The Ultimate 3-Day Kyoto Itinerary • The Blonde Abroad

3 Day Kyoto Itinerary

It’s Jessica of Bon Traveler here and I’m excited to share a three-day itinerary to Kyoto. When it comes to Japan, there is no destination quite like Kyoto. Having been three times, I find myself falling more in love with each visit.

Something about its historical past, the preservation of arts, and natural beauty set it apart from other cities. Though it is an expansive city, it’s quite different from Tokyo and Osaka, two others frequently visited in Japan.

The slower pace in Kyoto gives you a chance to immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture.

Nearby, natural landscapes like Arashiyama are opportunities to get outdoors. And of course, you can’t forget the temples, 1,600 of them to be exact. It’s the ultimate place to visit on any trip to Japan.

Ready to explore Kyoto? Here’s my ultimate three-day itinerary to the city!

Best  Time to Go

Since the weather is rather temperate in Kyoto, it can be an ideal year-round destination. Each season ranges in temperature but nothing too extreme. The summer months of June-August are hotter and more humid and the winter months of December-February are colder.

The ideal time to visit for me would be in the fall months to catch autumn colors or spring for the cherry blossom festivals. In the fall, the maple trees light up in bright pops of oranges and reds, making it incredibly scenic. Of course, those delicate pink cherry blossoms in the early spring is an iconic experience for Japan as well.

Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

Where to Stay

My personal preference for Kyoto is to be close to the Gion District or near Nishiki Market. The central location for both of these means easy access to nearby sights.

One travel tip would be to book accommodations near a metro station as you’ll often use the local metro to get out to the temples and experiences.

One great hotel in the Gion District is the Kyoto Granbell Hotel. On the last trip, I stayed a bit further north but conveniently near a metro stop at the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. It’s a splurge stay but worth every penny.

Airbnb is also an incredible way to experience local homes in Kyoto. I often combine an Airbnb stay with a hotel stay when traveling here.

Kamo River

Chao Chao Sanjo Kiyamichi

One thing unique to Kyoto is the plethora of artisanal goods made locally. One spot to get to see a wide range is at Nishiki Market. This market hall sells everything imaginable and a good spot to get a bite to eat from one of the many vendors. If you like Takoyaki (fried dough balls stuff with octopus), the stands in the market are a wonderful spot to try it.

For more Japanese kitchenware and ceramics, you can check out these 7 shops in Kyoto as well. A few are just around the corner from the market and make for great gifts to bring home.


Wajouryoumen Sugari

Explore the Historic District of Sannenzaka

This may be one of the most scenic areas of Kyoto to see. These pedestrian streets are lined with traditional wooden homes and buildings. The atmosphere is wonderful. You can shop for local goods here as well and stop in for lunch at one of the many restaurants.

A few favorite places to see in this district include Kōdaiji Temple, the wired good store Kanaamitsuji, dessert at Rakushō, and Nineizaka street.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

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