The other side of Kyoto – it’s not all temples and shrines

Oct 9, 2017

Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto, may be most well known for its temples and shrines, but the city has plenty more to offer if you’re after a more varied experience. Put on your most comfortable shoes and go for a ramble that’ll bring unexpected encounters – it’ll be fodder for your travel journal.

Kyoto Botanical Gardens

Kyoto Botanical Gardens is the oldest of its kind in the country, and features more than 100,000 plants, flowers and trees covering around 12,000 different species. Pay the 200-yen entrance fee and the place is yours to explore. View the various sections by strolling along the sprawling network of winding paths or simply find a suitable spot, plonk your stuff down and enjoy a picnic in the pretty surroundings. Be sure to drop by the conservatory, too – a whole other world that offers around 4,500 species of exotic plants.

How to get there: Take the Kyoto City Subway and alight at Kitayama Station. Alternatively, take Kyoto City Bus 1 or any Kyoto Bus bound for Shizuhara or Ichihara, and alight at Shokubutsuen-mae. The botanical gardens is a five-minute walk from the bus stop.

SEE ALSO: See Japan’s tallest dam in hidden Hokuriku

Nishiki Market

nishiki market

Few markets in Japan excite the senses quite like Kyoto’s centuries-old Nishiki Market. Besides lots of Kyoto’s famous pickles and sweets, the market also offers a vast array of other local foods and goods. If you’re feeling peckish, look out for tasty samples offered by some of the vendors or purchase a more substantial snack instead. Give yourself plenty of time as Nishiki Market can get pretty packed. Go slow (you may not have any choice) so that you can soak up its unique atmosphere.

How to get there: Alight at Shijo Station on the Karasuma subway line, or Karasuma or Kawaramachi Stations on the Hankyu line and take a five-minute walk to the market.