6 reasons to book that flight to Kyoto

Fun festivals, cute kimonos, bars of bamboo - endless reasons to go to Kyoto


Kyoto is a city of festivals. Join the outdoor tea ceremony at the plum blossom festival (25 February) at Kitano Tenmangu shrine, where maiko (apprentice geisha) serve matcha tea and Japanese sweets.


In the past, these traditional wooden townhouses hosted both a home and a shop. Today, they are restaurants and hotels. Japanese-Western fusion Omo Café is a cosy example.

Two Japanese women wear Kimono at Fushimi Inari Shrine
Two Japanese women wear kimono at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan. Credit: flukesamed/iStock Editorial/Getty Images


Don a kimono from one of Kyoto’s many rental shops and take to the streets. You can buy one to take home from Eshiborianne, where fabrics are tie-dyed using traditional methods dating back to the Nara period (710-794AD).

New sleeps

Following the 2014 opening of The Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons launched in November 2016 alongside Kyoto’s traditional ryokans. For a dash of quirk, Tokyo hostel Book and Bed (top image) opened here in December 2016.


Tofu is the star of local kaiseki cuisine. Try yuba (tofu skin) hotpot: dip pieces of translucent yuba, cooked in tonyu nabe (soy milk hotpot), into soy sauce with tangerine zest.

Bozu Bar

Find zen over a glass of whisky at Bozu Bar. Discuss your troubles with monk owner Takahide Haneda over a Japanese single malt or local beer before joining one of the bar’s walking tours.

Cathay Travell Book


Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
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