Should You Visit Kyoto?

Are you thinking about visiting Kyoto, Japan? Here's what you need to know before planning your trip.


Is Kyoto worth visiting?

Kyoto is worth visiting for two to three days so that you can explore everything that the city has to offer. Kyoto is loved by visitors for many reasons, and is routinely on national "best of" lists, including Travel and Leisure's Best Places to Visit in 2023. Kyoto was once the capital of Japan, and today it is a beautiful historic city that is filled with temples and traditional neighborhoods. There are gardens and palaces as well as traditional shops and dining opportunities. The city is filled with culture and fascinating places to wander and explore.

Eikando Temple, Kyoto, Japan Eikando Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Reasons to Visit Kyoto

Museums
With its long-running history, there are many traditional buildings and temples in town. Nijo Castle is stunning to explore, but also make sure you visit the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine, the Golden Pavilion, and Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Historical Sights
This is among the most historic cities in Japan and there are many traditional buildings and temples. Higashiyama is filled with interesting districts and it has many UNESCO World Heritage temples.

Food
The local cuisine is as beautiful as it is delicious. There is a long running history to many of the dishes, and the recipes are expertly prepared by world class chefs at many of the restaurants. You can enjoy everything from a tea ceremony to multi-course meals, referred to as kyo kaiseki.

Shopping
There's a mix of modern shopping venues and traditional boutiques. Shijo Street is a popular shopping area, as is the area around JR Kyoto Station.

Nightlife
While it isn't known for its wild nightlife scene, there is a relaxed and active energy in the evenings here. You can visit the beautiful Arashiyama Kimono Forest or explore some of the riverfront areas such as Kamo Riverside.




Is Kyoto worth visiting in the Summer?

The weather in Kyoto is fairly warm during summer, and stays around 27°C (81°F). But it can get as warm as 32°C (89°F) at times, too. It's also quite rainy during this season, so be prepared.

The peak season for travel is summer in Kyoto, so expect to see more tourists than usual. This destination is quite popular with tourists, and in the high season it's even busier than usual as this is when most people like to visit. Expect crowds to be large, and prices to be a bit higher than normal. However, there's plenty to do here this time of year, too.

You'll also find it quite easy to get around on foot, because this is a very walkable city, especially in the nice weather. This is a great time of year to wander through the museums, enjoy the city's energy, and admire the historic sights. Also, you'll be able to enjoy the evening activities.


Summer Weather in Kyoto
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
July 27°C (81°F) 236 mm (9.3 in)
August 29°C (83°F) 146 mm (5.7 in)
September 24°C (75°F) 196 mm (7.7 in)

Is Kyoto worth visiting in the Autumn?

Autumn is the shoulder season for travel in Kyoto. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you can still find plenty of crowds, but better prices.

Keep in mind that it can be fairly rainy during autumn, and temperatures hover around 18°C (64°F).

Autumn is a great time of year to explore the numerous museums and landmarks around town. They are fun for the whole family as well great for couples. Soaking up that old town charm in the autumn is one of the favorite activities of visitors. The quaint scenery combined with the weather this time of year is quite nice. You'll find plenty to do during autumn, as you'll be able to admire the wonderful scenery, browse around the old town, and browse through museums. Also, you can experience the big city activities.


Autumn Weather in Kyoto
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
October 18°C (64°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
November 12°C (54°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
December 7°C (45°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)

Is Kyoto worth visiting in the Winter?

This is the low season for travel in Kyoto. This destination is quite touristy, but in the low season you'll see fewer crowds and much better prices.

The weather in Kyoto can be quite cold during winter, and averages around 5°C (40°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

You'll like that you can take public transit easily in the winter, too. You can get around quickly while avoiding bad weather if needed. During this season it's fun to experience the famous sights and museums, the cuisine, and the historic old town. Also, you can enjoy an evening out and soak up the big city atmosphere.


Winter Weather in Kyoto
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
January 5°C (40°F) 50 mm (2 in)
February 5°C (41°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
March 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in)

Is Kyoto worth visiting in the Spring?

Keep in mind that it can be fairly rainy during spring, and temperatures hover around 14°C (58°F).

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in Kyoto, which means slightly less visitors than in the peak season. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you can still find plenty of crowds, but better prices.

The scenery of the town this time of year is absolutely beautiful. Admire the gardens, parks, and fantastic architecture, too. Soaking up that old town charm in the spring is one of the favorite activities of visitors. The quaint scenery combined with the weather this time of year is quite nice. This is a great time of year to browse the shops, browse the museums, and admire the wonderful scenery. Also, you can check out the historic old town and the nightlife.


Spring Weather in Kyoto
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
April 14°C (58°F) 153 mm (6 in)
May 19°C (67°F) 154 mm (6 in)
June 23°C (73°F) 251 mm (9.9 in)

Related

What is Kyoto most famous for?

Kyoto is most famous for its Buddhist temples, cultural activities, and rich history. The city is very popular for its museums and historical sights. It's also known for food and shopping. And many travelers come for the nightlife, as well. It is often described as historic, cultural, fascinating, and traditional.

What is the most famous sight in Kyoto?

The most popular sight in Kyoto is Kinkaku-ji. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Kyoto on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for Kinkaku-ji and other attractions here.

How touristy is Kyoto? Is it a popular city to visit?

Kyoto is a popular city for tourists and travelers. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • Historical Kyoto Bike Tour: $94
  • 1 Day Hiking Tour in the Mountains of Kyoto: $175
  • Private Kyoto Tea Ceremony Experience by Tea Master at Local Home: $74
  • A Unique Antique Kimono and Tea ceremony Experience in English: $81
  • Photoshoot Experience in Kyoto: $88
  • Kyoto Portrait Tour with a Professional Photographer: $121
  • 2 Hours Shared Kendo Experience In Kyoto Japan: $121
  • Kiyomizu Temple and Backstreets of Gion, Half Day Private Tour: $200

How long should I spend in Kyoto?

The ideal length of time for a trip to Kyoto is two to three days. Since Kyoto has a variety of activities such as museums and historical sights, most people need this much time to see and do everything here.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Kyoto? and Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Kyoto?.