Watch your steps..
Take off your shoes before your step into any temples. The floor inside is clean and it's made of woods so it would be damaged if you are walking with shoes. There always are shoe racks for you so don't worry about losing your shoes : ).
BEAUTIFUL TEA CANISTERS & IMPLEMENTS
This shop is filled with tea cups, bamboo tea spoons and implements, tea canisters, tea, etc. Everything needed to have a tea party!! Buy the tea canisters! They are the cheapest I have seen in Japan. They start at 350 yen. Buy the ones covered with Japanese paper or tatami. The largest ones of these two kinds are only 500 yen! What a deal!
Be careful not the wet the outside of the ones covered w/ Japanese paper. Once you wet it, the paper gets a bit sticky and it`s not as beautiful anymore.
pay 70dollars each for this!?!...
pay 70dollars each for this!?! I tried this in Nara, but it was about half the price. The guys pulling you along dont speak English, which can be a good thing as ours talked our ear off and I saw other Japanese tourists suffering in the same way. They seem to be enjoying themselves though...
Prospecting For Gold
There's so many temples to choose from in Kyoto, but this is likely to feature on most peoples itinerary.
The Golden Temple is one of the most famous images of Kyoto, and deservedly so - be it glimmering in the summer sun or shimmering among the frost and snow in winter, it's an impressive sight. That is, if you can see it through the masses of Japanese tourists jostling for position to get their photo taken giving the peace sign by the lake.
There is a pathway leading you around the temple grounds, but once you've seen the temple, the rest is fairly ordinary (and the path doesn't offer any alternative views of the temple either) and seems to be designed purely to lead you to the souvenir stand. Who'd have thought you could encounter such blatent commericialism in Japan? [er...pretty much everyone. Ed.]
Putting cynical Matt to one side for the moment, it genuinely is worth the trip upto see, being a stunning, if slightly impractical example of a buddist retreat. It's also readily accessible from the tourist buses and at 500 yen, cheaper than a number of other temples.
Go For A Walk
Go for a walk in the Yasaka Shrine area of the Gion District in Kyoto, and stay for the evening when it is all lit up with thousands of lanterns.
In July the famous month-long Gion Matsuri festival is held here. It has everything you could want- lots of food, musicians, and parades with huge floats.