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Tourist Attractions and Experiences

Tourist Attractions and Experiences

Q: How can I book activities in Kyoto that require reservations in advance?
A: You can find information on Kyoto sightseeing locations that require advance reservations below.
 ⋅ Saiho-ji Temple (also known as Koke-dera, the Moss Temple):

 ⋅ Kyoto Sento Imperial Palace:

*Tickets may be acquired at the door with numbered tickets distributed beginning at 8:40 a.m. at the Katsura Imperial Villa, and at 11:00 a.m. at the Kyoto Sento Imperial Palace, and Shugakuin Imperial Villa. However, these tickets are limited in quantity, so making an online reservation in advance is recommended.
*Please note that reservations cannot be made on your behalf via this website.
Aside from the above, you can find details on guided tours and other activities that require advance reservations, and sign up for the them on the website below:
Q: When will tickets go on sale for Aoi Matsuri Festival, Gion Matsuri Festival, and Jidai Matsuri Festival?
A: For a fee, visitors can reserve seats to watch the processions at Kyoto's three great festivals (Aoi Matsuri Festival, Gion Matsuri Festival, and Jidai Matsuri Festival) up close.
Websites where tickets can be purchased and approximate timing for announcements regarding ticket sales are as follows:
Q: When is the best time to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto?
A: In past years, the peak of the cherry blossom bloom in Kyoto has been from late March to early April.
There are several different species of cherry trees, with the earliest beginning to bloom in the second half of February, and the latest can be enjoyed from early to mid-April. The Yoshino cherry will be at peak bloom around the end of the March, and these trees can be seen throughout Kyoto City.
Take a look at this article for information about the peak of the cherry blossoms throughout Kyoto in past years: Best Times to See Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto

*However, the best time to see the cherry blossoms changes depending on the weather conditions each year. We also caution that the bloom time may also vary depending on the area you visit.
Q: When is the best time to see autumn leaves in Kyoto?
A: In previous years, the peak of fall foliage in Kyoto has been from around mid-November to early December, lasting for around 10 days.
Generally, leaf colors will start to change when the lowest morning temperature falls to around 8-9°C, and color changes first appear at higher elevation.

If you select places to visit according to the time of your visit, you can enjoy the fall foliage for even longer.
Take a look at this article for information about the peak of the fall foliage throughout Kyoto in past years
Kyoto Autumn Leaves Calendar:
*Please be aware that the peak of the fall foliage will change each year depending on the weather.
Q: What can I do in Kyoto in the evening and at night?
A: Kyoto Tower and Shogunzuka Seiryuden are both spots in Kyoto famous for their night views. There are also light-up events and nighttime special openings at shrines and temples, depending on the time of year.

*Depending on the location, there may be few buses running at night, so we advise looking up your transportation options and times for your return.
Q: How can I reserve a private tour guide in Kyoto?
A: In Kyoto, you can find private guide services to accompany you on the sightseeing course of your choice, or on a course focused on a particular theme.

On the following website, you can reserve a private interpreter-guide certified by the City of Kyoto. There are also scheduled tours around the city guided by the Kyoto City-certified guides, so please feel free to participate.
Kyoto Visitor's Guide Website: (Language: English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese)
Q: Are tourist attractions and shops open during the New Year's holidays in Kyoto?
A: Some shops are closed from December 29th to January 3rd, but many shops do stay open in popular tourist areas, so you're unlikely to be inconvenienced. Most department stores are usually only closed on New Year's Day.

In Japan, it is traditional for many people to visit temples and shrines to pray on New Year's Day, in a custom known as "Hatsumode." Because of this, you should be able to visit most temples and shrines throughout the New Year's holidays. Many temples and shrines also hold events from New Year's Eve through New Year's Day.
Q: Where can I go to see maiko and geiko?
A: At Yasaka Hall's Gion Corner in the Gion district, you can casually enjoy not only the traditional Kyoto dances of maiko (apprentice geiko), but a variety of traditional Japanese performance arts. Aside from traditional Kyoto dances, visitors can see such Japanese arts as silent Kyogen theater, traditional Japanese court music, tea ceremony, Japanese flower arrangement, and koto music performances in about one hour. Taking photos during performances is also permitted. Outside of its regular closing days, performances are held twice daily from 18:00 to 19:00 Visitors that enter on their own will be required to make reservations.
Additionally, depending on the season, there will be performances from the geiko and maiko of Kyoto's traditional kagai entertainment districts.
For details about performance periods and ticket prices, please refer to the official websites of each kagai.
[Performance Season Estimates]
 ⋅ Kitano-odori dances : around March
 ⋅ Miyako-odori dances : around April
 ⋅ Kyo-odori dances : around April
 ⋅ Kamogawa-odori dances : around May
 ⋅ Gion-odori dances : around October
 ⋅ Kotobuki-kai dances : around October
Tickets for the performances listed above can be purchased about an hour before each begins at the "Kyo Navi" Kyoto Tourist Information Center. Purchasing your tickets before the day of the performance is recommended.
“Kyo Navi” Kyoto Tourist Information Center
 Address: JR Kyoto Station Building 2nd Floor Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
 Location: Click here to see on Google Maps
 Tel.: +81-75-343-0548
 Hours: 8:30 - 19:00
 Closed: Open year round
 Languages: English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Korean
*Please refrain from taking photos of geiko and maiko on the streets.

Q: I’d like my family to meet a local family with children. Can you introduce us to someone?

A: There are some programs available for local exchange.
See details about international exchange with local families with children below:
For Families with Kids

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