Famous for its temples and local cuisine, Kyoto also offers some fun and relaxing time.
Live like a local
Rent a traditional Japanese townhouse with all contemporary comfort with Aoi Kyoto Stay. I stayed in the amazing Manjuji-bashi house along the Kamo-gawa river.
The restaurant Guilo-Guilo (sister to the one in Paris) is just a few meters away and the street is lined with restaurants boasting terraces overlooking the river. The Italian restaurant & bar Amore Kiyamashi is one of them and offers a nice retreat when you will be craving western food.
The house comes with bicycles which is the best way to discover Kyoto. Cycle along the river banks for some fresh air and stop for a lemonade at Efish Cafe.
Temples and walks
The temples are as beautiful as you can imagine andthere are lots. The most famous ones are the Golden Pavilion and the Silver Pavilion.
Kodai-ji district is great to walk, fun souvenirs shops, good food for lunch and temples.
Just above, Maruyama Park is charming and a good escape from the busy streets. La Patisserie des Reves has a shop there.
Gion is not only the place to see Geishas. It is charming to wander around with the tea houses, the Chirakawa canal and shabu-shabu restaurants.
On the West side of the river is a more modern area. If you miss the 80s, head to Cafe La Siesta which specialises in vintage video games and arcade games.
Close by is the iconic Nishiki Market selling local food but also ceramics, knives, … It is worth a visit and a good spot for lunch.
The Imperial Palace area is a great cycle ride. The garden is beautiful. Check the opening hours before going as I arrived too late that day
Hidden gem restaurants
Book for a kaiseki meal at the local gem 2 Michelin-star affordable Gion Nishikawa. It masters the art of Washoku, an ‘aesthetically appealing, delicious and healthy meal’> find an insider tip about this restaurant in my food posts.
For relaxed contemporary bistro dining, KILN, headed by female chef Masayo, offers an interesting combination of western and Japanese flavours.
If you are actually staying in one of Aoi townhouses, the discreet and charming restaurant Otaya is located right on the river downstream under the weeping trees, and offers delicious grilled meat, fish and vegetables from the old style charcoal rice oven next to the counter. (No English spoken).
For traditional breakfast, a must visit and an institution is Hyotei