Make the most of your Kyoto trip with our Kyoto itineraries for visits lasting 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, 4 days and 5 days, plus tailored Kyoto itineraries for Shoppers, Temple Lovers, Hikers and Garden Lovers, as well as off-the-beaten track, foliage and cherry blossom itineraries.
image © Jeffrey Friedl
Main Kyoto Itineraries (Time Based)
- Kyoto One-Day Itinerary
If you’ve got only one full day in the city, you’ll want to see some of the most stunning and memorable spots. This itinerary includes the all-important Southern Higashiyama Sightseeing District, Downtown Kyoto, and the incredible Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine, with it’s arcades of vermillion torii gates.
- Kyoto Two-Day Itinerary
Two days is enough to get a good taste of what Kyoto has to offer (and to whet your appetite for more). This itinerary covers the same sights as our one-day itinerary (above) and then adds the western sightseeing district of Arashiyama, with its famous bamboo forest, and two other western Kyoto sights: Kinkaku-ji Temple and Daitoku-ji Temple.
- Kyoto Three-Day Itinerary
Three days allows you to slow down and check out some off-the-beaten-track parts of Kyoto. The first two days of this itinerary are the same as our two-day itinerary (above) and then adds a half-day trip up to the mountain temple of Kurama-dera, and a few sights in the less visited Northern Higashiyama area.
- Kyoto Five-Day Itinerary
Five days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Kyoto. The first three days of this itinerary are the same as our three-day itinerary (above) and then adds a daytrip to nearby Nara and a day for activities like Zen meditation or tea ceremony.
- Must See Kyoto – 1 Day Itinerary
Want to visit all the must see Kyoto sights in one day? Here’s a step by step itinerary to help you get to all of Kyoto’s must see places in one day if you’re pressed for time. Iconic Kyoto sights in this itinerary include Kinkaku-ji Temple (the “Golden Pavilion”), Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the epic Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine.
Hire A Travel Expert To Plan Your Japan Itinerary
If you would like to hire a travel expert to help you plan your own customised Japan itinerary, please contact my company Japan Travel Consulting to discuss your needs.
Special Interest Kyoto Itineraries
- Kyoto Itineraries For Families With Children
Our itineraries for families traveling with children are designed to keep the children entertained while the adults get to enjoy some of the best sights in the city. They also take into account the challenges of getting around with children in tow.
- Kyoto Foodie Itinerary
If you want to sample some incredible food, check out some brilliant markets and learn about Kyoto cuisine as you go, then this special one-day foodie itinerary is for you.
- Kyoto Shopper’s Itinerary
This shopper’s itinerary lists the best and most interesting shops in the city. It’s divided by area so you can visit them efficiently and easily.
- Kyoto Temple Lover’s Itinerary
This itinerary includes our favorite temples in the city, all divided by area so you can easily move from one to the next.
- Kyoto Garden Lover’s Itinerary
Kyoto is a garden lover’s paradise. This itinerary lists the very best gardens in the city, conveniently divided by district, to make getting around easy.
- Kyoto Hiker’s Itinerary
Kyoto is surrounded by mountains that are covered with hiking trails. Our Kyoto Hiker’s Itinerary page lists the five best hikes in or near Kyoto.
- Kyoto Walking Itineraries
If you really want to explore the city on foot, without taking any form of transport, you’ll love the three itineraries listed on this page. They cover the main sightseeing districts of Southern Higashiyama, Northern Higashiyama and Arashiyama.
Fall Foliage and Spring Cherry Blossom Itineraries
- Kyoto Cherry Blossom Itinerary
This two-day itinerary covers the very best cherry blossom spots in the city.
- Kyoto Fall Foliage Itinerary
Kyoto’s best fall foliage spots are all covered in this two-day itinerary.
Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Itineraries
- Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Itineraries
If you don’t like crowds, you’ll love the two walking itineraries on this page. They cover secret places in Northern and Southern Higashiyama.
- Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Fall Foliage Itinerary
Kyoto is crowded during fall foliage season. To enjoy the colors away from the crowds, check out this itinerary.
- Kyoto Off-the-Beaten-Track Cherry Blossom Itinerary
Sure, the cherries are beautiful, but the crowds are not. If you want to enjoy the cherry blossoms without all the people, check out this itinerary.
For itineraries that cover all of Japan, ranging from a few days to two weeks or more, visit our Japan Itineraries page.
Itineraries For Other Cities in Japan
For itineraries in other cities of Japan, visit the following pages:
- Tokyo Itineraries
- Osaka Itineraries
- Nara Itineraries
- Kanazawa Itineraries
- Takayama Itineraries
- Hiroshima/Miyajima Itineraries
Where to Stay in Kyoto
It’s important to think about your hotel location for making the most of your time in Kyoto. See Where To Stay In Kyoto for a rundown of the most convenient Kyoto districts for sightseeing.
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 - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)