Once the former imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto is often referred to as the 'soul of Japan'. The historical legacy of its past is well expressed by numbers: 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and more than 2000 Buddhist Temples and Shinto shrines. It's not difficult to walk around the Gion area and come across few geishas walking in the streets while shopping at the traditional craft shops. Some things you must see: Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Temples. Another famous spot not to be missed is one of the most photographed Shinto shrines, Fushimi-Inari Taisha, with more than 10,000 vermilion torii gates forming a path that leads you up the mountain.
The first permanent capital of Japan, Nara is a city that cannot be beaten when it comes to Japanese cultural and historical heritage. This very picturesque city is home to 8 UNESCO world heritage sites and is considered by many to be where the Japanese civilization was born. If you are looking for Japan's biggest Great Buddha, you will find him in the largest wooden building in the world, the outstanding Todai-ji Temple.
Upon arrival at Hoshinoya Kyoto, guests are picked up by boat from a landing located near Togetsukyo bridge. The journey is a leisurely ten minutes up the Oi River, allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful scenery all the way to the serene hills of Arashiyama.
The guest rooms are located in a renovated ryokan inn that was built 100 years ago on the former premises of Kyoto business tycoon Suminokura Ryoi's private residence. It was modernized just enough to ensure a pleasant stay without sacrificing the heart of traditional Japanese architecture.
Every guest room features paper furnishings known as karakami decorated by skilled Kyoto artisans using historical woodblock print patterns. Sliding doors and other traditional furnishings feature modern embellishments that enhance their functional and aesthetic elegance.
Hoshinoya offers Head Chef Ichiro Kubota's unique brand of Kyoto banquet cuisine that pays respect to Kyoto's traditions yet defies classification. It is playful, yet precise and artistic–always abundant with flavour, and has earned him fame in France and London. Guests can dine at their leisure surrounded by the deep serenity of the hills at night, either at an open counter or in private rooms under the hotel's soft, warm lighting.
Hyatt Regency Kyoto, located in the beautifully verdant Higashiyama Shichijo, is an example of how Japan's ancient history and tradition can be combined with the present. Contemporary Japanese style based on traditional Japanese beauty comes together to form a cosmopolitan and modern look, offering you Kyoto's warm and signature hospitality. Each day at 6:15 pm, a Maiko (an apprenticed geisha), from Kyoto's Miyagawa-cho district, will offer a magical and elegant traditional dance.
Rooms in this hotel blend traditional Japanese taste with modern practicality using ample plain wood to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The rooms are arranged with a beautiful kimono tapestry (from the Edo to Taisho period), a gorgeous lantern and more, to make for a traditional Japanese environment while also implementing the latest technology such as flat-screen TVs and a Blu-ray player, as well as a work desk for practicality. The restroom has granite flooring and a large bath for better relaxation.
Dining at this Hyatt Regency is world-class, and proudly offers a wide variety of restaurants for you to choose from. From prime cuts of meat cooked in a wood-burning oven at 'The Grill', to the timeless tradition at 'Touzan, with the restaurant’s interior resembling an old Japanese-style house, complemented by views of the hotel's rock garden.
KYOTO HOTEL OKURA
A wonderful, deluxe modern hotel, superbly located in the heart of Japan's cultural capital. On one side lie the Kamo river and the Higashi mountains, and on the other, the ordered streets of this ancient metropolis – all of which provide stunning views from the hotel's excellent high-floor restaurants. With the geisha district of Pontocho just a few minutes' walk away, and eating and shopping opportunities abound, you will want for nothing at this exceptional property.
The rooms here are generously proportioned, with large en-suite bathrooms and comfortable furnishings. Of course, all luxury amenities are provided as standard.
Among the 6 restaurants in the hotel, possibly Pittoresque Sky Restaurant stands out the most, offering delicious French cuisine and an excellent wine selection, complete with stunning views. Relax in one of the hotel's tasteful bars or cafes, or go for a swim in its indoor pool.
THE RITZ CARLTON
Set along the shores of the Kamogawa River and featuring panoramic views of the Higashiyama Mountain, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto redefines luxury in a city that transcends expectations. The hotel offers beautifully refined rooms and suites, as well as four restaurants and a peaceful spa.
The immaculately designed hotel rooms and suites at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto feature spacious layouts and gorgeously realized details, tempting guests to forgo exploration in favor of relaxed seclusion. Suite amenities include handmade soaps, 600-count linens, and complimentary Internet access.
Showcasing both Japanese and Western cuisine, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto transports the art of fine dining to unprecedented new heights. Sample four classic styles of Japanese cooking, including sushi, teppanyaki, and multi-course kaiseki dinners, at Mizuki. La Locanda, the enchanting Italian restaurant, offers classic yet contemporary dining in a historic setting.