Asia Destinations

7 Day Kyoto Fall Itinerary for Your First Visit

Kyoto, Japan is such an interesting destination. This Kyoto fall itinerary is designed to be simple and easy to follow. I will break down each day into the main thing to DO. Then I will suggest a place to EAT. After that, I suggest a general area to EXPLORE. One of the best things about traveling, is finding new and unexpected places.

This city is a little lower key than Tokyo, in my opinion. But don’t let it fool you. There are so many things to do in Kyoto.  I also made a Tokyo fall itinerary. If you’re interested in that, check it out at this link.

Day 1: Arrive in Kyoto

If you are taking the Shinkansen train into Kyoto, your first stop will be Kyoto Station. It is a large hub station, connected to hotels and stores. There are many specialty shops and places to find great souvenirs.

Take advantage of this time. Unless you will be traveling on the Shinkansen after leaving Kyoto, it will be very hard to find this area of the station again. If you see something that you want to buy, buy it. There are many gift shops that sell traditional snacks as well as nice bottles of sake (Japanese liquor). Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan

Try Burger King in Japan. I normally don’t recommend fast food, however the fast food in Japan is on a different level. The Burger King near Kyoto Station was the only one I remember seeing in Japan. It had great seasonal items, such as sweet potato pie. Address: Japan, 〒600-8216 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Higashishiokojicho, 590-2 京都ヨドバシ 1F

The area around Kyoto Station is a great place to start off the “Explore” section of this Kyoto fall itinerary. The Kawaramachi OPA is a shopping mall located near Kyoto Station. They have a wide variety of stores.

Stores include the Tower Records store that I talk about in my Kyoto Hidden Gems post. Besides the music store, I also enjoyed clothes shopping in this mall.

There is a vintage clothing store called KINJI Used Clothing. I purchased clothes from the Coca women’s store. They had lots of business casual women’s clothing for reasonable prices. Address: 385 Komeyacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8026, Japan

Check out the Kyoto Avanti Mall. There is a Don Quijote store located inside. This one was much smaller than the Mega Don Quijote I talked about in the 7 Day Tokyo post. However, it’s still a great place to pick up souvenirs and Japanese candy.

Honeys is another shop in this mall. It’s an inexpensive women’s clothing store. I picked up a few cute tops. Address: 31 Higashikujo Nishisannocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, 601-8003, Japan

Day 2: Gion

This is the historic district where you will see old style Japanese buildings and women wearing Kimonos down the street.

Visit the Yasaka Pagoda. This pagoda is also called Hōkan-ji Temple. The pagoda is five stories high and the only remaining structure of the original Hōkan-ji Temple complex. Address: Japan, 〒605-0862 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 清水八坂上町388

You can spend the whole afternoon walking around the shops located near the Yasaka Pagoda. There are food shops, pottery shops and so much more. Lots of people also take wedding pictures in front of the pagoda. There were two wedding parties taking pictures the day I was there. One bride and groom came with all their guests too. It was a very unique experience.

Interested in buying Japanese pottery? You will find plenty of pottery shops. One pottery shop near the pagoda, even holds workshops where you can create your own pottery. See the image below. It is called 瑠璃工房 京都店 (Ruri Kobo Kyoto). Address: Japan, 〒605-0827 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Shimokawaracho, 東入 八坂上町385−7

Stop at one of the FamilyMart convenience stores and pick up microwaveable ramen. The instant ramen is so different than what’s found in the U.S. These contain real meat and/or fish cakes. Address: Japan, 〒605-0823 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Shimobentencho, 52

Check out the entire area of Gion. Experience the vintage architecture and the people wearing kimonos walking down the street.

I stepped into the Kyoto Ceramic Art Association Official Shop and Gallery. That experience taught me so much about the pottery work done in this part of Japan. There was even an artist on-site creating pottery.  And of course, I had to show my support by purchasing a pair of earrings. I will talk more about the art scene in Japan in a future post. Address: 583-1, Yugyomae-cho, Higashioji Gojo Agaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0864

The Gion area is also where I purchased my vintage Kimono jacket. If you’re interested in the shop I went to, check out my Kyoto Hidden Gems post.

Speaking of Kyoto hidden gems, another place to check out is the Sugi Bee Garden shop. This shop sells fruit juice infused honey. Grab a free sample of one of their drinks. Once you taste a sample, you will definitely end up taking something home. I purchased a yuzu infused drink and honey lozenges. Address: 3 Chome-337 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

Day 3: Arashiyama

Visit one of the many Arashiyama bamboo forests. These bamboo forests are famous all over the internet. And contrary to popular belief, there are many bamboo forests in Arashiyama. They are all so beautiful and people describe them as other worldly.

It does feel magical walking through a bamboo forest. You can pay for a carriage ride through the bamboo forest. These carriages use a special area that’s separate from where people walk. So, you’ll have that area all to yourself for photos. I didn’t rent a carriage and walked through on my own. Below, I celebrated five years of Passport by Design!

There is the main entry area to the forest that is most famous. This is where most people walk through and take pictures. Continue to walk beyond that, and the path through the forest continues to wind around. At the back of that main area, we even found an old cemetery. Don’t think like a tourist. Don’t visit the forest only to take photos. Actually, walk around and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest.

To reach the start of the most famous bamboo forest, use the address for Snoopy Chocolat.  There is another entrance through a temple. Be prepared to pay a fee, though. You will see the sign below. Follow the arrow for Chikurin-no Komichi. Address: 22-3 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8385, Japan

There are many restaurants and food stalls located near the bamboo forest. Look in the area that includes Snoopy Chocolat. Shops sell breaded croquettes, ice cream and other small bites.

There is also the Arashiyama Monkey Park.  What stands out to me about this park is that the monkeys are not in cages. You are in a cage and the monkeys are free to roam around. I did not get a chance to go there when I was in the area, but I definitely recommend it. Address: Japan, 〒616-0004 Kyoto, Nishikyo Ward, Arashiyama Nakaoshitacho, 61

On the way to the most famous bamboo forest, check out the Burari Arashiyama shop. They offer lots of unique souvenirs. I purchased a t-shirt that features the local Arashiyama dialect. Many of the items are made by those with disabilities.

I found so many beautiful handmade items I liked and would have loved to purchase. However, I ran out of cash and there were no ATMs. Bring cash. Credit cards are not accepted. Address: 18-1 Sagatenryuji Kitatsukurimichicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8374, Japan

There are many temples located in the area that have beautiful gardens. We stopped at a few and took pictures.

Besides these areas, Arashiyama is a large area in Kyoto. There is a special sight-seeing train called the Romance Train that leaves from the Saga Torokko Station. Inside the station are three beautiful vintage trains. Address: Sagatenryuji Kurumamichicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8373, Japan

Day 4: Gojo

Act like a local in Gojo. My hotel was located in Gojo, so I spent a lot of time in this area.  I would call it semi touristy because there are a lot of hotels. However, there are also supermarkets, dollar stores, bike shops and other places that locals go to.

Mar Cafe is all about the Mar burger. It was amazing and I’m not even a “burger person”. If you want to know more about this cafe, check out my Kyoto Hidden Gems post.

Another great place to eat over here is the Ginjo Ramen Kobota ramen shop. Check out my Kyoto Hidden Gems post for more details.

There is such a beautiful river near the Mar Cafe. You can stand on the bridge and experience the view. Get a little closer to the water by taking the stairs near the bridge.


Day 5: Kita Oji

This is another great spot to experience life like a local in Kyoto. Kita Oji has a lot of everyday businesses and supermarkets. This Kyoto fall itinerary gives you time to visit tourist locations, while still allowing you to immerse yourself in the everyday life of Japan.

Have pasta at Kamakura Pasta, located in the Aeon Mall Kita Oji. The Bolognese pasta was great. It came with three bread rolls. I took it to-go, and it came in the perfect container. The pasta was separated from the sauce. Address: 49-1 Koyamakitakamifusacho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8142, Japan

One of the places to explore in Kita Oji area is the Aeon Mall Kita Oji. We soon found out that this is a chain of malls. So, if you look up things to do in this mall, make sure you’re searching in the Kita Oji location. It used to be called the Vivre Mall.

Inside the mall there are little boutique shops. There is a bookstore that includes a cafe. Lots of restaurants are on each floor. There is also a MUJI store. This store sells clothing, home goods and some food items. Address: 49-1 Koyamakitakamifusacho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8142, Japan

[Note: Days six and seven are places I wanted to go during my trip, but I ran out of time. I spent a couple days with friends, so there are places that I can’t add on the itinerary. The places below are based on my research and not places I have been to. I will visit these places when I go back to Japan.]

Day 6: Sakyo

Visit The Nation Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (MOMAK), for modern Japanese art. This is the Kyoto version of the museum located in Tokyo (MOMAT). Address: 26-1 Okazaki Enshojicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8344, Japan

If you are interested in architecture, check out Komai House. It is a historical home that was the private residence of a former professor at Kyoto University. It is a vintage western style home with some unique Japanese elements. Fridays and Saturdays are the only days you can visit the property. Reservations are necessary for groups. Address: 64 Kitashirakawa Ioricho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8256, Japan

Day 7: Sakyo

The Kyoto Botanical Gardens is an overlooked attraction in Kyoto. Arashiyama does not have the only beautiful greenery in Kyoto. It is the oldest public botanical garden in Japan. Address: Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-0823, Japan

Share this Kyoto fall itinerary with anyone interested in taking a trip outside of Tokyo.


  1. Nice 7 day tour of Kyoto, Kelcy.
    I especially liked the bamboo garden…believe it or not there are some home in our area that have bamboo trees surrounding them…but the garden you showed looks enchanting. And I also like the vintage train station/area…I absolutely love vintage trains..
    Thanks for the tour…Japan will be on my list when I have endless time to explore that part of the world…
    Oh and congratulations on 5 years and counting…

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