188 Shimotatecho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, 602-8372, Japan
More about Kyoto
Prayers for world peace, good life, etc.
The red bridge
Just taking pictures
What to do?
I'll be spending about 3 or so weeks in japan, 1 week in Tokyo about ten days in Kyoto and the rest in Nara and Osaka. But what i wanted to know is should i spend a week in Tokyo or cut it down to spend more time in Osaka and Nara?
Im taking along my 13 yr old sister so we wont be going out clubbing or anything and besides shopping (which i'll do alot of there) im not really sure what else there is there to do.
Ive heard that Nara is wonderful but im not sure what really there, does anyone know what there is to do in Osaka and Nara?
Anyway any info anyone might have would be appreciated. Thanks
RE: What to do?
With 3 weeks in Japan, you can go to a lot more places than the ones you mentioned. I think Tokyo itself is worth 4 days. It's a huge metropolis with some fun things to see and lots of shopping can be done. Osaka is similar to Tokyo but smaller, and if you go to Tokyo for 4 days, you can finish with Osaka in a couple of days unless you go to the theme parks. Kyoto has much more to see culturally, and you can spend 4 days there as well. Take day trips from Tokyo to Kamakura, Nikko. With that much time, you can go all the way south to Hiroshima and north to Hokkaido as well so the Japan rail pass could be ideal.
Kansai confusion? Have no fear, Confucius is here!
Definitely spend more time in Nara, an ancient capital of Japan that predates Kyoto. You can not do Nara in one or two days. You should spend a minimum of 3 days there. Your little sister will really love Nara. Also, on your way to Nara from Kyoto you should first stop and see the red gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine.
Spend less time in Osaka. You don't need more than 2 days in that city.
Don't forget a day trip down to Himeji Castle, which is easily done by train from Osaka. Your 13 year old sister will love that too.
RE: What to do?
That's sweet that you are taking along your younger sister. There's alot to do in the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji). Take a look at some of my Japan pages for suggestions on where to go. I lived in Himeji for a few years and I highly recommend you going there for a visit. Hiroshima is great for history as well, and you can also squeeze in a day trip to Miyajima. If you aren't afraid of heights take the cable car to the top of the mountain. The view is amazing!
You didn't say when you were visiting...summer, fall, winter? There are lots of summer festivals in Japan. My favorites were the Hanabi (Fireworks) Festivals. Every major city will have one and so will smaller towns. Try searching online for some of those festivals for when you are in Japan. They are very festive and you can see girls of all ages wearing their summer yukatas.
Have a fun time in Japan! :)
RE: RE: What to do?
Thanks for all your advice i really appreciate it. I want to be over for the cherry blossom season which is about late march early april, i thought about going to Hiroshima but thought it too far out of the way from kyoto but it doesnt take that long i found out, im considering buying a rail pass but only for 7 days that should give us enough time to go from kyoto around nara and then hiroshima shouldnt it? Just one final question though, ive heard that the cherry blossom season is one of the busiest times to be go to Japan is this true? I want to see cherry blossoms but not if every tom, dick and harry will be there as well. Is there a time that you would suggest to go?
Anyway thanks again for all your advice its been really helpfull.
Travel Tips for Kyoto
I realise one cultural expect that we all tourist must observe and learn from the Japanese; particularly when taking a train or bus or even metro.
Things I observed in Kyoto metro:
1. Seat tight or stand quitely
2. No ringtones & no talking in the handphone
3. Whisper only (but most of the time they dont talk)
4. Look down or up otherwise reading newspaper or manga
Husband takes over travel tip
The clerks all smell of the delicate fragrance of congealed mackerel grease, and if you poke them with a wilted cat-tail, they start to purr, and seriously under-price the manga magazines. But that is nothing next to the seriously marked down dresses, tastefully styled from rice paste, and left over doilies and randomn knitted orange throw rugs that your Grandmother used to place over the couch in the basement, you know the one that had a peculiar odor of grandpa after a summer rain, and where a nest of mice made home for a magical week in August No modern home is complete without a vibrating gaijin back-scratcher-home dental set, and the Screaming Kitty Company out of Kyoto still makes a quality product in that regard, one with real Panda teeth rotators and American Eagle trim that runs on nothing but the rendered fat of Blue Whales -- not the cheap imitation second rate dental paraphernali with the "sanitized" surgical steel that my analyst keeps recommending. I myself prefer the terrible beauty of a mature abcess. Oh yes, and the snow globes make a nice gift, but they can be rather hard to pass, especially if you digestive problems. start offering about 50 yen, but do so in a REALLY LOUD VOICE -- that way they know you are serious. Don't make eye contact as that is considered a form of marriage proposal
Kansai International Airport.
The nearest international gateway to Kyoto is through the Kansai International Airport which is in the city of Osaka. A high-tech airport unrivalled by any in Asia, this is one place you must take time to explore, just to amaze oneself with the ingenuity of the architects. Built on a man-made island, the airport is already sinking every year!
As I queued up to hand over 4,300 yen (3,800 for the balcony or 1,900 for a spot on the tatami mats behind the balcony seats) I was prepared to call Miyako odori at Gion Kaburenjou a Tourist Trap. However, when I considered the dozens and dozens of Maiko (apprentice Geisha) dancing, singing, and performing on shamisen, taiko and shakuhachi, I decided it's really not that over-priced. Plus, how often does an ordinary person get to see Maiko performing? You can content yourself with quick glimpses of Geisha and the more ornately dressed Maiko on Pontocho and around Gion, or if you're willing to lay out a bit of money, see an elaborate one hour rendition of four traditional song-and-dance performances. The costumes alone are pretty amazing.
Kiyomizu Temple on the hillside
This is my 3rd favorite temple in Kyoto. A steep walk with many nice souvenir shops along the way to the temple. There is a large wooden columns supporting this temple as it is built on the slope of a hill. The surrounding hills are beautiful in autumn colorful foliage.
Many tourists and worshipppers seem to drink the water with a bamboo ladle. Wonder what it tasted like. You have to fight with the crowds of Japanese school children and okusan (mothers on tours) to get yourself into a picture. There is a great panaromic view of Kyoto from up there. Definitely a must-see temple.
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