must see in Kyoto ?

Old Apr 28th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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must see in Kyoto ?

This is our first trip to Kyoto/Japan for our family with two teenagers.

We have 5 nights and 4 full days in Kyoto. I would like to get some opinions on what others have found to be pleasant itineraries within Kyoto. We realize there are many special sites.

So far we thought we would defintely like to see Kinkakuji, the Imperial Palace, and maybe a day trip to see the Sanzen'in in Ohara. We are looking to have a relaxed pace without too much travel to see sites, walking as much as possible.

We are staying at the Hirota GuestHouse north of the train station and south of the Imperial grounds.

Any suggestions ? Thank you.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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How old are the teens? Boys and/or girls? WHat time of year?

My teen daughter and I LOVED the monkey park in Arashiyama, but it is a steep climb, maybe too hot in summer. It will be in my trip report. A highlight for us. Very unusual.

Also Fushimi Inari Shrine (the fox shrine), a few stops past Kyoto station on JR line or a subway ride from mid-town where you'll be. Interesting and pretty and they sell grilled small animals on a stick (sparows and quail) on the street up to the shrine which even my vegetarian daughter thought was interesting.

Ohara is lovely and was a highlight for me, but my 15 yr old son was so bored I had to put him back on the bus to Kyoto and spend the day there myself (we had cell phones to keep in touch, and he loved being independent that day and did fine- Kyoto is easy to navigate and I made sure he had money for cab to the hotel if he got lost.)

I think a must see for all of you (and the teens will like it) is Kiyodizudera and the streets around it in Higashiyama. Kiyomiz. has a rock love shrine that involves an activity they will want to try out (read up about this as you can miss it if you do not know where to look- it is a big shrine area).

Both of my teens highly enjoyed doing a traditional craft workshop. There are many many to choose from. It gets tiring just sightseeing, esp. for the teens- I fidn it best to break sights up w/fun and interesting activities for them.

Give yourself time at night to walk and shop the covered shopping streets at Teramachi and the downtown streets (very happening for the kids) and go to Nishiki food market (just off Teramachi St.) before it closes up at 6 pm.

Personally after two trips w/teens to Kyoto, I will say tht 4 full days is alot in Kyoto for a teen. They will get sick of shrines and temples. I'd get out of Kyoto for a day trip to keep the teens engaged. Himeji is easy, even if you don't go on to Hiroshima from there. Osaka is a half hour away (to Osaka Dome) and has pro-baseball which is tres interesting.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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oops, Kiyomizudera
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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Are you in Kyoto on the 21st or 25th of the month? My teens loved the temple markets and they happen on those days.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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My husband (not my 20 year old son) is the one who tired of temples and shrines.
However, his favorite was Ginkakuji. The grounds are extensive and beautiful.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 11:56 AM
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Ohara is a must. I would also go to the Miho Musuem which is one of the most brilliant examples of architecture suiting a concept and landscape I have ever seen.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Oh and the Kyoto museum of traditional crafts was great. I had to drag my son out of there.
They also had an area where kids (some adults too) were doing some crafts.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 12:15 PM
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glorialf, I'm just curious, were you traveling w/a teenager? Ohara was wonderful for me, but my son was bored to death. Maybe if it had been his first temple, he'd have gotten up for it, but after seeing Kiyodizudera and going inside one other in Higahiyama, he'd had enough temples.

He also was not interested in the Miho. And as much as I wanted to go, I was not willing to drag him. My teen daugther is also not into large indoor museums. SHe enjoyed the two outdoor sculpture museums we went to in other areas of Japan, and one smaller woodblock print museum, but did not want to spend a day in a big museum and spend the time getting there as is the case w/the Miho.

So I appreciate your input, and I also loved Ohara and still want to go to the Miho, but there are teens and their interests to think about. Perhaps okoshi's teens like spending time in indoor museums more than my kids do, that is possible also.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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Nijo-jo is a must see.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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I agree, Nijo-jo is a must see.
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Old Apr 28th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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I third Nijo-jo!

Unfortunately I am a single middle-aged traveler with no kids so can't be much help. However my hotel was on Kawaramachi-dori which was full of teens whenever I went out as well as shops that seemed to appeal to them.

Glorialf - thank you for your recommendation of the Miho Museum. I believe I first heard of it from an old post of yours. I went when I was in Kyoto three weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely. They have a lovely special exhibit now - Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: the Mary Griggs Burke
Collection. It is a long trip though but it was raining that day so it worked well.
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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Thank you for all the suggestions.

EMD- my teens are 16 and 14, and we will be there the first week of June.

Is the area were are staying within walking distance to some sights ?

Diffcult to tell even by looking at a map whether it would be a pleasnt walk to the Higashiyama area. We are fit- walking a miles with sights to take in would be fun.

The Lonely Planet shows a walk in Higashiyama which loops around and ends at Ginkakuji. Is this about an hour walk or all day ? Of cousre it depends on how much time we spend stopping.

Are there other sights we should see while at Kinkakuji- it looks to be a way out of the town center.




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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Kinkakuji is on the same street - Kinukake-no-michi - as Ryonaji which has the very famous Zen garden and not much further is Ninna-ji but that would probably be overkill for your kids as it has similarities to Nijo-jo and the Imperial Palace.
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 09:15 AM
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Okoshi, it is a long walk from one end of HIgahsiyama all the way to the end, then a jut over past Westin Miyako (I assume this is the path Lonely Planet gives) to Nanzenji and down the Path of Philosophy to Ginkakuji. I have done this whole walk, but on two different trips. One full half day (if you don't stop much) to a full day (if you spend time at say Kiyomizudera, shopping and sampling foods in the shops and on the streets, and stop at one other temple for a lingering visit) is good for the walk from Kiyomizudera to end of Higahsiyama (just past Shoren-in and Chion-in Temples). Your teens will want to look in the shops, all sort of cool foods they have never seen. It is a long walk. Instead of heading for another long walk to the Philosopher's PAth, you could see Shoren-in and Chion-in (my favorite temple in all of Kyoto is Shoren-in, it is not crowded, no tour buses and is very peaceful w/lovely gardens and has bamboo forest behind it), then walk back a short distance back to the park and turn right to to thru Yasaka gate which leads to Gion. You could have dinner there, browse around the streets and get a geisha sighting perhaps, and call it a day.

If you feel really energetic, I suppose you could keep on going past Shoren-in, take a right on the main street you come to (street where the Westin is- there is a traffic light there anmd it is evident you are not in Higashiyama anymore), take a right, go past the Westin on your right, and take a left in front of the first entrance to the subway station to go to Nanzenji. Walk thru the grounds there (the aqueduct is pretty amazing) and head up the Philosopher's Path to Ginkakuji. That part of the walk is about an hr. if you don't stop much. But there are cool places to explore, art and antiques and food and shops all along the streets off of the Path of Phil. and my advice is to give that a little time also.

The Silver Pavillion (Ginkakuji) is very underwhelming after all of the more impressive shrines in the rest of your walk, IMO. People say the grounds are impressive; we did not find that to be so. BUt the PAth itself if nice along the little canal, and you'll go right by the local Kyoto HIgh School on the Path, which was very fun for my daughter (lots of teen guys).
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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emd - great minds think alike - I told someone on japan-guide yesterday that I felt Ginkakuji was underwhelming! And I knew it wasn't silver before I went there!
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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and BTW, you could also combine the Path of Philosophy w/some of the other notables like the Golden Pavillion, etc. that are on the other side of Kyoto. There is a bus right outside the gate of Ginkakuji that goes to that area.
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Old Apr 29th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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There are a couple of places that you can visit. The first is Kibune shrine in northern Kyoto. It's not in downton, but it's very pretty. In summertime, restaurants set up tatami seats over the river bed for kawa-doko-ryōri (river platform dining).

The second is the kimono museum. I went there more than 15 years ago and really don't remember where it is and what it's called. The have kimono fashion shows on a regular basis.

The last is the Kyoto fine dining experience. I don't know names of particular restaurants, but I heard it's heavenly. Kyoto kaiseki cuisine is a feast to the eyes and stomach. Take your camera to the restaurant.
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