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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 03, 2021
Headline for Top Cultural Activities in Kyoto – A City Rich in Heritage
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Top Cultural Activities in Kyoto – A City Rich in Heritage

The rich cultural heritage of Kyoto dates back to Nara-Heian era. And no trip to Japan is complete without exploring the vintage temples, world heritage sites, and gorgeous surroundings of Kyoto. To do so, here are the best cultural activities in Kyoto.

1

Visit Nijo Castle

A World Heritage Site, Nijo Castle was built in 1603. Culture buffs should not miss this exemplary display of Japanese Feudal architecture. The castle was a stronghold and residence for Tokugawa leyasu, the nation’s first Edo Shogun. Thus, it comprises two concrete walls and moats built in a circular style, which form a barrier around the auxiliary and the main complex. A fascinating aspect of the building you will want to observe is the sound you create wandering along the ‘nightingale floors’. They are thus constructed to create noise and warn guards when intruders are within the building. For exploring these fascinating sites, look for a well-located Kyoto hotel. Amongst the best is Park Hotel Kyoto. An ideal choice of accommodation when looking for a hotel near Karasuma Oike Station. It makes travelling to top attractions in Kyoto quite convenient.

2

Explore Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

This serene temple is not only great to explore but is the base from where you can start invigorating hikes into the pretty woodlands of Kyoto. Fushimi Inari-taisha is a Shinto Shrine. It is dedicated to the Goddess of Rice, Inari. The shrine has been around since 816CE. Made up of several gates and buildings, the shrine makes its way up the mountain via a path studded with torii gates. Pass through them to get to the inner sanctum. Along the way, you can stop at the eateries and savour crispy fried tofu – abura-age. The food is considered a favourite amongst foxes, which is the Goddess Inari’s favoured pet.

3

Savour Nature’s Beauty at Arashiyama

Enjoy a trip to Arashiyama, which is easy to reach from your hotel in Kyoto. The area has been famous for its natural splendour for centuries. It makes for a perfect day trip and is the ideal place to relax and spend a day in the throes of nature. Arashiyama has been a place of leisure for hundreds of years. There are plenty of recreational activities, which will appeal to the outdoorsy nature in you. Spend time on the lake by hiring a rowboat. Or escape into the monkey park for views of Japanese Macau’s living there. One of the not to be missed attractions is the bamboo grove. There you can trek along the uphill trail to stop at the imperial villa resplendent with well-manicured gardens.

4

Go See Golden Kinkaku-ji

Kinkaku-ji glows across the water like a golden sun. It’s a zen Buddhist temple of which the first two floors are covered in gold leaf. The shrine was built for a wealthy businessman as his villa home in the 14th century. It was later turned into a shrine in 1370 by the kin of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The gold-leaf covering was added after a fire partially destroyed the temple in 1950. The elaborate covering is a reflection to showcase the aristocracy and uplifted lifestyles of the Yoshimitsu era.

5

Visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Dating back to 1633, Kiyomizu-dera Temple was constructed during the Heian period. The main temple and its stage were built without using a single nail. From the stage, you can look down on the trees below and even glimpse Kyoto from a distance. It is believed that drinking the water from the three streams of the Otowa waterfall (in the temple complex) makes your wishes come true.

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