Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 6 of 9 › view all entries
Ironically, Tokyo is the de facto capital of Japan. The Emperor place of settlement was regarded as the capital of Japan. Historically, Emperor resided for more than a 1000 years in Kyoto. In fact, many imperial palaces cover a large area of central Kyoto now a day. It is free to join any guided tour provided that you register in the tours office near the Imperial Palace and you show your passport to the officer.
Kyoto is a less busy city compared to Tokyo and nearby Osaka. If you use the JP Rail Pass ensure that you ride the right Shinkansen train (i.
We stayed in a traditional Japanese house for the whole duration of our stay in Kyoto. It was a very nice experience and the staff was very friendly. The futon (rice padded bedding) were laid for us in the evening; the room had an ensuite bathroom, tea set, and nice garden view.
In the evening, we went to the Shijō Street, the main shopping street which had almost everything around. If you love walking as we did, you can simply walk along Karasuma Street till Shijo Street intersection and turn right. You can either use the metro and stop at Shijo Station or take the bus. However, I found out that Kyoto metro system is useless as the number of stations are few. Kyoto is generally flat and surrounded by hills and mountains. Most of the temples and shrines are on the edge of the city on the hills. Hence, the bus usage is necessary to reach them.
Moreover, we walked across Nishiki Food Market (Kyoto's Kitchen) and then into the nearby Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcade. The area is busy day round and everything can be found here. We found many Indian restaurants around, but had our dinner every day in a decent pizza buffet inside the arcade. It was the only place we saw other foreigners dinning in and we were amazed to see some fat people there (most Japanese were thin!). If you are a shopping fan, I would designate a full day for this area.