Culture / Tour Spots in Kyoto Area

  • Kyoto Aquarium
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    4.0
    550 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Shimogyou-ku Kankijichou 35-1 (in Umekoji Park)
    "This inland aquarium is located in Umekoji Park, about a 15-minute walk from Kyoto Station. It consists of 10 areas, including the area of giant salamanders that inhabit the Kamo River, a huge tank filled with artificial seawater that recreates the Kyoto Sea, dolphins, penguins, etc. In July 2020, ""Jellyfish Wonders"" opened, exhibiting 5,000 jellyfish of about 30 species, the largest number in western Japan."

    Famous aquarium in Kyoto. Worth visiting if you live in Kyoto. One of the unique features of this aquarium is the tanks with countless jellyfish. They display many varieties of jellyfish in various...

  • Kyoto International Manga Museum
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    4.0
    615 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Karasuma-ku Ikegami Le, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
    This manga museum in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto, is Japan's largest manga museum. It first opened in 2006. Including valuable works from the Meiji period and the post-WWII period as well as popular modern titles and foreign works, they have almost 300,000 pieces in their collection. One of their showcases is a ''Manga Wall'' with 50,000 volumes of manga arrayed on bookcases that visitors can freely read. The spacious building is the former Tatsuike Elementary School and people can be found everywhere inside or outside on the lawn reading manga. This is a popular location for foreign tourists and couples.

    Great visit! This is a wonderful stop if you have anyone in your party who is remotely interested in Manga. We spent 1-2 hours there, worth the entrance fee. We all learned great, factual...

  • Kyoto Kyocera Art Museum
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    4.0
    210 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoto-shi Sakyo-ku Okazakienshojicho 124

    An interesting space with a numer of special exhibitions. We were fortunate enough to see a modern, urban art exhibition. The museum was not as expected. The museum at home has permanent...

  • Yasaka Hall Gion Corner
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    3.0
    534 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachiminamigawa 570-2 Inside the Yakinikan
    Here you can enjoy seven of Japan's traditional arts in the space of about an hour including Kyomai traditional Kyoto dance, Kyogen comedy theater, Gagaku traditional court music, Bunraku puppet theater, koto music, tea ceremony, and ikebana flower arranging. It is located inside the Yasaka Hall in Gion, Kyoto City, nearby the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo theater. In the lobby you'll find pictures of annual festivals held in ''Kyoto Gokagai (five districts)'' (Gion Kobu, Miyagawa-cho, Ponto-cho, Kamishichiken, Gion Higashi) as well as a Maiko gallery showing the ornamental flower pins worn by the Maiko, their hairstyles, and other small items. This is a famous place for seeing the character of Japan and is popular amongst students on school trips and foreign visitors. It is a five-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Line.

    Perfect for a short, sharp overview of Japanese culture at an affordable price and in a theatre environment. The show was translated into English so the audience on a device which was very helpful...

  • Kyoto City Zoo
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    3.5
    248 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Okazakihoushoujichou In Okazaki Park
    A zoo established by the city of Kyoto located in the Okazaki area of Sakyo Ward. This historic zoo was the second to be opened in the country, having begun operating in 1903. The zoo is dedicated to animal breeding and has achieved the first successful breeding in Japan of species such as lions, tigers, western lowland gorillas, and lar gibbons. The zoo houses numerous exhibits only found here, including an Asian elephant herd in the Forest of Elephants and a Gorilla House where visitors can see gorillas learning with the use of touch panels, a first in Japan. In the Otogi no Kuni (Fairy Land) exhibit Animals, used to the presence of humans such as domesticated farm animals can be viewed up close and touched, providing visitors to have fun while learning about the preciousness of life.

    Literally horrible, I hated it there. If youre planning on going to Kyoto, go to the aquarium instead, I went there too and its so much better. Went there with my dad, hated this place. The...

  • National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
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    4.0
    158 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Okazakienshoujichou
    This art museum inside Okazaki Park in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City first opened its doors in 1963. The museum’s annex, a modern building of glass and gray walls, was completed in 1986. The museum collects and preserves modern art from both within Japan and around the world and boasts a collection of over 12,000 pieces. The museum places particular emphasis on art from Western Japan and the Kansai region with a focus on Kyoto and has a collection of many works from the Kyoto and Kansai art worlds. The museum also displays industrial art pieces. In addition to a permanent exhibit whose contents are changed periodically, the museum also holds special exhibitions. The adjoining authentic Italian café is also popular.

    The museum is not a large building. I recall seeing 3 levels of exhibitions permanent and also special exhibition. The permanent exhibition was nice although there was no description in other...

  • Byodoin Museum Hoshokan
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    4.5
    234 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Uji-shi Uji Renge 116 (Byodoin Keidai)
    This museum was opened in 2001 to preserve the collection from the former treasure house, which had deteriorated. The garden is designated as a famous historic landmark, and the building exterior is designed to blend perfectly with it, with special features like using natural lighting in the interior. In addition to being a registered National and Uji City Important Cultural Asset, it also displays a collection of Heian period onigawara gargoyle roof tiles excavated from archaeological sites.

    A visit to the museum comes with the entrance price when visiting Byodoin Temple. I found the museum to be a great addition! The museum was pretty large with a lot of great artifacts and information...

  • Uji City The Tale of Genji Museum
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    4.0
    147 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Ujishi Uji Higashiuchi 45-26
    This museum located in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture collects and displays materials pertaining to the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji), the full-length novel by Murasaki Shikibu. Inside, it is divided into video exhibition rooms including the Heian-no-Ma which introduces the world of the Genji Monogatari and the life of Japanese nobles with models and video, and the Uji-no-Ma, which takes the theme of Uji Jujo (The 10 Quires of Uji) in the third part of the Genji Monogatari, which was set in Uji. There are also a teahouse offering Japanese sweets and a shop selling merchandise related to the Genji Monogatari.

    This attractive modern museum reveals the ancient and elegant world of the Heian period of Japan through interactive displays, full screen sets and models. The focus? Just one:The Tale of Genji...

  • Nishijin Textile Center
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    3.5
    173 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto prefecture Kyoto city Kamigyo-ku Horikawa dori Imadegawa south entrance west side
    This meeting hall in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture introduces the charm of Japanese clothing, especially Nishijin silk fabrics, and displays related items. The third floor has a show stage on which they hold the extravagant Kimono Show each hour. With the workshops allowing one to watch artisans up close and the reservation handmaking experience activities, there are facilities for one to watch, sow and experience while learning and having fun. There are also Japanese trinkets on sale including clothing sundries and mufflers made of pure Japan-produced silk.

    My wife was a little disappointed. She was hoping for fabric she couldnt get at home in Australia. Nothing extraordinary.

  • Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art
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    4.0
    151 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Prefecture Otsumi-gun Oyamazaki Town 5-3
    Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art is located in the town of Oyamazaki, Otokuni County, Kyoto Prefecture. Industrialist Shotaro Kaga designed and built the original building, Oyamazaki Villa, which was later remodeled and converted to a museum. It holds exhibits and displays collections of artists associated with the folk art movement. Located on the slopes of Mount Tennozan, it offers a beautiful panoramic view of the confluence of three rivers: the Kizu River, the Uji River, and the Katsura River.

    This relatively small villa museum offers a look at a Western-style residence in Japan along with much decorative art and a few Monet paintings. We made a day trip here from Kyoto with a friend, and...

  • Kyoto National Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Chayachou 527
    A museum located in the Chaya-cho neighborhood of Higashiyama Ward which first opened in 1897 as the Imperial Museum of Kyoto. The museum changed to its current name in 1952. Visitors can enjoy viewing the museum’s collection of masterpieces and historic objects, including National Treasures, such as paintings, carvings, writings, and swords. The museum also holds special exhibitions.
  • Kyoto Botanical Garden
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    3.5
    4 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Shimogamohangichou
    Opened in 1924, this is Japan’s oldest public botanical garden. Some 120 thousand plants grow on the garden’s spacious grounds, spanning some 12 thousand varieties. The south side of the garden features the front entrance flower beds blooming with seasonal flowers, a rose garden, and one of the largest greenhouses in Japan, were visitors can enjoy rare tropical plants such as welwitschia and baobab. The north side of the garden includes the virgin Nakaragi Forest and a garden presenting a natural plant ecology as well as cherry trees, Japanese apricot trees, and Japanese irises. The cherry tree blossoms from mid-March to late April are truly splendid and their illumination at night is a must-see. Children of junior high school age and younger as well as senior citizens 70 years of age and older may enter free. Kitayama Station is the closest station to the garden.

    植物園の中には他に飲食のできるお店がないので、カフェが飲みたくなれば、ここに来ることになる。周囲は芝生の広がるスペースで、非常に気持ちがいい。うどんなどの簡単な軽食もあるようだ。

  • Kyoto Railway Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Shimogyou-ku Kankijichou
    A museum dedicated to railways located on the western side of Kyoto Station. The museum features some 31 thousand square meters of exhibition space, which was the largest in Japan when the facility first opened. The facility displays 53 trains which helped lead the modernization of Japan. The museum is full of other interesting sights and activities, as well, including a giant railroad diorama, a train which visitors can ride pulled by a real steam engine, and a train simulator which shows what it's like to drive a train. The museum also provides a variety of cultural activities such as guided tours and workshops conducted by JR West Japan employees. Walk 20 minutes west from the central entrance of JR Kyoto Station.
  • Hosomi Museum
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    4.0
    83 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Okazakisaishoujichou 6-3
    An art museum primarily dedicated to ancient Japanese art located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The museum first opened in 1998. The museum displays pieces collected by three generations of the Hosomi family, which was started by industrialist and Japanese art collector Kokoan Hosomi. The museum’s collection spans some 1,000 pieces and covers virtually every genre and period of Japanese art, including Shinto and Buddhist art, tea ceremony art, and Edo paintings. The museum holds a variety of special exhibits. It also houses a tea room and shop and is adjoined by a café, making it a popular place for art lovers.

    Entry costs 1400 yen for an adult. You see a few very nice old paintings, and then some memology of them. Like a hokusai painting but with Atom Boy or Hatsume Miku painted in. Which is almost like...

  • Ryozen Museum of History
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    4.0
    66 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Seikanjiryousanchou 1
    The museum is located to the southeast of Kodaiji Temple, across from the Kyoto Ryozen Gokoku Shrine. The museum opened in 1970 as Japan's first museum specializing in comprehensive research on the history of the period from the end of the Edo Period (1603-1867) to the Meiji Restoration (around 1868-1889). A large number of relics and other materials belonging to historical figures active in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate, both on the side of bakufu (the Shogunate) side and tobaku-ha (overthrowing-the-Shogunate group) have been collected and researched. The exhibition is held based on a theme selected from over 5,000 pieces of materials.

    Kyoto offers a zillion temples and shrines. This is a welcome alternative BUT the lack of much English lessens it for us foreigners

  • Maizuru WorldBrick Museum
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    3.5
    62 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Maidurushi Hama 2011
    The Maizuru World Brick Museum was constructed as a torpedo warehouse for the Maizuru naval base in 1903. It's said to be one of the oldest brick and steel frame buildings still standing in Japan. The museum conveys the charm of Japanese brick architecture and its history through exhibits like Bricks of the World, The Hoffman Kiln, The Story of Japanese Bricks, and Bricks and Maizuru City.

    It is probably the only brick museum in the world but it tells a fascinating story about the use of bricks around the world, both the fabrication of bricks and the monumental buildings in so many...

  • Ryukoku University Ryukoku Museum
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    4.0
    41 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto Shirokyo-ku Horikawa Dori Front (Nishihonganji Temple in front)
    Ryukoku Museum is dedicated to Buddhism and based on the research of Ryukoku University. Visitors learn about Buddhist thought, history, and culture through easy to understand displays of authentic items. In addition, their special theme-based exhibitions and planned exhibitions held a few times a year are always interesting. The museum's first floor cafe and shop can be used without visiting the museum itself.

    I discovered this excellent museum by chance when I was visiting Nishi Hongan-ji Temple which is across the street. They have changing exhibitions and while I visited The Beloved Gods and Buddhas of...

  • Japan Kanji Museum and Library
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    4.0
    48 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachiminamigawa 551
    This hands-on experiential museum is full of surprise and discovery with exhibits that, beyond just looking at kanji (Chinese characters), let you touch, learn about, and have fun with them. It's divided into a graphic exhibit and theater on the first-floor and a theme park-like exhibit area and library on the second-floor. Wherever you go it's designed to have fun while learning, and both kids and adults love it. They also hold various courses and lectures.

    We could learn the history and the origin of Kanji. My 5&8 years old daughters were so excited to stamp their name and the country’s name in Kanji. The 2nd floor is lots of fun, too. There are some...

  • Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum
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    4.0
    44 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagatenryujitateishichou 1-38
    The Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum is about five minutes' walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station in Kyoto's Ukyo Ward. It houses a collection of more than 150 valuable music boxes, including the oldest music box in the world. Visitors can see demonstrations of Western-made automata and buy music boxes of their own in the museum shop.

    The Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum was another tourist spot particularly for music lovers. You could see many music boxes inside and to relax with a cup of coffee at the lounge there.

  • Garden of Fine Arts Kyoto
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    4.0
    60 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Kyoto Kyoto-shi Sakyo-ku Shimogamohangicho
    "A one-minute walk from Kitayama Station and a five-minute walk from the ""Kitayama Ekimae"" bus stop. This outdoor art museum adjoins the Kyoto Concert Hall. The museum consists of murals created with ceramic tiles. The museum is a world-first experiment at creating a mural garden enjoyed outdoors. In total, there are eight murals on display, four of which were exhibited at the 1990 International Garden and Greenery Exposition. The remaining four were newly created and thus can only be viewed here."

    We went to the botanic garden, which is pretty much next to this, first. Then as it wasnt clear asked for directions and sent on a wild goose chase in completely the wrong direction ending up pretty...

Kyoto Areas

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Its wooden tea houses, shuffling geisha, and spiritual sights have seen Kyoto hailed as the heart of traditional Japan, a world apart from ultramodern Tokyo. Despite being the Japanese capital for over a century, Kyoto escaped destruction during World War II, leaving behind a fascinating history which can be felt at every turn, from the fully gold-plated Kinkakuji Temple down to traditional customs such as geisha performances and tea ceremonies, which are still practiced to this day.

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