In the garden of our Airbnb home (linked below in the city guide section)

In the garden of our Airbnb home (linked below in the city guide section)

  COS Sweater , Proenza Schouler Skirt, The Row Shoes, Maison Michel Hat, Gucci Sunglasses, CVC Stones Necklace

COS Sweater, Proenza Schouler Skirt, The Row Shoes, Maison Michel Hat, Gucci Sunglasses, CVC Stones Necklace

  Tara Jarmon Trench ,  Maison Labiche Sweater , Chanel Bag,  Eric Javits Hat , Oliver Peoples Sunglasses

Tara Jarmon Trench, Maison Labiche Sweater, Chanel Bag, Eric Javits Hat, Oliver Peoples Sunglasses

 Oldest soba house in Kyoto (553-years-old),  Honke Owariya   Heard there is usually a line, but arrived at 11am (opening time) and we were seated right away.

Oldest soba house in Kyoto (553-years-old), Honke Owariya

Heard there is usually a line, but arrived at 11am (opening time) and we were seated right away.

 Fish cake for appetizers

Fish cake for appetizers

 Cold Hourai soba that comes with 8 toppings of shiitake mushrooms, shredded omelet, shrimp tempura, nori, wasabi, grated daikon, sesame seeds, and green Japanese leeks

Cold Hourai soba that comes with 8 toppings of shiitake mushrooms, shredded omelet, shrimp tempura, nori, wasabi, grated daikon, sesame seeds, and green Japanese leeks

 Green tea and black sesame soft serve

Green tea and black sesame soft serve

  Tea Ceremony Camellia   We (party of 5) arrived without making a reservation and was turned away being told they are completely booked for the entire month. Plan ahead if you want to experience a traditional tea ceremony!

Tea Ceremony Camellia

We (party of 5) arrived without making a reservation and was turned away being told they are completely booked for the entire month. Plan ahead if you want to experience a traditional tea ceremony!

 Bought a box of rice cake (mochi) from a street vendor!

Bought a box of rice cake (mochi) from a street vendor!

  Uokeya U   One-Michelin Star restaurant specializing in unagi (freshwater eel). We arrived a half hour before their 5pm opening time without a reservation and were luckily told we could be seated exactly at 5. There was a line forming already so a reservation is definitely recommended. If not, come around 4:30 and see if you can get on the list!

Uokeya U

One-Michelin Star restaurant specializing in unagi (freshwater eel). We arrived a half hour before their 5pm opening time without a reservation and were luckily told we could be seated exactly at 5. There was a line forming already so a reservation is definitely recommended. If not, come around 4:30 and see if you can get on the list!

 Their biggest offering for 5 people. Definitely more than enough food per person! It was really yum.

Their biggest offering for 5 people. Definitely more than enough food per person! It was really yum.

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 Took the train to Nara! First meal of the day at  Tonkatsu Ganko .

Took the train to Nara! First meal of the day at Tonkatsu Ganko.

  Todai-ji Temple   One of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. Also has inside the Great Buddha Hall.

Todai-ji Temple

One of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. Also has inside the Great Buddha Hall.

 Deer are considered a national treasure and run freely in  Nara .

Deer are considered a national treasure and run freely in Nara.

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 Roasted green tea / floatie break after Nara Park

Roasted green tea / floatie break after Nara Park

  Forever Museum of Contemporary Art  for the Yayoi Kusama Exhibit!

Forever Museum of Contemporary Art for the Yayoi Kusama Exhibit!

 Also came for the Kusama treats at  NORTHSHORE  (inside the museum)

Also came for the Kusama treats at NORTHSHORE (inside the museum)

 Cotton candy seems really popular in Japan.  Jeremy & Jemimah  had some really great flavors such as matcha, sakura mochi, cherry blossom, roasted green tea, soy powder…

Cotton candy seems really popular in Japan. Jeremy & Jemimah had some really great flavors such as matcha, sakura mochi, cherry blossom, roasted green tea, soy powder…

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  % ARABICA KYOTO 嵐山   Really great lattes as well as baguettes w/ cheese and proscuitto (I may have enjoyed the sandwich even more than the coffee!).

% ARABICA KYOTO 嵐山

Really great lattes as well as baguettes w/ cheese and proscuitto (I may have enjoyed the sandwich even more than the coffee!).

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  Arashiyama Bamboo Grove   Entering the park was super crowded and we followed what felt like an assembly line through the main path, but we tried to turn at different parts and discovered some quieter areas. It’s really amazing to look up and feel the vastness of the bamboo trees.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Entering the park was super crowded and we followed what felt like an assembly line through the main path, but we tried to turn at different parts and discovered some quieter areas. It’s really amazing to look up and feel the vastness of the bamboo trees.

  Taishou HANANA   On line for when the restaurant opens at 11am. They are known for chazuke, a simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea or dashi over cooked rice.

Taishou HANANA

On line for when the restaurant opens at 11am. They are known for chazuke, a simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea or dashi over cooked rice.

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 Finally in, and it was delicious.

Finally in, and it was delicious.

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 There was a Rilakkuma “shrine” at the back of the Rilakkuma store and cafe (haha).

There was a Rilakkuma “shrine” at the back of the Rilakkuma store and cafe (haha).

 Miffy Sakura Bakery

Miffy Sakura Bakery

 The prettiest foot massage at Arashiyu after a long day.

The prettiest foot massage at Arashiyu after a long day.

 A ride on the Sagano Romantic Train to view the autumn foliage

A ride on the Sagano Romantic Train to view the autumn foliage

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 Quick last meal at Kyoto Station – really good conveyor belt sushi at  Sushi no Musashi

Quick last meal at Kyoto Station – really good conveyor belt sushi at Sushi no Musashi

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 Picking up snacks for the train ride from  551 Horai  (at Kyoto Station). Originally from Osaka, these were legit the best pork buns I have tasted in my entire life.

Picking up snacks for the train ride from 551 Horai (at Kyoto Station). Originally from Osaka, these were legit the best pork buns I have tasted in my entire life.

 Amazing bento boxes to-go (seriously on another level) and other snacks to try here.

Amazing bento boxes to-go (seriously on another level) and other snacks to try here.

 Taking the  Shinkansen  (bullet train) to Tokyo!

Taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo!

Kyoto was magical! This was my third time to Japan and I felt like we were able to enjoy the culture a lot more without being so rushed. My first time to the country was about 10 years ago with my family and we did a Japan tour to all the major cities, and the second was three years ago to Kanazawa (you can read about it here). This year, we made the trip to Kyoto to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday. We stayed in a really, really nice Airbnb home, where the set up was perfect for our family of 5. There was a spacious living area, dining space, full kitchen, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms (with full tubs). It was a really nice mix of modern and traditional, and our host was super accommodating. We cooked a few meals at home after shopping at the local supermarket (and let me tell you – you end up wanting to buy everything at Japanese supermarkets). I felt like this set up just made more sense than getting three rooms at a hotel somewhere; it gave us a lot of quality time to talk even late into the night and made it feel real. We spent two of the days exploring the city (lots of temples) and one day out in Nara – about a 40 minute train ride from Kyoto Station. I feel like we did so much in the few days we were there, but as always, there is never enough time when you’re traveling and exploring an amazing, amazing place. Below are the places I’ve visited on this trip, as well as some additional recommendations from others. Stay tuned for my Tokyo diary coming up next!


*Indicates I have not been yet, however have been recommended

Stay

Airbnb – where we stayed – local traditional-style townhouse
Perfect for our family! Houses up to 6 people and has everything you could possibly need.

Four Seasons Kyoto*
東山区妙法院前側町445-3
Kyoto, Kyōto
605-0932

The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto*
中京区鉾田町543
Kyoto, Kyōto
604-0902

Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei*
中京区六角町361 (新町通六角下る)
Kyoto, Kyōto
604-8212

Sakura Terrace The Gallery*
東九条上殿田町39
Kyoto, Kyōto
601-8002

Villa Sanjo Muromachi Kyoto*
375, Ennogyouja-cho, Nagakyo-ku
Nakagyō, Kyōto
604-8174

Hotel Kanra Kyoto*
下京区北町190 (烏丸通六条下る)
Kyoto, Kyōto

Hotel The Celestine Kyoto Gion*
東山区八坂通東大路西入る小松町572
Kyoto, Kyōto

Kyomachiya Hotel Shiki Juraku*
東大路西入る小松町572 Yasaka Dori
Kyoto, Kyōto
605-0933

Caffeniate

% ARABICA KYOTO 嵐山
中京区晴明町650 (二条通柳馬場東入)
Kyoto, Kyōto
604-0951

% ARABICA KYOTO 東山*
東山区星野町87-5
Kyoto, Kyōto

Ippodo Tea*
中京区常盤木町52 (寺町通二条上ル)
Kyoto, Kyōto
604-0915

Cafe Bibliotic Hello!*
中京区晴明町650 (二条通柳馬場東入)
Kyoto, Kyōto
604-0951

Vermillion - cafe.*
伏見区深草稲荷御前町85
Kyoto, Kyōto
612-0881

Weekenders Coffee 富小路*
中京区骨屋之町 (富小路六角下ル西側コインパーキング裏)
Kyoto, Kyōto
604-8064

Sweets

Rilakkuma Cafe
右京区嵯峨天龍寺北造路町15
Kyoto, Kyōto
616-8374

Miffy Sakura Bakery
20番27 Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichicho
Ukyō, Kyōto
616-8384

NORTHSHORE kyoto gion museum店
東山区祇園町南側570-2 (フォーエバー現代美術館 ミュージアムカフェ)
Kyoto, Kyōto
605-0074

JEREMY&JEMIMAH
51−4 Shimobentencho
Higashiyama Ward
Kyoto, Kyōto
605-0823

Eat

Honke Owariya
中京区仁王門突抜町322 (車屋町通二条下る)
Kyoto, Kyōto
604-0841

Uokeya U
祇園町南側570-120
京都市東山区, Kyōto
605-0074

Tonkatsu Ganko Nara
東向中町19
Nara, Nara
630-8125

Taishou HANANA
右京区嵯峨天龍寺瀬戸川町26-1
Kyoto, Kyōto
616-8376

Sushi no Musashi
下京区東塩小路高倉町8-3 (アスティ京都1F 京都おもてなし小路)
Kyoto, Kyōto
600-8214

Visit

Sanjūsangen-dō Temple
東山区三十三間堂廻り町657
Kyoto, Kyōto
605-0941

Ryoan-ji Rock Garden
右京区龍安寺御陵下町13 (龍安寺)
Kyoto, Kyōto
616-8001

Kinkaku-ji Temple
北区金閣寺町1
Kyoto, Kyōto
603-8361

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
右京区嵯峨小倉山田淵山町
Kyoto, Kyōto
616-8394

Forever Museum of Contemporary Art
東山区祇園町南側570-2 (八坂倶楽部(祇園甲部歌舞練場 別館))
Kyoto, Kyōto
605-0074

Nara Park
登大路町30
Nara, Nara
630-8213

Todai-ji Temple
雑司町406-1
Nara, Nara
630-8587

Daibutsu-den (Great Buddha Hall)
雑司町406-1 (東大寺境内)
Nara, Nara
630-8211

Togetsu-kyo Bridge
右京区嵯峨天龍寺芒ノ馬場町 / 嵯峨天龍寺造路町 / 嵯峨中ノ島町 (府道29号)
Kyoto, Kyōto
616-8383

Sagano Romantic Train
Torokko-Kameoka Station
篠町馬堀 (嵯峨野観光鉄道)
Kameoka, Kyōto
621-0823

rest

Arashiyu, foot massage & foot spa
右京区嵯峨天龍寺造路町35-40
Kyoto, Kyōto
616-8384

Shop

URBAN RESEARCH DOORS 京都店
三条通柳馬場東入中之町1-2
Nakagyō, Kyōto

ISSEY MIYAKE KYOTO
Nakagyō, Kyōto
604-8112

JINS京都寺町通店
Nakagyō, Kyōto
604-8035

JR Kyoto Isetan
下京区東塩小路町901 (烏丸通塩小路下ル)
Kyoto, Kyōto
600-8555

The CUBE
下京区東塩小路町901 (京都駅ビル B2F/1F-2F/11F)
Kyoto, Kyōto
600-8216


Photos by Hoon Kim and I

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