Japan is an exceptionally beautiful island country located in the western North Pacific Ocean. Among its many well-known cities, Kyoto clearly stands out. It is as famous for its serene beauty and cultural heritage as it is for its unsurpassable cuisine. A honeymoon in Kyoto, Japan, will be the epitome of all things romantic.
Kyoto: The City of Ten Thousand Shrines
The Golden Pavilion, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kyoto
The city of Kyoto lies in the central part of Honshu island in Japan. It was the imperial capital of the Japanese kingdom for almost eleven centuries, holding to this day a giant repository of imperial architecture. Interestingly, even though most of the rest of Japan was ravaged by World War II bombings, other wars and foreign invasions, Kyoto has remained largely preserved over the centuries. During WW II, Kyoto was first earmarked by the USA as a primary atomic bomb target but then removed from the list in order to preserve its cultural heritage. To be thus spared by even the enemy’s cold wrath, it must certainly be one beautiful city! Also known as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines, Kyoto has the largest concentration of cultural sites in the whole of Japan. It goes without saying that your holiday would be incomplete if you don’t visit some of the historic monuments of ancient Kyoto, which are a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For the love of new lands and cultures
A typical Japanese multi-course meal
Japan might come as a culture shock to some people. But that’s precisely the charm that sets Japan apart from run-of-the-mill travel destinations. What to do when you’re on your honeymoon in a foreign land, where people speak a different language, enjoy food very distinct from your own, and indulge in recreational activities that are entirely new to you? It’s simple – when in Japan, do as the Japanese do! Stay in a traditional Japanese accommodation, take the train to travel from one place to another, and take your beau on a lunch date to a Michelin rated restaurant. But if you’re feeling particularly experimental, try the Kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. Usually set amidst scenic landscapes, these places are havens of peace. Visit in the spring (April-May) or Autumn (September-November) to be enchanted by the colourful trees and vibrant atmosphere. And for some much-needed privacy and sunshine, visit one of the smaller tropical islands such as Ishigaki and Miyako. March-April is also the season of Cherry Blossoms, or Sakura, and it is an electric time to be in Japan.
How to Get Here
Ginkakuji, or The Silver Pavilion – Kyoto
There are three airports nearest to Kyoto – the Osaka International, Kansai International and Central Japan International Airports. You can take the express train or airport limousine buses out of each of these, depending upon your preference. Alternatively, if you plan to visit other Japanese cities along with Kyoto, you can choose to take a bus or train for inter-city travel. Travelling within the city is easy because of a very good rail and road transport network.
Where to Stay
A Geisha walking down the streets of Japan
To have a truly authentic Japanese experience, stay at Ryokan. It is a traditional Japanese inn that to this day gives you the real feel of being in old-world Japan. The staff at Ryokan wears kimonos, and the guests also wear Yukata that are provided in their rooms. Traditional meals are often included with your stay. A budget version of Ryokan is the Minshuku. Another unique option is to stay at a Pension, basically a family-run European-style B&B that offers meals along with stay. It is a good way of getting to know people from up close. Lodging at a Buddhist temple in Japan is also an established cultural practice that more adventurous traveller may want to try out. And then there are innumerable youth hostels, hotels and inns to choose from throughout Kyoto.
Japan is a wonderful country with a lot of beautiful surprises. It is an entirely different experience in itself and like any new place should be approached with an open mind.