Kyoto is a must if you’re planning on visiting Japan. Unlike Tokyo, Kyoto is more traditional and slow-paced. We took the JR train from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Kyoto, which took about two and a half hours. The ride is pretty relaxing and you can also catch a view of Mt Fuji on the way. We stayed at an Airbnb in Kyoto, which was super small and I guess pretty common in a lot of cities in Japan, but I would also recommend staying in a ryokan, a traditional style inn. This is definitely what I would do next time.
There are sooo many things to do and see in Kyoto that, unfortunately, we weren’t able see it all in our two day trip. We rented bikes for $10/day, which I think is the best way to see and get around Kyoto. We were able to hit some of the popular spots like Fushimi Inari-taisha (shrine with torii gates), Kinkaku-ji (golden temple), Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace; but there are literally so many more temples, shrines, and parks that we didn’t get to see. We didn’t even make it to Arashiyama (bamboo forest), which was very high on my list. =(
This only means that I need to plan a second trip back to Kyoto to try and see everything else that I missed. After a couple of days in Kyoto, we hopped back on the JR line again and made our way to Osaka. Stay tuned!