If you are going to visit Japan in 2020 one of the cities you almost certainly want to make sure to see is Kyoto. Kyoto is one of the most historically and culturally significant cities in Japan and it used to serve as the capital for the entire country before the capital was eventually moved to Tokyo. Kyoto also used to be one of the biggest cities in all of Japan, although its relative population is not as significant as it once used to be. There is so much to do in Kyoto whether you want to eat good food, visit fun places, do some nightlife or visit the temples. We have compiled a list of the best activities to do when visiting Kyoto in 2020:
Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine
If you have seen photos on Instagram of people standing in a gorgeous orange shrine with pillars that look like they could go on forever, and Japanese writing on both sides, you may have seen someone posting photos of the famous Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine. The shrine is a short trip from Tokyo and is on the side of a mountain, technically in the city of Fushimi, hence the name. You can visit this shrine at any time of day which is very cool. If you go at night the shrine will be well lit up so you do not have to worry about that at all. This shrine was originally built by Japanese who practice the Shinto religion, which is still one of the most popular religions in Japan to this day. This shrine specifically is in the honor of Inari, who is the Shinto god of rice. If you are looking for a good place to hike and take photos, this is for you.
Take a Hike Up Mt. Kurama
If you are looking for a peaceful activity that is slightly more low key than some of the places near Kyoto which are incredibly popular with tourists, you may want to consider a trip to Mt. Kurama. First, make sure you are ready for a good hike and that you are in good shape, because if you are not fit enough for a good hike than you may not like visiting this mountain. Be warned, it is steep. The biggest attraction of Mt. Kurama is that is has spectacular nature, with the trees being especially beautiful depending on what time of year you choose to go. There are also onsen (hot springs) nearby so it can be a very relaxing place to go. If you are interested in learning more about Reiki or visiting one of the significant Reiki sites, this could also be a cool place for you as Usui, the founder of Reiki, was known to meditate on Mount Kurama.
Visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kyoto is probably one of the best places in the world to go see temples and so many of them are special and spectacular. One of the ones that may be among the best is located nearby in Higashiyama and is called the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This temple is especially cool because it is on top of a mountain and offers a spectacular view of Kyoto below it. There are tons of trees nearby and it is really a treat to visit. This temple was originally built for people to pay their respects to the goddess of mercy, who was named Kannon.
Visit Kinkakuji Temple
Another one of the most spectacular temples in Kyoto, Kinkakuji temple is perhaps more famously known as the Golden Pavilion. It got the name because the structure was originally covered in gold leaf when it was built in the 14th century. One of perhaps the most interesting and ironic things about the temple is that this temple was built as part of Buddhist worship. But the Buddhist teachings talk about leaving behind all earthly desires. This temple was once burned down but has since been rebuilt. Because if its proximity to the heart of Kyoto this is one of the easiest temples to visit when you’re visiting Kyoto.
Check out Iwatayama, the Monkey Park
As the name suggests, Iwatayama is a park that is incredibly filled with monkeys. If you like animals this will probably be a very fun place for you to go. Make sure if you are going to this park you are ready for a little bit of a walk because the park is on top of a hill, but honestly that is part of the attraction as you get some good views of Kyoto below you when you are there. The park actually sells some monkey food and lets you give the food to the monkeys. The monkeys are super used to people and will generally even take the food right out of your hands. These monkeys are free roaming and are still wild animals even though they are used to people so make sure to be careful and treat them with respect.