Kyoto A city break in Kyoto
The culture of Kyoto is alluring and the perfect alternative city break in Japan is another option for an alternative break. Whilst Tokyo is a futuristic metropolis, Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan is renowned for grand temples, shrines, gardens and villas as well as a vibrant geisha culture. It also works the Japanese charm of merging old with, breathtaking new. Even in shopping centers, you will go from walking through modern food halls to another floor with kimonos and tea ceremony implements.
At any time of year you can visit the world class 400 year old garden, Katsura Rikyu, with 17 acres with only a few visitors permitted per day. The garden is serene and beautiful with ponds and pine trees which create miniature landscapes mimicking famous Japanese scenes. The buildings are tea-house-style architecture.
Kyoto is full of cultural, artistic events throughout the year so you'll more than likely cross paths with one on your trip. April is the beautiful cherry blossom season. From the end of March through the beginning of April, people gather in parks in a Japanese tradition known as "Hanami" or cherry-blossom viewing. The cherry blossom is richly symbolic within Japan as they believe that the blooming tree symbolises the transience of life and a reminder that time is precious. It's time to reflect on achievements and think of the future. It's a really special time to visit Kyoto. Just make sure that you apply for a credit card before you travel, as you could be entitled to some fantastic benefits during your trip.
In Maruyama Park, people drink sake and beer, singing beneath the beautiful cherry blossoms. The atmosphere is always festive. The Hirano-jinja Shrine, features hundreds of cherry trees and is especially popular with people who gather here to enjoy the cherry blossoms, eat, and drink, and celebrate late into the night.
If you are visiting in May, you will experience the historical events including a parade procession of people beautifully dressed in Heian-period (8th to 12th century) costume or a reproduction of a boat party scene on a river from over 1,000 years ago. November is when the mountains turn a crimson red and you can experience the fragile beauty of the changing seasons from observing nature. November is a season of red before the arrival of winter white. The fiery red is a truly unique spectacular. Tofuku-ji Temple and Takao, Arashiyama are some of the most popular spots for viewing maple leaves.