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3 Days in Kyoto


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After my son and I have spent 4 days in Tokyo and 2 days in Nikko, we will be taking the JR Rail (Shinkansen) to Kyoto. As I understand it, we will take the JR Nikko line to Utsunomiya, and from there we will get on the Shinkansen to Tokyo station. Once we have arrived in Tokyo station, we will then make the change for a JR train bound for Kyoto. This full route will take around 5 hours, including transfer times. If we leave around 8AM (or 7AM), we should arrive in Kyoto by Lunch time.

One of the things I have noted to him is that we might want to take our time when we are back in Tokyo, so we can explore the Tokyo Station and perhaps grab a bite to eat at one of their many fantastic places, or even do a little shopping, before heading off to Kyoto.

Once we have arrived, we are going to spend 3 days here. Like with Tokyo, we will be staying in a Capsule Hotel for the duration of our stay in this city. The place is called Glanz kei Karasuma Ebisugawa. I should also like to point out that the day we are leaving Nikko, June 11th, that is when we activate our JR Rail pass for the 7-consecutive days. The actual time it will take for the JR Train to go between Tokyo and Kyoto is about 2hr. 20 minutes. Not bad!

Our hotel is smack in the center of the city, and within reasonable walking distance to the Imperial Palace. However, because we added a day to our Nikko stay, we shaved it off of Kyoto. Its a painful sacrifice, but then again, after having really educated myself on all the delightful things to see and do in Nikko, I just had to do it.

In Kyoto, there are a number of things that we are going to be doing. The day we arrive, we are going to head out to the Monkey Park, which is about 20 minutes to the west of the city. This is the place where you can walk amongst the monkey's and for a few bucks, you can buy them treats. To get there, you head to the Kyoto Station and hop on train to the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station using the Sagano Line. It is supposed to be a 10-15 minute duration. My son is particularly interested in visiting this place, and it certainly sounds like a lot of fun. We will also attempt to walk around in the Bamboo Forests that are in that area. There is a lot of opportunity for photos here! A late lunch at the Kyoarashiyama Ine. After this, we will return to the city and head to the Gion area, which is famous for its outdoor cafes and nightlife. I also hope, given time, and whether either of us are physically capable of continuing to walk, to visit the Round 1 Stadium!, which is a 7-story high Arcade and gamer's paradise, and the Pokémon Center, which is an absolute on our trip.

After a good nights' rest, we will spend the next day crawling all around Kyoto. In particular we will be aiming to visit the Kiyomizu-dera temple, as well as the Gion and Pontocho Districts. The evening, hopefully will be fulfilled with a delicious dinner at Jumbo Yakitori Torikizoku Sanjo Kawaramachi-dori. This place is supposed to have the best Yakitori in Kyoto, and is located in the Pontocho District. For myself, I am very interesting in seeing the Tea Houses and Geisha as well as the other forms of traditional entertainment here. I have also been cautioned that if you see a lady in her full traditional Geisha outfit, that she should be left alone because she is on duty and heading somewhere to work. You can take a photo of her, sure, but don't stop her and request a selfie. That would be considered rude.

On the 3rd day in Kyoto, we will be heading on a day trip outside the city to the local city of Nara, which is well known for its beautiful Todaiji Temple, Kasugataisha Shrine, and of course... the Deer Park where you can hand feed the sacred deer that roam about. With time permitting, we will also visit the Yoshiki-en Garden. Thanks to the JR Rail Pass, we will be able to take the Moyakoji Rapid Train, which is supposed to be covered by the JR Rail tickets we have. It is a 45 minute train ride. If it is NOT covered, then the cost of the tickets is about 14$ USD per person. A late lunch perhaps at a place called Mentouan, which has Udon Noodles that are reputed to be some of the best. Or, if that is not possible, than Kakinohasushi Tanaka, which has 'artistic' sushi, and perhaps even a visit to Yoshinokuzu Sakura for some sweet mochi.

The following morning we will be checking out of our Capsule Hotel and heading to the Kyoto Station to leave for Osaka. This trip, which should only last about 15 minutes and will be covered in my next blog entry.

On the whole, while we are losing a day in Kyoto, we will still be hitting some of the major places to see and visit, such as the Deer and Monkey parks, and the Gion District, etc... Plus, we will be doing a lot of walking around the city and seeing the sites. I know full well that we could probably stay in Kyoto for weeks and not see everything there is to see, or do everything we could, but the whole idea of our trip was to spend a few days in each major city: Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Osaka, Himeji, and Hiroshima, and sample each one of them for a time before moving on to the next. We could have just as easily spent our total of 16 days just in Tokyo, and not seen even a quarter of it, but then we would miss out on all the richness of the other areas of Japan. By spending a few days in each city, we are hoping to come away with a greater and fuller appreciation for the Japanese culture, both main, as well as regional!

Posted by tmulcahey 08:52 Archived in USA Tagged tokyo osaka nikko japan nara kiyomizu udon gion pontocho jr

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