2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in 48 hours. Best things to do in one day, 24 hours. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

So is 2 days in Kyoto enough?!

Well, maybe not.

But if your time in Japan is short, and that’s the time you’re giving yourself to spend in Kyoto…

This plan will include some of the BEST spots around to give you a taste of Kyoto!

 

First, the quick list in pictures of places included in these 2 days.

Then, a few more details on how you can make it happen, including public transportation tips.

 

 

Now…

Best places to visit in Kyoto in 48 hours

 

1. Nijo Castle (world heritage site)

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - nijo castle palace, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

2. Nijo-jo teahouse

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - nijo-jo castle teahouse with matcha green tea. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

3. Kinkakuji Temple (world heritage site)

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - kinkakuji temple, golden pavilion, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

4. Kinkakuji tea garden

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - kinkakuji temple tea room with match green tea. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

5. Ryoanji Temple (world heritage site)

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - ryoanji zen temple rock garden, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

6. Yasaka Shrine

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - yasaka jinja shrine, gion. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

7. Chion-in Temple

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - chion-in temple. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

8. Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - ninenzaka and sannenzaka slope streets. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

9. Kiyomizu-dera Temple (world heritage site)

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in one day, 24 hours - kiyomizu-dera temple, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

10. Fushimi Inari Shrine

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best things to do in Kyoto in 48 hours - fushimi inari taisha shrine hiking trail walk through torii gates. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

11. Sagano scenic railway

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best things to do in Kyoto in 48 hours - sagano scenic train to arashiyama. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best things to do in Kyoto in 48 hours - arashiyama bamboo forest. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

13. Tenryuji Temple (world heritage site)

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best things to do in Kyoto in 48 hours -Tenryuji temple, unesco world heritage site. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

14. Togetsukyo Bridge

 

15. Arashiyama Monkey Park

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best things to do in Kyoto in 48 hours - arashiyama monkey park. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel blog

 

 

 

Day 1: How to get around Kyoto

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 48 hours - Kyoto tourist map for top sightseeing attractions. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

See more of one day with a Kyoto bus pass and UNESCO world heritage sites in Kyoto.

 

 

Day 2: How to get around Kyoto

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 48 hours - Kyoto tourist map for fushimi inari shrine. Backpacking Japan travel blog

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 48 hours - Kyoto tourist map for Arashiyama Sagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

See more of the Fushimi Inari shrine hike and one day in Arashiyama and Sagano.

 

 

Quick tips for getting around Kyoto

  • The Google Maps app is a reliable way to figure out how to get around Kyoto by bus and train
  • The Japan Travel Navitime app can be good if you’re trying to figure out the best way to get around with a JR pass (or to help you decide if it’s better to get around without your JR pass… or to decide if it’s worth it to buy the JR pass at all!)
  • The Google Translate app has a feature where you can take a picture of Japanese writing and it will translate it for you
  • The ICOCA card is SO worth it to get if you’ll be taking the bus or train to get around Kyoto. No cost savings, but it’s highly convenient so you won’t have to go through the hassle of buying individual tickets! They are basically recharge cash cards.

 

 

2 days in Kyoto itinerary. Best places to visit in Kyoto in 48 hours. Best things to do in Kyoto. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

HAPPY 2 DAYS IN KYOTO!

 

And if you have more than 2 days in Kyoto…

Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto!

 



More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

There are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.

Hotels in Kyoto
Search for deals on Kyoto hotels here.

For hostels across Japan, try this top backpacker's hostel chain.

Kyoto can also be a good place to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan, like this one. Or if you're on more of a budget, try this one.

Also use the map below to see more hotels in Kyoto!

Booking.com

Shoes for Japan
For summer travel, hiking sandals can be perfect for walking around cities and for many of the short day hikes! See travel sandals like these for women and these for men.

Japan is a mountain country so be sure to get in some hikes!

See trail running shoes too (for women - for men) for other solid hikes including climbing Mt Fuji.

Speaking of hiking, I love this daypack.

The super fast train in Japan
In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it.

See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.

See an example of traveling by the fast train from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.

My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

Best travel guides for Japan
If you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.

For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.

See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.

Cheap(er) flights to Japan
I used this website to find the cheapest flight and to book my recent flight to Japan.

Sometimes it makes sense to book direct - my preferred way!

But this booking site will search a combination of airlines, including those who aren't partner airlines, which means that they can help you find cheaper flights by booking individual flights for you as part of one flight itinerary. This can be especially helpful if you're not flying out of a major hub with direct flights to Japan.

I've missed a flight booked through them and it was taken care of with hotel and new flight.

See more tips for finding cheap flights to Japan.

Create your Japan itinerary


That's it for now!