Take 5, have a coffee, explore Kyoto.
5 Beautiful Minutes: Bringing you the colours, sights and essence of Kyoto, morning to night.
Origins of Kyoto Cuisine. 794 to 1869, Kyoto was home to the Imperial Household. Culinary traditions were handed down through generations of the Emperor’s Court, the Buddhist monks, and the Shinto priests. The traditional cuisine is known as Kyoryori, a kaiseki full-course meal of the highest quality. Lunchtime menus are around ¥3,000. Evening courses which require reservations start from ¥10,000.
2. GEISHA & MAIKO
Step back in time and be a Geisha. Pick up a Kimono Passport from the Information Center at Kyoto Station, which entitles you to discounts at various temples, museums, shops. You also get a 10% discount when you take an MK Taxi. So, put on a kimono to enjoy these special perks.
Geishas are traditional female hostesses-cum-entertainers in Japan. Their skills include performing Japanese classical music, dance, games and conversation, mainly to entertain male customers.
Maikos are apprentices and are usually aged between 15 to 20 years old. Their job is to perform songs, dances, and playing the shamisen or Koto (traditional Japanese musical instruments) for visitors during feasts.
More details and options here.
Enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
The tea ceremony involves preparing powdered tea for guests and enjoying its austere taste quietly and serenely. Influenced by Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony seeks to purify the mind and attain oneness with nature. The ceremonial serving of tea used to be exclusively practiced by nobles and priests who gave it its original form around the middle of the fourteenth century. Its popularity gradually spread to wealthy merchants, warlords during the era of civil warfare (in the 15th and 16th centuries), and their retainers.
More details and options here.[/one_third_last]
Learn how Japanese pickles, or tsukemono are made.
Doi-shibazuke-honpo is a well-known tsukemono manufacturer. Their factory is open to the public, offering both a tour and a film. There is also a shop and a restaurant where you can buy some products and taste their dishes.
Address : 41 Hanajiri-cho, Yase, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
Telephone : 075-744-2311
Business Hours : 8:10a.m.-5:00p.m.(varies by season)
Main office: Open Seven days
Factory: Closed on Sunday, Wednesday and Public holiday(varies by season)
Access : Kyoto Bus to “Hanajiribashi”.
Factory tour: Free of charge
Watch a traditional Noh performance at the Kyoto-kanze-Kaikan, located in the Okazaki district. It is the only Noh theatre in the city with chairs for the audience. You usually sit on the floor for a Noh performance. There are about 10 Noh and Kyogen performances a month.
Address : 44 Enshoji-cho, Okazaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
Telephone : 075-771-6114
Business Hours : 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
Closed : Monday
Access : 10 min walk from Subway Tozai Line to “Higashiyama”.
Fee : Depends on performance.
There are many traditional crafts such as pottery, weaving, brewing sake, sweets and doll making, which have been passed down through the ages. You can try learning how to make some of them.
Nishijin, the weaving center of Kyoto is known for their silk-weaving tradition dating back to the 15th century. Experience woodblock printing, metalwork, making a koma (wooden spinning top) or Shichimi blending of 7 types of herbs/spices at the Kyoto Handicraft Center.
Handicraft Experience: 10:30 / 14:00 / 15:30 / 16:45. Each experience lasts 40-60 minutes.
Reservation Reservation can be made by email or telephone call. Please register on their website.
Enjoy an outdoor onsen. The KURAMA ONSEN is a natural, sulphuric hot spring and open-air bath. It is located in the quaint village of Kurama, along the Kurama River. The area is lush with Kitayama Sugi (Japanese cedar) and the “HOUROKU-YU” hot spring located at the foot of the mountain evokes a sense of mystery.
Address: 520 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 601-1111
TEL: +81-75-741-2131 / FAX: +81-75-741-2375
Open: 10:00 – 21:00 (the open-air bath closes at 20:00 during winter)
Meal orders: 11:00 – 20:00 (subject to change depending on availability of supplies)
Open 365 days (please ask us about the Kurama Fire Festival, which is held on October 22 every year)
Make your own Incense and enjoy an incense-smelling course!
Yamadamatsu kobokuten is a long established incense shop, located near Kyoto Imperial Palace. They have an excellent reputation for quality products made from natural materials. Smell the various woods they use, and make your own incense. Reservations must be made in Japanese however, for the “smelling incense” course. It offers workshops to experience the basics of Kodo,an incense ceremony. Reservations required.
Address : Muromachi-dori Shimodachiuriagaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City
Telephone : 075-441-1123
Business Hours : 9:3 0a.m.-5:30p.m.Courses are between 10:00 to 2:00pm.
Closed : Sunday and Public holidays
Access : City Bus to “Karasuma-Shimochojamachi”.
- Smelling incense: 1,500 yen
- Making sachet: 2,000 yen
9. BUDDHIST TEMPLES & SHINTO SHRINES
Buddhist Temples. Japanese temples date back to the Nara (710-794), Heian (794-1195), Kamakura (1195-1333) and Muromachi (1333-1460) periods. A large number of them are clustered around the ancient capitals of Nara, Kyoto and Kamakura.
Shinto Shrines. Shinto is the native religion of Japan, worshipping the local deities inhabiting mountains, rivers, and other natural features. It has no doctrine or scriptures and the most well-known shrines belong to the imperial and old aristocratic clans. The deity or kami (god) of the shrine resides in an inner sanctum. However, there are no images on display.
Try a Zazen, Zen sitting meditation or shakyo, copying sutras. Relax and free your mind, emptying it from worries and stresses so it can rest for awhile.
There are close to 3,000 temples and almost 2,000 shrines can be found in the city.[/one_third_last]
Toei Uzumasa Eigamura Movie Museum is known as the “Hollywood of Japan.” Many movies were shot here. It gives you an opportunity to learn about the history of Japanese film culture, while also enjoying various attractions, including seeing “real” samurai and ninja. You can also become a samurai or a princess. You can put on samurai gear with real disguises, including wigs and makeup. You can even attend a samurai training course! You can also see historical movies and TV shows being shot. Don’t miss the thrilling haunted house, which is spine-tingling! Certainly, an attraction not to be missed.
- 10 Uzumasa, Hachigaoka-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City.
Telephone : 075-864-7716
- Mar 1st – Nov 30th: 9:00am – 5:00pm
- Dec 1st- End of February: 9:30am – 4:00pm.
- Closed : Dec 24th – Dec 31th
- Kyoto City Bus to “Toei Uzumasa Movie Land”.Keifuku Railway to “Uzumasa Kouryuji”,5 min walk.JR Line to “hanazono” or “Uzumasa”,13 min walk.
- General: 2,200 yen
- Junior/Senior High School Students: 1,300 yen
- Children: 1,100 yen
- Special discounts available for groups of 25 people or more.
- Additional fees required for historical costumes, disguises and attractions.
11. ARASHIYAMA AREA
The beautiful Arashiyama area has inspired many poems and songs of old, such as the Utamakura. The mountain range spans Ukyo-ku and Saikyo-ku, with an elevation of 381.5 meters. It is also a National historic site.
Right outside the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is the northern gate of Tenryu-ji Temple. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the five major temples of Kyoto.
High school students and older: ¥500
Elementary and middle school students: ¥300
Preschool children: Free
Tenryu-ji Garden and Buildings:
Admission fees are the same as above, plus ¥100
Tenryuji’s buildings are occasionally closed without notice for special ceremonies and other activities.
Scheduled closings for 2015 are: Oct. 29 to 30 (until early afternoon)
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is also beside the Iwata mountain which is home to the Japanese macaques.
The scenic Katsura River runs beneath. You can also take peaceful boat rides along the river.
It is inhabited by a troop of about 120 wild Japanese macaques, who are also known as Snow monkeys. They stay around the feeding site at the top during the day and retreat back into the mountains after closing time. To get there, you have to hike up the trail from the entrance to the top. During spring, beautiful cherry blossoms bloom along the trail and in autumn, you see the coloured leaves of fall. You may also spot wild deer and about 100 kinds of birds among trees. There is also a playground for children. At the top, there is a feeding hut with wire fencing over the windows, where visitors can feed monkeys. Outside, you will enjoy a panoramic view of Kyoto City itself.
〒616-0007, 8, Arashiyama Genrokuzan-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Child (under 4yrs): Free, Child (4 – 15 yrs): 250円, Adult (over 15 yrs): 550円
Individual admission tickets are available in a vending machine at the entrance.
Spring & Summer
Entrance: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Mountaintop: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Entrance: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Mountaintop: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.