When I was a teenager, I read “Memories of a Geisha” and decided that I’d travel to Kyoto to visit this fascinating city where the story takes place. I finally got around to it combining a business trip with a short stint in Kyoto, Japan’s culture gem known for its temples and traditional gardens. With only one day to explore this incredible city, I tried to see as much as possible in as little time as possible and put together a brief inside review for visitors with an equally limited time budget.
Get there: Most international travelers will fly into Kansai Airport in Kyoto and take the bus or train from there. Plan 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Kyoto from the airport. Also, an advice for my dear friends of plastic money. Make sure to bring sufficient Yen with you. Finding an ATM, which will accept international credit cards in Kyoto, can turn into a treasure hunt. I learnt this the hard way cruising around town in a taxi finding an ATM with no change left to pay the driver.
See: Kyoto is Japan’s treasure chest when it comes to exploring the old Japan with its deeply rooted culture and traditions. For anyone with an eye for aesthetics Kyoto’s minimalistic and sophisticated architecture is delightful and inspiring. Wandering around the cobblestoned streets of Gion with an occasional Geisha scurrying past, it is impossible not to immerse in Kyoto’s mystic beauty. The city offers an incredible amount of culture sights.
Here are the two top things you definitely should not miss out on!
Kiyomizu-dera is a Unesco Heritage and an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto and offers a great panaromic view of the city.
Visit Gion and immerse in the traditional neighbourhood of Kyoto with wood-fronted teahouses and paper lanterns.
Eat: Kyoto offers endless culinary options but if you really want to splurge visit Kitcho, an elegant restaurant run by Kunio Tokuoka. Kitcho is a must visit for any true foodie but be aware dining here is an investment. Plan with roughly 800 Euros for dinner for two. http://www.kitcho.com/kyoto/chef_en/
Stay: Hyatt Regency Kyoto offers minimalistic and elegant rooms and helpful staff.http://kyoto.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html