Kyoto Japan

Best Cultural Experiences In Osaka & Kyoto

One of the most fascinating Cultural destinations in the world is the nation of Japan. Two of its largest cities, Osaka and Kyoto, are home to some of the world’s most culturally inclusive activities and destinations. Between these two cities you can find some of the coolest Art, History, and Cultural activities that can be found nowhere else in the world. Ancient shrines, hidden gems, centuries-old temples, and historic experiences are what Osaka and Kyoto are all about. Let’s take a look at Tripio’s favorite cultural experiences in these two incredible cities!

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The Golden Kinkaku-ji Temple

Golden Kinkaku-ji Temple Kyoto

Photo by Mike Stezycki on Unsplash

To start us off, we have one of the most beautiful landmarks in all of Japan. The glimmer and shine from The Golden Kinkaku-ji Temple is one that will forever ingrave itself into your brain. The Kinkaku-ji, often referred to as The Golden Temple, is one of the most famous sites in Kyoto. A gold plated temple surrounded by traditionally maintained landscapes with a beautiful lake/moat that casts a magnificent reflection of The Golden Kinkaku-ji Temple. Truly one of the remarkable sites to see in all of Japan. A top contender for your custom itinerary that you create on the Tripio App!

Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine

Photo by Ying Zhu on Unsplash

A marvelous landmark to see while in Kyoto is the Heian Shrine. This shrine was established in 1895 and is simply unforgettable. The coloration of this shrine produces a strong reddish-orange hue that daunts the eyes and implants itself into your memory forever. The Heian Shrine was established as a celebration of the city’s 1100th year around the sun. Classic Shinto architecture featuring a large gate, and multiple art museums.  

Samurai and Ninja Warrior Training

Samurai and Ninja Warrior Training

Photo by Thao Lee on Unsplash

Be trained in the way of the ancient Samurai Warriors who guarded and protected Japan for centuries. The beloved Samurai and Ninja Museum offers experiences to be professionally trained in the way of Japan’s greatest warriors. Take your pick between training in the ways of the Samurai or in the way of the Ninja. This activity is a wonderful combination of art, history, culture and adventure. An amazing activity to spice up your custom travel itinerary that you create on the Tripio App. This hidden gem is another one of Tripio’s personal favorites that every traveler should experience and enjoy on their first vacation to Kyoto and Osaka.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Forest

Photo by Walter Mario Stein on Unsplash

Arashiyama is not only one of the coolest places to visit but it is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Japan. Walk through the tens of thousands of square feet of lush groves completely encompassed by heaven-reaching bamboo stocks. Without a doubt one of the most jaw-dropping destinations in all of Japan. This one is a personal favorite activity of Tripio’s in Osaka and Kyoto. The groves of Arashiyama are a photographer’s heaven. A cultural experience that you do not want to miss out on during your vacation. Be sure to add this wonderful activity to your custom itinerary that you create on the Tripio App!

Hozugawa River Boat Cruise 

Take a calming river cruise through one of Japan’s most iconic rivers. This laxed cultural adventure comes with a professionally trained river guide who will show you all there is to wonder about the famous Hozugawa River. Coast through the rapids of the scenic landscape enjoy the wildlife. Get ready! This tour can get bumpy and wet! Tours go 16 km in a span of two hours. Departing from Tanba-Kameoka and floating to Arashiyama.

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

Monkey Park

Photo by Howling Red on Unsplash

Spend a day with the real locals of Arashiyama. Japanese macaque’s have called the hills of Arashiyama home for thousands of years. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama is a vast park region located on Mount Arashiyama. At this commercial park, tourists can spend the day with some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. The park region is inhabited by indigenous Macaque monkey species who like to say hello! Keep a close eye on your belongings, these fuzzy friends like to play mischievous games with the newbies. 

Visit Dotonbori at Night 


Photo by gillyberlin on Unsplash

Strolling through the night lights of Dotonobori is one of the greatest nightlife cultural experiences that you can have in Osaka. The streets of Dotonbori are lined with markets, noodle shops, local vendors and more. Take a cruise along the river and see the city from another view. Dance under the neon lights and explore the local life of the city. Dotonobori offers a little of something for every kind of traveler. Any night of the week, Dotonobori is a popping destination to visit. Weekends are an absolute riot and a must-have experience in Osaka. 

Osaka Castle & Gardens

Osaka castle

Photo by ahlianyq on Unsplash

One of the most iconic attractions in all of Japan is the relic of the Osaka Castle. The castle was established in 1597 and has stood tall and strong watching over the city. Osaka Castle has transformed into a museum with dozens of fascinating exhibits about the castle’s history and the history of Osaka. At the turn of the 16th-century, the Osaka Castle played an immense role in the unification of Japan. A top 10 activity to experience during your travels in Osaka. 

Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel

Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel

Photo by Lily Li on Unsplash

Take a ride on the enormous Tempozan Ferris Wheel. This famous landmark is one of the largest ferris wheels in all of Japan. Standing at an astonishing 120m tall. This is a great easy adventure for any time of day. Reach stunning city views at the top of Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel. Enjoy the town park square where Tempozan Wheel resides and accompany the comfort of the local life. Tempozan is a rad cultural experience for all kinds of travelers in Osaka. 

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Photo by Melanie Taber on Unsplash

The former residence of several former Emperors of Japan and Japanese dynasties. The history behind these walls dates back centuries. Since its establishment, the Kyoto Imperial Palace has seen many modifications and restorations. The most recent touches have been made in the mid 19th-century. Today the palace hosts one of the greatest cultural experiences that you can have in Kyoto with guided tours of the entire palace including the gardens. See how the high society of ancient Japan lived and prospered for centuries yet to come. 

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Photo by Jazael Meldoza on Unsplash

Talking about historic and cultural experiences can not go without the mention of the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. A Shrine of high importance to the Japanese. The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine was built in 794. It is most famous for its seemingly endless red gates that can be walked through and snake through the calming groves of Kyoto’s forests. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. Foxes are believed to be messengers of Inari, so if you see a fox, you are very blessed.

Byodoin Buddhist Temple

Byodoin Buddhist Temple

Photo by Pawan Thapa on Unsplash

Saving one of the best for last we have the Byodoin Buddhist Temple. This is one of Kyoto’s best kept secrets and a true hidden gem that is often overlooked by many travelers. This Buddhist Temple was established during the late Heian period and displays the beauty and authenticity from the era. The temple’s reddish-orange color radiates itself off of the woodwork and casts itself into the pond where it explodes onto the painted landscape. Unlike many of the bigger and more popular temple/shrine destinations in Osaka and Kyoto, the Byodoin Temple holds a rich authentic vibe within its gates. A fascinating landmark that you definitely need to consider when building your personal custom itinerary on the Tripio App!


That concludes the Best Cultural Experiences to have in Osaka and Kyoto. Now go and create the perfect custom travel itinerary with Tripio! All of these activities and more can be found on the Tripio App. 


Interested in more of what Japan has to offer, check out: Tokyo: Top 10 Weird & Wonderful Attractions


-Matthew Knotek, Tripio Guru

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