You will spend 2 days in Kyoto and are looking for some travel itinerary? I just finished my trip and will tell you all about the must sees in Kyoto!
Where to Stay in Kyoto?
I stayed in the Santiago Guest House. They have a mixed dorm and double rooms. The reason why I booked it was that it’s the cheapest option in that area. Still, it’s one one of the best hostels I stayed in so far!
The best part of it is that they also have a coffee shop downstairs what makes it much easier if you also work while travelling. The coffee there was 300 Yen as they give hostel guests a discount of 200 Yen!
I stayed in Kyoto for three days but one day of it was a day tour to Osaka. So let’s talk about your itinerary if you are 2 days in Kyoto!
Day 1: Kyoto’s East Side – Fushimi-Inari and Higashiyama
You can split Kyoto into two areas that are interesting for travelling… the east and the west side. Let me start with the east! Kyoto’s east side is full of temples, small alleys and good food! So what you’ll mainly do there is to walk around, enjoy delicious Ramen and see a lot of temples! Here are the most famous temples of Kyoto’s east and where else to go!
Before coming here I wasn’t expecting a lot. I thought this is just one of these places that are looking good on Instagram but are pretty boring in reality. But I was wrong!
The Fushimi-Inari mountain trail was much longer than I expected and walking up the stairs was tiring! I was walking around for about 2 hours. It’s really impressive how the gates never end.
Actually there are thousands of vermilion torii gates. The trails lead into the forest of the Mount Inari. Its summit at a height of 233 meters.
Higashiyama is the area I stayed in Tokio and I would recommend you the same! The area is maybe the most famous of Kyoto and full of beautiful houses and temples. In the following I’m talking about the northern half of Higashiyama though. My hostel was there, too.
Instead of a long talk I will just give you a list of the temples you shouldn’t miss in this part. Just mark them in Google Maps and check them out!
- Kiyomizudera Temple
- Yasaka Shrine
- Chionin Temple
- Heian Shrine
In general I have to say that all of these temples look much better on the pictures but still I’m sure you will have a good day walking around Higashiyama.
You can find a great route for your half day in Higashiyama on Japan-Guide.com!
Shopping, Food & Drinks
After this, you can either come back to your hostel or if you still have some energy you can go shopping or enjoy one of Kyoto’s bars. If you follow the route above you end up in a great place for that!
Day 2: Let’s Visit Arashiyama
After you explored the east side of Kyoto let’s start our journey to the west. If you stay in the east (like I did) it’s really easy and cheap to travel around Kyoto with the bus. Just get a day ticket which costs 600 Yen and allows you to drive around Kyoto all day.
In your hostel/hotel you will get a bus map. The bus system in Kyoto is easy to understand and if you have questions the bus drivers and locals will help you for sure so don’t worry about that!
Togetsukyo Bridge and Monkey Park
The Togetsukyo Bridge is a famous part of Kyoto and will be the first thing you see when you arrive at the Arashiyama bus station. Just walk straight to the bridge, maybe take some pictures and pass it.
On the other side of the bridge, you will see the entrance to the Monkey Park. The entrance fee was 550 Yen and you will walk around 1,5 to 2 hours. Actually there aren’t so many monkeys around but if you reached the top of the mountain you will have a great view over Kyoto!
If you plan to go to Kyoto you will probably have seen tons of pictures of the Bambo Grooves. Just make your way back, cross the bridge again and after following the street for a while you will see the entrance to the bamboo groves.
If the light is good you can make some cool pictures. For me it wasn’t super special but it depends on the person I guess.
After that you can rent a bicycle to drive around Arashiyama. You can find a great route here.
Enjoy Good Food in Downtown Again
Back in Kyoto you can enjoy the city again, have some drinks and get some Ramen. I loved Ramen in Kyoto and also make sure to get my favourite food in East Asia – Dumplings!
Is Kyoto A Must See In Japan?
Kyoto is one of Japan’s most famous places with a good reason! It’s super easy to travel and especially the Fushimi-Inari is impressive. But I have to say that many places like the bamboo forest and some of the temples look much better in the pictures and disappointed me a bit.
Still, it’s a cool place and I had an amazing time there so you definitely shouldn’t miss on your trip to Japan!
If you have one extra day take the train to Osaka and walk around the city for a day! You can walk from the train station to Osaka Castle, from there to Dotonbori and back to the train station. It’s a pretty long walk but I had an amazing day walking around Osaka!
If you want to get some travel inspiration check out our travel stories!