Kyoto - how long

Old Jul 29th, 2006, 10:32 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kyoto - how long

Hello All
Going to Japan...arrive Tokyo on Sunday 8/27 and depart Saturday, Sept. 2nd. Had not planned on leaving Tokyo, we are staying at the Conrad but Kyoto seems like a must. I have booked one night at the Westin Miyako Kyoto on Wednesday 8/30...if we go up Wednesday morning and return Thursday afternoon...will that give us a decent amount of time in Kyoto. Also how early should or can we leave Wed. morning and how late can we return. Also what is the best option for getting there and approximate cost...thanks for all your help.
micjor is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2006, 11:44 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Remember, Kyoto was the former ancient imperial capital of Japan for over 10 centuries, and it is truly one of the most fascinating cities in the world- I put it right up there in my top three or four-there's too much to see here, really-you can spend weeks and not see it all-I would just advise to give it as many days as you can allow.

Our own Pres. Bush, who rarely takes notice of any sights overseas, proclaimed Kinkakuji (the golden temple) one of the most beautiful places he'd ever seen. And that's just a start-the Moss Temple, (Saihoji) Ginkakuji (the silver temple), Ryoanji, Honen-in, Sanjusangendo, the Imperial Palace, Nijo-jo, the geishas in Gion-these are just a few of the many, many sights.

Excellent kaiseki cuisine also.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2006, 12:04 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mic-if I were you, I'd take a look at the Fodor's destinations guide for Kyoto on this website-there's some very helpful information there, as well as itineraries for sight-seeing in Kyoto that may be of use to you.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2006, 12:55 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It will give you a decent amount of time in Kyoto to see the main sights. The transportation will cost you about 27,000 yen on a Nozomi shinkansen.

Or for 28,300 you could get a 7-day JR Pass. You would use the pass to ride Hikari shinkansen trains between Tokyo and Kyoto. You could also use it to get from the airport to Tokyo on the 27th. Your departure day, Sept 2, would be day 7 on the pass, so you could use it to get back to the airport. Also, you could use it on some trains in Tokyo during the week.

If you didn't use the pass for the airport transfer it would cost about 3000 yen each way by the express train or by a limo bus. There is a train option for half that cost. But with the pass you could take the Narita Express train at no additional cost.

In the following for each leg I give times for two trains: for the Nozomi (can't use with the JR Pass) and for the Hikari (CAN use with the JR Pass).

The earliest train is a Nozomi departing Tokyo at 6AM arriving Kyoto 816AM. The earliest Hikari departs 6:36AM arriving 9:20AM.

The latest train is a Nozomi departing Kyoto at 9:32PM arriving Tokyo 11:48PM. The last Hikari train departs 8:39PM arriving 11:20PM.

If you took the Nozomi then your total travel cost would be 27000 for Tokyo-Kyoto-Tokyo plus about 6000 for NRT-Tokyo-NRT by bus or train. This is more expensive than the JR Pass but gives you the option of taking the limo bus between the airport and hotel (depending on where you are staying), so it is a bit more convenient, esp. with luggage.

JTB-USA / Sunrise Tours has a shinkansen package. Roundtrip train travel and one night at Westin Miyako would be 26,500 yen per person. The catch to this is that your train travel is limited to specific times. You would be limited to arriving Kyoto between 1:20 and 2:30PM and you would depart Kyoto between noon and 2PM the next day.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2006, 01:36 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you....that was invaluable and detailed information...many many thanks
micjor is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 10:43 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 246
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This past spring I visited Japan for the first time, staying in Tokyo and Kyoto for 4 nights each.

Although I did see all the sights that Girlspytravel mentions (and they ARE worth seeing), I was dreadfully bored in Kyoto after the second night. I found the people genuinely friendly and helpful, and the language barrier enormous.

Kyoto seemed to be a city for the Japanese; when a tour guide mentioned that 80% of the visitors came from elsewhere in Japan, I realized I had good reason to be bored.

After staying in Kyoto for 4 nights, I feel that 2 nights would have been more than adequate. Even a day trip from Tokyo would have sufficed.

A propos the language barrier: I stayed at a hotel in a major shopping area, yet I could not find one restaurant up and down the avenue with an English language menu posted at the door (or even a notice that such a menu was available within).

On a positive note, the Shin-kansen (bullet train) was marvelous. There were bright and well-maintained restrooms aboard, and an employee came by with a refreshment cart. Everything was tasty, reasonably priced, and hygienic.
easywalker is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 04:59 AM
  #7  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There was a poster on here who had only one full day in Kyoto. They hired a private guide, I think it was the taxi guide service that KimJapan and others has mentioned before, "M" something. It was expensive, but their driver also functioned as a guide, and because they were picked up at the train station and driven alone, they were able to go to exactly the places they wanted they were able to hit the points they wanted to see and were happy w/their one day in Kyoto.

If you are interested in that, I am sure someone will recall the name of the service.
emd is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 05:19 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,310
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Interesting how each of us can have different experiences, and they're all valid.

I loved Kyoto, in some ways just because it was so exotic. Walking the streets and alleyways of Ponto-cho and Gion was fascinating, sometimes knowing what a storefront held and other times not having a clue what was behind the curtains on the doorway.

It's certainly true that a non-Japanese speaker such as myself has fewer options, especially in terms of reading menus outside of restaurants. For me, though, the joy of the city outweighed all of the language issues.

I love both Tokyo and Kyoto, but they are ver, very different cities with very, very different atmospheres. I would never put a number-of-days-needed tag on any interesting city, but I'd encourage any visitor to Japan to sample both places.
DonTopaz is online now  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 06:59 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 574
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bonjour Easywalker

You write:
"Kyoto seemed to be a city for the Japanese; when a tour guide mentioned that 80% of the visitors came from elsewhere in Japan, I realized I had good reason to be bored."


Sorry to be so blunt, but such remarks as yours tend to really puzzle me as to what their authors are expecting from their travels Of course Japan is essentially for the Japanese, just as the US is mostly for Americans, France for the French, etc., and whereas foreigners are welcome to visit, there's no reason for the locals to change their way of life to accommodate foreign visitors, especially those with unrealistic expectations and/or without some knowledge about the culture, the food, bits of the language, etc.

As to the time one should devote to a place, it depends on one's interests, knowledge and expectations. Therefore, my advice to micjor (Bonjour, micjor,) is to decide based on whether they plan to return to Japan some day, in which case I'd say make the most of your stay in Tokyo, take a daytrip to Nikko, Hakone, etc., read about Kyoto and take your time to visit should you be interested in going there. Don't go because other people tell you you shouldn't go to Japan without visiting Kyoto. "Must sees" aren't so !
Florence is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:54 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,652
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When I hear someone was bored out of their mind, I can bet that they did no research before arriving in their destination. Kyoto has a million things to see, both historical and super trendy, and all kinds of activities from geisha hunting to temple festivals, shopping, artist demonstrations and a hopping night life.
I've been there so many times, and under differecnt circumstances: as as 21 year old party girl, mom & dad with infant, parents with preteens, then with hardcore teens, and "just the two of us" romantic trips. Always was able to keep us very busy, but it involved some research- either at home or the tourist info center by the Kyoto train station!

And who needs an english menu, when all the food items are in the windows? You just pull the waitress to the window and point!

lcuy is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 12:17 PM
  #11  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
micjor, here is the site of that private guide service in Kyoto that picked up the fodorite and spouse and took them right to all the sites they wanted to see in one day in a private vehicle, and the driver was also a guide. They picked up the passengers at the shinkansen part of the station and dropped them off there.

http://www.mk-group.co.jp/english/index.html
emd is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 12:49 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One of the things that I don't like about Kyoto is that the proportion of tourists that are Japanese is only 80%.

I see you found it emd. MK Taxi. I have a nice photo of an immaculate MK van with the nicely dressed, neat, bright-eyed driver posing in front (he had been wiping a smudge off of a door handle or something as I walked up). Took the photo because the van reminded me of my cousin Mary Kay.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 01:34 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are interested in the history and traditional culture of Japan, spend all of your time (or most of it) in Kyoto. If you're not spend all or more of it in Tokyo. They are totally different cities. I spent two weeks in Kyoto and felt it wasn't enough time. I spent 4 days in Tokyo and wish I had spent a week.
glorialf is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 01:57 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I find this thread fascinating. We're thinking about a short trip to Japan next year some time, and my plan was to spend the whole week in Kyoto!
Kathie is online now  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 02:27 PM
  #15  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If it was my only trip to japan and I didn't think I was going to get back, I'd go to Kyoto, even if was just for a day and overnight. And I'd do it as suggested, getting there as early as possible the first day and leaving late the next day. If I only had that long, I'd either have the sights planned out very carfeully that I wanted to see (and taxi btwn them when possible) because the sights are so spread out and I wouldn't want to spend time waiting for buses and switching subway lines, or I'd focus on just one area like Higashiyama and al the sights and temples there plus Nanzenji (which would be easy to do from Westin Miyako).

Or if I had some serious bucks, I'd book a service like MK. There have been some not so good reports on JTB's tours of Kyoto here, and I would not choose to do my only day in Kyoto w/their tours.

[mrw, I wonder if the cousin has big hair and lots of makeup. All I can think of when I hear Mary Kay is that company, because I stayed at a hotel in downtown Dallas during the heat wave of 1998 and the MK co. was having their convention there, and giving away the pink caddilacs for the year- lots of excited made-up women at that hotel.]
emd is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 02:30 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
On my second trip to Japan this spring, I spent the whole week in Kyoto with a day trip to Himeji-jo and Osaka and a half day trip to the Miho Museum. I could have spent much more time in Kyoto with all there is to see and do there. I ate mostly in the restaurants in Kyoto Station and the department stores as they have either menus with pictures or models of the food. I have only started to read Japanese and that is just the hiragana which is not that helpful for restaurant signs and menus.
Mara is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 03:24 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kathie -- if you only have one week definitely spend the whole time in Kyoto. I know your interests well enough to know that you will wish you could spend much more time then that but it should be the minimum.
glorialf is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 04:03 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,346
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kathie:

I think a week in Kyoto is perfect for a first visit. So much to do and see if you do your homework which we all know you do.

Eeeek(I seem to be using this word alot lately) out a couple of days for Tokyo so we can bump into you on the Ginza . The comparison between the two cities vast differences makes it worth the effort.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 04:43 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, gloria and HT. I'm hoping the trip to Japan will come to fruition!
Kathie is online now  
Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 05:23 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 36
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
micjor, even though your planned stay in Kyoto is very short it would still be a VERY worth while visit.

Two years ago we took the shinkasen from Tokyo Station to Kyoto in the morning and arrived about noon, dropped off our bags at the ryokan in central Kyoto and went to Heian Jingu Shrine. From there we walked south along Higashijori Dori past Yasaka Shrine and then to Kiyomizu Temple (our favourite) in time for the sunset. Then we walked to Gion for dinner (saw one maiko scurrying to an appointment). So on your first partial day in Kyoto you can see and do quite a bit and we were not rushed at all.

The second partial day you could see Kinkakuji Temple (the Golden Pavilion) and probably have time to do something else (shopping, Imperial Palace) before catching your return train to Tokyo.
tudorterrace222 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:39 PM.