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Five of the best Day Trips from Kyoto in 2024

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Kyoto is an amazing city so it is no wonder you are planning a trip there. This guide will give you all the information you need, including how to get there, what to do while you are there and the best day trips from Kyoto.

If you are planning a trip to Kyoto, Japan and are unsure what you can do outside of Kyoto, this article is perfect for you. With five easy day trips and tour options, this article makes planning your trip to Kyoto both enjoyable and non-complicated.

Five of the best Day trips from Kyoto

Things you should know before going to Kyoto

Visa for Japan

Check that you do not require a visa for Japan. The visa website is a quick and easy way to check whether your passport requires a permit.

Travel Insurance for Japan

SafetyWing is the World’s first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and remote workers travelling or living abroad. However, if you do not fall under this category, do not worry; SafetyWing also suits all vacation types.

The best time to travel to Kyoto

The best time to visit Kyoto is during the Cherry Blossom Season from late March to Early April. The weather is typically mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 18°C (50°F to 64°F). Light layers and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. During this magical time, the city’s parks and temples come alive with delicate pink blooms, creating a picturesque atmosphere. Don’t miss spots like Maruyama Park, Philosopher’s Path, and Kiyomizu-dera for breathtaking views.

Another wonderful time to visit Kyoto is during the Autumn Foliage Season from late October to Early December when Kyoto’s landscapes transform into a red, orange, and gold canvas. The weather is cool and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). Layers and a light jacket are recommended. This season offers stunning autumn foliage displays (koyo) at iconic spots like Kiyomizu-dera, Arashiyama, and Tofuku-ji. The city exudes a peaceful, serene atmosphere, ideal for strolls and temple visits.

Kyoto

Tipping in Japan

In Japan, tipping is not a common practice and can be considered rude or inappropriate in certain situations. Generally, excellent service is expected and included in the price of goods or services. Japanese hospitality is deeply rooted in the culture, and the service provided is already high quality. Attempting to tip may cause confusion or embarrassment for the recipient. However, if you want to show appreciation for exceptional service, a polite thank you or a compliment to the staff is more than enough.

Currency in Japan

The Japanese Yen (¥) is the official currency in Kyoto. While credit cards are accepted in many places, having some cash on hand is wise, especially when visiting smaller shops, street vendors or participating in cultural experiences.

Remember to check the current exchange rates before your trip, and consider using a currency exchange service for the best rates. Additionally, notify your bank or credit card provider about your travel plans to avoid any transaction issues while in Kyoto. With the correct currency prepared, you’ll be ready to fully enjoy your visit to this enchanting city, whether you’re captivated by cherry blossoms or the fiery hues of autumn leaves.

How to get to Kyoto

You can fly to Osaka directly from Singapore in approximately 6.5 hours with many airlines, including  Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Jetstar Asia Airways, Japan Airlines and ANA.

Transport: You can order a private transfer here. The drive time from Kansai International Airport to downtown Osaka is just under 1 hour.

Train or bus: From Kansai International Airport (KIX) to Kyoto, the travel time by train and bus typically takes just over an hour. However, if you decide, you can hop on the Shinkansen bullet train from Shin Osaka Station to Kyoto City, which will get you there in 15 minutes. Once you arrive, navigating this enchanting city is easy thanks to the well-developed and efficient transport options from Kyoto Station, including JR trains, privately operated railways and bus lines.

Travel times may vary slightly based on train schedules and traffic conditions.

Hiring a car is also an option if you plan to spend a few days here and want to do it at your own pace.

DiscoverCars.com
Fushimi Inari Shrine tour

Five of the best Day Trips from Kyoto

1. Hiroshima and Miyajima Island

Take advantage of the Shinkansen bullet train and head to Hiroshima, home of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Peace Memorial Park. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum provides a poignant insight into the devastating effects of the atomic bomb. From there, catch a ferry to Miyajima Island, known for its iconic Itsukushima Shrine and stunning floating torii gate. Enjoy a scenic stroll through the island’s picturesque streets and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.

Recommended TourFrom Osaka or Kyoto: Hiroshima and Miyajima Train & Bus Tour

Hiroshima
Photo by Beau Swierstra on Unsplash

2. Nara

Just a short train ride from Kyoto Station, Nara is a must-visit city for history buffs. It is home to the famous Todaiji Temple, which houses the World’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. Explore the serene Nara Park, where you can encounter wild deer roaming freely. Remember to visit Kasuga Taisha, a beautifully preserved Shinto shrine surrounded by thousands of stone lanterns.

Recommended TourFrom Kyoto: Guided Day Trip to Kyoto and Nara with Lunch

Nara

3. Himeji Castle

Hop on the bullet train and travel to Himeji, where you’ll find one of Japan’s most spectacular castles – Himeji Castle. This UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to 1333 and is renowned for its elegant white appearance. Wander through the well-preserved complex, including its impressive defensive systems, beautiful gardens, and breathtaking views from the top of the main keep.

Recommended Tour – Himeji Perfect 1-Day Bus Tour from Kyoto/Osaka

himeji castle
Photo by Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash

4. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Kinosaki Onsen

Travel westward from Kyoto and explore the enchanting Arashiyama district. The highlight here is the mesmerizing Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, where towering bamboo stalks create a tranquil atmosphere. Afterwards, take a scenic train ride to Kinosaki Onsen, a charming hot spring town known for its traditional architecture and relaxing baths. Immerse yourself in the soothing waters and indulge in local delicacies.

Recommended Tours – Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Day Trip from Kyoto with a Local: Private & Personalized

Kinosaki Onsen Cycling Tour Kinosaki & Riverside Experience

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

5. Lake Biwa and Osaka Castle

Head to Lake Biwa and Osaka for a day trip combining natural beauty and historical landmarks. Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and offers various outdoor activities like boating, cycling, and hiking. Afterwards, take a short train ride to Osaka to explore

Recommended Tours –Sailing Experience in the biggest lake in Japan with BBQ Option

Walking Tour – Osaka Castle and River Cruise from Osaka or Kyoto

Osaka Castle

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Five of the best Day Trips from Kyoto
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Tried and Tested Recommendations 

Visa – If you looking for an easy way to get a visa, or if you aren’t sure if you really need one in the first place.  Ivisa makes the process easy, with a click of a button and few simple steps you will be able to sort out your visa requirements in a flash!

Insurance -We all know how important travel insurance is when you are abroad, but we also know how expensive it can be as well, right? Well, I am here to help solve both those problems. Safetywings is both affordable and reliable and better still easy to purchase. There are no hidden agendas, just choose the dates you will be away and check the coverage you need. It is that simple.

Car Hire– If you are planning to hire a car on your next trip, DiscoverCars is the perfect solution, why? Because you will find it in most countries around the world and all mandatory fees are included in the price, so there are no hidden surprises.

E-sim– If you want to know the most affordable way to be connected when travelling, it is with an e-sim. I have to admit I have come late to the party on this one, and I wish I had known earlier as it would have saved me hundreds of dollars in the past. I have been using Airalo for the past few months now and it has been so easy to set up and use while I am away. 

Airline TicketsCheapOair is a leading provider of airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and vacation packages with top travel brands to choose from globally. The CheapOair brand provides diversified travel services, however I highly recommend checking out their airline ticket options for best prices.

Author

  • Paula Barreca Barnes

    So 17 years ago, my husband and I set off with our little family in tow, embarking on a short-term assignment in Taiwan. Although without any knowledge of expat life or the Taiwanese culture, we took the chance and decided this would be an exciting little adventure; little did we know it changed the direction of our lives forever.

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