When I first set foot in Kyoto, the first thing that struck me was how it truly is a city of contrasts.
The original capital of Japan, Kyoto is by far the most historic part of the country, and home to many of the nation’s most ancient traditions.
But while it remains the proud home of historic Geisha districts, grand temples and beautiful Shinto shrines, Kyoto is also surprisingly modern!
Shops selling traditional kimono line shopping malls alongside gaudy games arcades and comic stores. Cat cafes and fast food chains occupy the same cobbled streets as traditional tea rooms and ramen joints.
And this colourful blend of old and new all occurs against the breathtaking backdrop of rolling rivers, immense mountains and lush, green woodland.
Kyoto really is an incredible place, and something that needs to be seen to be believed!
So here are some of my favourite photos from Kyoto, which I hope can provide you all a glimpse of the delights and surprises this amazing city has to offer!
The first thing to greet me on arrival in Kyoto, these adorable posters are all over the Kyoto metro!
Exquisite handmade fans for sale in one of the cities countless traditional craft stores.
Gorgeous rental kimono in a shopping mall – this boldly patterned hakama was stunning and really caught my eye!
But in the same shopping mall you will also find enticing game arcades like the one here…
….and adorable Sanrio stores like this one!
The lush greenery of Kyoto’s steep mountain side is simply breathtaking…
…as are the cobbled inner streets of Gion’s famous geisha district!
The striking red gates to one of Kyoto’s many Shinto shrines! There are dozens of such shrines dotted around Gion alone.
A lovely gift shop I found selling traditional silk ornaments – expensive but seriously beautiful!
A delightfully colourful shrine in Gion – one of many I saw in Japan, but still a firm favourite of mine!
Kimono stores are everywhere in Gion, and never fail to be a dazzling sight! I’ve always been obsessed with kimono, so I never tired of coming across these!
On the left, delicious char-grilled chicken by the river, on the right some scrumptious okonomiyaki in a traditional restaurant!
Japan’s most surprising Ghibli store – slap-bang in the middle of Kyoto’s Geisha district!
Taking a break in the Bengal Cats Forest ‘to befriend some spotted felines…
….and getting up close to the majestic residents of The Forest of Owls next door! Because what better way is there to end a trip to Japan?
What are your own can’t miss things to do when visiting Kyoto or Tokyo? Do let me know in the comments below!
But otherwise, see you next time!
If you enjoyed this post you may also like: