From Andrew Harper

The capital of Japan from 794 until 1868, Kyoto is a treasure house of Japanese culture, with more than 2,000 temples and shrines. Among the most celebrated are Kiyomizu-dera, a magnificent wooden temple supported by pillars on the slope of a mountainside; Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion; and Ryoan-ji, famous for its Zen dry garden of raked gravel. Kyoto is set in a bowl of wooded hills and was built on a grid pattern, which makes finding your way around unexpectedly easy. We particularly recommend the “Philosopher’s Path,” an enchanting walkway that skirts the eastern foothills.  


All recommended hotels in Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan
Hiiragiya Ryokan
Hiiragiya Ryokan

Classic traditional inn dating from 1818, located on a charming side street at the heart of the city.


Tawaraya is the most famous ryokan in Japan, and for nearly 300 years it has been owned by the same family. Stepping inside feels like a form of time travel.

Westin Miyako
The Westin Miyako

Lavish 501-room Western-style hotel amid six acres of gardens, close to many of Kyoto’s most notable temples and museums.