Kyoto is an incredibly romantic city. With intimate restaurants, atmospheric lanes, superb accommodations and a thousand quiet gardens and temples, it’s the perfect place to spend time with someone you love. Here’s our full guide to honeymooning in Kyoto.
Yasaka-no-To Pagoda at sunset: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Honeymoon in Kyoto Introduction
If you’re looking for a place to honeymoon, Kyoto should be high on your list. In addition to the features listed above, the warmth, conscientiousness and grace of the people will ensure that your honeymoon is unforgettable.
Of course, a little planning will go a long way to making your honeymoon magical. Here, we cover what to do, where to stay, what to eat and we even suggest a few add-ons to complete your honeymoon.
Gion Shirakawa in the evening: ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
What to Do On Honeymoon in Kyoto
Visit a quiet Kyoto temple
If you’re looking for quality time together, you can’t beat an hour or so spent sitting by a sublime temple garden with no one else around. Enko-ji, Shisen-do and Honen-in are all great places for this.
Enko-ji Temple in autumn: segawa7 / Shutterstock.com
Take a romantic evening stroll in Kyoto
The lanes of Kyoto are magical in the evening. Here are our favorite places for a romantic evening stroll: Ishibei-koji, Nene-no-Michi, or Kiyamachi south of Shijo-dori.
Ishibei-koji in the evening: 7maru / Shutterstock.com
Climb Daimon-ji in the late afternoon
If you’re fit and enjoy the outdoors, the 30-minute climb up Daimonji-yama in the late afternoon is great. You can watch the sun descend over the distant Arashiyama mountains. Just be sure to descend 20 minutes before the sun goes all the way down. Or, bring headlamps.
The view over Kyoto from the Daimonji viewpoint – image © Chris Rowthorn
Go to Yasui-konpira-gu Shrine
If you’ve just got married, you’ll want to enlist the gods in making sure you have a happy life together. Why not visit Yasui-konpira-gu Shrine and take a trip through the “love-binding stone”?
Yasui-konpira-gu Shrine: beeboys / Shutterstock.com
Go to Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kiyomizu-dera Temple has its own shrine specifically devoted to romantic matters. It’s called Jishu-jinja and it’s above the main hall. You can buy all kinds of amulets to ensure a lifetime of love. And, on your way out of the temple, you can also walk through the pitch-dark Tainai Meguri and wish on the magical stone in the darkness.
Kiyomizu-dera main hall in the autumn: Kakegawa Makoto / Shutterstock.com
Have a drink at a romantic Kyoto hotel bar
Most of Kyoto’s luxury hotels have romantic bars on their premises, some of them with great views. These include the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, the Four Seasons Kyoto, the Hotel Granvia Kyoto, and the Kyoto Hotel Okura.
Kyoto Hotel Okura bar
Spend a night at Kinosaki Onsen
For true romance, nothing beats a night at a great onsen ryokan (hot spring inn). The quaint village of Kinosaki, 2.5 hours north of Kyoto by direct express train, is perfect for this. See our full Kinosaki Guide and Map.
Couple strolling through Kinosaki in the evening: Rei Imagine / Shutterstock.com
Where to Eat On Honeymoon In Kyoto
Kyoto has thousands of intimate little restaurants that are perfect for romantic dinners. Some even have private rooms (koshitsu) where you will dine in complete privacy.
Kyoto tofu cuisine set meal: Sittipong Chananithitham / Shutterstock.com
- Yoshikawa Tempura
Whether you eat at the counter by day or in a room overlooking the garden by night, this lovely tempura restaurant is a great choice.
- Misoka-an Kawamichiya
This lovely old soba and udon specialist in downtown Kyoto is a beautiful spot for a light lunch or dinner. If you’re lucky, you can dine in a small private nook.
For something truly special, call to reserve a kaiseki meal in a private room at this incredibly atmospheric old Kyoto restaurant. There’s usually someone there who can speak English.
- Omen Ginkakuji
It can be a bit busy here, but the food is great, they speak English, they have English menus, and the old Japanese atmosphere is hard to beat.
- Kagizen Yoshifusa
For an elegant bowl of matcha and a traditional Kyoto sweet in quiet surroundings, try the lovely tearoom at the back of this old Kyoto store. For something even more intimate, try Saka Maruyama.
Where to Stay On Honeymoon In Kyoto
Your accommodation is the key to making your honeymoon great. Fortunately, Kyoto has a great selection of seriously romantic hotels, ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and vacation rentals. Here is a very carefully selected list:
This is a collection of old Kyoto houses that have been perfectly restored and designed with superb creative touches. Any of their houses can serve as your romantic hideaway in the city. The owners of Old Kyoto always provide a bottle of champagne and special amenities for honeymooners, at no extra charge. You can’t beat this kind of warm personal service when you’re on your honeymoon. See our pages on individual Old Kyoto machiya: Amber House, Gion House, Indigo House and The Old Modern.
Old Modern Garden Suite
Hyatt Regency Kyoto guest room
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
The Ritz-Carlton has all the features you’d expect in a world-class hotel, along with a brilliant location just steps from downtown, with great views over the Kamo-gawa River.
Ritz-Carlton Kyoto guest room
Solaria Nishitetsu Kyoto guest room
Kyoto Hotel Okura guest room
Great Ryokan For Honeymoons in Kyoto
Traditional Japanese inns, or ryokan, are by definition romantic. At a good place, you’ll actually dine in your room. Then, you’ll lounge about in a yukata, or summer robe. For our top ryokan pics, see our Kyoto Ryokan page.
Hoshinoya Kyoto ryokan
Add a Destination to Your Kyoto Honeymoon
Let’s face it: for some people, a honeymoon isn’t a honeymoon without some time on a tropical island with great beaches and warm water. We get that. The good news is that you can easily add a tropical adventure to your Kyoto honeymoon. And you don’t have to travel far to do so.
From April to November, the beaches of the Okinawa Islands are warm enough for swimming. For white sand and clear water to rival the best of southeast Asia, try the Kerama Islands, near the main island of Okinawa, or head further south to Ishigaki-jima. Best of all, Okinawa is an easy two-hour flight south of Osaka’s Itami Airport (which is a 50-minute bus or taxi ride from Kyoto). Check for prices and availability on Okinawa flights.
Kerama Island beach in Okinawa: tororo reaction / Shutterstock.com
Thailand is a great place to spend some time on a honeymoon. You can gorge yourself on great Thai food and relaxing Thai massages. And, you can enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. All at very affordable prices. There are several flights a day between Kansai International Airport (about 90 minutes from Kyoto by train) and Bangkok. The flight time from Kansai to Bangkok is six hours. If you fly to Japan on a Japanese airline, you can do your Japan leg as a layover and save a lot on your ticket (ie, fly to Japan, then fly to Thailand on the same airline and the same ticket). Check for flight deals on your specific dates.
White-sand beach in southern Thailand: thePANORAMAstudio / Shutterstock.com
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
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world