Kyoto is the premier tourist destination in Japan and there is certainly good reason for it. Allow yourselves at least a few days to explore the area during which be sure to check out our top 5 things to do in Kyoto.
1. Stay at Millennials Hostel
Hands down the best hostel we've ever stayed in and it really was one of the highlights of our time in Kyoto. Each pod style, semi-double bed is controlled by an iPod touch, given to you at check in, and you can even upgrade to a pod with a projector on your shutter screen for the ultimate Netflix and chill. They offer free breakfast and coffee (bean to cup coffee machine) served in an immaculate kitchen which can be used for cooking as well as a large co-working space and just when you think you didn't need any more reasons to stay here, there's free beer at happy hour too!
2. Fushimi Inari Shrine
One of the most Instagrammable places in Kyoto, it's hard to capture a bad shot through the thousands of orange shrines lining the paths. Grab some of the amazing street food at the base before hiking the 12000 steps, making sure you summit this baby mountain for views over the city. The hike is fairly easy and can be completed in a couple of hours unless, like us, you stop for pictures every 5 minutes... and best of all it's free!
3. Rent a bicycle
Kyoto is a huge, flat city, making two wheels the best way to get around. We had so much fun cycling around the city and hopping between temples. You can cycle on the roads or pavements, dodging cars and pedestrians alike. Millenials Hostel has bicycles to rent for 1200yen per day which is useful as you cannot park your bikes on the street in Downtown Kyoto. Alternatively, there are bike rental shops around the city.
We cycled here one morning in an easy 40 minutes ride but you can also get there by bus or train too. Visit early or be prepared to walk slowly through crowds of tourists. Here you can explore the Bamboo forest, get a boat along the river, visit a UNESCO Heritage temple and hike up monkey hill, plenty to keep you occupied for a whole day trip.
5. Golden temple
Undoubtedly our favourite temple in Kyoto, sitting in a serene lake proudly boasting its beautiful reflection and surrounded by colourful trees in the fall or cherry blossoms in the spring. It's nearly impossible to take a bad picture here anytime of year. Take a slow walk around the grounds within 30 minutes.