Japan’s old capital city merges urban modernity and traditional beauty

Geisha in Kyoto

Geisha in Kyoto

Traveling from Okinawa to Kyoto has become more affordabe than ever, thanks to Peach Airlines. You can easily find round trip tickets to Kansai Airport in Osaka, the closest international airport to Osaka, for less than ¥10,000. Sign up for their email alerts, and you’ll find that prices can dip as low as ¥2,000, one-way.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha

From Kansai to Kyoto
At Kansai Airport, you’ll have to find transportation to Kyoto. There are trains at the airport that you can take to Osaka station, from which you can transfer to Kyoto. There are also buses to take you directly to Kyoto station. As Kyoto’s about 2 hours away from Kansai, a taxi is not recommended. Beware if you take a late flight into Osaka; by 11:30 pm, all buses and trains will have left for the night, and you could be stranded in Osaka until the next day.

 

What to See
On a short trip, there’s not enough time to see all the traditional shrines in Kyoto, so visit ones that will make a lasting impression. Fushimi Inari Taisha tops the list, boasting thousands of red torii gates of different sizes throughout winding stairs. It’s free to enter and only a few stops away from Kyoto train station. Kinkaku-ji, the golden pavilion in the middle of a lake, is also gorgeous, but there’s a fee to get in. Also impressive is the celebrated Kiyo-mizudera, a huge compound with shrines, shops and its main tourist attraction, a fountain believed to grant wishes if you drink from one of its streams. It also has a fee.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Besides checking out shrines, don’t miss walking through the bamboo forest in the charming Arashiyama district–the fresh smell and sound of bamboo leaves shirring in the wind are the epitome of peacefulness. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention a visit to Gion, the traditional district known for geisha and traditional tea houses.

One final tip: souvenirs are both expensive and typical of what you’d find in Okinawa, so save your money for tours and meals, or keep it and just load up on photos!