Top things to do

Top Choice Market in Downtown Kyoto

Nishiki Market

If you're interested in seeing all the really weird and wonderful foods that go into Kyoto cuisine, wander through Nishiki Market. It's in the centre of town, one block north of (and parallel to) Shijō-dōri, running…
Top Choice Noodles in Northern Higashiyama


This elegant noodle shop is named after the thick white noodles that are served in broth with a selection of seven fresh vegetables. Just say omen and you’ll be given your choice of hot or cold noodles, a bowl of so…
Top Choice Theatre in Southern Higashiyama


The oldest kabuki theatre in Japan is the Minami-za theatre in Gion. The major event of the year is the Kaomise festival (1 to 26 December), which features Japan’s finest kabuki actors. Other performances take place…
Top Choice Knives in Downtown Kyoto


While you’re in the Nishiki Market, have a look at this store – it’s where you can find some of the best kitchen knives in the world. It also carries a selection of excellent and unique Japanese kitchenware.
Top Choice Arts & Crafts in Downtown Kyoto

Wagami no Mise

A short walk from the Shijō-Karasuma crossing, this place sells a fabulous variety of handmade washi (Japanese handmade paper) for reasonable prices. It’s one of our favourite shops in Kyoto for souvenirs.
Tea in Downtown Kyoto

Ippōdō Tea

This old-style tea shop sells the best Japanese tea in Kyoto. Its matcha makes an excellent and lightweight souvenir. Try a 40g container of wa-no-mukashi (meaning ‘old-time Japan’) for ¥1600, which makes 25 cups of…
Top Choice Unagi in Downtown Kyoto

Kyōgoku Kane-yo

This is a good place to try unagi (eel), that most sublime of Japanese dishes. You can choose to either sit downstairs with a nice view of the waterfall, or upstairs on the tatami. The kane-yo donburi (eel over rice…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Southern Higashiyama


A collection of soaring buildings and spacious courtyards, Chion-in serves as the headquarters of the Jōdo sect, the largest sect of Buddhism in Japan. It's the most popular pilgrimage temple in Kyoto and it's alway…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Imperial Palace & Around


Daitoku-ji is a separate world within Kyoto – a world of Zen temples, perfectly raked gardens and wandering lanes. It's one of the most rewarding destinations in this part of the city, particularly for those with an…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Kyoto Station & South Kyoto

Fushimi Inari-Taisha

With seemingly endless arcades of vermilion torii (shrine gates) spread across a thickly wooded mountain, this vast shrine complex is a world unto its own. It is, quite simply, one of the most impressive and memorab…