rail. Using your JR pass you can catch a Shinkansen bullet train which only takes around 15 minutes to travel a distance of 56.4km. There are also bus routes but they can’t match the trains for time or comfort.
The Kansai International Airport (KIX) services the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. If you hold a Japan Rail Pass, travel from the airport can be a simple and exciting process, as the Japan Railway West’s Express Haruka train offers direct transportation from the Kansai International Airport to downtown Osaka and Kyoto.
Kyoto is a city with a long history – more than 1,000 years, in fact. The construction of its primary train station, Kyoto Station, took place during the city’s 1200th anniversary and opened to the public in 1997.
Designed by acclaimed architect Hara Hiroshi, Kyoto Station is futuristic and modern. It is one of the largest buildings in Japan. Filled with interesting restaurants, shops, and attractions, a visit to Kyoto Station is a miniature vacation in itself.
Scenic lakes and historic castles – that is the setting of the small Japanese town of Hikone. Situated on the shores of the nation’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, in the Shiga Prefecture, Hikone is steeped in natural beauty as well as historical relevance.
Hikone is famous for its remarkably well-preserved castle, which goes by the same name as its host city. Hikone Castle is, in fact, one of the five Japanese castles designated as national treasures. This honor – “the highest designation for cultural properties in Japan” – is due to its unique combination of architectural styles.
Many international travelers are familiar with the Japanese cities of Kyoto and Nara, famous for being former capitals of the nation. As such, they were also cultural centers. However, where you aware of another richly historic and cultural town nearby?
Uji is located between Kyoto and Nara, Japan’s former capital cities. During the 1100s, it became known for the superior quality of its green tea; it is said that Uji is the location in which tea cultivation began. The town is also home to rustic temples, including the oldest Japanese shrine still in existence.
You’ve read about all the engaging attractions Kyoto has to offer – from its famous temples to its transcendent botanical gardens. After all, Kyoto is considered the premiere sightseeing location in Japan. But as an international traveler, you are also concerned with how to get from place to place once you arrive in Kyoto. Does Japan’s maze of rail and bus lines intimidate you? It doesn’t have to.
Western Kyoto has long been known for its natural beauty. In fact, the Arashiyama district has been a favorite of tourists for well over 1,000 years. The beauty of this region peaks twice a year, first during the cherry blossom season, and later during the time of autumn color.
The Sagano Scenic Railway is a wonderful way to tour and enjoy the natural beauty of this rural region. The train has come to be known as the Sagano Torokko, or Romantic Train, because its passage takes guests sightseeing through such romantic scenery. If you’ve seen enough of the city, one of these day trips from Kyoto will bring a smile to your face.
Many travellers ask us: what to do in Kyoto? If you are visiting Japan for a week, three days in Tokyo and three days in Kyoto are perfect to explore the two great [bancapitals of Japan: the ancient and the modern one.
Following is a pleasant 3-day Kyoto travel guide, with ideas about what to see, where to go and how to use your Japan Rail Pass to move through the city, its temples, gardens, and geisha alleys. Let us begin!
Kyoto is located right in the center of the historical Kansai region in Japan. This historical capital is the cultural soul of the country and one of the places where the roots of the Japanese nation stem from.
Whether you have planned to go east or west, north or south – make sure to save some time and travel around the Kansai region, easily accessible with the JR bullet trains. It is the one area filled with more heritage than anyone else in Japan.