JapanKyoto Top 10 things to do in KyotoThe Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts. Image: Kyoto City Tourism AssociationTake an Insider-Guided Cultural TourThe ‘City ofKyoto Visitors Host’ is a series of insider-guided experiences designed tounveil the essence of the cultural capital of Japan. From exploring the hiddencorners of historic castles to learning about traditional arts and crafts andstrolling some of the city’s most unique neighbourhoods, the tours make Kyoto’scultural assets shine bright. Kyoto Artisan ExperiencesKnown for attention to detail and creativity, Japan oozessophistication and there is nowhere this becomes more obvious than in Kyoto. Kyoto Artisan Concierge is an onlineservice providing visitors with the unique opportunity to make private visitsto studios in Kyoto for hands-on experience of local traditional crafts. It isa bridge connecting people in search of genuine experiences with artisansoffering visits to over 30 different ateliers- we recommend booking a KyotoVisitors Host to assist with translation and to make the most of your visit.See the Cherry Blossoms-by Day and NightWith its elegant temples and shrines, quaint cobblestonealleys and its heritage going back to the old days of Japan, there is nowhereelse you’d want to witness the colourful bloomingspectacles. Some of Kyoto’s most iconic sights, such as the famousfive-storey Toji-ji temple and Nijo-jo castle, hold special illumination eventsallowing travellers to have the cherry blossom experience they may have neverexpected to have. A Useful Guide ‘Best Times to see Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto’can be found HERE.Autumn Leaves IlluminationsKyoto’s temple light-up events are an absolute feast for theeyes allowing you to witness the autumn foliage in full bloom. Some great spotsto view theautumn illuminations are Kogen-ji temple, Kifune-jinja shrine, To-ji templeand Entoku-in temple. The yearly Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro sees Kyoto’s mostfamous temples and shrines and other historical and cultural heritage sites andcity streets transform into festival pathways decorated with traditionallanterns and large ikebana displays. Geiko and Maiko DancesEvery season comes with a dose of culture in Kyoto butspring and autumn offer some particularly charming events. The Gion Odoriautumn dance (held early November) is one of the more intimate ways toexperience the long-held dance tradition and counts as one of the mostenticingly charming geiko and maiko performances in town. Miyako Odori is one of the greatspring shows held during the peak of cherry blossom season throughout the monthof April with the most popular dances being the Miyako Odori “Cherry BlossomDances” and “Dances of the Old Capital.” Miyako Odori. Image: Kyoto City Tourism AssociationExplore Kyoto’s GardensBeing home to some of Japan’s – and the world’s – mostbeautiful gardens, Kyoto becomes a green paradise of colour and tradition everyearly summer. In Kyoto, special garden openings often come with colourfulfestivals, rituals and traditional dancing performances. Some garden must-do’sinclude the gardens at Ryosoku-in Temple and Shisen-do Temple. Murin-anGarden is one of Kyoto’s best-kept secrets and considered to be a pioneerof the modern Japanese gardens in Kyoto. Japanese Food & Sake TastingKyoto is graced with one of the world’s most spectacularcuisines, from traditional kaiseki to some of the best sushi and ramenrestaurants. Visitors can now easily access restaurants and makereservations through the website.Kyoto Restaurant Winter SpecialEvery February, Kyoto’s restaurants cook up a storm with 200shops and restaurants offering a range of exciting winter specials givingvisitors the opportunity to sample the finest of Kyoto’s cuisine at the mostamazing prices, as part of the KyotoRestaurant Winter Special. Sake TastingFor a unique sake experience, head to the Fushimi district,that, due to its abundant underground reserves of clear, high-quality water,has blossomed into a centre for sake production. Tour the Kizakura Fushimigurasake brewery in Kyoto, relish premium Japanese sake paired with light foods andenjoy a guidedtour of the Fushimi Sake District.Museum HoppingThe city is home to more than 200 public and privatemuseums, as well as numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines which holdvarious national treasures and cultural assets. Some highlights include: Kyoto National MuseumThe Kyoto Museum of Traditional CraftsKyoto International Manga MuseumKyoto Municipal Museum of ArtColourful Festivals – Kyoto’s three big festivalsAoi Matsuri Festival (held every year in May): Aoi MatsuriFestival is known for its elegant parade with people dressed in classiccostumes of the Heian period. During the festival, Japanese wild ginger leaves(aoi) are presented in front of the shrine, and used to decorate shrine hallsand nearby buildings. Throughout the whole month, many rituals are held inpreparation for Aoi Festival.Gion Matsuri Festival (held every year in July): Known asTHE summer festival of Japan, there is no other event that fills the city withjoy and excitement like Gion Matsuri does. It is one of Yasaka Jinja Shrine’syearly rituals, developed as a festival of local Kyoto leaders, and is knownfor the great history and splendour of its events. Festivities are held for aperiod of one month and include a diversity of rituals and events with thegreatest highlight being the Yamahoko Float Procession with floats beingdecorated with works of art, including beautiful fabrics, carpets, andtapestries, the floats in the parade are like an outdoor, moving art gallery.Jidai Matsuri Festival (held every year on 22 October): Themost exciting fusion of a costume show and a history lesson, Jidai-MatsuriFestival is an incredible celebration of Kyoto’s fascinating past. The festivalprocession sees several hundred marchers dressed in exquisite costumes from thevarious periods of Kyoto history winding their way from the Old Imperial Palaceto the Heian Shrine.Stay in a traditional ryokanWhat better way to get an authentic Japan experience than bystaying in a traditional Japanese inn-and there are plenty of great ones inKyoto. Check out this video about experiencing the Kyoto ryokan experience. With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, there hasnever been a better time for Australian travellers to tick Japan off theirbucket list. Kyoto, the ancient capital and ‘cultural heart of Japan’lures travellers with its ancient temples and shrines, picturesque gardens,delicious cuisine and geisha tradition, but the Kyoto appeal goes a lot deeperthan its obvious drawcards. From insider-guided neighbourhood tours to sake tastings andtea ceremonies, from big sights to hidden gems, Kyoto is a destination that isdiverse and enticing all around. Who goes to KyotoNijo Jo Castle Tour. Image: Kyoto City Tourism AssociationKyoto is a multi-faceted destination that offers somethingfor everyone to see and do. Couples may want to indulge in the many gourmetexperiences available, immerse themselves in onsens, enjoy a traditional ryokanexperience or simply wander the city’s ancient cobbled streets. Being one of the world’s safest travel destinations, Kyotoalso makes for an excellent family holiday. Active travellers are well-catered for with a huge amount ofactive pursuits available such as cycling tours and walking tours in Kyotoitself and surrounds. How to get to KyotoJikkoku Fune Boat in Fushimi. Image: Kyoto CIty Tourism AssociationThere are more direct services from Australia to Japan onoffer than ever before with Qantas, Jetstar and All Nippon Airways (ANA) alloffering affordable flights year-round from all major cities in Australia(Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast). ANA will begin offeringdaily services between Tokyo and Perth in September 2019. Once in Japan, the most convenient and affordable way to getaround is by getting a Japan Rail (JR) Pass, a special pass valid for unlimitedtravel on all JR trains. For more information on the trains visit https://www.jnto.org.au/plan-your-trip/transport/train-passes-and-discounted-tickets/japan-rail-pass/.Kyoto has some walkable areas, with few hills and tallbuildings. Getting around on rental cycles is also very popular. But visitorsalso have a wealth of options when it comes to public transportation, from theKyoto subway, to Kyoto City Buses, to a number of other train lines that runthroughout the city. Have a look at this useful guide on how to get around inKyoto https://kyoto.travel/en/topics/subway-bus-passes How to book KyotoDiscover Gion Morning Tour. Image: Kyoto City Tourism AssocationMost wholesalers that sell Japan will include Kyoto. Thiscan be organised and escorted tours as well as independent travel. In addition,OTAs such as trip.com, selling Japan alsosell Kyoto. How to learn more about KyotoAutumn Night Illuminations at Kifune-jinja Shrine. Image: Kyoto City Tourism AssociationIf you want to learn more about Kyoto you can visit www.kyoto.travel for the latest news, eventsand experiences. Stay in the know by signing up to the bi-monthly Visit KyotoNewsletter by emailing your contact details to Alison@tourismgarden.com.au. Forany other questions, you can contact Alison at Tourism Garden, therepresentative of Kyoto City Tourism Association in Australia, via the emailabove or call +61(0) 2 8206 9312.