Some shops close to the Heian Temple (left side of the temple) sells x-rated stuff. Also, most of the Seven Eleven stores all over Japan sell Adult x-rated magazines without covers.
I saw some x-rated t-shirts for sale close to the temple with the "F" word on it and with cartoons depicting x-rated stuff.
There's a picture sample in here and I can remove it if some of you get offended.
Make sure you read carefully the Guidemap of the Kansai Thru Pass as there are some bus lines and subway lines that it doesn't cover. For example, the Nara bus line. It was quite embarrassing for us when we boarded a bus in Nara, showing the card in the end and only to find out that it's not applicable.
If you go to Nara, one of the sights you're sure to visit is the Nara National Park wherein there are lots of 'tamed' deers roaming around. Most of the deers are harmless and indeed tamed. But be careful if you go buy one of those deer buscuits and feed them. They can be so aggressive that they will bite you to get your attention and make sure that you give them a piece!
May is lovely with spring blossoms and blue skies most of the time. October and November have the cool autumn air and red maple leaves.
That aside, here are the seasons to avoid: June is the rainy season and while it can be pleasant for the first week or so, the rain and humidity arrive one day and then it's very oppressive. Even if it's not pouring outside 90%humidity is not unusual. July and August are then swealtering. Stay out of the sun during the day, best to sleep the day away and head out for dinner and beers at night!
Then there is September with lovely typhoons making their way to Kyoto with increasing frequency in recent years. Though not so dangerous here, they are not fun. During a typhoon listen to news updates on NHK (available in english during a typhoon) and stay indoors until it passes. Other than that February is the coldest month, with some snow but I rather like it, as the temples are DESERTED! The sightseeing spots like those around Kiyomizu Temple can seem like another world - a Kyoto as it once was.
So not a danger, but just a warning. If you have seen the brochures of Japan the certainly don't show you this. Telephone and electricity supply wires are absolutely everywhere in Japan along the streets. Fortunately around the temples they seem to have kept them away.
Many public toilets in Japan are squat toilets that do not provide toilet paper. So, you know those little packets of tissues? Bring them everywhere you go! Also, many places have no hand-drying facilities, so the tissues also come in handy here! You can find little packets of tissues sold in many places here, like the general store. It's a small issue, but it makes the travelling experience so much more comfortable.
Japan really is a fairly safe country. here is, however, a tendancy for foreigners to get a little TOO relaxed!!
I had a wake-up call my first week here when a man in a delivery truck propositioned me and then aimed the truck to hit me when I just ignored it. I was lucky and managed to jump to safety.
A friend of mine once had a man try to pull her into a van.
Myself and friends have been followed and scared many times.
You are in a foreign country. You stick out. Especially at night, after drinking or in areas where others are drunk: BE CAREFUL!!
Try not to walk alone in poorly lit areas or in small alleys.
Look around you and try to notice any places you can go for help if you need it.
Don't pley the victim. Taake care of yourself. This is still a very safe country but it doesn't mean that the danger is gone.
Being aware and not getting into potentially dangerous situations is your first step.
Also remember that if you call the police they may not speak any english.
Be careful if you are from a warm clime and you come to Japan to teach. I taught for three years at a junior high school in Japan and there are no heaters in any classroom. In winter the children will be doing tests while snow is falling and you can see your breath. The teachers (and the students) used to joke because I used to wear seven layers to work every day. Come prepared.
When I first came to Japan, I didn't really expect to see too many English signs. But I was mildly surprised to see most Japanese street signs (in the city) were accompanied with helpful English.
BUT BEWARE - not all English signs are as helpful as they seem! I've come across quite a few misleading signs and I felt it necessary to pass on this warning to fellow travellers.
Please take this warning seriously! It could save your life! (or at least your sanity!)
I stayed at this temple on Oct 13, 2002. The price was good (3000yen/pp) and the location convenient (located next to Kodaiji Temple and about 10-15mins from Kiyomizu Temple). But the owner, a "monk" named Hasegawa, was rude and impolite. I stayed w/ a friend & Hasegawa-san didn`t greet us or even make an effort to talk to us or the other guests as I observed. He studied in the US & can speak English, though not so clearly. As a "monk" he wore jeans & a t-shirt. Is that "monk"-like??
It didn`t even feel like we were staying at a temple. More like someone`s home, as we stayed in an attic room. It didn`t look like a temple either.
When time came to pay, we gave him 10,000yen & as he gave us back our change he just threw it onto the table.
We were not happy w/ him & as he is the owner, I hope that no one ever stays at his temple again and give him profit.
STAY AWAY FROM GESSHIN-IN TEMPLE!!
Stay away from I.S.E. Dormitory. (International Student Exchange or something like that) near Heian Shrine. The rooms are dirty, roach infested, it costs 100yen/10minutes for warm shower water, and the manager is very unfriendly.
In the serene peace that is at the Zen-garden of the Ryoanji-temple. Many find total relaxation in the simplicity of the garden or in meditation ... DO NOT FALL ASLEEP!!! It would be a shame if you spoil time that you can use in visiting the many other intresting places of Kyoto. (-:
if you are easily spooked, do not follow the warm sparkled lit up lanterns in a remote jinja midst the woods, on the mountains at night...the celebration of the spirits is on all night...and only the most corageous ones are invited...
TOURISM OF KYOTO:
KYOTO VISITOR'S GUIDE: KyotoGuide.com.
JAPAN TRAVEL BUREAU:
JAPAN RAIL PASS:
JAPAN GUIDEBOOK IN ENGLISH:
Try not to travel during peak period. Kyoto will be crowded with tourist all around the world and also the people from outskirt of Kyoto will be visiting it.
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