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  • You won't be able to see everything Kyoto has to offer
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      19.08.2010 18:22

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      Visit Tokyo instead

      For over a year now I have been getting used to my comfortable life in Japan. Japan is a very xenophobic country however compared to the UK, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Recently I decided to get out of Tokyo and visit a few places in Japan. One of the stops was Kyoto. Kyoto is like one big crisscross grid. There are only two major roads in the city center, it has a bit off an odd layout. While the temples are interesting, overall I found the city rather ugly. I stayed in an area near Gion where all the shops and tourist attractions are. Kyoto is famous for Geisha however I found the Japanese women in Kyoto to be comparatively ugly compared to Tokyo but this could be because the geisha only come out at night. People from Kyoto don't seem as sophisticated as people from Tokyo but Kyoto people are slightly more friendlier and easier to talk to. I paid around 15 GBP to attend a tea ceremony which I found quite boring and a waste of time. Since I only spent several days in the city it's difficult to say if it is worth living there although from my impression I wasn't impressed with the city or the people. I prefer Tokyo with it's night life and many things to do.

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      27.03.2010 14:51
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      A must visit city for any tourist to Japan

      Kyoto is the former capital of Japan and is a must see city (along with Tokyo) for anyone visiting this historic and beautiful country.

      One of the first things that most visitors will see in Kyoto is the quite incredible railway station which is a futuristic mix of steel and glass. Its only about 10 years ol and caused some controversy at the time it was built as Kyoto is one of the most historic areas of Japan. Make sure that you spend some time exploring the 15 floors which are laced with cafes, bistros and designer shops.

      Kyoto is known for its many and ancient historic temples. We visited Nanzen-Ji which is a complex of temples and is easy to spend a day exploring. Amongst its attractions are some quite beautiful Japanese gardens and waterfalls alongside historic painted screens of tigers. It is also possible to partake in a traditional Japanese tea drinking ceremony next to the gardens for a small fee. Some of the temples here are huge with the largest wooden temple still standing in the grounds along with "the giant bell" a 74 tonne behemoth which requires 17 monks strength to ring!

      There are numerous other temples scattered around the city strangely next to more modern buildings. I can heartily recommend a good map or tour guide as some of them date back over 1000 years in age and can be easily missed. One word of caution is that many of the older temples undergo almost constant repairs to maintain them owing to their age. That being said, they are still well worth a visit to enjoy whats inside.

      The beauty of Kyoto is that it is both a modern and historic city and there are excellent transport links (as you come to expect with Japan) to other major cities and tourist destinations. Trips to Nara, Nagoya and Osaka can all be easily taken from here within a couple of hours making Kyoto a good base to explore the surroundings. One word of warning, less people here speak English than in Tokyo, so ensure that you've packed your Japanese phrasebook!

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      19.07.2009 16:19
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      A must, but go to Nara too

      Kyoto is of course a must for all tourists visiting Japan because of the history and sheer volume of beautiful places to visit. But be warned: it is a typical modern Japanese concrete city with nice things in it and it can be a nightmare if you go peak season.

      The train station looks like something out of Star Wars and you look at the skyline and see a fusion of old beautiful with modern teaming concrete. I suppose the contrast works well once you are in a peaceful traditional Japanese garden sipping green tea.

      The gold temple, silver temple and Philosophers' Walk are excellent. Gion is great to see the geisha, but foreigners have been warned to respect them - I think there were a few problems with foreign males touching their expensive kimonos.

      I much prefer Nara which is very close by. This is everyone's typical image of traditional Japan: gorgeous countryside with fantastic temples. The pace is much slower here and they even have deer roaming the streets.

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      21.06.2007 16:31
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      Subtle and appealing

      Only half an hour from Osaka by bullet train, but virtually joined on (to give an extent of how big Osaka is), is Kyoto - surely the most popular tourist destination in Japan.

      Kyoto itself is a bit of a contradiction. It's crawling with tourists, yet you are only a moment away from finding a quiet spot, sectioned from anywhere. There are many modern buildings and development, yet all of it's history has been left undisturbed.

      After spending so much time in the company of quiet natured, charming Japanese people for the past 5 or 6 days, it was slightly off-putting to be surrounded by Hawaiian shirt wearing tourists again, who each took it in turns to loudly claim how much they knew (or actually didn't) about any particular temple or shrine.

      Aside from that, Kyoto, although an urban sprawl in parts, is a very beautiful place if you look closer.

      There are many absorbing historical sites to visit, including the Golden Pavillion, which could be something out of a story book.

      Ryoanji Rock Garden is amoungst Kyoto's most famous. Admittedly, though, I didn't find anything particularly hidden or enlightening about the place like your supposed to. I'm told the secret is you can only ever view so many rocks from any position and one is always hidden. But there were far too many sweaty tourists about for me to have any chance of contemplation.

      The Silver Pavillion is yet another beautifully natural area. The gardens could be a your own secret kingdom with storybook paths that lead up to the surrounding hills. From here you can see over much of Kyoto.

      It's also the usual starting point of the Path of Philosophy - a small canal with a path running alongside for approximatly a mile, between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji temple.

      Hanging over the river are hundreds of large cherry blossoms, almost competing with eachother for space in a sea of floating white. A stunningly picturesque walk follows. Apparently a famous Japanese philosopher walked this path to work every day - and hence the name!

      Not so far from Nanzenji is the Heian Shrine, distintive because of it's large bright red torii gate on the approach to it's entrance. Inside are a series of green roofed red buildings and blinding white gravel.

      Behind these buildings are further breathtaking landscape gardens with gorgeous lakes, stepping stones and weeping pink cherry trees.

      Along the wide Kamo river in Kyoto is a walkway spanning it's whole distance. It's really relaxing at probably anytime, but especially around dusk. Groups of workers and teenagers sit on the banks in circles having a picnic under the Sakura trees. Some cycle up and down and others navigate the large stepping stones to cross the river. The further you walk along, the more the light of the distant mountains fade, until the soft illumination of central Kyoto comes into view.

      Gion is the place to be at night. All kinds of people from School kids to businessmen and the elderly move in and out of the shops, pachinko arcades and tea houses. Sometimes you'll catch the glimpse of a Geisha getting into a taxi. If you walk off the beaten track, you'll discover old streets with traditional architecture and tiny exclusive bars and restaurants where all that can be heard is the faint sound of talking and laughing.

      The Pontocho is the best example of such a street. It's narrow, cobbled and glowing with lanterns. While i've been informed that all sorts goes on here, I didn't notice anything but a nice old world vibe to the place. Walking around here is as close as you can get to stepping back into the pre-war era.

      The construction of gardens and buildings in Japan is said to be an art form in itself, each one being carefully designed to reflect the serenity, beauty and vivid detail of a painting - hence all the wonderful modern and ancient architecture throughout the country, as well as the term 'landscape garden' so skillfully applied to a vast array of sites.

      Even the more facile shrine's, temples and gardens such as the Toji and Sanjusangendoare shrines, (as well as Kyoto Imperial Palace) are a pleasure to spend time around. Each has a certain aura of peacefullness and calmness like no where else I've come across. You tend to come away from them feeling refreshed and contented, ready once more for the bustle and noise of the city. There are also few more photogenic places. They seem to fulfill that stereoptypical idea most people have of Japan, but do it in a very subtle, appealing way.

      Despite some new development, many of the houses and building's are older than Tokyo (as Kyoto was one of the few places not bombed much in WW2) and there is still much unchanged from 20, 30 or even 50 years ago. It's all very quaint and sincere.

      taken from my travel blog www.thereisanotherworld.wordpress.com

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        21.08.2004 02:26
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        • "You won't be able to see everything Kyoto has to offer"

        Warning: Many of you may want to scan this review, as it is far too long. Kyoto has a great deal to see though... __________________________________________________________ Kyoto gives its name to possibly Japan's most historically and culturally rich prefecture (Kyoto-ken), and is contained within the Kansai region. The city itself which was then known as Heian-kyo, was used as the country's capital before Tokyo and shares this privilege with nearby Nara which predates it. Along with Osaka, Nara is also well worth a visit if you are interested in learning a little about Japan's history or seeing many of its most beautiful shrines and temples; many of which are National Treasures, UNESCO sites or Important Cultural Properties. The earthquake devastated and recently rebuilt Kobe is also an easy distance (all are reached within half an hour to an hour by train) from Kyoto, making it the best possible location to view many of the country's prime sites. Boasting more than 2000 shrines and temples, a number of palaces, gardens and museums you would need quite some time to feel like you have seen everything in Kyoto. To see the most major sites three days intensive sight-seeing will probably suffice - be warned though, you'll probably come away with plenty of blisters and tired feet and legs. Investing in a very comfortable pair of shoes or sandals is a must! GETTING THERE There are two real options when flying into Japan. The most convenient if you are just intending on visiting Kyoto is Kansai International Airport. This is located in Osaka, which can be reached most cheaply by JR train (costing 540Yen and taking approximately 30 minutes) and quicker still by Shinkansen (bullet train). If you are intending on visiting Tokyo too, you may well wish to fly in and out of the country's capital. You can reach Kyoto by Shinkansen in two and a half to three hours by taking the train bound for Hikari
        . This is expensive, costing around 19,000 Yen if you reserve a seat and approximately 15,000 Yen if you don't (this includes the Express train from Narita to Tokyo airport too), but is easy to use and incredibly comfortable with enough room to recline my seat whilst resting my backpack against the seat in front. The reserved seat restricts you to a particular car and seat (the car position is marked on both the car and platform), which along with your start and end time are helpfully marked on your ticket. There is a request that all passengers have their mobiles on vibrate ensuring a peaceful and enjoyable journey. A map for toilets, telephones and vending machines are all marked on the seat tray, making it easy for ignorant foreigners to make use of the amenities. As it also affords some wonderful views of Japan's lush and varying countryside, including a great view of Mount Fuji, I would most definitely recommend a trip on Shinkansen as part of any visit to Japan. STAYING IN KYOTO ON A BUDGET On our visit we stayed in Kyoto on a fairly tight budget. As a result, our room was pretty basic. Kyoto has more than enough to fill a hectic itinerary, so if you are intending to use it as purely a base, I would recommend Uno House (tel: +81 231 7763 and is located off the Marutomachi-dori within easy walking distance of the Imperial park) although it does come with a few minor disadvantages. Dormitories and private rooms are available. Ours was a private room and provided us with clean linen and Japanese style futon (light mattresses placed directly on the floor). Showers and asian style toilets are communal. Unfortunately in the middle of the Summer these do tend towards being a little smelly. However the hostel is friendly and has cooking facilities, making 2,000 Yen per night seem pretty reasonable especially when you consider that most accommodation in Japan is much more expensive. TOURIST INFORMATIO
        N <br >This is found in the station, and was something we really should have investigated as the guidebook maps were very hard to follow. GETTING AROUND For 500 Yen you can buy a one day bus card, and for 1,200 a subway and bus pass - we only used the bus one. For individual journeys there will either be a flat fare, or you will have to take a ticket match the number on a board to work out the cost - payment is made at the front of the bus at the end of your journey. ATTRACTIONS My suggestion would be that you select an area with a couple of attractions that you desperately want to see, and then wander around any others that catch your fancy as you come across them. Don't try and see every sight as you may well end up feeling "all-templed out"! As a result, what follows is an account of what we saw in the order we saw them, and the sites that might have been interesting had we had more time. A large number of places give leaflets in English, or have information printed on the tickets. Photograpy is permitted in most places, but keep an eye out for signs that state otherwise. It might be useful to know that 'ji' means temple, and 'jo' means castle, and that in these places you should assume that you will need to remove your shoes to enter any sacred areas. - Kinkaku-ji (400 Yen) The Golden Temple is quite a spectacular sight and is set in some beautiful Japanese style gardens. The top two stories of the building are elaborately covered in gold leaf. Your first sight is a picture-postcard view of the Temple across a lake backed with trees. Like much of Japan's historical sights, the building that you see is not the building that originally stood there. This particular one was burned down in 1950 by an obsessed monk, and rebuilt in 1955 to the original specifications. Only one minor alteration was made, as the lower story was also given its gilt finis
        h. - Rit sumeikan U niversity Kyoto Museum for World Peace (Free) We chose not to visit this Museum, but we walked past it on our way to Heian-ji. This museum is apparently very interesting, containing information on the Second World War that does not stint in its unflinching account of the atrocities Japan committed. - Heian-jingu (600 Yen) The large steel gate to this shrine is located in the Museum area of the city and appears quite removed from the shrine itself. At the time we visited it was unfortunately boarded up, presumably for repair. Built at the end of the 19th century to commemorate the founding of Kyoto, it is a replica of another temple. But the expansive garden it a good place to rest your feet - especially on the seats on the Chinese style bridge. - FureaiKan Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts (Free) This little underground museum thankfully has explanations in English as well as Japanese. Exhibits are presented with explanation of their use or how they were made. Videos also play, but there is less of an explanation of these, so it's sometimes a little more difficult to work out what they represent. This exhibition makes a welcome reminder of the traditional side of Japanese life that can be easily forgotten with viewing the city and its religious sites. - Sho-ren-in (500 Yen) One of the Monzeki temples of the Tendai Buddhist movement, this temple appears to have been a sort of monastery. The little winding road is located slightly off the tourist route making it a small, but peaceful place. The layout is apparently unusual for a temple in that it is that of an imperial palace with beautiful printed screens, and from the uppermost building affords some lovely views of the gardens which apparently have not been touched for 800-900 years. - Chion-in (400Yen) This particular temple boasts the largest gate, and the largest bell in Japan. The bell itself would need th
        e strength of 17 monks to make it rin g, and is located up a pleasant walk. The main temple building is enormous, and the scale is matched by the amount of gold on display. - Kiyomizu-dera (400 Yen) This temple area was first built in 798, and is yet another reconstruction which was rebuilt in 1633. It is found up a small and steep road that is flanked by shops selling souvenirs, snacks and handicrafts. The fun feel is also carried on as you come up the hill and find a colourful entrance gate and the love stones. If you can walk with your eyes closed from one stone to the other your wish for love will be fulfilled. Unfortunately I missed, but my friend made it - the key was apparently in the shoes. She could feel a line in the stone with her shoes, but I couldn't! I also particularly liked the dragon water feature that you use to wash your hands before you enter the shrine. Below the main hall is also a small waterfall called Otawa-no-taki that is believed to have therapeutic properties if you drink its waters. As everyone was using the same containers, we chose to miss the queues and walk on by. Ginkaku-ji The Silver Temple makes a nice counterpoint to the Golden one, although despite its name, this Zen temple is not covered in silver - unfortunately the Shogun who designed it never had a chance to complete it. Like Kinkaku-ji the building was originally designed as a villa and then converted into a temple. The temple grounds give a nice opportunity to see the Zen style sand gardens. Carefully crafted cones of sand and geometric shapes sit amongst the pines. If you take the pathway up the hill, there is a rather good photo opportunity which allows you to see Ginkaku-ji poking out of the trees. It is also possible to take a walk called the Tetsugaku-no-michi from the Silver Temple. This takes in a number of temples as well as a lovely walk along the river which during the cherry blossom season (
        early April) and could well take up an entire d ay if you wanted it too - as we didn't, we only stopped at a few. - Nanzen-ji (400 Yen) We chose to only see part of the Nanzen-ji grounds by going up the steps of the gate. The gate is one of the largest I saw in Japan, and has a small shrine area that is beautiful to see. Fairly entertainingly, Zen chanting is piped up to the upper level to give more of an atmosphere. The view of Kyoto from the top is yet again, amazing. Apparently there are also impressive screen printings, leaping tiger gardens and a generally overlooked small waterfall shrine in a forested hollow. (One of the few things that I wish I had not missed). - Eikan-do (500 Yen) Yet another fine view of the city if visable from Eikan-do (originally named Zenrin-ji), which was named after a priest named Eikan who built a hospital for the poor within the grounds of the original 9th century temple. I especially enjoyed seeing the Mikaeri-no-Amida Buddha (Buddha Glancing Backwards) which was built after Eikan had a vision. Apparently the Amida Buddha stepped down from the shrine and walked ahead of Eikan telling him to stop dawdling. It is probably best to follow the arrows to enjoy everything; you can then put your shoes back on and enjoy the gardens, which include some wonderful sculptures and impressive buildings. - Muran-an (350 Yen) It could be easy to miss Muran-in, and in some ways that might not be the biggest shame. Advertised on the wall of the main road as free, it is probably slightly overpriced. The garden is very attractive with its rockery water feature, stepping stones and lush green foliage. It is possible to have tea in one of the buildings over-looking the little garden, but this looked to be expensive. The one claim to fame which makes the entrance fee slightly more bearable is that the builder and designer of the gardens, Aritomo Yamagata held the Murin-an Conference concern
        ing Japanese foreign policy just before the Russo-Japanes e War in the upper floor of one of the buildings. It is possible to go into the room which still contains the same furniture and take photographs without a flash. - Gion Very few people will go to Japan without knowing a little about Geisha, and Gion in Kyoto has the largest concentration of this dwindling breed of highly trained attendants. Although you do feel slightly voyeuristic, Geisha spotting can take you through an area of Kyoto that seems to contain the contradictions of Japan. You'll walk along a main street with large shops (including an newly built expensively priced craft centre) and then suddenly find yourself walking along streets that have an unmistakable look of old Japan. I managed to glimpse one Geisha briefly, and we did find another woman dressed as one. We were both sceptical that she was a true Geisha due to the amount of photographs she was having with what appeared to be her family. Apparently girls can pay extortionate amounts to be made up as a Geisha for the day, and as she was obviously not 'rushing between appointments' we suspect she may well have been a fake. - Kyoto Station (Free) You would probably rush straight through the station, but it is actually an attraction in itself. Sights of the city are impressive, and the architecture is a little bit different; although I'm not convinced that the glass makes it appear to float in the city as the information boards at the top would try to make you believe. It also appears to be quite a retail centre with arcades within the building and underground in the subway section. The area they describe as being a 'garden' at the top, would also benefit with a little bit of green, rather than just the concreted area. - Kyoto Tower (770 Yen) When there are so many beautiful views of Kyoto this tower does seem a bit overpriced. Although it gives you the best vie
        w of the entire city and could be a g ood way to orientate yourself at the beginning of a visit with the direction of the main attractions being marked on the windows, it really is nothing special. Slightly tacky exhibits on the third floor of the observatory, above the shopping centre, do at least give you a feel of the seasons and festivals of Kyoto. - To-ji (500Yen) To-ji is a 20 minute walk from the station, and doesn't really appear to be marked that well. It certainly doesn't appear to be sign-posted in English, although information is provided inside. The National Treasure of the five-storey pagoda which is apparently the tallest in Japan, and has been rebuilt a total of 5 times! I found particularly interesting the twenty-one statues arranged according to the Mikkyo Mandala (a religiously significant grouping) in the Ko-do (Lecture Hall). As you peer around the different gilt statues of different deities, you keep on discovering more, including some deities from the Hindu pantheon and some brought back from China. -Nijo-jo (600 Yen) Nijo castle is another interesting place to visit. Probably the most fun elements are the nightingale floors which were designed to sigh in order to signal the approach of anyone for the Shogun's bodyguards. No matter what nationality, everyone can be seen bouncing up and down on the boards or trying to tiptoe across them without making a sound. The building is impressive, with the beautifully painted screens being the main attraction. Another building is the Honmaru which was originally built in 1847 for Prince Katsura and later became the Imperial Palace, which was moved from the Imperial Palace grounds in 1893. Another pleasant view is visible from within the very attractive gardens. - Imperial Palace Gardens (Free) This is a pleasant place to see Kyoto's residents exercise their dogs and enjoy the evening, but really is nothing special - especially af
        ter the gardens that you will already have seen. There is also an opportunit y to see the palace, but this does require that you request an invitation - something that may demand a little more organisation than you may wish. JAPANESE FOOD Sushi, tako-yaki (battered balls containing octopus), okonomi-yaki (a fried batter with seafood, vegetables and a special sauce that varies from region to region), tempura, soba noodles, ramen noodles - the list of great food goes on. The only thing that I would avoid is Oden which is a variety of fried food. The main problem with it is that it is often reconstituted fish which I found soggy and tasteless, even if it is cheap. Apparently the one thing that is meant to be specific to Kyoto is tofu. This can be sold marinated and raw or cooked with meat and is a bit of an acquired taste. I would recommend Zuzu, on a road off Pontocho-dori in an area that contains many different restaurants. Although the restaurant and bar is a little more expensive than most, it has plenty of atmosphere and a staff that speak relatively good English. You'll probably find that lunchtimes are the ones you want a light snack. Convenience stores such as Lawsons and Seven Elevens seem to crop up everywhere. One of my particular favourites are triangles of rice wrapped in seaweed with fillings such as tuna (generally the blue label one!) Although eating food on the street is frowned on a little. Different flavours of ice cream such as sweet potato and green tea are a refreshing change, along with a snack that contains similarities with slush puppies - ice flakes that have flavoured syrup poured over them. Vending machines are found everywhere, including inside temple areas and have a variety of drinks you won't find in the United Kingdom, such as Melon or Grape soda which might be something different to try. Although we didn't find many in Kyoto, there are also vending mac
        hines selling hot tea and coffee in cans. MONEY IN KYOTO Make sure you tak e plenty of currency as finding an International ATM can be a bit of a challenge. JAPANESE PEOPLE Provided you nod (a greeting and sign of respect in Japan) to everyone, the people are infinitely helpful. There is a great urge to understand that can bridge the language gap. Although I would suggest that you take a good phrase book with the phrases written in the Japanese script as well as written phonetically in English, these basic words might be quite useful: Arigato gozaimasu - formal thank you Domo - informal thank you, excuse me Dozo - please Sumimasen - excuse me Sugoi - great Egoi - English Hai - yes As well as being very forgiving of the English not knowing their language, I found the Japanese to be incredibly helpful and friendly often volunteering help if they think you are having problems - although you should expect to be laughed at a little or questioned about England. The laughter tends to disguise their shyness but is much preferable to being scowled at as I think the English are particularly prone to do. _________________________________________________________ This trip was taken in August 2004. At this time of year Japan is very hot and humid. If you have fair skin it is essential that you use suntan lotion even when it is overcast. (That's the one time I got burnt!) The exchange rate was: 197.245 Yen to the pound.

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          03.07.2001 04:53
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          I have visited Kyoto on two occasions and each time I cannot find enough time in the day to visit as much as I would like. Kyoto is situated about 2 and 15 minutes away from Tokyo by Shinkansen (Bullet train) and about 30 minutes away from Osaka or 75 minutes from Kansai (Osaka’s main airport). Upon arriving in Kyoto you cant help but notice that this city is not like other cities such as Tokyo as there are very few high rise buildings. This is due to the being a covenant on all land in Kyoto that prohibits the building of structures over 10 stories. (This however is no longer in force). This was originally done so that huge buildings, towering into the sky did, not spoil the views of Kyoto. If you are going to visit Kyoto, to see the temples and shrines. I would first plan where you want to go as there are so many nice places to visit and it might be a good idea to visit temples in a specific sector of the city in one go. Travel around Kyoto is relatively inexpensive, unless you use taxis. All bus journeys are 200 Yen (about £1.15) whilst taxis have a standard charge plus mileage starting at 660 yen (about £3.75). Taxis can be flagged down or its best to get a taxi outside your hotel. Buses follow specific routes and don’t always stop near the temples or shrines so be prepared for some long walks. The best thing to though is to check if your hotel has a shuttle service. This is usually to the main train/bus terminal and buses to all locations can be caught here. So which are the best temples to visit. We’ll the Kiyomizu-dera is one of the best temples to visit as it has a large temple with lots of smaller temples and Pagodas in the surrounding grounds. The main temple of Kiyomizu-dera has a very large and impressive wooden balcony which holds up about half of the temple. If you are going to visit here you will have to walk up the Ninenzaka which is a street containing lots of traditional crafts and foods. I can
          recommend the Japanese sweets especially those made from red beans. Also I might suggest that you visit this particular temple around dusk. When the temple is lit up in the evening it brings and added dimension to the temple. You have to see it to understand what I mean. Its beautiful. If you like gardens then a trip to Ginkaku-Ji is for you. The gardens here are not gardens in the traditional English sense but Japanese gardens, so there are patterns etched into sand as well as strange shaped cones and towers also made from sand. Very artistic, and very unusual. They also have lots of Japanese gardens here. But be warned they have a one way system, which is strictly enforced, by a small army of elderly gentlemen with whistles. So make sure you see all you need to see before moving on. If you want to see something completely different, then visit Kinkaku-ji. Meaning Golden Temple. This is a very strange building in that its completely covered in gold.. Gold leaf to be precise. An amazing building which no visit to Kyoto would be complete without. There isn’t a great deal else here apart from the golden temple but believe me it will keep you amazed for quite some time. There are lots of beautiful things to see in Kyoto and it’s worth looking at the guide books before you decide. However there are a few things to be aware of. The busiest time of the year is from the third week in March to the first week in May as this is traditionally when the Japanese make a pilgrimage to Kyoto to see and sit under the cherry blossom trees. Believe me when I say it’s busy…. This usually ends the first week in April. Just in time for Golden week, which is traditionally a Japanese holiday week. Its really several public holidays close to each other, but it’s a time when many Japanese take their holiday. There is also a holiday similair to this isn August. If your going to visit Kyoto, it might be worth looking
          at the web address below to get a feeling for the city and where you wanna visit. http://www.japannet.de/kyoto/kyoto.html It’s a German web site, in English about Kyoto. One final note, if your thinking you can do it all in one day, think again. The longer you take the more of each temple you will see. © copyright 2001, Mike Porter.

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          "Kyōto (京都市), Japan."