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Uncrowded places late Nov near/around Kyoto 2024/4/21 12:12
I've been reading about the massive crowds in Kyoto. I was last there in winter and it was fine. I have a trip at the end of November, which I now have doubts about but which is difficult to change.

Where can I go to avoid the crowds? Is Lake Biwa safe ( from crowds )? What about Nagoya or Wakayama? Would they be pleasant at that time?
by Judith (guest)  

Re: Uncrowded places late Nov near/around Kyoto 2024/4/21 15:59
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Uncrowded places late Nov near/around Kyoto 2024/4/21 19:26
There are a ton of places IN KYOTO that are not crowded. Deliberately heading to places that appear on top-10 or "must-see" lists is a basic mistake many people make.
Stay in Nara, Uji or in Shiga prefecture/Biwa if you want a different experience.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Uncrowded places late Nov near/around Kyoto 2024/4/21 19:42
Where can I go to avoid the crowds?

From my recent experience in last November, most places are fine though somewhat crowded. Unpleasantly crowded places/time are:

Tuutenkyo in Tofukuji at 10:00. You canft walk in your own pace. Komyoin at 8:30 was fine. We should go first to Tuutenkyo.

Eikando at 12:30. Slightly better than Tuutenkyo but not pleasant.

National museum exhibition for Tofukuji at 11:00. This is not for crowd but women chatting each other. But if you donft understand Japanese which would be nice.

We avoided Arashiyama area at all. If you really want to go to Arashiyama, you may better go up first to Kameyama park where you can see the river with autumn foliage.

Places rather vacant are:

Komyoin in Tofukuji area.

Ginkakuji at 9:00.

Chishakuin close to the National museum.

Kiyomizudera at 9:00 was not so crowded (as compared to Eikando or Tuutenkyo).
by frog1954 rate this post as useful

Re: Uncrowded places late Nov near/around Kyoto 2024/4/21 21:04
I was in Kyoto during the first week of December last year, so a little later than you but not by much. I even went to a few popular places, as I was showing a first-time Japan tourist around. But aside from the main route at Fushimi Inari, the downtown area, and the station area at peak times, I didnft find the crowds to be very bad at all. If you simply cannot resist the siren call of the most popular places in Kyoto, then you can expect them to be crowded (some of them insanely so) during the peak period of fall foliage season. The best advice for those is to go early in the day before most tour-group buses are on the prowl, and definitely give them a pass on weekends.

In terms of general advice, I think the post by JapanCustomTours is spot on. There are countless wonderful places in Kyoto that will not be crowded, especially sites that are not particularly known for fall foliage. (For example, Tofukuji is uncrowded or only moderately busy during most of the year, but completely thronged when the maples are flaming. Skip it unless you want to have lots of company.)

Among the places I visited, Kurama was not crowded at all, and neither was Arashiyama, where/when I went. I would say make a list of the gmust-seeh spots in Arashiyama (Togetsukyo, the gbamboo forest,h etc.), and then go out of your way to avoid them. Then you will probably be okay.

So even if you stay in Kyoto you can find many uncrowded places. In my experience, the places in Kyoto that are most famous (Kiyomizudera, Kinkakuji, etc.) are not the best anyway, when you inject hundreds of tourists into them. For me, their intrinsic value is offset by the unpleasantness of all those people milling around.

If you go to Nara or Uji, if you are willing to skip just the number one main attraction of each (the gdeer parkh and Byodoin) you will find all sorts of treasures, for the most part without the crowds.

One thing you do have to consider is that native Japanese tourists (i.e., people who live there) have their own lists of must-see places that tends to focus on seasonal attractions. So they will throng to places that are not necessarily on the tourist track for foreigners. However, most of them will come on the weekends, and in late November they will mob the places that are well-known for maples (Tofukuji being a good example). They will also consult recent reports to find the places where the colors are peaking. So try to find out what places are gbesth when you are there, and avoid those.

You might also be able to get good advice if you go to a tourist information center and tell them what you are looking for (i.e., uncrowded but worthwhile places to visit). Unfortunately, though, in late November the tourist information centers are probably going to be too crowded to make it worth the wait in line.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Uncrowded places late Nov near/around Kyoto 2024/4/22 00:31
I was in Kyoto earlier this month. Most tourist destinations and buses were packed, but as mentioned above, you can find serenity if you go to not-so-famous places. I took pictures at two Japanese rock gardens for comparison, and my friends could not believe what they saw. One was the famous rock garden at the Ryoan-ji with rows of tourists taking pictures and multiple tour guides loudly explaining how to interpret the design. The other was not-so-famous (not naming names here) temple with its own rock garden with NOBODY. I had the garden all to myself for at least 15 minutes.

Late November being the peak autumn leaves season, expect even more tourists. But even with all those tourists, I would not miss Kyoto in late-November. It is the best autumn leaves viewing place, as mentioned here:
by kamahen (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Uncrowded places late Nov near/around Kyoto 2024/4/22 12:07
Thank you very much everyone for your advice!

by Judith (guest) rate this post as useful

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