191 Chigiriya-cho, Nakakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 604-8133, Japan
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More about Kyoto


Pagoda adds its beautyPagoda adds its beauty

Shoboji Temple's Zen GardenShoboji Temple's Zen Garden

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Omuro Palace Garden at Ninnaji TempleOmuro Palace Garden at Ninnaji Temple

Forum Posts

Need some feedback...

by stamporama

1)...about volunteer guides. I read that there are Goodwill Guides registered with the Japan National Tourism Organization who could give you a walking tour of the sights for free. You only have to pay for their meals, admission fees or transportation fares. If anybody has availed of their service, may I know how it turned out?

2)...bicycles. Some advise that since touring the sights of Kyoto involves a lot of walking, it will make good sense to rent a bike so you could cover more ground at a faster but less tiring pace. But how safe is it to bike around, are there bike lanes all over town? And are there are bike parking spaces in all the sights?

3) Will be in town for the Gion matsuri on July 17. I understand that a street parade or procession is the highlight of the event. Which street or corner do you suggest I should position myself to get a good camera view of the participants?

Thanks for any info.

Re: Need some feedback...

by GrumpyDiver

I can't answer all of your questions, but we did not use any guides, we (and our guide book) managed just fine by ourselves.

2. We used public transportation (subway and buses - signs and announcements of stops nicely done in Japanese and English) to get around - Kyoto is a large city, quite hilly and the sites are spread around. I would not have considered using a bike.

3. Gion Matsuri is a lot of fun. Head to the street party the day before and position yourself along anywhere along the parade route for good views. The most important criteria for us was rain shelter, as it was pouring the day of the parade when we visited. The parade does cross main streets and it does wait for the lights to change. Some video of the events are on my homepage at:


Re: Need some feedback...

by SallyM


Re: Need some feedback...

by unaS

Great video! Thanks, really enjoyed that.

Re: Need some feedback...

by stamporama

Good video, Manfred. Too bad it had to rain on their parade though I did read that July is normally wet, hot and humid.

Re: Need some feedback...

by GrumpyDiver

Yes - it was too wet (it was raining so hard that when the rain hit the ground, it bounced back up and soaked you, even if you had an umbrella), unpleasantly humid (100% relative humidity), and did I mention it was hot?

Nevertheless, a good time was had by all...

Re: Need some feedback...

by andreacarus

Yes there is a lot of ground to cover in Kyoto, especially if you're going to take in such diverse places as Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizudera, Nijo Castle etc ...... I guess it all boils down to which sites you intend to visit and what your interests are. You can buy a daily bus pass which is probably the best mode of getting about at this time of the year - the buses are easy to use and the stops clearly indicated in English. As admission to the chief temple sites can quickly add up, perhaps you might like to get some audio guides from a site called Iconic Guides (www.iconicguides.com), rather than pay for a local 'free' guide. I used them to visit Ginkaku-ji, Kinkaku-ji and Sanjusangendo temples on a visit there last month. they are reasonably priced and extremely informative (mush more so than anything you might find in a traditional guide book). Plus you can listen to their commentaries whilst wandering around the sites, without having to continually refer to a book. Just a thought - it would really well for me. Good luck and happy travels, Andrea

Travel Tips for Kyoto


by lordkuz

DONT BE SHY ABOUT TAKING PEOPLES PHOTOS. In politically correct Australia, we fear taking peoples photos. So I have to do it as candidly as possible. But in Japan, Kyoto in particular - it was more than welcome.
Beautiful mountain scenes, shrines, temples, cherry blossoms, geishas, traditional dances, interesting monuments and all kinds of street scenes - all all great photographic targets. But they are usually easy ones to obtain.
I value the photos I have taken of people the most. Its not easy to catch the expression and pose that you see for a passing moment that catches your eye. By the time you raise the camera into position (I often dont put it to my eye anymore), the moment has passed. In the end, when you do catch the right moment - you still have all the other factors to consider, depth of field , lighting and more. Yes, we saw a lot of the major sights, rode the romantic train at Arashiyama, saw the cherry blossoms at Maruyama park, and lots more. However, the walk down the back alleys - and the chance meeting with "the extraverts" of Kyoto, is my fondest memory of this trip to Kyoto.

Japanese Phrase Book

by bkoon

Everything is in Japanese and some older Japanese you meet on the streets may not undertand English. It is good to bring a small Japanese Phrase Book if you want to minimise communication problem.

The one day bus pass

by K1W1

Kyoto city offers a one day bus pass which entitles the bearer to unlimited use of the standard fare buses for the entire day for just Yen 500. A normal bus fare is Yen 220. This can be a great deal if you are planning on visiting some of the sites which are at opposite ends of the town, eg the 2 UNESCO sites of Kiyomizu temple and Kinkakuki Temple are well beyond walking distance of each other
There are also combined bus/metro passes so check with the Tourist Information when you arrive in town. The passes are available at various kiosks around town..

Ramen Ramen Ramen!

by pammo about Ramen Street

Ramen restaurants are set in a section of the Isetan department store on the 10th floor. You look at the ramen bowls on display and on the wall display or flyer. When you find the one you want, you find the vending machine next to its replica and put in the money and punch the corresponding button. This will be difficult if your Japanese is not good, so you may need some help.

This place was so popular and the line ups so long, that we never got to try it out! It opened in November 2003.

A World Cultural Heritage - Rokuon-ji Temple

by sacrebleu

The bus ride from Kyoto Station to Kinkakuji was long, it was approximately 50 minutes! On the day I visited it, the temple was packed with an influx of local and foreign tourists gathered in front of the “Mirror Pond” where the Golden Pavilion stood for their photos taken. The temple’s name Kinkakuji is named after this building but its proper name is Rokuon-ji. Kinkaku consists of three types of architecture – the 1st floor palace style, 2nd floor samurai house style and the 3rd zen temple style. Both the 2nd and 3rd floors are covered with gold-leaf on Japanese lacquer. A thicker new coating was reapplied in 1987.

Apart from the golden pavilion, the garden which remains as its original form is worth visiting too. It was found in 1220’s and is a typical zen style garden. I can’t say I fully appreciate the beauty of rocks sitting in the middle of the pond or the minimal design of such landscape, but I guess if I had a garden, I would have it in zen style too. Besides it is low maintenance, somewhat the combination of water, bamboo, stones and white sand just go beautifully!

There is a classic tea house called Sekka-tei near the exit of the temple where you can pay 500 yen to enjoy a cup of matcha tea and Japanese sweets either outdoor under the bright red umbrellas or indoor on the tatami floor. The settings outdoor with bamboo trees around were beautiful.


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