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Three Days in Kyoto

Kyoto Cherry Blossom

Three Days in Kyoto

story by: House of Travel

When Kyoto calls, you go running - it's just the nature of this breathtakingly beautiful area. It's Japan's seventh-largest (but not seventh-best) city, boasting enchanting temples and shrines that positively ooze history and culture.

If the thought of planning yet another holiday is leaving you numb with fear, don't panic. We've already got it all planned out, and all you have to do is follow this handy dandy travel guide. Simply set aside three days in your Japan travel schedule and get to grips with Kyoto.

Day one
Rise and shine! You're here. You'll need nourishment in order to enjoy your time in this whirlwind of a city, and luckily Kyoto is not too shabby when it comes to culinary delights. Start your gourmet journey at Izuu, a restaurant that specialises in Kyoto-style sushi and has been delighting the appetites of locals and tourists for hundreds of years - since 1781, to be precise.

Famed for its mackerel sushi, which is one of Kyoto's delicacies, this hidden gem offers an upmarket ambiance and luxury food that is hard to match anywhere else in the city. 

The Nishiki Market is an essential destination for any foodie, offering more than a hundred shops and restaurants packed to the brim with mouth-watering delights. Stock up on dried seafood, Japanese sweets, pickles and other delicacies while you're here.

Top your foodie day off with the trip to Tsujiri Tea House, which is one of the city's most beloved matcha tea and parfait cafes. Enjoy a custom-made parfait complete with vanilla ice cream, agar jelly, matcha syrup and sherbet, rice dumplings, chestnuts and much more, accompanied by a latte or tea with a twist.

Day two
Now that you've ticked the food scene off the list, it's time to tour Kyoto's temples. Careful planning is essential here, as the area is swamped with thousands of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. 

If you go to just one temple, Kinkakuji is not a bad option. It's the most well-known one of the area and is a truly impressive sight, complete with gold leaf detail and drenched in history. It was once the retirement villa of shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu before becoming a zen temple, along with a large pond to add to the atmosphere. It's incredibly popular, however, so it's best to visit here early or later in the day, avoiding holidays and peak tourist times.

Honen-In is perfect for when you're looking for an impressive palace with slightly fewer tourists. As you walk toward the temple you'll come across a moss-covered gate, hinting at the peaceful and serene wonders hidden inside. Cross a stone bridge over a pond, wander between two sand mounds that are believed to purify you and roam the grounds at your leisure.

Day three
Day three is your shrine day. No trip to Kyoto is complete without a visit to Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine, which is regarded as the city's most important and impressive shrine. Comprising of a series (and by series, we mean thousands) of vermilion torri gates that spread across an entire mountain. In the grounds of Fushimi Inari you'll notice plenty of fox statues, important as they are thought to be Inari's messengers. And why is this important? Because Inari is the Shinto god of rice.

Yasaka-jinja Shrine is another not-to-be-missed location, nestled in the heart of the Gion entertainment district. Painted beautifully in joyous colours and sitting right in the middle of the Southern Higashiyama sightseeing path, the shrine is illuminated by lanterns at night and each year hosts the Gion Matsuri summer festival. It's also a hotspot during April's cherry blossom season, when next door neighbour Maruyama Park comes alive with enticing blooms.

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