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Things to do in Kyoto, Japan

Get to know everything there is to do in Kyoto and what this beautiful Asian destination. Read more to discover this wonder!

Manuel M.

May 15, 2023

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Looking for a place with peace and quiet? Kyoto is the perfect place for your tranquility. A city on an island called Honshu, Kyoto, is definitely a majestic place to visit. With shrines, gardens, and temples, this is a destination to meditate and take time off your everyday routine. Let us tell you about everything you can do in Kyoto, Japan. But you can’t just go out without a connection. With the language barrier, you’ll definitely need a prepaid eSIM with mobile data to translate and get around.

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Activities in Kyoto

Kyoto is not your regular beach and party vacation. This peaceful place is known mostly for its gardens, temples, palaces, and traditional wooden houses. You can’t compare New York, London, or Beijing with their hustle and bustle to the once capital of Japan. If you want to get away, then the island of Honshu is where you want to be. However, in the middle of peace and quiet, you still need to get an internet connection in Kyoto to know where you have to go and, follow directions, even try to communicate with others. There are plenty of things to do in Kyoto, so continue reading to learn more!

Traditional wooden house. Source: Pexels

The early morning is the perfect time for you to begin your day learning about culture and history. Many temples and shrines are open from 6 AM, where visitors like you can come and awe at the different details and backgrounds. However, not only are these sacred sites available to learn about the past, but you can also go to pray. What will most interest you is that there are shrines dedicated to certain desires or requests through different practices.

Shrines & Temples

In the Jishu Jinja shrine, for example, in the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, you can go to pray for love. There are two stones and the common belief is that if you walk from one stone to the other blindfolded you will find true love. At the Sutoku-Joukou shrine, you can remove bad energy by placing a piece of paper with your wish or request on the stone monument and leave it hanging.

The Bigozensha Shrine is dedicated to granting beauty to those who pray to it. There’s a water fountain located at the site and it’s rumored that with just 2 or 3 drops of water your face will become soft and charming. Keep in mind that you must always be respectful of the temples and shrines, be silent and do not touch anything. Additionally, make sure you verify where you can and cannot take pictures!

Kyoto temple and shrine. Source:

Festivals: Fire and Dances

You have to plan to go to Kyotos traditional festivals and events. These practices that go back centuries are still very much alive today and will give you a perspective who the past has impacted the modern day. On October 22nd every year, the Firey Mountain Festival is celebrated in Kurama to welcome the kami spirits of the shrine to the village. This spectacle is bound to draw your attention and wonder.

Kitano Odori (Kamishichiken)Mar 20 – Apr 2
Kyo Odori (Kyoto Art Theater)April 1 – Apr 9
Miyako Odori (Gion Kobu)April 1 – Apr 30
Kamogawa Odori (Pontocho)May 1 – May 24

Have you ever seen a traditional Geisha performance? Set your travel itinerary and buy your tickets to go during the months of March and April to delight in one of the most traditional and long-established customs. Below we show you the theaters, stages and dates of different schools and styles of dance pieces. Remember to have your eSIM to connect to the internet and be able to check how to get to the different auditoriums. Don’t miss it!

Three women wearing traditional dresses walking on the street. Source: Pexels.

Spring & Gardens

Have you ever wondered where those beautiful pink and white trees are located? Well, they’re right here in Kyoto! You can go and take a breathtaking photo during the Hamani. Upload your picture on social media for everyone to see and connect with your Holafly eSIM. The Yoshino cherry and the kanzan are examples of the trees and flowers that bloom during this season and that you can appreciate and enjoy.

The emblematic Japanese gardens are also a major attraction and is definitely something you want to have on your list of things to do in Kyoto. Stroll through the peaceful mist of nature surrounding you and breathe in the fresh air. Something important to know is that there are green gardens with different flora and colors on the one hand. On the other, there are “zen” gardens, which are dry landscapes you can admire and saunter while you clear your mind.

GardenHoursAdmission Fee
Ginkaku-ji Temple8.30am-5pm March-November
9am-4.30pm December-February
Tofuku-ji Temple9am-4pm April-October
8.30am-4pm November-early December
9am-3:30pm early December-March
Okochi-Sanso Villa9:00am-5:00pm¥1000/¥500
Myoshin-ji Temple9:10-11:40am (every 20 min)
12:30pm (only once)
1pm-3:40pm (every 20 min)
Ryoan-ji Temple8am-5pm March-November
8.30am-4:30pm December-February
Tofuku-ji Temple9am-4pm April-October
8.30am-4pm November-early December
9am-3:30pm early December-March
Kennin-ji Temple10am-5pm, last entry 4:30pm March-October
10am-4:30pm, last entry 4pm November-February
Closed Dec 28-31

If you are eager to know more about the best gardens in Kyoto, make sure you check out the chart we’ve set aside for you below! We’ve included both green and dry gardens so you can choose the ones you like most.

Ryoanji Temple
Ryoanji Temple. Source:

Advise when traveling to Kyoto

Keep in mind

There are many things that you need to keep in mind when traveling to Kyoto. Things from deciding when to travel to how you’re going to connect to the internet in Kyoto. Truly, Kyoto is an all year-around destination, but spring is when you can admire the beautiful cherry blossoms bloom and still enjoy culture, traditional festivals, events and activities.

Documents and the language

Remember to check your passport and visa. Make sure they’re both up to date and valid. It’s recommended to have at least two full blank pages on your passport and to be valid at least for the 6 months before you travel. As with any other country, it’s best to have an extensive insurance with broad coverage just in case. You may not know the language, but that’s no reason to panic. Learn some simple and key Japanese words and phrases so you can get around with the basics. Nonetheless, most Japanese speak a little English.

Connect abroad!

Don’t pass up your internet connection abroad thinking you’ll easily connect to free networks. True, there are some free hot spots in the city, but it’s rare to find these in the rural areas. Holafly’s Japan eSIM for tourists offers the best connection you will ever need while on your adventures. With unlimited internet, you won’t have to worry about ending up offline.

Getting one of these eSIM is as easy as pie. All you have to do is go on to their website, select your days/amount, complete the purchase, and that’s it! You’ll receive the QR code for activation in your email, and you’ll be good to go! Holafly offers the convenience of one flat rate, no hidden fees, and even an iOS app to purchase and top up your eSIM from your phone.

Going with Holafly ensures a hassle-free connection and a trip that you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Frequent Asked Questions

What should I keep in mind when traveling to Kyoto?

Make sure your passport and documentation is up-to-date and valid for at least 6 months before your travels. Remember to take plenty of cash as Japan is still a very cash-based society. Don’t forget your eSIM to connect to the internet as soon as you land!

What things are there to do in Kyoto?

There’s plenty to enjoy in this Asian destination, from traditional dances and cultural festivals, to a beautiful garden. There is a lot of history to learn from the temples and shrines as well.

How can I get around in Kyoto?

You can use the local public trains, private transportation, taxis and there maybe even be some apps to take a private vehicle.

How can I connect to the internet in Kyoto?

You can connect to free WiFi networks, use a local SIM card, or even the traditional pocket WiFi. However, your best bet is to use Holafly’s eSIM with a stable and reliable internet connection.