Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 7 of 9 › view all entries
Kyoto is a nice city and relatively quiet one. I enjoyed Kyoto as much as Tokyo, loved the long walks, the cosy streets, the ancient temples, and unceasing history breeze in the atmosphere. If you are a history fan, Kyoto is a must see destination. I stayed in Kyoto for 3 nights in my 2 visits to Japan and never got bored of it.
Kyoto Temples and shrines were unique in their own right. I have visited temples in Nara all the other Japanese cities, but Kyoto remains on top. Unfortunately, Japan remains largely a non-touristic country due to English being less spoken and used in public, Japanese being conservative, and fewer attractions available. However, this what makes Japan so unique, you get a strong sense of the Japanese culture as you tour the country.
In addition to the Imperial Palaces, Kyoto has plently to see and explore..Shrines and temples are numerous. Above all, the following are the very best among all which we have visited:
- The Golden Pavilion or Kinkaku-ji;
- The Silver Pavilion or Ginkaku-ji;
Additionally, they are many more which we didn't visit including Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine famous with the red torii gates, Yasaka Shrine on Shijo Street, and Sanjūsangen-dō Temple which houses 1000 gold plated statues inside. Generally speaking, the visit to any temple/shrine would take at least 1 to 2 hours excluding commuting time between different sites. If you visit Kyoto in the Autumn or Spring time, you will get a plus of seeing the colourful trees or cherry blossoms (respectively).
Since Kyoto is a peaceful city, it is good for cycling. You can hire a bicycle at Kyoto Cycling Tour Project infront of Kinkaku-ji Temple and return it at Kyoto Central Station. It took us a day to visit the temples, and if we had the chance to visit them again we would definitely hire bicycles to do so.
In the morning, we went walking all the way to the palaces grounds to enter the Imperial Palace. The ticker office informed us that the guided tour is free so we booked the noon tour. It is always useful to check the attractions website or speak to the concierge to confirm the opening hours, tours timing and cost. It was particularly important this time as the passport was required to enter the Imperial Palace.
Since the noon tour was 3 hours later, we spent some time walking around the palaces and then went to nearby Nijo Castle or "Ninja" Castle as some may call it. It is one of the seventeen assets of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
After touring Nijo Castle, it was time to go back to join the guided tour to the Imperial Palace. This time we were not allowed to enter the palace buildings, instead we walked around the buildings sometimes getting the chance to see what is inside the rooms.
Nonetheless, we have enjoyed the tour and went for lunch in Shijo Street.