Kyoto Prefecture is a heaven of mushrooms, matcha and more
Break the tourist mould and head outside of the city to uncover the rest of what Kyoto has to offer.
You could spend weeks making endless cultural discoveries in Kyoto City alone but if you can tear yourself away from tradition, the surrounding prefecture also has a wealth of historic and natural gems to uncover. Head north to cross the bridge to heaven at Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s top three scenic views, or forage for prized matsutake mushrooms in the mountains of Tamba. Just south of Kyoto city on the way to Nara, Yamashiro is the perfect place to experience a tea ceremony as the area is known for its superior green tea.
In the center of the Kansai region, Kyoto prefecture draws huge numbers of domestic and overseas tourists all year round to its capital city, Kyoto. Kyoto is not a destination that you should, or could, miss but it can get very busy during Spring and Autumn when the city is in its postcard-perfect seasonal transition. Visit in the summer for a different kind of crowd, gathered for the rowdy revelry of the spectacular Gion Matsuri, one of Japan’s most famous festivals. The winter is quietest but comes with the risk of rain (most of Kyoto’s sights are outdoors).
North of Kyoto City lies the Tango region which has some beautiful beach resorts along its coastline, including Amanohashidate, a long sandbar covered with pines that stretches across the mouth of Miyazu Bay and is known as the ‘Bridge to Heaven’.
Tamba is the mountainous region between Tango and Kyoto City and a source of highly-valued matsutake mushrooms, selling for around $200 per kilo, though there’s plenty of hiking and outdoor activities if you’re not a fan of fungi. Wash it all down anyway with award-winning Tamba wine.
The city of Uji in Yamashiro is all about matcha (powdered green tea) immersion. You can try matcha-flavored anything including soba and sweets, buy matcha souvenirs, make your own matcha and experience a traditional tea ceremony (with free matcha).