Kyoto isn’t optional. If you ever find yourself in Japan, make sure this city is a part of your travel itinerary.
While Kyoto is lovely in and of itself, it’s also a hub for some must-see Japanese destinations. It’s easy to hop on the train and venture out for the day, only to find yourself back for an evening of Izakaya and geisha-siting in the Kyoto neighbourhood of Ginza.
I’m all for daytime adventures and my top 3 day trips from Kyoto are below:
If you love Bambi, you’ll love Nara Park. Located only an hour from Kyoto, the park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer that are surprisingly tame and happy to be in your company. There are crackers are for sale around the park and some deer have even learned to bow to visitors when they are fed. If you love that doe-eyed look, you’ll love everything about this place.
Fushimi Inari is a Shinto shrine just south of Kyoto that dates back to 711 A.D. Hooooly old. It’s famous for its thousands of red torii gates (which I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram) that lead you through stunning mountain trails. Fun fact for you: the shrine is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. Since foxes are known as Inari’s messengers, there are many fox statues across the grounds. Fushimi is a stunner and a photo shoot waiting to happen – if you can kick all them pesky tourists out of the gates. That or wake up early, both are equally tough.
Kinkakuji is a site, alright. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, but I’m glad that my JP squad convinced me to do it. It’s an impressive pavilion that was built over a large pond for the retirement villa of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The structure has burned down multiple times through its history and gone back up as fabulous as ever. All gold, all the time.
Those are my top 3 day trips from Kyoto. Any other day trips worth your while? Let me know below!