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Pls help with what to visit on 2nd trip to Kyoto !

Pls help with what to visit on 2nd trip to Kyoto !

Mar 29th, 2004, 10:38 PM
  #1  
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Pls help with what to visit on 2nd trip to Kyoto !

My 12 yr old daughter & I will be in Kyoto from April 4 to 11. The hotel is taken care of, we will be at the wonderfully located Kyoto Granvia (at the train stn). What I need help with is the sites to visit. I've been going through some travel books to get ideas, but I would really appreciate some help.

On our 1st trip (03/2003), for 8 days, we had a 4 day JR Railpass for the Kansai area. Here's what we saw: Nara, Nijo Castle, old Expo site in Osaka, Himeji, Fushimi Inari, Imperial Palace, Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Kiomizu, Nishi Hongwanji, Higashi Honganji, & the cherry blossoms in full bloom!

We will be visiting with Japanese friends for 3 or 4 of the days, they will join us for the sightseeing (It makes it easier to get around when you have your own translator!). There will be 2 days when we are on our own.

I have noted 2 things we missed the 1st trip: Tea Ceremony & the Gion district.
What would you recommend that we add? I'm wondering if we need to get a train pass this time? Maybe just a 1 day one, but to go where? I would need to buy it by this Friday.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!
Travelite is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 12:10 AM
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We were in Kyoto recently. I notice you have not listed Miyajima or Hiroshima. We did this as a day trip from Kyoto, 7:44am train leaving Kyoto, 7:05pm train coming back from Hiroshima while visiting Itsukushima shrine, Mt Misen and the Hiroshima Peace park.

In Kyoto, you can add Ryoanji and Maruyama park. We walked thru Teramachi dori starting from Shiyakushomae subway stop due south and then to Nishikishijo. It is a fascinating display of stores selling everyday produce, fish, and other items before getting onto your dinner plates. Since these are covered arcades, they are good places to go on a rainy day. This one was listed in JNTO map of Kyoto I picked up at Kyoto station JNTO office.
nickn is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 12:17 AM
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Bonjour Travelite,

How about the Arashiyama district, Nijo Jinya (ex inn for feudal lords visiting the capital, full of hidden security devices, trapdoors, etc.), the Nishijin textile center (Kimono and traditional textiles exhibition), Museum of traditional crafts (Fureaikan http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/org/fureaika/en-index.html ),
pictures in a maiko kimono ( http://www.kyotoguide.com/e-p10-shopping/maiko.htm ) ?

You'll find much more in the Kyoto Visitors Guide, a copy of which you'll find in the Tourist center on the 2nd floor in Kyoto station, but have a look at their site http://www.kyotoguide.com/index/index.html
Florence is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 12:25 AM
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We were in Kyoto for the first time last April, also with a 12 year old! Boy, I envy you getting to return.

I agree with the recommendations to see the Nishiki Market, Ryoanji Temple and Zen Gardens, Gion District. Also, we loved the Heian Shrine and the Chion-In Temple. Since that is Cherry Blossom Season, highly recommending getting tickets to see the Miyako Odori performance the big theatre in the Gion District.. That was gorgeous!

Also, rather than spend the whole time at a western style hotel near the train station, why not spend a few nights in an authentic Ryokan.
LeslieC is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 10:51 PM
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Thanks for the ideas.

I forgot to ask about where you can find info on visiting any handicraft places (fanmaking, dollmaking etc...), any ideas?

We did go to Nishijin Center but maybe it wasn't the right place. Basically it was a shop selling items, with one loom in the corner. Did I miss something?

To: Leslie C : Yes, it would be nice to stay in a Ryokan BUT: my husband will be there on business so we get a free room at the Granvia, I couldn't pass that up! I'll look on the web for info on the Miyako Odon, or is this something that I just book at my hotel?
What did your 12 yr old enjoy? Mine liked Nara, Himeiji Castle... A friend there has invited us to go to Universal Studio, did you go there?

To Nickn: For Hiroshima: do I just get a return ticket, or is a 1 day pass better?
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Mar 30th, 2004, 11:38 PM
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Bonjour Travelite,

There are many yuzen-dyeing shops and showrooms that allow you to see the whole process of kimono making and dyeing and to try your hand at making your own hankerchief etc. Kyoto Visitors guide lists a few, you'll find more addresses at the tourist center or even at hotels desks.

The traditional crafts museum (Fureaikan) offers some classes, you'll have to look at their website.
Florence is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 01:41 AM
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We had JR passes. Because of this, we were restricted, very restricted, only the few Hikari trains still running this section.

I don't know anything about the 1 day pass.

If this is your only Shinkansen ride, you are probably better off paying the roundrip fare, 10790yen*2 for Hikari or just 300yen per trip more, on Nozomi with with much better train availability. Since one way trip is less than 601Km, you don't get a roundtrip discount on the basic fare portion.

JR west does not take credit cards, but JR Tokai tours having office in the same Midorino madoguchi office near south exit did take credit cards.

Some people think Miyajima-Hiroshima is too rushed for one day visit, but we were very focused on visiting the Itsukushima shrine, Mt Misen and Peace Park only and we could have come back earlier had we been able to get seats on an earlier train.

Although we did not go this time, a place to see handcraft demonstations frequented by foreign visitor is the Handicraft center on Marutamachi dori just NW of Heian Jingu, middle of a triangle created by Heian Jingu, Kumano Jinja and Shougoin. You need to go to an info center frequented by foreign visitor, such as JNTO office at Kyoto station, across the north entrance plaza on 2nd floor from the Hotel Granvia on Isetan dept side to get an info.

Few temples have night lit visits during your stay:

http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/haru.html (in Japanese but see pictures, 3/27-4/11 6:30-9:30pm 400yen/200yen child)

http://www.kodaiji.com/event/2004haru_yakan.html (in Japanese 3/12-5/5) pictures at http://www.kodaiji.com/night/index.html
nickn is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 02:14 AM
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oops, the TIC in the Kyoto station was Kyoto city tourist info center, not JNTO.
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Mar 31st, 2004, 08:57 PM
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The Miyako Odori performance was held at the Kaburenjo Theatre in the Gion district. If it's playing, you'll see big signs in the area advertising it. It was only a seasonal performance devoted to the Sakura.

Actually, we had our 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter. We only had 4 days in Kyoto so I didn't see everything I'd have wanted to. That included a day trip to Nara. The kids loved Nara, especially the deer and the enoumous Buddha at the Todai-ji temple.

In Kyoto, our best day happened because we were strolling along Philosopher's Path after visiting Ginkaku-ji when a young man (about 30) rode by on his bicycle. He saw us checking the map, offered assistance in English and ended up spending the whole afternoon with us showing us around. It was his day off. He walked to the theatre with us and helped with translation as we purchased tickets for the next day to the Miyako Odori, as he had seen it himself and recommended it to us.

He also translated for us as we were approached by countless groups of school kids wanting to "interview" us to practice their English. He said this was their school assignment while on a field trip themselves. I think we were approached often because at that time (in the middle of the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong and elsewhere AND just as the US launched the Iraq invasion) there were so few English speaking tourists to be found and our kids were the exact ages as the middle-schoolers who approached us. THIS interaction with so many kind and exceedingly polite Japanese people, including children, is truly what impressed our children most! This was a nice cultural growth experience for our rather typical California kids.

When I told our impromptu host that we also wanted to visit the Nishiki market, he showed us the way and offered explanations of the many free samples of pickled vegetables and other foods offered. Then our kids really enjoyed the ice cream/dessert parlor he suggested.

I think one reason we really liked the Chion-In temple is because we happened there on a day when a ceremony was taking place, involving a number of young boys chanting and beating a large drum. Moms, dads, grandparents, even the Buddhist priest were taking video and giggling with pride. It reminded me of attending a first communion service in a Catholic church or a Jewish Bar Mitzvah. We were honored to sit in the back and just quietly observe.

Another special evening was in the basement of the Takishiyama (sp?)Dept store on Shijo-Dori, I believe. There are all kinds of wonderfull prepared foods and a market. We spent about an hour selecting the items for the dinner we then carried to our hotel room.

I understand about the hotel situation. No point in paying for your own if it's covered by others.

I think the center nickn refers to above is called the Kyoto Crafts Center. We didn't go but heard it's fun for kids. They can do hands on crafts, for a fee.

Last, we enjoyed the pedestrian only walk between Maruyama Park and Kiyomizudera temple, but perhaps you saw that last time. Our kids loved all the shops and free samples of rice candies!
LeslieC is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 09:49 PM
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From the Kyoto Guide website:

Miyako Odori (4/1/04-4/30/04): performed by the geiko of the Gion district; 12:30, 14:00, 15:30, and 16:50; reserved seats: \4,300 with ceremonial tea (served 40-50 min. before the performance), \3,800 without tea; non-reserved (on tatami): \1,900; Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater, south of Shijo, off Hanami-koji

About Universal Studios, didn't know this existed in Japan but we would probably not have gone since we live near Universal Studios Hollywood and I was interested in things Japanese!

There is a sammuari movie studio in Kyoto that sounds fun but I can't remember the name.
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Apr 1st, 2004, 02:00 AM
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Universal Studios is in Osaka...very nearby Kyoto. We haven't gone yet, but are planning to sometime. Everyone I know who has gone has really enjoyed it. It might be a nice diversion for your daughter, and if you don't go on the weekend, you won't likelly have crowds because schools are just starting the new year. For the last two years we've gone to Disneyland and Disneysea the beginning of April and just about had the place to ourselves! Kim
KimJapan is offline  
Apr 1st, 2004, 07:32 AM
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The hotel we are staying at is very much a "business" hotel, they don't have any helpful info at all (other than an expensive tour desk). So I appreciate everyones' help in my planning.

We will try to do the Hiroshima / Miyajima trip. It sounds long but interesting. We are going to Universal Studios because my daughters' Japanese friend wants to go there.

To nickn: How did you get from Hiroshima to Miyajima? There is an organized tour thru Sunrise tour that seems outrageously expensive (46,300 Y), since the return Kyoto/Hiroshima ticket is only 11,290Y. I wonder what the extra 35,000Y is for??

Earlier you mentioned to check with the TIC in the Kyoto train stn, but on the web site they posted this msg:

" JNTO Tourist Information Center, Kyoto Office (Kyoto TIC) was closed as of Jan. 31, 2004. JNTO appreciates your patronage of our services at Kyoto TIC.

Visitors will continue to be able to get useful information and tourism advice from : Tourist Information Center, Tokyo Office (Tokyo TIC) ".

Is there any other tourist info in the train station area? or was that the one that closed? Do you know where else can I find a copy of the Kyoto Visitors Guide?
Thanks


Travelite is offline  
Apr 1st, 2004, 07:56 AM
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You can find the Kyoto Visitor Guide online at www.kyotoguide.com .

Sorry to hear that the Granvia doesn't provide much help for you. I haven't ever stayed there, but I had been led to believe (mistakenly, apparently) that it was a top-flight hotel.
DonTopaz is offline  
Apr 1st, 2004, 02:40 PM
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The shinkansen fare from Kyoto to Hiroshima is about 11,000 yen one way. It takes less than two hours by shinkansen. Cheaper, express trains are available too, for less money and much more time. From Hiroshima to Miyajima you take another train, about 30 minutes, then a short boat ride.

Miyajima is lovely. We hiked up the "mountain" instead of taking the ropeway and enjoyed it very much. We got a trail map from the boat landing dock desk, I think. You can see monkeys and deer. Try the maple leaf shaped sweets sold everywhere...get them fresh and warm...try the apple filled ones.

Hiroshima is really simple to get around...the streetcars go everywhere you will want to go. You probably don't need a tour, unless you really want one. The Peace park is the reason we went, and it took about 1/2 the day. We spent the rest of the day shopping. We spent a whole day in Miyajima, but you could do the Peace Park in the AM and Miyajima in the PM and not be too rushed.

The tour price...includes round trip shinkansen (about 23,000 yen), Peace Park and Miyajima, transport and perhaps lunch. You might save as much as 15,000 yen by doing it yourself.

Kim
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Apr 1st, 2004, 07:08 PM
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- 1 person says the Kyoto/Hiroshima ticket is roundrip fare 10790yen, another says it's 11,000Y one way?? On the site www.hyperdia.com I thought it looked like it's 11,190Y one way ? Hmmm

- If it IS 11,000Y ONE way, then wouldn't it be better to get the Sanyo Area JR West Rail Pass- which is 20,000Y for 4 days of travel? If so, I would need to buy it today, I leave tomorrow!

- To Rizzuto: I have been looking at the Kyoto Guide on line, but I was asking where I could get a printed copy. It's way too much info to print out. Since the TIC in the Kyoto station is closed down, & my hotel doesn't usually have them, I was asking where else I could get it? (airport?)

The Granvia IS a very nice hotel, it's just geared more toward business people than tourists.
Travelite is offline  
Apr 1st, 2004, 08:44 PM
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"1 person says the Kyoto/Hiroshima ticket is roundrip fare 10790yen, another says it's 11,000Y one way?? On the site www.hyperdia.com I thought it looked like it's 11,190Y one way ? Hmmm"

The fare is around 11,000 yen one way on the shinkansen...11,190 to be exact. Express and limited express trains range from 6300 to 9900 yen each way, take at least 5 hours each way. You can get even cheaper by taking a local train...might take you more than 12 hours though.

The way Japan Rail works fares is that there is a basic fare for the trip between point a and point b. Then you add on supplements for the speed of the trains and reserved seats. If you take a roundabout route, you'll pay more because the distance covered is longer.

Kim

KimJapan is offline  
Apr 1st, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Bonjour Travelite,

The TIC is apparently closed, but the Kyoto City Tourism Office is located on the 2nd floor of Kyoto Station (Karasuma/facing K. Tower side). Website is http://raku.city.kyoto.jp/sight_e.phtml

You will find the Visitor's guide there. It is a really valuable publication, with excellent maps of the city.
Florence is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2004, 01:34 AM
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Regarding JR West Sanyo 4 day pass at Y20000 vs buying point to point, you need to notice there is a quirk in the Sanyo pass:

It does not cover Kyoto-Shinosaka.

http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/engl...n04/index.html

JR West Kansai pass, which I presume you used before includes Kyoto, but neither Hiroshima nor Shinkansen.

I presume there is a way to supplement the missing Kyoto-Shinosaka section, this according to Hyperdia is about Y3130 one way on Nozomi, presuming that is how one obtains Kyoto-Hiroshima without having to change the train.

Adding JR WEST pass+(Kyoto-shinosaka) and comparing to Kyoto-Hiroshima-Miyajimaguchi-JR ferry, you come out about a wash.

JR West pass, unlike JR pass, can be purchased after you arrive in Japan.

Getting from Hiroshima to Miyajima is not overly difficult.

Shinkansen arrives on track 11 or 12, the local JR train toward Miyajimaguchi leaves either track 1 or 2. While the signs to this track does not standout, it does say Miyajima in English. You also notice that suddenly foreign travellers come out of woodwork and head toward the same track.

The train ride to Miyajimaguchi was about 24 minutes. When you get out of the Miyajimaguchi station, you will be staring at the huge Miyajima ferry sign, perhaps less than 200 yards away. It would be hard to miss this as the horde of people getting off the train head toward the ferry dock. The JR ferry (on the right side) is coordinated with train arrivals, so it is best if you don't have to take a break, you really only have time to walk from the train station to the ferry.

The JR ferry docks head in. Since JR ferry passes by the famous floating Torii gate, keeping the Torii on right side of the boat (when tide is high enough), if you stay on the left side of the boat as you board (right side, after the boat turns around and heads toward Miyajima), you get to see the Torii.

For a day trip, you really don't have time to walk up Mt Misen. What we decided was if the weather is good, we would go up Mt Misen by gondola, otherwise, visit Hiroshima castle. To ride gondola, you actually have to walk past the Itsukushima shrine to the entrance to the Maple Leaves park. You the have a choice between walking up hill dirt road park up to the gondola station or wait for a free shuttle bus. The info center at Miyajima ferry dock will give you a map and a detail to this shuttle bus stop.

Even if you take the shuttle bus, you still need to climb steep steps up to the station, between gondolas at mid station, and after you get to the top...

coming back, you need to note that there is a gap in shuttle service during noon time. This is less of an issue as walking down the hill thru the park is not that difficult, unless it is raining (that's why we would not have gone up if the weather is bad, including bad visibility). Follow the sign to Itsukushima shrine.

We adjusted the time to the return train by how much time we spent at the Hiroshima peace park. The west wing closed around 5pm, we were told to get from the east wing to the west wing before 4:40pm. For 4/1-7/31, the west wing stays open until 6pm.

Although we used the street car to the Peace park, thinking it has better right of way, the traffic was not bad even around 6pm and the taxi would have been faster.
nickn is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2004, 05:29 PM
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I posted a seperate question which, for some reason, didn't even appear after I searched for it:

Author: Travelite
Date: 04/02/2004, 03:45 am

Kyoto: Gion Corner or Miyako Odori?

Message: From what I've read, it sounds like the Miyako Odori is a dance, whereas the other is a display of dance, music, tea ceremony, flower arrangement etc.

Has anyone been to one or the other? I only want to chose one. Thanks

If anyone knows more about these I'd appreciate any feedback.

I will be leaving for KIX in a few hours. Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their experiences. Very helpful !
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May 8th, 2004, 12:42 AM
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RE: JR Tokai with credit card.

I was looking up atm location and stumbled upon a notice on VISA site that JR Tokai takes VISA (so I suppose MC as well,) starting April 1, 2004. So I did not happen to walk up to a grumpy JR Tokai ticket agent on 3/25 trying to buy a ticket using a CC.
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