Japan is one of my favourite countries, and Kyoto is my favourite city in Japan – that pretty much sums up what I feel about the nation’s former capital. Unlike buzzing Tokyo, I love that Kyoto is rich in traditional cultures, and it is a thorough reflection of Japan’s unique approach to beauty. Being a detail-oriented type A Virgo, I can easily relate to and respect how the Japanese people respect everything they touch and take even the smallest thing into the utmost care. That is what I call the art of living – and Kyoto is the epitome of this art. Since there are so much to see and do within and in the surrounding areas of the city, I highlighted only the best of my recent trip there as a quick guide for you.
WHERE TO STAY: THE CELESTINE KYOTO GION
I highly recommend any first-timer to stay in the Gion area, also known as the geisha district, in order to fully immerse in the rich cultures of Japan. Kyoto is among the top three cities with the most Michelin stars in the world, and Gion is the home of many of these oldest restaurants for kaiseki cuisine. The Celestine is within walking distance from many popular attractions – in fact, strolling back to the hotel was one of the most enjoyable parts of my trip. The hotel itself is understatedly modern and minimal in design – a very Japanese aesthetic, which I ♥︎
WHAT TO SEE: KYOTO IMPERIAL PALACE
A rather less popular spot to visit for tourists. So if you want to avoid the crowd in other more visited sites, this is a lovely choice for a peaceful break. I like to fit a palace visit on my agenda every time I am travelling to somewhere with a monarchy background, as I find that it is a great way to really get to know the country’s histories and cultures – after all, who isn’t curious about the royal family, right?
WHAT TO EAT: GION MARUYAMA
A two Michelin starred traditional kaiseki restaurant with a good local reputation. There are SO many options for kaiseki experience in Kyoto. I just went with my gut and decided on this lovely place. They have two branches – one located just seconds away from The Celestine, and I went to the original one instead. Kaiseki cuisine is truly the highest form of culinary art and a must-do when in Kyoto. It is a feast for the eyes, as much as for the taste buds. I can’t help but admire how the Japanese artisans turn even the most ordinary ingredients into elegant delicacies with so much care and love – a work ethic we should all learn from.
Until next time, City of Ten Thousand Shrines ⛩❤️