Visitors to Japan enjoy doing many things and partaking in endless unique activities. These include raiding the hyaku yen, soaking in an open-air hot spring, zooming on a bullet train through the mountains, and eating sushi right off a conveyor belt. Moreover, wandering through Kitakyushu's flower tunnels, devouring wild boar ramen, witnessing a bamboo forest, and going to Studio Ghibli Museum are other attractions worth trying in Japan.

Although one can find a mix of modernity and tradition in every Japanese city, Tokyo and Kyoto represent the core of the country's unique culture. Travelers are faced with the difficult question of whether they should be visiting Tokyo or Kyoto. And if they decide to visit both cities, they wonder where to spend more time and which is more interesting. Here's a guide to help people know which city is best to visit, Tokyo or Kyoto?


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This Unique City Embodies The Real Japanese Feel

Depending on what visitors to Japan want to see, they can decide to visit Tokyo or Kyoto. For instance, people interested in shopping, trying uniquely delicious foods, and hitting the country's nightlife scene will feel they want to visit one city instead of the other. On the other hand, those looking for more cultural and artistic activities and who wish to learn about the local history will choose another destination instead. Tokyo, for example, is a Mecca of Asian pop culture, which embodies a mix of eastern and western companies, brands, modern artists, and more. Moreover, the city is the Japanese center of commerce, with the swankiest cafés lining the streets, skyscrapers stretching to the clouds, and the hottest trends filling the stores. Tokyo tourists will enjoy experiencing manga shops and hitting storied karaoke establishments.

Moreover, they will take in the unique smell of Japanese ramen and brew at night throughout Tokyo streets. On the contrary, Kyoto is known for its historical Buddhist temples, and Shinto shrines built hundreds of years ago. The city has retained its fascinating cultural heritage because it was spared from air raids during WWII, unlike Tokyo. This is why wandering the streets of Kyoto feels like walking through a history book. Furthermore, Kyoto is not filled with high buildings, and the families there live in traditional Japanese wooden townhouses, known as machiya.

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This City Is Much Easier To Get Around And Explore In Japan

Usually, medium and big cities in Japan are easy to get around and explore. This is thanks to the advanced public transit systems in the country, which are thought of as one of the greatest in the world. For instance, people visiting the country will find bus stops everywhere that are also easy to walk to. Moreover, travelers to Japan use trains and subways that run precisely on time, with no delays whatsoever. The country is also home to underground exits and passages leading to the most popular destinations in Japan. Still, getting around Tokyo is not the same as being in Kyoto. For instance, Tokyo cannot be explored in a short amount of time since it comprises 23 wards and 26 cities.

Moreover, the city has a surface area of 2,188 square kilometers. The Tokyo Metro systems and JR lines can be convenient for getting around the city, and with proper planning and knowing where to book a hotel, people can find it easy to explore Tokyo. On the other hand, Kyoto is a small to medium-sized city. However, it is as crowded as Tokyo during peak seasons. Additionally, going from one side of the town to the other usually takes around 90 minutes. Moreover, using the city bus around Kyoto is more accessible than doing it in Tokyo.

  • Cost: A day pass at the central station in Kyoto costs JPY 600, equivalent to around USD 5.2.

Here Are The Best Things To Do In Tokyo And Kyoto

People visiting Tokyo will feel fascinated with the various restaurants in the city, including the Michelin-tier ones. They will also enjoy the fashion vibe there and explore every station's unique flavor and reputation.

  • Recommended: When visiting Tokyo, people are advised to witness the bustling city center in Shinjuku. Moreover, to enjoy the best of the city's nightlife, they will have to go to Shibuya, which also boasts the most beautiful sightseeing spots. For anime and manga goods, Akihabara is the way to go. As for fashion and shopping for big-named brands, people must consider going to Ginza. It is also worth searching for the secret shops in Tokyo that only locals know about.

In Kyoto, unique attractions are its centuries-old Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Moreover, this city is where people can learn about traditional arts such as tea ceremonies, Kabuki, kimono making, and more. Furthermore, visitors to Kyoto will witness the most beautiful ancient cultural pieces in the city's museums, and they will enjoy the daily markets in Kyoto's streets.

  • Information: Since the Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Kyoto were built during various times, each has a unique collected treasure and architectural style.
  • Recommended: When in Kyoto, people can witness monkeys in Kabuki in Gion and Arashiyama, and Geisha. The nightlife in Kyoto is smaller than in Tokyo, but it's still worth hitting the scene in Pontocho.

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