A Perfect Day in Kyoto

Through our long-established in-country partnerships, we will take you off the beaten track to experience the best Japan has to offer. Here, one of our favorite local resources shares her idea of a perfect day in Kyoto.
Even though they serve a western style breakfast at the breakfast bar-a complimentary perk for booking your stay at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto (644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari) through our agency-you choose the traditional Japanese breakfast tray filled with grilled fish, Kujo leek, steamed rice, pickles and miso soup. Afterward, grab your day pack and hop into your waiting taxi, complete with an English speaking guide.

First stop is at Kyoto's most iconic sight, Kinkaku-ji temple (1 Kinkaku-ji-cho, Kita-ku), the famed Golden Pavilion. Floating dreamlike on the edge of a jade green lake, the gold leaf panels ignite in the early morning sun, creating dazzling reflections in the rippling waters. The grounds of the centuries-old Zen palace, rebuilt to perfection several times over the years, are a garden of delights, complete with koi ponds, sacred statues and an Edo-period teahouse. The Hojicha green tea, roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal, fills you with warmth as you sip.
Embrace the spirit of Zen Buddhism at Ryoan-ji temple (13 Ryoanji Goryonoshitacho), sitting cross-legged on the wooden deck surrounding the world's most famous rock garden, staring at the precisely swept pebbles curving around larger rocks in fluid harmony.
Take the footpath behind the rock garden at Ryoan-ji to Kyoto's most idyllic lunch spot. Sit on tatami mats and feast on the city specialty, a boiled tofu called yudofu, along with petite dishes of rice and pickled vegetables. The dining room overlooks a traditional Japanese garden that has been carefully cultivated for hundreds of years, creating an intimate and inspiring view that elevates the meal to near perfection.
Next, take your taxi to the Higashiyama District on the city's eastern edge. History is vividly alive as you stroll through this well-preserved historic district-down narrow lanes and past wooden buildings and old-style merchant shops-experiencing what the city felt like when Kyoto stood as the country's capital from 794-1868. Watch modern-day geishas walk delicately in perfect makeup and bamboo sandals along cobblestoned lanes, their laughter echoing in the air.
Walk to the southern end of Higashiyama to the famed Kiyomizu-dera temple (1-294 Kiyomizu), where you can fill a wooden cup tied to the end of a long pole and drink from the three streams of Otowa Waterfall. Choose wisely, for one stream makes you lucky in love, one successful and one gives you long life. Drinking from all three is considered greedy!
After being refreshed at the waterfall, take your taxi to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho). The spellbinding bamboo forest sets a surreal scene for your hike, as thousands of ripe, segmented trunks crane heavenward, leaning slightly, creating a natural tunnel.
The day ends back at your luxury resort, the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, to use the 100 USD Food & Beverage credit you received for booking through our agency for dinner at its celebrated restaurant, Touzan. Such a perfect day should end with the perfect Japanese steak, the grilled kuroge-wagyu tenderloin from Hirai farm in Kyoto. Relax afterward at the Touzan Bar, sampling from their 30 premium sakes.

Contact our agency today to book your perfect day in Kyoto!