Tours and Attractions

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Rice paddies and Mount Fuji in the distance

Kyoto to Tokyo Tour

If you’re low of time, big on bullet trains, love culture and want at least a glimpse of Mt Fuji, a day tour from Tokyo to Kyoto and back is possible – although a multi-day trip is recommended to explore this sensational city.

The Nishiki market in Kyoto

Nishiki Market

The 700-year-old Nishiki Market is an ambush of culinary delights ranging from Kyoto’s top tofu to boiled quail egg in a baby octupus brain cavity (I know, yum). Its also home to Aritsugu knife shop – a masterchef’s dream shop.

Sumo tournament in Tokyo

Sumo Tournament

This is simply one of best ground-shaking, chest-pounding, culturally-astounding experiences in Japan. Book tickets well in advance to the Grand Tournament in Tokyo in Jan (or Osaka in March) or special events such as the Retirement ceremony in Feb. Great for the whole family, especially in a box seat (yes, it's totally worth it).

Gorgeous Kiyomizudera Temple at dusk

Kiyomizudera Temple

Kiyomizudera is one of Kyoto’s (and Japan’s) finest temples with breathtaking views and multiple features. However, the main hall is covered for roof renos until March 2020 so it may be a good time to visit any of the other 1600+ temples in Kyoto (see here).

Bamboo forest in Kyoto

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

This stunningly photogenic bamboo grove transports you to another time and place. Its tranquillity embodies the spirit of Japan and is particularly hypnotising in a breeze when the bamboo sways

Geisha in Gion in Kyoto

Gion Geisha District

The world of the Geisha is mysterious, fascinating and romantic. In Kyoto, it is centred around the Gion district which is particularly enchanting at night. You can also do a tour that enriches the geisha experience Gion Tour

Ninja demonstration

Ninja Dojo and Store

A unique hands-on training dojo that teaches ninja techniques, handed down over 500 years. Includes a gorgeous shop with ninja antiques, kimonos and instant photos if you want to dress up.

The red pillars of Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

One of thousands of Shinto shrines dedicated to Inari, the god of rice, it is famous for the glaring torii gates, mountain trails and general greatness. Its simply a must-see in Kyoto.

Cast iron teapots at the handicraft center

Handicraft Centre

Boring name but for those after gifts with a bit of class to take home, inside is a treasure trove for things like woodblock prints, yukata (cotton robes), pottery and jewellery.

Kaleidoscopes lit up in the dark

Kaleidoscope Museum

This gorgeous, cheap, wonderful, quirky place is perfect for those who tire of regular museums. Make sure you stay a while as every hour the owners flick the switch and light the place up in a veritable kaleidoscope of colour.

Tatami room showing art and furniture of the shogun era of Japan

Nijo Castle

Designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, Nijo Castle (Nijojo) is one of the greatest surviving examples of castle palace architecture from the Shogun feudal era. If you happen to be there from late Feb to early March you may also catch the gorgeous plum blossoms.

Delicious yakitori sticks on ceramic plate

Pontocho Food Alley

Considered by locals and visitors alike to be the most classically picturesque Japanese street in the city, Pontocho is a narrow alley filled with all manner of dining delights from street food to 5-star fare.

Mario Kart in Tokyo

Mario Kart Street Race

This is basically every child of the 80's dream come true. "Race" go karts through the mean streets of Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka dressed as your favourite Mario character. Yoshi is the best! Go Yoshi!!!