3-Day Family Adventure and Relaxation Offbeat Kyoto Itinerary

Kyoto, Japan

3 days

Gion Shirakawa
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Buddhist stone statues at the Otagi Nenbutsu ji temple
Arashiyama in autumn season along the river
Daigoji Temple

About Kyoto, Japan

Discover the timeless charm of Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital. Immerse yourself in its rich history by visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites like Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, and Kiyomizu-dera, a temple offering panoramic city views. Wander through the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousand red torii gates. Experience the traditional tea ceremony in Gion, the city's geisha district, or stroll along the Philosopher's Path during cherry blossom season. Savor authentic Japanese cuisine, from kaiseki dining to street food in Nishiki Market. Kyoto seamlessly blends the old and the new, offering a unique cultural experience that leaves every visitor enchanted.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Arashiyama and Relaxing in Central Kyoto


Start your day with a visit to a serene Bamboo Grove. This outdoor activity will allow you to enjoy the tranquility of nature and take some beautiful family photos.


Enjoy a traditional Japanese bento box lunch at a local eatery. This is a great opportunity to sample a variety of Japanese dishes in a relaxed setting.


After lunch, take a leisurely stroll along the scenic Hozu River. The peaceful surroundings and beautiful views make this a perfect activity for relaxation.


Dine at a local restaurant that serves Kyoto-style cuisine. This is a great chance to experience the unique flavors of the region.


End your day with a relaxing soak in a traditional Japanese Onsen (hot spring). This is a wonderful way to unwind after a day of exploring.


Begin your day with a visit to a historic temple nestled in the mountains. The temple offers stunning views of the city and a peaceful atmosphere for reflection.


Have lunch at a local restaurant that specializes in tofu dishes. Kyoto is known for its high-quality tofu, so this is a must-try.


Spend the afternoon exploring a traditional Japanese Garden. The garden is a perfect place for relaxation and offers a glimpse into Japanese culture and aesthetics.


Enjoy a dinner of kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese meal. This is a unique dining experience that showcases the artistry and flavors of Japanese cuisine.


Take a leisurely evening walk along the Kamo River. The river is beautifully lit up at night, providing a romantic and peaceful setting.


Start your day with a visit to a local market. This is a great opportunity to experience the local culture and pick up some unique souvenirs.


Enjoy a picnic lunch in a local park. This is a great way to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.


Spend the afternoon exploring a historic district known for its traditional wooden houses and narrow lanes. This is a great way to experience the old-world charm of Kyoto.


Have dinner at a local restaurant that serves yudofu, a hot tofu dish that is a specialty of Kyoto.


End your day with a visit to a local tea house for a traditional tea ceremony. This is a unique cultural experience that is not to be missed.

Attractions in Itinerary (5)

Bamboo Grove

Bamboo Grove

A stunning natural forest of bamboo, the Bamboo Grove is a famous and picturesque spot in Kyoto.

Hozu River

Hozu River

The Hozu River is known for its traditional boat rides that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding nature and wildlife. It's a popular activity among tourists for its scenic beauty and relaxing atmosphere.

Japanese Onsen

Japanese Onsen

Traditional Japanese hot springs, or 'onsen', are a must-try experience when visiting Kyoto. They offer relaxation and a glimpse into traditional Japanese culture.

Cultural Experiences
Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

Japanese gardens are traditional gardens that create miniature idealized landscapes, often in a highly abstract and stylized way. They are an integral part of Japan's culture and history.

Kamo River

Kamo River

The Kamo River is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike for walking, jogging, and picnicking. The riverbanks are lined with cherry trees, making it a popular spot during cherry blossom season.


Local Food and Drinks (12)



A traditional multi-course Japanese dinner that is considered the epitome of Japanese cuisine in Kyoto. It features seasonal and local ingredients.



A type of powdered green tea that is a specialty of Kyoto. It is often served in traditional tea ceremonies.



Buckwheat noodles that are a popular dish in Kyoto. They can be served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in a soup.


A delicacy in Kyoto, yuba is the skin that forms on the surface when soy milk is boiled. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or used in various dishes.



A hot tofu dish that is a winter specialty in Kyoto. It is typically served with a soy-based sauce and vegetables.



A traditional Japanese rice wine that is often served warm. Kyoto is known for its high-quality sake due to the purity of its water sources.



A dish consisting of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep-fried. It is a popular dish in Kyoto.



Japanese pickles that are a staple in Kyoto cuisine. They are often served as a side dish or used as a garnish.



Thick wheat noodles that are a popular dish in Kyoto. They can be served in a variety of ways, including in a hot soup or with a dipping sauce.



Grilled eel that is a delicacy in Kyoto. It is often served over rice in a dish called unadon.

Shojin Ryori

A type of vegetarian cuisine that was developed by Buddhist monks in Kyoto. It is made without meat, fish, or other animal products.

Kyoto-style Sushi

A type of sushi that is a specialty of Kyoto. It often features cured or cooked ingredients, in contrast to the raw fish commonly used in other types of sushi.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Kyoto, Japan, is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (October to November). These seasons offer mild weather and are also the times when the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves are in full bloom, providing breathtaking scenery. However, these periods are also the peak tourist seasons, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in the winter months. Despite the cold, the snow-covered temples and gardens offer a unique and serene beauty.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1


New Year's Day

January 8


Coming of Age Day

February 11


National Foundation Day

February 12


National Foundation Day observed

February 23


Emperor's Birthday

March 20


Spring Equinox

April 29


Shōwa Day

May 3


Constitution Memorial Day

May 4


Greenery Day

May 5


Children's Day

May 6


Children's Day observed

July 15


Sea Day

August 11


Mountain Day

August 12


Day off for Mountain Day

September 16


Respect for the Aged Day

September 22


Autumn Equinox

September 23


Autumn Equinox observed

October 14


Sports Day

November 3


Culture Day

November 4


Culture Day observed

November 23


Labor Thanksgiving Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Kyoto City Bus is a convenient and popular means of transportation for both locals and tourists. It covers the city extensively including many of Kyoto's top attractions. English announcements and signs are available.

Kyoto has two subway lines: the Karasuma Line and the Tozai Line. They are not as extensive as the bus network, but they are a good option for certain routes, especially during rush hour when the roads can be congested.

Japan Railways (JR) operates a few local lines that are useful for tourists, especially the Sagano Line and the Nara Line. The JR lines are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

In addition to JR, there are a few private railway lines which can be useful for tourists, including the Keihan Line, the Hankyu Line, and the Kintetsu Line. These lines connect Kyoto with nearby cities like Osaka and Nara.

Renting a bicycle is a great way to explore Kyoto, especially the Higashiyama District and Arashiyama where attractions are located close together. There are many rental shops around the city, especially near major train stations.

Taxis are a convenient but more expensive way to get around Kyoto. They can be found at taxi stands at train stations or hailed on the streets. Most taxi drivers do not speak English, but they usually have a GPS system. It's a good idea to have your destination written in Japanese.

Ridesharing services like Uber are available in Kyoto, but they are not as common or as cheap as they are in some other countries. They can be a good option if you're traveling with a group or have a lot of luggage.

Many of Kyoto's attractions are located close together, especially in areas like Higashiyama and Arashiyama, making walking a viable option. The city is also very pedestrian-friendly with lots of signs in English.

Renting a car can be a good option if you plan to explore the outskirts of Kyoto or other parts of the Kansai region. However, driving in Kyoto city can be challenging due to the narrow streets and heavy traffic. Plus, parking can be expensive and hard to find.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency¥ JPY

Time zoneUTC+9

Driving sideLeft

Emergency phoneAmbulance: 119; Fire: 119; Police: 110

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type APower socket type B

Voltage100 V

Things to know about Kyoto, Japan as a first time visitor


Kyoto is a city that respects its traditions. As a visitor, you should also respect these traditions and customs.


Japanese people are very polite and respectful. It is customary to bow when greeting someone.


The official language is Japanese. While some people may speak English, it is not widely spoken. It may be helpful to learn a few basic Japanese phrases.


The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it's always a good idea to carry some cash, especially in smaller establishments.


Tipping is not customary in Japan. In fact, it can sometimes be seen as rude or confusing.


The city is very safe, but like any other place, it's always important to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.


Public transportation in Kyoto is excellent. The city has an extensive bus and subway system, and taxis are also readily available.


Kyoto is a pedestrian-friendly city with many areas best explored on foot. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.


The city is known for its beautiful gardens and temples. Dress modestly when visiting these sites.


Kyoto can be quite crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. Be prepared for crowds at popular sites and on public transportation.


The climate in Kyoto is temperate, with four distinct seasons. Summers can be hot and humid, with temperatures reaching up to 90°F (32°C), while winters can be cold, with temperatures dropping to around 32°F (0°C).


It's important to stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. Vending machines selling drinks are widely available throughout the city.


Japanese food is a highlight of any visit to Kyoto. Be adventurous and try local specialties like kaiseki (traditional multi-course meal) and yudofu (tofu hot pot).


Smoking is not allowed on the streets in most areas in Kyoto. Look for designated smoking areas.


Public restrooms are generally clean and well-maintained in Kyoto. Western-style toilets are common, but you may also encounter traditional Japanese squat toilets.


If you're planning to visit multiple attractions, consider getting a one-day or two-day bus pass. It can save you money on transportation costs.


Shopping in Kyoto can be a unique experience. From traditional crafts to modern fashion, there's something for everyone.


It's considered rude to talk loudly or use your cell phone on public transportation. Keep your voice down and avoid phone calls.


Always stand on the left side on escalators, the right side is for people in a hurry.


Remember to remove your shoes when entering a traditional Japanese home or certain traditional restaurants and temples.

Basic Japanese to know as a first time visitor

English phrase

Native phrase


When to use it




Greeting someone




Leaving or saying goodbye

Thank you



Expressing gratitude




Making a request









Excuse me



Getting attention or apologizing

I'm sorry


Gomen nasai


Do you speak English?


Eigo o hanasemasu ka?

Asking if someone speaks English

I don't understand



When you don't understand what was said

Where is the bathroom?


Toire wa doko desu ka?

When you need to find a bathroom

How much?


Ikura desu ka?

Asking for the price

I would like this


Kore o kudasai

When ordering or buying something




When you need help

Good morning


Ohayou gozaimasu

Greeting someone in the morning

Good night



Saying goodnight




Complimenting food




Complimenting a view or object

I'm lost


Maigo ni narimashita

When you're lost

Can you help me?


Tasukete moraemasu ka?

When you need assistance

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Lightweight clothing for layering

  • Rain jacket or umbrella

  • Socks and underwear

  • Pajamas

  • Swimwear (if your hotel has a pool)

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat for sun protection

  • Toiletries

  • Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash or soap

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Makeup and makeup remover

  • Sunscreen

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Prescription medications

  • First aid kit

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport

  • Driver's license or ID card

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash (Japanese yen)

  • Hotel reservation confirmation

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Emergency contact information

  • Map of Kyoto

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Power adapter (Japan uses Type A and B plugs)

  • Portable power bank

  • Headphones

  • Camera

  • Charger for camera

  • Memory cards for camera

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Travel guidebook for Kyoto

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle

  • Travel pillow and blanket

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • Japanese phrasebook

  • Reusable shopping bag

  • Travel-sized laundry detergent

Weather Conditions

When visiting Kyoto, Japan, it's important to be aware of the city's distinct four seasons and prepare accordingly. Spring (March to May) is a popular time to visit Kyoto, with temperatures ranging from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). This is also the cherry blossom season, so expect some crowds. Light layers and a rain jacket are recommended as there can be occasional showers. Summer (June to August) in Kyoto can be hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching up to 95°F (35°C). It's advisable to stay hydrated, wear light, breathable clothing, and use sunscreen. Also, be prepared for the rainy season (Tsuyu) in June and July. Autumn (September to November) is another beautiful season to visit Kyoto, with temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C). The fall foliage is a sight to behold. Pack some light layers as it can get cooler, especially in the evenings. Winter (December to February) can be quite cold with temperatures dropping to around 32°F (0°C). Snowfall is rare but possible. Warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat, are essential. Regardless of the season, it's always a good idea to check the local weather forecast before your trip to ensure you're packing appropriately. Also, remember that Kyoto is a city best explored on foot, so comfortable walking shoes are a must.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview


10° / 1°

January is the coldest month in Kyoto, with occasional snowfall. It's a great time to visit if you enjoy serene, snowy landscapes.


11° / 1°

February is still quite cold, with less snow but more clear, sunny days. Ideal for those who enjoy cooler weather.


16° / 4°

March sees the start of spring, with temperatures gradually increasing. The cherry blossoms start to bloom towards the end of the month.


21° / 9°

April is one of the most popular months to visit Kyoto due to the full bloom of cherry blossoms. The weather is pleasantly warm during the day.


26° / 14°

May is comfortably warm, with plenty of sunshine and greenery. It's a great time to explore the city's parks and gardens.


29° / 18°

June marks the start of the rainy season in Kyoto. Despite the rain, the lush greenery and hydrangea blooms make it a beautiful time to visit.


34° / 23°

July is hot and humid, with the rainy season ending mid-month. It's a good time to visit indoor attractions like museums and temples.


35° / 24°

August is the hottest month in Kyoto. It's a great time to visit if you enjoy summer festivals and fireworks.


30° / 20°

September is still warm, but with less humidity. The start of autumn foliage makes it a beautiful time to visit.


24° / 14°

October offers comfortable temperatures and stunning autumn foliage. It's one of the best times to visit Kyoto.


18° / 8°

November is cool and crisp, with the autumn foliage at its peak. It's a great time to explore the city's gardens and temples.


12° / 3°

December is chilly, but clear and often sunny. It's a great time to visit if you enjoy Christmas lights and end-of-year festivities.

Did you know?

Did you know that Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over a thousand years until the capital functions were transferred to Tokyo in 1869?

1 of 10

Places near by Kyoto, Japan

Nara Park

Nara Park

Famous for its free-roaming deer and historical temples.

42.7 km / 26.5 mi
How to get there
Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

One of Japan's most famous landmarks with a five-story castle keep.

56.2 km / 34.9 mi
How to get there
Kobe Harborland

Kobe Harborland

A shopping and entertainment district along the waterfront of Kobe's port area.

75.8 km / 47.1 mi
How to get there
Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as White Heron Castle due to its elegant, white appearance.

130.9 km / 81.3 mi
How to get there
Biwako Valley

Biwako Valley

A popular destination for outdoor activities with beautiful views of Lake Biwa.

58.3 km / 36.2 mi
How to get there
Mount Koya

Mount Koya

The center of Shingon Buddhism, home to an active monastic center.

120.5 km / 74.9 mi
How to get there
Okayama Korakuen Garden

Okayama Korakuen Garden

One of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, known for its scenic beauty.

180.5 km / 112.2 mi
How to get there
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

A memorial park in the center of Hiroshima, dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack.

362.6 km / 225.3 mi
How to get there


Famous for Itsukushima Shrine with its floating torii gate.

395.6 km / 245.8 mi
How to get there


Known for its well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums and regional handicrafts.

224.5 km / 139.5 mi
How to get there

Other Destinations in Japan