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Ultimate Kyoto Itinerary

A dish from a multicourse kaiseki meal at Kinmata Ryokan.

Photo: Courtesy of Kinmata Ryokan

While the megalopolis of Tokyo catapults itself into the future, Kyoto—renowned for its temples, shrines, and vibrant geisha culture—has grown cautiously. Two years ago, the government banned rooftop and flashing ads and put a cap on building height to preserve the centuries-old landscape. Now, a surprisingly modern city is emerging as stylish restaurants, shops, and inns pop up in 19th-century machiya, or wooden merchants’ houses. Read on to learn more about the new Kyoto. Read the article

Destinations: Kyoto

Inspired by: T+L's Guide to Kyoto, Japan — by Jaime Gross, Published Oct. 2009

Hotels (5)

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    Hoshinoya Kyoto

    The Arashiyama neighborhood of Kyoto, full of bamboo groves and Zen temples, is the site of the city’s newest—and most exquisite—ryokan, or traditi

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    Hotel Monterey

    This centrally located 327-room value hotel has spotless accommodations near shop-filled Sanjo-dori.

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    Hyatt Regency Kyoto

    Super Potato is one of the designers behind the 189-room hotel with traditional flourishes—kimono fabric headboards; washi paper lampshades—in the

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    Screen

    Billed as Kyoto’s first design hotel, the property opened in 2007 with 13 unique rooms: No. 201 has a sexy red, black, and white scheme.

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    Kinmata Ryokan

    This intimate 1801 ryokan near the Nishiki food market serves owner Haruji Ukai’s seafood kaiseki meals.

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Restaurants (3)

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    Bassano del Grappa

    At this envelope-pushing restaurant the sashimi comes with a side of pesto.

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    Honke Owariya

    The noodle shop has been dishing up handmade soba, udon, and tempura since 1465.

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    Restaurant at Tenryu-ji Temple

    The temple's restaurant serves vegetarian meals such as sesame tofu and soup made of dried gourds and sea kelp.

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Activities (8)

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    Eitarouya

    The store's tailors stitch men’s overcoats from wool, cotton, silk, and hemp.

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    Karacho

    11th-generation craftsman Kenkichi Senda creates woodblock-printed washi paper for temple doors, as well as chic handmade pendant lanterns.

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    Kyoto Design House

    The gallery-like shop sells lacquered bamboo boxes and handwoven silk capes by local designers.

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    Ippodo Tea Company

    This tea shop resembles an old-fashioned apothecary, with white-jacketed attendants measuring green tea onto scales.

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    Sake Bar Yoramu

    Taste rare brews at this low-key bar run by an Israeli expat.

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    Iyemon Salon Kyoto

    Located on the lower floors of a kimono company, the complex includes a contemporary crafts shop, chic café, and steel-and-glass gallery exhibiting

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    Okochi-Sanso

    The five-acre residential gardens of the late samurai film star Denjiro Okochi.

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    Daitoku-ji

    The riverside 685-year-old Zen monastery has 24 temples on the property.

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