Kyoto Attractions To Visit During Japan’s Winter Season
Kyoto may not be as famous as Hokkaido for a winter holiday destination but it does offer its own unique charm and beauty with its variety of Kyoto attractions to enjoy during the colder months of the year.
If you’re thinking of spending the last few weeks of winter in Japan, you might want to book your flight to Kyoto and discover what Japan’s former capital city has to offer for an exciting Japan travel experience during the winter holidays!
Located on the island of Honshu, Kyoto which was the former capital city of Japan is one of the country’s largest cities home to about 1.5 million people. Just like Osaka, Kyoto is a prefecture in the northernmost part of the country with nearby Japan tourist places like Nara, Kobe and Osaka.
Places to visit in Kyoto
Photo Courtesy: Ohara Sanso Facebook Page
During winter, onsen or Japanese hot springs are popular places in Japan. There’s nothing more relaxing than enjoying a hot bath during the cold winter. There are a lot of hot springs to choose from in Kyoto but we recommend you to go to Ohara Sanso.
Surrounded by nature, Ohara Sanso is a Japanese hot spring which is only an hour away from Kyoto station. Ideal for an afternoon of relaxation, you will want to include Ohara Sanso in your itinerary after a whole day of visiting different Kyoto attractions in the city. Aside from the hot spring, they also have a café where they serve delicious local Japanese food like Chicken Miso Hot Pot, Omi Syamo Chicken Sukiyaki, Otsokuri or Saka Lees Hot Pot.
Address: 17 Oharakusaocyo Sagyou-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto prefecture 601-1248
Photo Courtesy: Sanzen-In Temple Website
About 23 mins from Ohara Sanso is our next featured Kyoto attraction.
Although it is most popular with both local and international travellers during the autumn season, Sanzen-In Temple still deserves a spot in your Kyoto winter itinerary as it transforms into a stunning snowscape during winter.
Originally built as a hermitage by Saicho or Dengyo Daishi, Sanzen-In Temple is a Kyoto attraction where some members of the imperial family served here in their priesthood. It is one of the five Tendai Monzeki temples also known as Nashimoto Monzeki or Kaji Monzeki and the whole place is a sight even when it is covered with snow. After visiting the temple, you may walk up to the hill and see Oto-nashi-no-taki or the Soundless Waterfall.
TOEI Kyoto Studio Park
\Photo Courtesy: Toei Eigamura Website
Japanese film enthusiasts will enjoy a day tour of TOEI Kyoto Studio Park, one of the places to visit in Kyoto where you can watch the filming of period dramas also known as jidaigeki films. You can even walk through the film set which depicts the streets and surroundings from the Edo period.
Address: 10 Uzumasa Higashihachiokachō, Ukyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 616-8161, Japan
Admission Fee (Tax Included): Adults 2,200yen, Junior High/High School Students 1,300yen, Age3 to Elementary School Students 1,100yen
VASARA KIMONO Rental
Aside from tasting mouth-watering Japanese food, visiting traditional temples and heritage sites, one of the things to do in Japan is to wear the Kimono. Commemorate your Japan travel adventure to Kyoto by taking pictures at famous Kyoto attractions while wearing a Kimono. For your Kimono rental, visit VASARA Kimono Rental which offers an expansive collection of classic and stunning kimonos you can rent out for a day. For an even better experience, they also offer photography services to give you the best photographs you can take home!
Address: 441,Hayashita cho,Higashiyama ku,Kyoto shi,Kyoto
Know your fortune by visiting Kifune-jinja located in the quaint village of Kibune. Kifune-jinja is the main attraction of Kibune and has been attracting thousands of tourists every year. What it is most famous for aside from its lovely scenery is that you can get your fortune told by the water god’s holy water. They use o-mikuji known as paper fortunes and they set it afloat on the waters as it reveals your fortune. This is definitely a unique activity you can enjoy in Kyoto.
Where to stay in Kyoto
Photo Courtesy: Hanaikada Website
Complete your Kyoto travel experience by booking your stay at Hanaikada – a ryokan or traditional Japanese-style inn located in the Arashiyama Area. This particular part of Kyoto is distinct compared to other parts of the city as it offers a traditional atmosphere much like the old Japanese era. Hanaikada, situated near the Togetsukyo Bridge – a symbol of Arashiyama Area in Kyoto is accessible to other nearby Kyoto attractions like Hozugawa Kudari riverboat, bamboo groves and the Tenryu-ji Temple which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Kyoto hotel also has an open-air bath with a view of the Togetsukyo Bridge.
Address: Minami-tsume, Togetsu-kyo, Arashiyama, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, 616-0004
Machiya Ryokan CAMPTON I
Photo Courtesy: Relux Japan Website
Another way to experience Kyoto is to stay in a Machiya Ryokan – a traditional Kyoto townhouse where you can have a taste of elegance during your stay in the city. The best place to book is Machiya Ryokan CAMPTON I, a modern homestay with preserved classic Kyoto style. To give you a natural warmth during the cold winter days, this Kyoto homestay is made from good quality wood plus a bath that is made from Japanese umbrella pine wood.
Address: 862-3 Ushitoracho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8304
Photo Courtesy: Toyouke Chaya Website
Toyouke Chaya first opened in 1992 and has since been serving the best tofu in town. Aside from its delicious serving of tofu, what makes Toyouke Chaya one of the best in Kyoto is that it is cheaper compared to other restaurants. You might want to come early if you’re planning to dine in this Kyoto restaurant as it always attracts tourists causing long lines every day. But the waiting time is always worth it, as there isn’t any other place in Kyoto that serves the best tofu like Toyouke Chaya.
Address: 602-8384 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Kamigyo Ward
Opening Hours:11 AM – 3 PM Monday – Sunday | Closed on Thursday
Photo Courtesy: Tousuiro
The consistency in taste, texture and quality of local Japanese food, especially tofu is what makes Tousuiro a famous Japanese restaurant in Kyoto. Although dining at Tousuiro isn’t the cheapest way to enjoy tofu in Kyoto, the ambience of the restaurant gives you a local feel as it is situated in a charming machiya townhouse.
Address: 38-1,Bisyamonten-Cho,4 Matubara-Agaru,Higashioji,Higashiyama-Ku,Kyoto-Shi
Opening Hours:Monday – Friday 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM | 5:00 PM – 9:30 | Saturday,Sunday,Holiday 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM
What to eat in Kyoto
Apart from the classic Japanese favourites are winter sweets you can’t miss out during your Kyoto travel!
Anon Gion Honten
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Anon Gion Honten is a dessert café situated in Gion, a popular sightseeing place in Kyoto. Served here is a wide variety of desserts that range from delicious pastries to special flavoured ice cream, macaroons and many more. Spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying these sweet treats before heading out to explore the rest of Kyoto. This Kyoto attraction is a 5-minute walk from Keihan Gion Shijo Station.
Address: 368-2, Kiyomotocho, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0084, Japan
Opening Hours: Mon- Fri 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM | Sat 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM | Sun and Public holiday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM | Regular holiday: Tuesday
Kagizen Yoshifusa Zen Café
Photo Courtesy: Kagizen
Have a taste of traditional sweets plus a refreshing cup of matcha tea when you visit Kagizen Yoshifusa, a well-known okashi-ya or sweetshop in Gion. They also serve cold kuzukiri (transparent arrowroot noodles) which comes with kuro-mitsu (sweet black sugar).
Address: 570-210 Gion-machi Minami-gawa Hana-machi, Higashi-yama-ku, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Closed every Monday)
If you can’t get enough of Japan, read our Japan travel guides as we present to you an array of attractions, things to do and places to visit the next time you’re planning to go to the Land of the Rising Sun!