Kyoto Travel Guide & Trip Planning

Quick Facts

  • Japanese Yen is the preferred method of payment - always carry cash on you.
  • Very little places take foreign credit cards or any credit cards at all.
  • If you need to get money out find a 7-Eleven store and use their ATM.
  • Plugs have two flat pins and are 100V (same as American plugs).
  • Do not tip anywhere in Japan.

How To Get To Kyoto

by Plane

The main airport that services Kyoto is Kansai International Airport (Code: KIX). Do be aware that it is over an hour away from Kyoto. There is a direct and express train that you can take from the airport to Kyoto central.

By Train

Kyoto Train Station is huge and links to many of the surrounding cities including Tokyo and Osaka. The Shinkansen (Bullet Train) also will arrive here.

How To Get Around

Kyoto Subway 

I actually never took the subway while I was in Kyoto, but I have heard great things. The two lines run north to south and east to west covering the city. They are open from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm - so plan accordingly. Fare costs about 200 yen.

Travel Tip: Getting around Kyoto is easy if you have a data SIM Card. We recommend purchasing a SIM from either  Mobal or SIM Card Geekboth of which ship internationally free of charge.

Bus in Kyoto

This is the way that most tourists navigate Kyoto, myself included. The bus system is incredibly efficient and covers the entire city. Also, most buses have English speaking announcements and there is a helpful TV screen at the front that lists off upcoming stops in Japanese and English. The buses run from 7 am to 9 pm. Be sure you have coins on you so you can pay for your ride.

Other ways to get around Kyoto

Taxi: There are many taxis driving around the city, but they are expensive and the drivers speak very little English. 

Uber: Nope. But, there is a specific Kyoto app that is similar to Uber. I couldn't get it to work - good luck!

Bicycle: Kyoto is flat and there are many shops to rent bikes!

Top Sights

Best Hotels in Kyoto


Japaning Hotel Kyoto

While in Kyoto I stayed at Japaning hotel. It was simple but a great hotel if you are on a budget. It also comes with a kitchen which helps save money!


Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

If you want a luxury stay, I highly recommend the Ritz Carlton Kyoto. It is brand new and stunning is an understatement.

Best Restaurants

Musashi Sushi in Kyoto

Musashi Sushi in Kyoto

% Arabica Kyoto Higashiyama

% Arabica Kyoto Higashiyama

% Arabica Kyoto Higashiyama

Some of the best coffee in all of Kyoto.

Sizuya Gion

A quick stop to grab fresh baked bread and excellent sandwiches right before you go palace hopping. 

Sushi no Musashi

Conveyor belt sushi right inside of the Kyoto train station. Not only is it super convenient, but it is also delicious and ridiculously cheap.

Final Thoughts

One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. Here are some books I recommend...

A super common question I get is: what camera do I use for my travels. The body is a Nikon D3300 and this is the wide angle lens I use and love - I am seriously obsessed with it. 

My full guide that includes all the camera gear I take on every trip is here.


And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email ( 

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Everything you need to know to plan an amazing trip to Kyoto!

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