Kyoto - Itinerary help

Oct 22nd, 2019, 11:13 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 73
Kyoto - Itinerary help

Hi all,
We will be in Kyoto for two full days (traveling from Osaka as our base). Our group consists of 12 people (one of which will be my 3 year old daughter). Is it possible to see all of these sites in two days? How would you do it?
Day 1 - bullet train to Kyoto from Osaka -- full day in Kyoto -- return at night to hotel in Osaka (can have dinner in Kyoto or Osaka)
Day 2 - bullet train to Kyoto from Osaka -- full day in Kyoto -- return at night to hotel in Osaka (can have dinner in Kyoto or Osaka)

Below is the list that we have compiled, and I have tried to arrange them in such a way that they are "close to each other" per Google maps - but of course I don't fully trust google maps and need your advice as many things can seem close but not really be close?

Section 1
  • Fushimi Inari shrine
  • Yasaka/Hokanji Pagoda - photo stop
  • Higashiyama/Gion district - consider tea ceremony if time permits?
  • streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka
  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple - maybe...maybe skip?

Section 2
  • Kifune shrine - photo stop
  • Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Temple)
  • Taking the train to the village of Kibune and enjoying a Kibune river dining experience
Section 3
  • Arashiyama Bamboo forest
  • Gio-ji Temple and Moss Gardens
  • Otagi Nenbutsuji temple
  • Tenryuji japanese gardens
  • Arashiyama Monkey park

Some additional questions/thoughts
  • Would like to consider adding a SAKE tour (if not here then may consider doing it in Kobe)
  • Is a Ninja restaraunt worth going to?
viranpooja is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2019, 09:53 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 348
In theory it is possible, but with a fair number of caveats. Kyoto has some very good places to see. Fushimi Inari is open 24/7, so you could go in the early morning or evening (in fact, you should, since other times are swamped with tourists). Plus you could spend an hour or two there, or make it a half day or longer if you want to run over all the trails. The old streets could take a little or a lot of time, depending on your pace and how much you want to browse. Yasaka Shrine you'll be done with in about 10 minutes. Kiyomizudera could take you 60-90 minutes, or more if you really are enchanted with it. A lot of the trouble is the time in getting from one place to another. That's especially true for Kinkakuji, which is one of the outlying places (and to avoid the morning subway rush hour crowds, you really should be there when it first opens - otherwise, it doesn't take that long). But getting up to Kibune also takes time - BTW, when are you going? The river dining is not year round. Getting around Arashiyama is not bad, and the bamboo forest you'll be done with in 20 minutes easily. But getting to the monkey park entails a 20-25 minute slog up a hill - you may need to carry your 3-year old a lot of the way. Otagi Nenbutsuji is one of the real delights of the area. Gioji is not bad if you go there from late spring to autumn when the moss is rich and green. Otherwise, a bit underwhelming. Adashino Nenbutsuji is not bad though, and quite distinct.

If you want to try the sake breweries, try the Fushimi sake district. As for the kitchy type restaurants, I really can't comment. Some like them, some don't. Up to you.
Adastra2200 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2019, 11:15 AM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 15,657
You mention using the shinkansen. I assume that is because you will have JR passes and want reserved seats. The shinkansen stops at Shin Osaka station, not Osaka station, so if you are staying in Osaka you would need to take a local train (or other transport) to connect to the shinkansen.

If you are staying near Osaka station, or convenient to it, then you could just use your JR Pass to get reserved seats on a limited express train between Osaka and Kyoto and have no change of trains. Here is a hyperdia search that you can use.

There also are JR local trains and non-JR trains that you could use for that travel. Hankyu or Keihan lines might be more convenient for you, depending on origin/destination.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 26th, 2019, 12:48 PM
  #4  
 
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Posts: 348
That's exactly what I did - used the Thunderbird Ltd Express, and the time difference vs the shinkansen is negligible. It's all the more a good idea if you are going during rush hour. If you take a local or rapid train, you could be standing for 30 minutes or more. Work commuters generally don't take the ltd express trains.
Adastra2200 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2019, 09:08 AM
  #5  
 
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Here is the search I mentioned: HyperDia | SearchResult
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 28th, 2019, 12:07 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Adastra2200 View Post
In theory it is possible, but with a fair number of caveats. Kyoto has some very good places to see. Fushimi Inari is open 24/7, so you could go in the early morning or evening (in fact, you should, since other times are swamped with tourists). Plus you could spend an hour or two there, or make it a half day or longer if you want to run over all the trails. The old streets could take a little or a lot of time, depending on your pace and how much you want to browse. Yasaka Shrine you'll be done with in about 10 minutes. Kiyomizudera could take you 60-90 minutes, or more if you really are enchanted with it. A lot of the trouble is the time in getting from one place to another. That's especially true for Kinkakuji, which is one of the outlying places (and to avoid the morning subway rush hour crowds, you really should be there when it first opens - otherwise, it doesn't take that long). But getting up to Kibune also takes time - BTW, when are you going? The river dining is not year round. Getting around Arashiyama is not bad, and the bamboo forest you'll be done with in 20 minutes easily. But getting to the monkey park entails a 20-25 minute slog up a hill - you may need to carry your 3-year old a lot of the way. Otagi Nenbutsuji is one of the real delights of the area. Gioji is not bad if you go there from late spring to autumn when the moss is rich and green. Otherwise, a bit underwhelming. Adashino Nenbutsuji is not bad though, and quite distinct.

If you want to try the sake breweries, try the Fushimi sake district. As for the kitchy type restaurants, I really can't comment. Some like them, some don't. Up to you.
So sorry for the delay in responding - I have been busy with Diwali celebrations!
So we are going in May. I looked it up and I am a bit confused as it says some river dining places may be open but doesn't really clarify which and I don't even know where to start with research on that.

So after much consideration and discussion with our group, we decided to narrow it down to the following:
  • Arashiyama Bamboo forest - Rikshaw ride
  • Gio-ji Temple and Moss Gardens
  • Tenryuji Japanese gardens
  • 1 hour for Foot Spa experience
  • Fushimi Inari shrine
  • Tea ceremony and rental of komono fo the day
  • Higashiyama district
  • Yasaka/Hokanji Pagoda
  • streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka
  • Gion district
  • Kifune shrine

I really like your suggestion of going to the Fushimi Inari shrine later in the day. I might skip going early in the morning and make it later in the evening- How late would you say to avoid crowds?
What are your thoughts on Kifune shrine?
viranpooja is offline  
Oct 28th, 2019, 12:09 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
You mention using the shinkansen. I assume that is because you will have JR passes and want reserved seats. The shinkansen stops at Shin Osaka station, not Osaka station, so if you are staying in Osaka you would need to take a local train (or other transport) to connect to the shinkansen.

If you are staying near Osaka station, or convenient to it, then you could just use your JR Pass to get reserved seats on a limited express train between Osaka and Kyoto and have no change of trains. Here is a hyperdia search that you can use.

There also are JR local trains and non-JR trains that you could use for that travel. Hankyu or Keihan lines might be more convenient for you, depending on origin/destination.
Very useful information. Thank you!
We have not yet booked our hotel so this will help us in determining where to book
viranpooja is offline  
Oct 28th, 2019, 07:15 PM
  #8  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I'm not sure what you mean by the Higashiyama district, as you list parts of it separately, but FWIW, I spent an entire full and very busy day exploring the Higashiyama district.

For Fushimi Inari, consider going just after everything else closes, staying until just after sunset. (Bring a flashlight just in case you mis-time your visit, and also because some paths will be in shadow even if the sky isn't entirely dark.) You can check sunrise / sunset times on timeanddate.com
kja is offline  
Oct 29th, 2019, 12:31 PM
  #9  
 
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Few enough people to be able to get a shot with no people!
We were at Fushimi Inari Taisha late afternoon until sunset about 10 days ago. While it certainly wasnt jam packed it was still crowded. Tons of people were leaving and much fewer going up, but crowded. Sunset was beautiful.

Last edited by yestravel; Oct 29th, 2019 at 12:39 PM.
yestravel is offline  
Oct 29th, 2019, 04:02 PM
  #10  
 
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Thanks for giving the time of your travel. May will have a lot longer daylight hours, so I would say going to Fushimi Inari is much better in the evening. I also suggest you do all your heavy walking in your regular clothes, and not while renting the yukata - you won't be walking too far, and if you just stick to the Higashiyama area, it will do you better. But getting from there to Kibune will still take you about 90 minutes one way, and there still is no kawadoko rivertop dining in May. It's up to you of course, but given all that I probably wouldn't bother going all the way up there given those conditions. There is a huge number of great sights in the Higashiyama area though.
Adastra2200 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2019, 11:35 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 187
As someone who is planning a similar trip (in April; with 3 people-2 adults and 10y o) I am taking notes from your threads (and applaud your research efforts and trying to keep your group large multi-age happy!!!) I have to note that the fodorites are giving you much less trouble for spending "only" 2 days in Kyoto than they gave me) when I was trying to add a third stop (in addition to Tokyo and Kyoto). It took me several months to finally decide on Takayama and "solidify" the choice by being able to attend April Fest. Right now I have 6 nights (5 full days) in Kyoto but might cut to three full days to return to Tokyo (VIA one night in Hacone ryocan) for last night before flight.
weekend_celebrations is offline  
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