Kyoto was for many years the capital of Japan. In fact, in the ancient language, 'Kyo' means capital and '-to' means city.
History and Culture
Kyoto was for many years the capital of Japan. In fact, in the ancient language, 'Kyo' means capital and '-to' means city (which is particularly interesting when you consider the role of those two syllables in the current capital city, To-Kyo). And many remnants of the cities historical significance contribute strongly to it's appeal as a tourist destination now and in the future.
Most famously, over 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 shrines including the world-famous Fushimi Inari-taisha offer both an insight into the ancient religions of Japan and Insta-worthy photo opportunities.
The history and mystique surrounding Kyoto Geisha culture has, quite rightly, inspired the writing of best-selling novels and blockbuster Hollywood films. Working Geisha and Maiko (geisha-in-training), although now fewer and further between, can still be spotted discreetly going about their business in Kyoto's inner-city Gion district.
Beyond the above, Kyoto is also home to almost all of Japan's traditional cultural crafts, with Japanese tea ceremony, kimono making, flower arranging, calligraphy, bonsai and a host of other distinctly Japanese hobbies still actively pursued by the city's residents.
This glimpse into ancient Japanese history in its original form is uncommon in Japan, with many of the nation's historical sites heavily bombed during WWII. The U.S. decided to spare Kyoto, by and large, owing to its beauty and cultural importance.
Not all of Kyoto's appeal is man-made. The natural beauty both within Kyoto and in the surrounding area is gorgeous. The famous, and very popular Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is just as breathtaking in real-life as it is in the photos you've undoubtedly seen on Instagram. The Okochi Sanso garden, in this same area, is equally stunning.
The gardens surrounding many of the imperial palaces, temples and shrines are beautiful too.
And, a short train ride from Kyoto will get you to Nara, the site of many stunning temples, shrines and sky-high wooden pagodas. The main attraction here for most though is undoubtedly the thousands of deer who politely roam the streets, nibbling away on shika-senbei (deer crackers) fed to them by the tourists.
Spring and Autumn
While many of the destinations we feature on uchijapan.com are best in the summer or winter months, Kyoto is one of the unique locations in Japan to truly shine during spring and autumn.
In spring, Kyoto is one of the top places to enjoy the annual sakura (cherry blossom) bloom with countless parks and gardens displaying the trees with Japan's unofficial national flower. The city comes to life during this two-to-three week period in April with picnic celebrations taking place throughout the city under the shade of the stunning pink trees in full bloom.
And in October and November, the vibrant fall foliage, particularly in places such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Tofuku-ji Temple, makes for stunning scenery and the city surrounds become a playground for nature photographers.
As a place to live
Kyoto is one of Japan's most livable cities. It's central location and strong economy, driven by an enormous electronics industry, equates to a high quality of living, great domestic connectivity, a dynamic dining and nightlife scene, good social amenity and healthcare for residents.
Kyoto University is also considered one of the best universities in the country and attracts students from both within Japan and abroad.
The general perception of life in Kyoto is that it perfectly blends the traditions and customs of the past with the conveniences and accesses of the modern world. The city is therefore one of the most popular destinations for Japan's young people to move to upon reaching adult age.
The scope for investors looking to enter the Kyoto property market is wide. Some of the most exciting listings on our website right now include these Machiya and Kominka style traditional wooden townhouses in central Kyoto which couldn't possibly be more Japanese!
Built centuries ago and recently renovated to offer a luxurious, modern Japanese stay experience, these properties have proven rental yield and are available for less than $400,000 USD.
Opportunities also exist for commercial properties, for those looking to purchase a holiday home, or for year-round residential property. The looming return of inbound travel to Japan, and Kyoto's incredible popularity as a destination for wealthy international travellers sets it up as a solid long-term play for any buyer.