In Japan, cuteness abounds—and nowhere more than Kyoto, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Packed with temples, parks, and cafes, Kyoto is overflowing with adorable activities for every kind of traveler. Here are the 14 cutest things you must do in Kyoto. And before you jet off, message us with any questions about how to make this the trip of a lifetime.
Want to explore Japan differently? Have a local plan your trip.
#1: Get a pic with a Gion Geisha
Get your best selfie face ready for this Japan must-do! Kyoto’s Gion district is flowing with beautifully dressed Geishas you’ll totally want a pic with. This vibrant village, which is also known for housing some of Japan’s finest traditional artwork, is a must-see during your trip to Kyoto.
#2: Stroll along the Philosopher’s Walk
Arguably one of the cutest places to go in Japan, the Philosopher’s Path follows a trail of cherry trees along a small canal in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. If you want to break your Instagram, you’ll want to add this adorable stroll to your Japan itinerary.
#3: Participate in an authentic tea ceremony
Calling all first-time Japan travelers—you need to check this out. Japanese tea ceremonies—or basically, zen in a cup—are equal parts yummy and cozy. Try a taste of some real Japanese matcha and who knows, maybe you’ll find a few snacks to bring home!
#4: Trek the radiantly red Fushimi Inari
Kyoto’s infamous tunnel of 10,000 red torii gates is one of Japan’s most popular attractions, and there’s no question why. The tunnel of scarlet takes you back in time and up Mount Inari for a breathtaking view of Kyoto. Make sure your personal travel planner adds this to your Kyoto itinerary.
#5: Get cozy at a traditional Japanese Ryokan
Want to live like a local? Ryokans are traditional Japanese accommodations, offering a customary Japanese hospitality experience. Lucky for you, our Heroes know where some of the best Ryokans are located.
#6: Discover Kiyomizu-
temple, hidden in the trees dera
Tucked away in the trees, this temple is named after the nearby waterfalls that surround it. The best times to visit this picturesque woodland-wonderland are definitely the spring and autumn, as the trees bloom and change colors.
#7: Relax in Mt. Kurama’s hot springs
It’s time to get super cozy! Add a real kick-back-and-relax experience on your Japanese itinerary and head over to Mt. Kurama and soak up the steam in its hot springs! Check in with one of our travel experts on why you need to see this Japanese hot spot!
#8: Play with monkeys at Iwatayama
Looking to add a bit of adventure to your Japanese adventure? Well, there’s no better way to have fun and monkey around—literally!—than with actual monkeys! Iwatayama Monkey Park is a pretty interactive experience where you get to feed the monkeys! Pro tip: just don’t stare right at them!
#9: Picnic under Maruyama Park’s cherry blossoms
If you’re trying to find somewhere to go in Japan for artsy vibes but you’re ballin’ on a travel budget, there are tons of free parks to explore in Kyoto. Our pro Japan travel tip? Go to Maruyama Park for its gorgeous cherry blossoms. Sometimes you can even find food stalls so you can picnic under the blossoms. It doesn’t get cuter than that.
#10: Find your inner peace at Ryoanji temple
Hands-down one of the most tranquil places in Japan, Ryoanji temple is a cozy and peaceful paradise. Find your zen by the temple’s famous rock garden, blossoming trees, and petite ponds. Best of all, the temple is easily accessible from Kyoto with a Japanese rail pass.
#11: Glow like gold at Kinkaku-
Now, this is Japanese luxury at its finest! The top two floors of the “Golden Pavilion” are covered entirely in gold leaf—and you’ll have to take a picture for proof! Ask your Hero about taking a bike tour so you ride along the whole pavilion.
#12: Check out the scenery at Gingaku-
Though not actually silver, this Kyoto day trip is nonetheless equally as spectacular as its golden counterpart. Gingaku is home to unique scenery like moss gardens and dry-sand gardens that are so pretty you need to see it to believe it! It’s a great trip if you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Japan.
#13: Inspire your inner artist at the Manga Museum
There’s pretty much nothing cuter than manga cartoons and, lucky for you, Kyoto has a whole museum dedicated to them! A perfect addition to your cutesy Kyoto itinerary, Kyoto International Manga Museum is great for last-minute trips to Japan since it’s right in the heart of the city.
#14: Dine like a local at the Pontocho restaurants
Just a short Uber ride from the more central part of Kyoto is the cities more atmospheric dining district: Pontocho. This stretch of eccentric eats stretches along the Kamogawa River, boasting scenic views and some of the best foodie destinations in Japan.