My essential list of what to do in Kyoto Japan.
Stay in a Pod Hotel
Ok here is my reasoning. I was totally fascinated by pod hotels when I first heard about them but the fear of sleeping that close to a stranger aka weirdo was just too much. I stumbled across 9 hour hotel and my mind was made up this was the place. 9 Hours hotel is spotless, super futuristic and all instructions are illustrated. Genius. Kyoto being a very civilized and mellow city the clientel was also extremely quiet friendly and polite. A mix of a few single female travelers and Japanese business men and women on an overnight trip. If you have ever wanted to check it out. This is the place.
Kinkaku Ji Golden Temple Pavillion
Its like stepping back into shogun times. Beautiful zen gardens full of bonsai and carp. This was my Kyoto dream. I won’t spoil it just go.
Cycle the streets
The Kyoto Kaleidoscope Museum
“Try” to be a geisha for the day
I chose WAK Japan for this particular experience for 2 reasons. WAK is involved in grass routs tourism employing local housewives who have spent their whole lives studying and perfecting these ancient traditions and as demand for them in the day-to-day Japanese life is falling they play an important part in maintaining these arts and teaching them to the next generating. 2 I liked the fact you had so many choices of programs; Ikebana flower arrangement, As usual i had little time (an afternoon) and i wanted to do as much as possible. I chose the green tea ceremony followed by Sake tasting. I got my kimono on and tried valiantly to be graceful and meticulous for an afternoon. In my eyes it was impressive. In the eyes of the Geisha who’s trained for 40 years and still says she isn’t perfect it must have been like an elephant dancing swan lake. Totally humbling experience.
I gather there are a number of Sake Museums around the Kyoto area. I visited a beautiful small wooden one as part of the WAK tour and i have no clue what it was called. Next question. Yes we tasted lots of Sake it was amazing and i can now impress my friends with my totally made up knowledge of Sake flavors and brewing methods. I did learn why they hang those giant dried grass balls outside bars and restaurant’s though. Knowledge is power! Check it out.
Kyoto Botanical Gardens
Botanical gardens might not be your first thought on a city sight-seeing list but in this case make an exception. The Japanese traditions associated with gardening are lengthy and ingrained in so many aspects of the culture from bonsai to zen gardens. The Kyoto botanical gardens are sprawling and
fascinating. If nothing else you can go when you can no longer bear to see another temple!