5 Hidden Gems You Can't Miss in Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan's former capital, has been the center of Japanese culture and tradition since the 8th century, for more than a thousand years. The beautiful temples, shrines, and historic cityscapes that remain today are highlights of a trip to Japan for many people. However, Kyoto is a place that offers even more diverse and irreplicable experiences than one may realize. Here is a list of less-typical experiences that allow travellers to enjoy another side of Kyoto.

Photo: Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

1. Ine Fishing Village

This small fishing village, which is thought to be one of the most picturesque villages in Japan, is located in northern Kyoto. The village is famous for its unique wooden houseboats known as Funaya – several of which have been renovated and now serve as accommodations. Visiting one of these floating houses is bound to be an unforgettable and unique stay.

2. Amanohashidate Sandbar

Amanohashidate, a popular stopover when visiting Ine, is also not to be missed. Amanohashidate, (which translates to "Bridge to Heaven" in English) is known for its sandbar as one of the three scenic views of Japan.

Photo: Amanohashidate Sandbar

3. Miyama

This traditional mountain town, known for its kayabuki (Japanese thatched-roof farmhouses), was selected as one of the Best Tourism Villages 2021 by UNWTO for its efforts to preserve the traditions and heritage of the local community.

4. Wazuka

You can enjoy fresh, high-quality matcha (powdered green tea) almost everywhere in Kyoto, but in this small town in southern Kyoto, you can not only enjoy the taste of matcha, but also the view of beautiful tea fields, and the experience picking tea while on a guided tour.

Photo: Wazuka, Kyoto, Japan

5. Hozu River Boat Cruises

This 2-hour, 16km boat ride, takes passengers down the river from the city of Kameoka, to the famous district of Arashiyama. Cruising the Hozu river offers the thrill and beauty of nature - especially during the autumn, when the changing leaves provide a myriad of splendid colours.

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