Kyoto: Shugakuin, Sento, Katsura Villas

Jan 18th, 2005, 03:42 AM
  #1  
emd
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Kyoto: Shugakuin, Sento, Katsura Villas

We have made application to go on the English tour of Kyoto Imperial Palace in late March. Katsura Villas, Shugakuin Imperial Palace, and Sento Imperial Palace can also be visited, but tours are only in Japanese. Will someone who has been to them please comment on what you impression was of them and how the tour was for you in Japanese? Did they provide any English guide material? Would any of these be worth taking a guide along on the tour? I already need to get a guide to visit the Nijo-jin'ya as you are required to have a Japanese speaking guide w/you if you do not speak Japanese, so I am wondering about combining that place w/one of the others above w/a guide for one day. We have several days in Kyoto so I have a bit of time to play around w/regarding the intinerary.
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Jan 18th, 2005, 02:22 PM
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Last summer I got information about this company in my credit card statement. I don't think their price is unreasonable for a day with driver and guide...you could combine and really get your money's worth.

Or, book a goodwill guide and use taxis to get around. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/GJ/travelS...eerGuides.html

We've done lots of tours and classes and informational things in Japanese...and I do have to say, now that I can understand and speak much better than when we were first here and did lots of sightseeing, it would be MUCH better to have along someone to translate/guide through the places. There are so many little things that you might miss that are really the coolest parts. For example, in one of the tea houses in Kanazawa that you can tour, there is a little English card that explains a bit about the place, but doesn't give you much in terms of cultural background or explain the little things, like the significance of the decoration style, the purpose of the small box in the center of the room...you either have to know already somehow (and why would you?) or ask someone (and with no Japanese, you have little chance of getting a complete answer if you get any answer at all).

Short answer...get a guide, either a professional one or at least a goodwill one. It will make all the difference in what you learn.
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Jan 18th, 2005, 02:57 PM
  #3  
emd
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KimJapan, I think you left out the site to the company you got w/your credit card statement? Or is it the one you p osted (which seems to be mostly goodwill and other volunteer guides)? I'd be very interested in the one you know of besides Goodwill Guides. I have searched the forum and found no info on private guides in Kyoto.
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Jan 18th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Ooops...I did forget to past the link.
http://www.mk-group.co.jp/english/sightseeing/top.htm
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Jan 21st, 2005, 03:33 AM
  #5  
emd
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On another post, Framboise posted that he called Shugakuin and Katsura and they do have English language brochures and materials available.
Now, next question- who has been to these places and what are they like to visit? There is very little info on Shugakuin and Sento on the internet or in the guide books, and Katsura is described only briefly. One of my more detailed Kyoto books describes Sento as having beautiful gardens.
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:33 AM
  #7  
emd
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Thank framboise! I have already checked these out since you posted them. I was unable to get into most of them (either says I am unauthorized or just can't pull up the page) but the first one has great pictures of Shugakuin.
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