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4 days in Kyoto in May 2018/9/22 22:58
Hello everyone,
I am planning a trip to Japan for next May and am looking for help on my itinerary for Kyoto. Nothing is fixed yet, but so far I have narrowed the options for hotels down to three or four. All of them in downtown Kyoto.

I would very much appreciate your feedback on the itinerary.

The plan so far looks like this:

(Day 0 - Arrival in Kyoto from Kanazawa in the afternoon)

Day 1
First half day – Northern Higashiyama
Nanzen-ji
Path of Philosophy
Honen-in
Ginkaku-ji
Second half
Kibune-Kurama Walk

Day 2 - Southern Higashiyama
Chion-in
Maruyama-Park
Yasaka-jinja
Kodai-ji
Ninen-zaka/Sannen-zaka
Kiyomizu-dera
Gion

Day 3 - Arashiyama
Kinkaku-ji
Then via taxi to
Tenryu-ji
Bamboo Forest
(Okochi Sanso Villa)
Toegtsu-kyo-bridge
Monkey Park
Rent a bike for
(Gioji )
(Otagi Nenbutsu-ji)

Day 4
First half - Uji
Byodo-in
Taihoan Tea Hosue
Second half - Nara
Todai-ji
Nara Park
Kasuga-Taisha Shrine

I think for the most part I have grouped the sights in a geographically logical way. For the day in Arashiyama I find it hard to estimate how long the visits will take, so I wrote down what seemed interesting and may have to drop the last stops if it getfs too late.

Nevertheless, if I could move Kinkaku-ji to another day that would free up the morning and allow an earlier (not too crowded) visit to the Bamboo forest. Do you spot a time in this plan where the golden pavilion would fit better?

I also realize it is a lot of temples, but who knows when Ifll come to Japan again. ☺
I still may drop some if further research proofs that they donft offer something unique to them.

Thanks for any hints or suggestions.
by FreDu90 (guest)  

Re: 4days in Kyoto in May 2018/9/23 11:54
It is May so the crowds should not be heavy and you will find relatively affordable accommodation. Weather will be mild but sometimes you might experience heavy rain, so you might better have plan B.

The traffic in Kyoto is heavy in recent years so you might better avoid bus rides if possible, especially in the afternoon (early morning will be fine), so you might better end up the day close to train/metro stations.

I would suggest as follows.

Day 1

It is nice to dedicate 2 days for Higashiyama. Nanzenji is a huge temple and you can see the buildings from outside even in the early morning (no fee required). If you want to see the inside you may need to wait until 9:00 but before that you can see many things and take photographs. At around 6, it will be after the sunrise, but the temple is quiet with few people. Famous temples in Kyoto tend to prohibit seeing inside the building but you might better see the garden from inside sitting on the tatami floor.
There are some nice museums (Nomura museum and Sen-oku Hakukokan) where you can keep away from the rain or heat (it can be very hot even in May).
Instead of going to Kibune-Kurama you can climb Mt. Daimonji (Nyoigatake) behind Ginkakuji. It will be 40 min climb to the observatory where you can see the whole Kyoto city. This is the place where famous fire ceremony is performed in August 16th. There will be taxis waiting in Ginkakuji and you can take one to train/metro station.

Day 2

You might better start at Kiyomizudera which is most crowded and end up in around metro stations (Higashiyama or Keage). If time allowed I recommend you to visit Murin-an and have tea there.
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