This one-day Kyoto foodie itinerary takes you through some of the highlights of Kyoto’s vast culinary scene. It includes a traditional Japanese-style breakfast, the famed Nishiki Market, a fabulous green tea parfait, and gorgeous Buddhist temple vegetarian cuisine.
Japanese-style breakfast at Shunsai Imari. – image © Florentyna Leow
We’ve divided this itinerary into the following sections:
- Kyoto Foodie Itinerary Notes
- Eating Kyoto: A Preamble
- A Word About Restaurant Reservations
The Full 1-Day Kyoto Foodie Itinerary:
- 8:30am Japanese-style breakfast at Shunsai Imari
- 9:45am Nishiki Market
- 10:30am Coffee at Otafuku, Kawaramachi
- 1:00pm Shojin-ryori at Izusen, Daitokuji Temple
- 3:30pm Matcha parfait at Kyo-Hayashiya, Sanjo
- 6:00pm Obanzai dinner at Kikkoya
- 8:00pm Drinks in downtown Kyoto
- Kyoto Foodie Itinerary Map:
Pickles at Nishiki Market. – image © Florentyna Leow
Kyoto Foodie Itinerary Notes
- If you do wish to take photographs, ask first, and be discreet and respectful about it. If there’s a sign that says don’t take photographs, respect it!
- Grazing and snacking at many different places is going to generate a lot of plastic waste. Circumvent the plastic wherever possible. Bring your own cutlery and handkerchief, and ask the shop staff not to give you any. Refuse the plastic bags that each and every snack will be put in. Forgo your straws and forget the lid on your takeaway latte. Even better – ask them to put it in a cup and have it in store. Every little bit helps.
- You want to visit places on this itinerary, wherever possible, on a weekday. Weekends will see distinctly larger crowds around Kyoto.
- We’ve put directions to each location in this itinerary AFTER the location to avoid cluttering things up.
- Finally, we’ve put all of the places listed here, and the walking routes in each area, on a special map of this itinerary. Scroll down to the end of this itinerary to view the map.
Tofu and sardine egg soup at Kikkoya. – image © Florentyna Leow
Eating Kyoto: A Preamble
Having been the seat of imperial power for over a thousand years and borne witness to major artistic and cultural developments over the centuries, Kyoto still holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese people today. Visitors flock to the city today for its thousands of gorgeous temples, shrines, and gardens. But gourmands, too, make their way here for fabulous eating.
Though Tokyo’s reputation as a gastronomic destination perhaps outshines any other city in Japan, Kyoto hold its own against all its rivals, with a characteristic pride. You’ll notice a certain emphasis on refinement in the city’s conception of its cuisine. Indeed, its claim to gustatory fame stems primarily from its many exquisite kaiseki restaurants, and to a slightly lesser degree, its fabulous tea and wagashi (Japanese sweets). Neither of these is especially surprising, since both kaiseki and tea practice have their roots in the city’s long and hallowed history. But there’s more: Kyoto is also where you’ll find some of the nation’s finest tofu, yuba (soymilk skin), shojin ryori (Buddhist temple vegetarian cuisine), and even fantastic ramen – just to begin with!
Convenience and gastronomy, if we are to be frank, do not always go together. But all things considered Kyoto is a fairly compact city, with none of Tokyo’s overwhelming sprawl, so it is at most a 20-30 minute journey between each eating destination. At each place, you are never far from a shrine or temple to visit, and you will be richly rewarded by good eating.
Sampling sake at Nishiki Market. – image © Florentyna Leow
A word about restaurant reservations:
High-end restaurants, such as kaiseki places, have always required some degree of advance planning. But the reality of increased tourism to Kyoto is that restaurant reservations across the board – especially at dinner – are now more difficult to secure for everyone. While most of the places outlined here will not technically require reservations or indeed even take them, there are a few where I strongly recommend calling ahead. Ideally, you will ask your concierge to make you a booking, or use an online booking service like TableAll or Open Table.
If you do make a reservation somewhere, be conscientious about honouring it, and turn up on time. If you need to cancel, call ahead and tell them. Whatever you do, avoid a no-show. Japanese patrons rarely cancel last-minute to avoid inconveniencing a small restaurant with limited seating, and it is an unfortunate reality that many Kyoto restaurants have become wary of tourists who simply fail to show up. Don’t be that tourist!
This single-day itinerary only begins to scratch the surface of what Kyoto has to offer. But if you have to begin somewhere, it may as well be here.
The Full 1-Day Kyoto Foodie Itinerary
The full Japanese-style breakfast at Shunsai Imari. – image © Florentyna Leow
8:30am Japanese-style breakfast at Shunsai Imari
Morning meals in Japan are as varied as they come. If you’re not eating at home, you can slurp soupy noodles at a standing bar on a train platform, grab tea and rice balls from the convenience store, eat toast and coffee sets from the kissaten, even scarf hearty plates of curry rice. Anything goes. But unless you’re staying at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style breakfast is harder to come by.
Why is that? Though it’s considered home-cooking, it can be ridiculously elaborate, and therefore labour-intensive to produce. The traditional breakfast at its simplest consists of rice, pickles, miso soup, and a protein of some kind – usually grilled fish, natto (fermented beans), or a rolled egg omelette. Unsurprisingly, most working folks are hard-pressed to give a breakfast like this the attention it demands before a long commute. And it is difficult to beat the convenience of, well, a convenience store.
Tamagoyaki with soy-spiked grated radish. – image © Florentyna Leow
Thankfully, even if you’re not waking up in a ryokan to kimono-clad staff bearing a tray groaning with food, a number of places in Kyoto do serve traditional Japanese breakfasts that’ll make you wish you lived in this city. I love Shunsai Imari’s morning spread, which consists of all the dishes you expect and then some.
Fried eggplant in dashi broth. – image © Florentyna Leow
Grilled salmon usually plays the starring role at breakfast, but here the exquisite plant-heavy side dishes, made with local vegetables, outshine the fish by light years. I cannot decide which of these won my heart. A custardy, wobbly tamagoyaki topped with soy-spiked grated radish? Smoky, bonito-fragrant simmered mustard greens? The beguilingly silky, creamy fried eggplant simmered in a warm dashi broth? Perhaps the stealth winner was a mound of okara – soy pulp – studded through with chicken and konnyaku, like infinitely superior mashed potatoes. From the rice – sourced from the nearby Kyo Tango region, freshly cooked to order in a donabe claypot – to the ocean-fragrant pan-fried sakura shrimp scattered atop the salad greens, every element is thoughtfully considered.
Plates scraped clean. – image © Florentyna Leow
With just one chef and two helpers, Shunsai Imari is a tiny operation. They see a steady drip of customers and a constant stream of dirty dishes to wash, so the two helpers can seem a tad flustered and overwhelmed at times. Be patient with them – they are well-meaning, and a little kindness goes a long way! For the same reason, this is not a place to ask for vegetarian substitutes. Instead, I recommend checking out the dedicated Kyoto vegetarian foodie itinerary.
As the rice is cooked to order, they recommend that you make a reservation so that you can walk in at the appointed time and eat without waiting 30 minutes. While walk-ins are theoretically welcome, know that it means an extra wait for a great breakfast. As with most of life, a little planning goes a long way.
The entrance to Shunsai Imari. – image © Florentyna Leow
(Directions: Take Exit 22 of Shijo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line. Walk north for three blocks. Turn left into Rokkaku-dori Street. Walk straight for two blocks. Shunsai Imari will be a few more metres ahead on your right.)
Chocolate croquettes for sale at Nishiki Market. – image © Florentyna Leow
9:45am Nishiki Market
After breakfast, it’s time to stretch your legs and take a stroll. What better way than to explore a food market? Your next destination is Nishiki Market.
Having began life as a wholesale fish market as early as 1310, Nishiki Market has in recent years become a retail food market with a more tourist-oriented bent. With over 100 shops and stalls crammed into a covered shopping arcade of 400 metres, the sheer array of edibles along this narrow street proves mind-boggling culinary overstimulation for most visitors. You will be jostling cheek to jowl with others at the busiest of times. Most shops are open by 10:00am, so go early and leave before it becomes too crowded for comfort.
Individually-wrapped unagi sushi. – image © Florentyna Leow
Though Nishiki is increasingly seen as a street food destination, the very definition of street food is fundamentally incompatible with typical Japanese notions of eating in public. You’ll see signs everywhere telling you not to walk and eat. The tension between local manners and catering to the tourist demand for street food is fascinating to observe.
Nevertheless, the market has become a useful microcosm of casual Japanese eats for the first-time visitor to Japan. You will find anything and everything here. Traditional centuries-old pickle shops nestle up next to newer tourist-oriented stalls hawking wagyu sushi. You might find, within a few metres of each other, custard-filled doughnuts resembling hedgehogs, raw squid wriggling in their own ink, deep-fried chocolate croquettes, orange-stuffed rice cakes, heaps of roasted teas. Small wonder the market is nicknamed “Kyoto’s Kitchen.”
Tako-tamago skewers. – image © Florentyna Leow
When it comes to street snacks, nothing here is terrible, but neither is anything excellent. Be discerning about what you try here, as most of the food at Nishiki Market is overpriced for what it is. For instance, the famous tako-tamago, a quail egg-stuffed baby octopus on a skewer, is a snack better suited to the ’gram than your palate. A yuba croquette from soy specialist Konnamonja is not bad, but it is definitely on the pricier side at JPY200 a pop. The same goes for their soy milk and yuba, both of which are decent but not great. Miki Keiran’s dashimaki omelette is good but pricey. Sashimi can be safely skipped unless you are desperate for your fresh fish fix – you will not be missing out on much.
Bowls of tsukudani samples in Nishiki Market. – image © Florentyna Leow
However, you should definitely sample your way through Nishiki’s pickles, preserved foodstuffs, and condiments. This is where Nishiki excels. For instance, Masugo stocks a vast panoply of brined, salted, and fermented vegetables, including their famed senmaizuke (thousand-slice daikon radish) and narazuke (sake lees pickles). If you are here in spring, their pickled asparagus is delightful and worth taking home; in summer, their chilled and brined tomato pickles are revelatory.
Furikake and chilli oil for sampling at Ochanokosaisai. – image © Florentyna Leow
There is Chinami, selling tsukudani 佃煮 – soy and mirin-simmered seafood, meat, or seaweed – of all sorts. These unassuming-looking black, brown, and dark green mounds belie the umami-ful punch they pack, and they are fabulous eaten with white rice. But if you have only one stop, make it Ochanokosaisai near the west entrance. Here, I never fail to pick up several jars of 京ラー油 Kyo-rayu, a mildly spicy and ultra-garlicky chilli oil that’s perfect for heaping on your instant noodles, stir-fried vegetables, or any home-cooked dish needing a hit of flavour and heat. Try the ultra-spicy version if you dare. Packs of Kyo-rayu furikake also make tasty lightweight souvenirs for friends back home.
(Directions: Exit Shunsai Imari, turn left, and walk east towards the Kamogawa. Take the next right and walk two streets down. You should now be on Nishikikoji-dori Street. Turn left and walk along this street until you reach the west entrance of Nishiki Market. This is about a 15 minute walk; alternatively, take a 6-7 minute taxi ride there. Walking the whole length of the market will take you to Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine in Shin-kyogoku Shopping Arcade, marking the end of the market.)
The entrance to Otafuku Coffee. – image © Florentyna Leow
10:30am Coffee at Otafuku, Kawaramachi
Snacks, samples, and souvenirs are all well and good, but at this point, you may need respite from the crowds thronging the market. It’s time for a coffee break.
There’s no shortage of good to great coffee places downtown – Inoda Coffee, Drip & Drop Coffee Supply, and Weekenders Coffee Tominokoji all come to mind. However, I have always had a soft spot for kissaten, those gorgeous retro cafes serving ink-black coffee, with more than a hint of European belle époque to their atmospheres. I first visited Otafuku years ago as a student, and when I am around the Kawaramachi area I tend to gravitate here.
No photographs are allowed inside Otafuku, so you’ll just have to imagine this scene. But blink and you’ll miss the entrance. Descend the stairs to this warm little basement cafe. It has all the elements of a retro cafe – heavy glass ashtrays, old-fashioned lamps, carpeting, velvet-backed chairs – without being stodgy or self-conscious about being old. As you walk through the door, the motor-driven din of downtown Kyoto subsides, replaced by cool jazz along the lines of Miles Davis. If it is not otherwise serenely quiet, there is the opportunity to eavesdrop on conversations carried out in gentle, melodious, Kyoto dialect.
The house blend here is less darkly roasted than the average kissaten and produces a more balanced cup – juicy and full of depth, without the burnt bitterness many kissaten favour. But this is by no means quick coffee: it is hand-poured through a filter, the beans freshly ground and water newly boiled for each cup.
Should you not want coffee, there are other temptations: tea, cream soda (a brilliant, radioactive green), and egg pudding. The pudding is optional, but know that it is worth ordering. Incidentally, you will know the proprietor Noda-san by his infamous sideburns, which give him an uncanny resemblance to Lupin the Third.
Otafuku Directions: From the intersection of Nishikikoji-dori Street (the east end of Nishiki Market) and Teramachi Shopping Arcade, turn right and walk south. You will emerge from the covered arcade. Cross the road. Otafuku Coffee will be just on your left shortly after.
The hassun platter at Izusen in Daitokuji Temple. – image © Florentyna Leow
1:00pm Shojin-ryori at Izusen, Daitokuji Temple
Well before kaiseki, there was shojin-ryori – Zen temple vegetarian cuisine. Think of an elaborate, seasonal, multi-course, 100% plant-based meal and you won’t be far off the mark. It is the kind of food that reveals the extent of all the possibilities inherent in plant ingredients – especially the soybean. It is substantial but will not leave you bloated. You don’t have to be vegetarian to love this; it might even inspire you to eat more greens in the long run!
Where should one eat shojin-ryori in Kyoto? There is Shigetsu in Arashiyama’s Tenryuji Temple, which comes with a highly-deserved Bib Gourmand-recommendation. If you can make the trek out, Manpukuji Temple serves delicious fucha-ryori, a Chinese version of shojin-ryori. My standby is Izusen, a serene little restaurant nestled in a sub-temple in the Daitoku-ji temple complex. One of the best things about eating shojin-ryori is that you also get to visit a lovely temple at the same time.
A smoky baby aubergine, ganmodoki tofu, and yuba. – image © Florentyna Leow
Zigzag your way along a stone path flanked by pines, earthen walls, and flowers of all sorts, and you will arrive at Daiji-in’s Izusen. One can scarcely believe that the city lies just beyond the temple walls; it is so wonderfully serene here. The cheapest meal you can have will set you back just a shade over JPY3000, and it is worth every penny.
Sesame tofu – sticky and wobbly. – image © Florentyna Leow
Your meal arrives mostly in a series of round bowls. Every meal here at this price point is similarly structured. You will always have a creamy-tart tofu and sesame-dressed salad of carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and spinach. Sesame tofu, sticky and nutty with a salty soy sauce bottom, is ever-present, as is the juicy ganmodoki tofu fritter. I dearly love the shibazuke pickle with its haunting flavour of red perilla; it is fantastic with rice. With an almost childish pleasure, I look forward to their shiitake mushroom tempura on every visit here.
Tofu and sesame salad. – image © Florentyna Leow
What changes with the seasons? The rice, for starters: in spring, it might be simmered with bamboo shoots; in autumn, mushrooms, or gingko nuts. The hassun bowl varies with the months: there may be butterbur buds or asparagus wrapped with yuba in spring, or there may be a large sweet chestnut along with the fried gluten. The whole meal is a delightful litany of textures and flavours, worth a visit (and several dozen thereafter if you are anything like me.)
Izusen might not serve the most refined shojin-ryori in Kyoto, but it is incredibly accessible and down-to-earth, and a fitting introduction to the art of Zen temple vegetarian cuisine.
Rice cooked with bamboo shoots, served with pickles. – image © Florentyna Leow
Izusen Directions: Exit Otafuku. Walk north. Turn right and walk to Kawaramachi Street. Find Bus Stop 4 on the left side of Kawaramachi just after the intersection, and take Bus No. 205 heading towards Kujo Kurumazaki. Alight at Kenkun-jinjamae. Cross the road and enter Daitokuji Temple – this is not the main entrance, but a side entrance flanked by pine trees. Walk straight until you reach a dead end. There should be a map of the temple complex just ahead to your right. Turn left and follow the path. Take the nearest left. Follow the winding path all the way in – you will pass Ryogen-in on the way – and you will reach Izusen.
Matcha parfait at Kyo-Hayashiya. – image © Florentyna Leow
3:30pm Matcha parfait at Kyo-Hayashiya, Sanjo
Anyone with a sweet tooth should make room in their day for a green tea parfait. But they vary wildly in taste and quality, containing anything and everything from cornflakes and red beans to springy shiratama rice dumplings and sponge cake. Some have too many ingredients. I prefer something that keeps the fuss to a minimum: Kyo-Hayashiya’s classic green tea parfait.
In a way, one should try Kyo-Hayashiya’s parfait, if only because they are also the originators of this layered matcha dessert in the city. Having sold matcha since 1753, their offerings are still more than a little retro, and they are distinctly untrendy and behind in the social media game. I love that. Their interior design sensibilities, if the Sanjo branch is anything to go by, also seem to have paused right in the 1980s. It is rather functional and unphotogenic, but also the kind of place your Japanese grandaunt would probably frequent for gossip sessions with her friends. Where else in Kyoto can you have a parfait with a 6th floor view of the Kamogawa River?
Close-up of matcha parfait. – image © Florentyna Leow
Matcha soft serves are a dime a dozen in Kyoto, but excellent ones are harder to come by. We are, of course, here for the good stuff. The whole point of Kyo-Hayashiya’s parfait is the luscious green tea ice cream, which has plenty of matcha flavour, the grassy bitterness tempered by dairy and just enough sugar. I love that there is no red bean paste or cake in this parfait. I find both these additions unbearably distracting in parfait. Instead, there is a crisp wafer atop, some bitter jelly and shiratama mochi, and surprisingly enough, chunks of pineapple and banana within. These, luckily, do not detract from the ice cream. It is unexpected but it works.
Inside Kyo-Hayashiya at Sanjo. – image © Florentyna Leow
Kyo-Hayashiya Directions: Head outside Daitokuji Temple back to Kitaoji-dori Street from whence you came. Find the bus stop on the other side of the road where you were dropped off. Take Bus No. 205 from the Daitokuji-mae bus stop. Ride it towards the center of town and alight at Kawaramachi Sanjo. From here, walk east towards the river along Sanjo-dori Street, keeping to the right side. Just before you reach the river you』ll see this building pictured above. Enter and take the elevator to the 6th floor. The shop is right outside the elevator.
Sukiyaki-style spring vegetable simmer. – image © Florentyna Leow
6:00pm Obanzai dinner at Kikkoya
Kaiseki – hyper-seasonal multi-course fine dining – is the quintessential Kyoto dinner. Indeed, if you are considering splashing out on a meal, this would be the obvious choice. But given a few more days to spend here, I’d like to suggest experiencing a more down-to-earth side of Kyoto cuisine.
Enter obanzai. Think of it as homestyle Kyoto cooking, simple but flavourful dishes that go heavy on the vegetables and local ingredients. While there are certain dishes that appear throughout the year and in many restaurants, for the most part, obanzai cooking is highly seasonal. Everything tastes better that way.
Cabbage ohitashi, blanched and marinated in dashi. – image © Florentyna Leow
Obanzai is not a widely-advertised genre of Japanese cuisine – in English, at least. It doesn’t make for sexy food marketing, but obanzai dishes are so soulful and delicious that it would be a shame to miss out when you visit. A long-time local favourite is Menami on Kiyamachi-dori Street, which has been going strong for more than 70 years. My personal favourite in the city is Kikkoya, which at just 30 years of business does not quite have the history of the nearby shops clocking in at over a century or two, but they are well on the way to being such an establishment – as long as climate change doesn’t wipe us all out in a decade.
What can one eat here? Kikkoya is one of those places where you could order literally anything and love whatever arrives. It is so rare at this price point to encounter a kitchen that turns out consistently good to great dishes. There is a reasonably well-translated version of the standard menu, and there are the usual favourites like grilled fish, fried chicken, and potato salad. If you are dining solo, half portions are possible for some dishes, like sashimi platters. But for the weekly obanzai, you’ll need to ask them for the seasonal menu. This is only in Japanese, but there are typically no duds, so I recommend just trying your luck.
Tsukudani starter. – image © Florentyna Leow
You will begin with a little mandatory appetiser known as an otoshi. At Kikkoya, this is usually tsukudani, a soy and mirin-flavoured seafood of some kind, meant to start your night on a strong note. They might present you with simmered herring spiral-wrapped in a gorgeous, slippery ribbon of kelp. Another night may see a little heap of sweet-salty baby fish – all the better for washing your first glass of sake down.
Spring vegetable and duck tempura. – image © Florentyna Leow
In spring, you might have a bowl of blanched spring cabbage in a cold, smoky, refreshing dashi broth. Chase it with a sukiyaki-style simmered dish of beef, burdock root, onion, red pepper, Japanese leeks, and canola blossom. Follow it with duck, fiddlehead fern, lotus root, canola blossom, and bamboo shoot tempura, everything spring-sweet within hot, crispy batter, with matcha salt for dipping. Their weekly obanzai sing seasonality, and the flavours of local Kyoto vegetables ring sweet and true.
Fried lily bulbs. – image © Florentyna Leow
Lest you think your meals here outside of spring will be complete potluck, I offer you fried lily bulbs (yurine). They are brilliant and underrated: why don’t people cook them more often? My dining companion described them as “sexy potatoes,” which was bang on the mark – floury little potato-esque petals but lighter than those tubers, thoroughly dusted with salt, and altogether what Nigella would call utterly moreish.
Shogayaki – pork in ginger sauce. – image © Florentyna Leow
Another unmissable dish here – and one of Kikkoya’s best, I should add – is that classic Japanese staple of shogayaki, or pork slices cooked in a soy, ginger, and onion sauce. Even mediocre versions are satisfying, but at this restaurant, it is transformative. This is where good ingredients shine: the sweetness of new onions and spring ginger, a touch of sweetness without being too cloying – a common shortcoming in other versions – an explosively umami-ful soy sauce, and quality pork. It was such a flavour bomb that we saved the leftover puddle of sauce on the serving dish, and ordered half a bowl of white rice to soak up the rest of it. The staff approved, and I’m sure you will too.
Soaking up the leftover sauce with white rice. – image © Florentyna Leow
Here’s a hint to making the best of your meal at Kikkoya: order widely, and cover all the cooking styles in your meal. Don’t lean too heavily on, say, fried food or grilled dishes alone – pick at least one from each category. Variety makes for a more balanced meal. As you can probably tell, this means you should try to visit with at least one or two other people.
Though obanzai is vegetable heavy, this doesn’t mean it is vegetarian-friendly. At most obanzai restaurants, obanzai are often prepared in large batches; don’t expect that they will be able easily make substitutions. If you need something vegetarian, check out the other vegetarian itinerary for more ideas. Also, while walk-ins are theoretically possible, especially if there’s just one or two of you, I would suggest making a reservation if you can at this local favourite.
Kikkoya Directions: Walk west along Sanjo-dori Street, through the shopping arcade and beyond, until you reach Takakura-dori Street. You will see 70B Antiques on your right on the corner. Turn right and walk north on this street for a block and a half. Kikkoya will be on your right. This is a 12-15 minute walk total; or you can take a 5-minute taxi ride.
8:00pm Drinks in downtown Kyoto
It’s time to finish your day in style. Fortunately, if you do drink, it is pretty much guaranteed to be vegetarian-friendly. For convenience’s sake, it is best to head back downtown to end a night out in Kyoto.
There are any number of ways you could spend the evening: live jazz and booze at Hello Dolly in Pontocho, fabulous rice wines at the tiny Sake Bar Yoramu, curiously tasty vodka-based drinks in Finlandia, casual drinks at JAM Hostel + sake bar near Gion, innumerable tastings of sake and whisky – over 1000 varieties of the former, and 600+ of the latter – at Bar K6 on Nijo-dori Street, or fabulous cocktails at Bar Rocking Chair on Bukkoji-dori Street. Alternatively, you could keep it simple and drop in to any bar that catches your eye.
Kyoto Foodie Itinerary Map
The Kyoto Foodie Itinerary map shows the location of each of the places mentioned. You can view a full screen version too.
More Kyoto Food Options
About the author: Florentyna Leow is a writer and photographer based in Tokyo. When she’s not eating or roaming the streets for food, she can be found with a book and pen in hand. Her work has appeared in Lucky Peach, Roads & Kingdoms, and Kyoto Journal. Her newsletter can be found here and her photographs can be found at @furochan_eats, @doorwaysofasia, and @lovemeleafme on Instagram.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- Get travel insurance for Japan - World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)