Breathtaking scenery and living history is what you and your new husband will discover if you decide to take your honeymoon in Kyoto. If you’re looking for something other than an exotic beach to spend your first couple of days as husband and wife, this beautiful honeymoon destination is peaceful, romantic, and full of things to do. We got a few tips from one of our newly married readers, Lila Gouveia, founder of Lila's Kitchen, who just came back from her amazing honeymoon in Kyoto! Read below to see how to have the perfect honeymoon in Kyoto:
1. Visit during the Fall or Spring
You want to make the most of your trip, so weather is indeed a factor to consider. Travel during the fall or spring to experience the city’s true colours. During this time, the weather in Kyoto is just right- not too cold nor too hot. Lila recommends you go in May, “not only because there are less tourists,” she says, “but it's still around the time of the cherry tree blossom.” Even if you don’t catch the cherry blossoms, try to spend at least four nights exploring the beautiful city of Kyoto!
2. Pack walking shoes above anything else!
A lot of Kyoto’s beauty is outside, so comfy shoes are a must! Lila and her husband “walked and biked almost everywhere” so packing a few pairs of sneakers or walking shoes would be ideal! Lila also tells us that Kyoto is a bit more conservative, so you might want to skip out on the revealing tops or short shorts! Bring a GoPro camera as well, recommends Lila, it’s small, light and can capture all your special moments.
3. Visit the romantic hotspots: Kamo River & Kiyomizu Temple
Bike around the Kamo River and experience some quality alone time with your new husband. You don’t need to be an experienced biker as the path is flat and “easy to navigate,” says Lila. “I loved strolling along, listening to the river and seeing undiscovered parts of the city with my husband. It was dreamy.” Along the river you will come across the Kiyomizu Temple where you’ll be able to see breathtaking, romantic views. Lila highly recommends taking “stroll throughout the temple, hand in hand, enjoying the beautiful mountains surrounding you.” Try to go to the Kiyomizu Temple earlier on in the day before it gets packed with tourists.
4. Remember to visit Nara
The quiet city of Nara is also a must-see during your honeymoon in Kyoto. Taking romantic strolls in the Nara Deer Park, exploring the ancient temples, and visiting the authentic stores along the small walkways are just some of things you and your new husband can do in this picturesque town. Hop on a Miyakoji rapid train at Kyoto Station and you’ll be at Nara in just 35 minutes!
5. Don’t be afraid to wander into the alleyways
Alley ways in Kyoto are magical. Going off track is one of the best ways to experience the culture of Kyoto. Living in busy Asia, you’ll be surprised to see how clean and how few cars there are in these alleyways. “I remember my husband and I were walking down the most charming little side street,” says Lila, “we were completely distracted by all of the lovely little shops, eating fresh green tea and black sesame mochi." It's always fun to find authentic Japanese gardens and homes in these little walkways.
6. Try Kyoto’s Michelin Restaurants- but also the street food
If you and your new husband are foodies who love to try new things, Kyoto is definitely the perfect place to honeymoon! Home to 7 Michelin three-star restaurants, Kyoto is a foodie’s paradise. If you want to try Japanese haute cuisine, known as Kaiseki, try Hyotei, one of Kyoto’s most popular Michelin three-star restaurants. The street food in Kyoto is also a must-try, especially during the long walks around the city. As a food blogger, Lila loved “green tea mochi, warm matcha green tea, and tempura,” she says. “We sampled a few different types when walking through the side streets up to Kiyomizu temple. The shops selling the mochi were making it right there on the spot. It was so fresh! The flavor was just the right amount of sweet and it melted in our mouths.”
7. Spend at least one evening for dinner and drinks at Gion
Plan to spend at least one evening having a romantic dinner outside at Gion. Facing the Shirakawa river, Gion is the perfect place to have a delicious meal while gazing at the stars with your new husband. Afterwards, go for drinks at an Izakaya, a traditional Japanese pub, says Lila. “My favorite drink was the Umeshu, Japanese plum wine with a little soda water. Simply fantastic and so refreshing after a long day of exploring!”
8. Buy authentic souvenirs near the temples, not the stations
If you’re a sucker for souvenirs and trinkets, hold off until you get to the temples, such as the little shops surrounding Kiyomizu Temple. “Although they are more tucked away, we found this is where the more authentic, local artists and vendors are located,” says Lila.
9. Don’t miss the photo opportunity at the Kiyomizu Temple
This is hands down the best place to take photos with your new husband, says Lila. “From the rolling mountains, to the serene ponds and beautifully colored temple you’re bound to get a good pic or two!”
10. Stay at places that are romantic yet convenient
Located right at Kyoto Train Station, Hotel Granvia Kyoto is one of the most convenient hotels to stay at during your time in Kyoto. The rooms are clean, the staff are helpful, and there are plenty of snack shops and restaurant choices nearby. Try to get a room facing the Kyoto Tower so you and your new husband can happily wake up to the gorgeous Kyoto city view each morning. If you plan to spend more time at the hotel during your honeymoon, book a suite or a room on the exclusive Granvia Floor. You’ll be able to enjoy an open air veranda, an in-room jacuzzi, and a traditional Japanese balcony. The best part about staying the Hotel Granvia Kyoto is that there are endless things to do around the area. For rainy days, you can easily explore the museum, musical theater, and famous department store (JR Isetan), without stepping a foot out the door! Other hotel choices in Kyoto include the Westin, the Hyatt Regency, and the Ritz-Carlton.