Kiyomizu About Kyoto aryashiyama
Planning to visit Kyoto, then pack your walking shoes because Kyoto is a city best explored on foot. Wander down the narrow side streets and you will find the real treasures of Kyoto. You never know what you’re going to see, artisans hand painting paper lanterns, woodworkers crafting objects out of bamboo or an ancient temple with origins dating back to the 15th century.

Kyoto has a total of 17 buildings comprising temples, shrines, and a castle that were recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritages. All have structures designated as National Treasures, and beautiful gardens. But these aren’t the only sights in Kyoto. There are more than 1,600 temples and 400 shrines plus countless gardens to explore in this former imperial city.

Many people also use Kyoto as a base camp and take day or overnight trips to neighboring areas. The ancient city of Nara is an easy day trip as is the modern city of Osaka. And Hiroshima and Miyajima are less than 3 hours away by Shinkansen, making for perfect two or three day adventure.

busCity Bus Getting Around The City
Kyoto has an excellent bus system that is not only easy to navigate but blankets the city. Many of the bus routes start from Kyoto Station and make a loop around the city, making it hard to get lost. It is the least expensive way to move around the city and will get you much closer to the sightseeing spots than riding the subway.

We provide our clients with self-guided walking tour maps of Kyoto. These tours include bus directions along with a brief description of the sights. We encourage you to explorer Kyoto on your own.
Dining
Hotel restaurants are usually very expensive, not a good choice if you are traveling on a budget. Local restaurants, found in abundance around any railway station, offer more moderate prices (by Japanese standards) and a chance to sample the local cuisine.

Many restaurants have a display case with plastic replicas of the dishes they serve along with the price.
windowWindow Display
breakfast Many coffee shops serve a set breakfast, called “morning service” for around $5 to $7. It usually consists of a small salad, toast or bun, a hard boiled egg and a cup of coffee. Some restaurants even offer you a refill on your coffee (others charge for refill so be careful). This is a real bargain when you consider a cup of coffee alone can cost between $3-$5 without refill. Expect to pay $25 and up for a buffet breakfast in hotel restaurants.
Set Meals
Set meals are offered at many restaurants, called “Teishoku” in Japanese restaurants, they are usually available for both lunch and dinner. For a set price, you get soup, rice, pickles, a main course and tea. Western style restaurants call it “set course” (seto korusu), meal includes an appetizer, main course, coffee/tea and sometimes even dessert. In inexpensive restaurants expect to pay around $10 for lunch and around $20 for dinner.
teishoku
Special Kyoto Cuisine
In the culinary world of Japan, Kyoto is renown for its traditional style of cooking.

kaiseki
Kaiseki-ryori

Kaiseki-ryori is the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine, emphasizing the regions freshest seasonal ingredients and celebrating them with traditional preparation and presentation. The meal consists of numerous courses, each small portion served in an individual dish. A Japanese gourmand would eat slowly, savoring each morsel, while appreciating the artistic presentation.

Kyoto cuisine (Kyo-ryori), is a style of cooking using age-old customs using fresh seasonal vegetables and emphasizes subtle flavors, revealing the natural flavor of ingredients. Kyo-ryori is selected according to the mood and hues of ever-changing seasons, and the presentation and atmosphere are as important as the flavor.
Kyo-Kaiseki is a combination of the two styles and is the epitome of cuisine in Kyoto.

To be honest with you, for those of us with uneducated pallets, this type of cuisine is hard to appreciate. I equate it to going to a ballet or the opera. I only mention these special cuisines because they are well developed in Kyoto. The restaurants specializing in these cuisines are very expensive. Expect to pay upwards of $200 per person for even the most basic of meal. The sky is the limit.

If you just want to give it a try, look for a restaurant that serves a kaiseki-bento (lunch box). These are much cheaper and will provide the experience without breaking the bank.
Temple Cuisine
From the temples comes another style of cooking known as shojin-ryori. This is a vegetarian cuisine (no meat, fish, eggs or dairy products are used), which was introduced from China along with Buddhism and perfected by the monks. Several Kyoto temples offer lunch courses from around $30 per person. Most shojin-ryori restaurants require reservations a few days in advance and in some case a minimum of four people.
yudofu
Shojin-ryori
Yudofu
Yudofu
Tofu Cuisine
Kyoto is also famous for its tofu (soybean curd). There are numerous yudofu (boiled tofu) restaurants in the city.
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