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Kyoto December 29th (After refining ideas) 2019/11/11 19:11
Hi All,

At present I am in the final stages of over-planning my last trip to Japan which will involve spending 5 nights in Kyoto around Christmas. I've already visited Kyoto on many occasions (2011-2014) and have visited most of the main temples.

My original plan was to visit the Nagaoka area but quite a few of the locations I wanted to visit seem to be closed due to New Years. As such - I'm now back to square one with what to do this day.

My basic options seem to come down to the following

(1) Still visit Nagaoka (Komyoji Temple, Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine, Nagaoka Castle (museum closed), Igenoyama Tumulus)

(2) Visit Takao (Jingoji Temple, Saimyoji Temple, Kosanji Temple)

(3) Revisit central Nara with a focus on the gardens and museums (no research completed yet)

(4) Visit some museums on Kyoto (I've only seen the old Railway museum which has been rebuilt since - everything else is basically not visited)

My other days basically focus around visiting two of the imperial villas (already booked), visiting Kibune/Kurama, driving to Amanohashidate/Ine for a day and a half day walk with some nice temples/gardens in the Kamibentencho area.

Any general thoughts would be much appreciated.
by mfedley  

Re: Kyoto December 29th (After refining ideas) 2019/11/12 08:57
You have a long, long list of places you've seen, so I can only throw out a few ideas that you may have covered already. But there is always something more to see.
On the east side, if you haven't seen it, there is the Kyoto Great Buddha at Ryozen Kannon (YES, Kyoto has a Great Buddha too). There are also some very good gardens at some of the subtemples of Nanzenji (like Tenjuan), and near the Philosopher's Path at the foot of the mountains you'll often see some lesser known temples like the Tanukidani-fudō-in which most people never notice. Near the Shugakuin Villa there are some as well, like Manshuin or Sekizanzenin, so you might explore those.
Another idea is go see the temples around Otsu in Shiga.
Not to mention there is more around Uji and Nara if you like. For the Nara Park gardens, there is Isuien and Yoshikien. The former is better but closed around New Year's so check your dates. With a foreign passport on tourism, you can go see Yoshikien for free.

Southern Nara Prefecture has a number of places as well, and while a pain to get to, going to see the Akame 48 Falls just over the border in Mie is also something worthwhile.
There are some gorgeous places like Yatadera in Yamatokoriyama, or the Fumin no Mori in Higashiosaka for the hydrangea, but your timing is off. That said, along the Nara-Osaka border there are many good places with mountain views that you can access by ropeways.
If you haven't seen all the sights around Sanzenin, there are some places there. The Lake Biwa area has some places too. Most people concentrate on the eastern side, or go to Chikubu etc, but the western side is often ignored, with some great views for example up the Biwako Valley ropeway.
Can't remember if you've seen Minoo Park yet, but nearby there is also Katsuoji and Ryuanji.
That's about all the brainstorming I can do right now.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kyoto December 29th (After refining ideas) 2019/11/12 19:51
Hi Ken,

Thanks for your response. As normal - I often use your posts as a working template of where to visit.

One of my original half day trips was to Kenniji Temple, Yasui Shrine, Entoku-in Temple &.Kodaiji Temple. As such - the Ryozen Kannon Statue is something I add to the list of things to do as it's right next to Kodaiji Temple.

I'm also visiting Sekizanzenin in my original plans when I was visiting Shugakuin Villa so that was already on the list (I think if was from one of your original suggestions which is still pinned)

For Otsu & Shiga - I'll be driving around Lake Biwako for 4 days before I visit Kyoto. I've only really visited Hakone and Mt Hiei so will potentially visiting many of the locations you have mentioned. I'm also visiting Chikubu already but am wondering about the ropeway (for another day). It's something I'll think about that one.

Also thanks for the confirmation about Yoshikien - which I was worried would be closed on the 29th. I'm already aware that the other garden in Nara is closed on the 29th. I even found a price change for April (it'll go up to 1200 yen as a result).
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Kyoto December 29th (After refining ideas) 2019/11/12 20:51
Oh and Sanzenin temple and surrounds is a great day out. This really had a beautiful moss garden....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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