I'm leaving for Yokohama, Japan in 3 weeks! I just found out yesterday that I'll be going to Kyoto from August 6 - 9 (or 10) & staying at her grandmothers house ... so since I didn't know this I don't know what I should ask my friend to go see in Kyoto ... Gion district of course, but what else? Specifics? Or does anyone know where I should go in Tokyo/Yokohama?
Any help will be appreciated!!
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 11, 2007, at 8:23 AM by starlight2 ]
Traveling in Tokyo to Yokohama is easy.
The subway system has color coded map. The tourist information centers are in key locations with tons of brochures about Tokyo and Kanagawa prefecture, Yokohama.
1. The imperial palace grounds is majestic
2. Asakusa (temple)
3. Check out Shibuya and shinjuku (YOUTH culture) and ginza(expensive shopping district)
1. There is a nice china town but its once again urban japan. You may be tired of urban spaces.
2. Go to Kamakura, you can a map from the Yokohama tourist station. Kamakura is one of Japan's ancient capital.
YOu will see the famous bronze buddha, the icon of the city.
3 Go to HAKONE to view Mt. Fuji
I have not been to Kyoto. But I think its the best place to visit in all of Japan.
Kyoto is quite lovely. Kyoto’s main attraction for tourists is the large number of temples, shrines and castles that are there. There are over 2,000 sites, and many of them are UNESCO heritage sites. The crowds can be pretty thick, though. The best bet is to arrive at places right at the opening hour, and get ahead of the bus tourists.
Two of my favorites were Nijo Castle and Shoren-In temple.
I arrived right at the 9am opening of Nijo Castle, and was able to walk quickly past the tour groups on the squeaking nightingale floors (ancient alarm system – all the floors in the castle squeak to alert everyone of intruders) and soon was well ahead of them and have the place to myself. It has a beautiful large garden with old stone walls, and is very peaceful.
I arrived at Shoren-in right at 9am, it’s opening time. I had the place to myself. I knelt on the tatami mat floor and contemplate the waterfall and beautiful gardens outside. Shoren-in might not be the most beautiful of all the temples in Kyoto, but it is only as I am alone, with no sounds but the sounds call of the birds, the splash of the waterfall and the rustle of the wind through the bamboo that one gets a true appreciation of the peace of mind that meditating at these temples can bring.
Most temples charge an admission, usually between ¥500 and ¥1000.
I enjoyed the Umekoji Steam Locamotive Museum. Umekoji is an old station house that has been turned into a museum of steam powered rail. They have a bunch of old engines that you can look in, some interactive exhibits on how steam engines worked, and a few model train sets. But the big attraction is the chance to ride for 1 km on a steam train (500 m down a spur line and then 500 m back). Afterwards, they pull the engine onto the working turntable, turn it around and fuel it up, then again onto the turntable to put it into the roundhouse for the night. Entrance was ¥400, and the ride on the steam engine was another ¥200.
The area called Pontocho has a lot of bars and restaurants.
In Kyoto, I also played Pachinko. But you can do that anywhere. Pachinko parlours are in every city.
Enjoy Japan. If you want, I wrote up a trip report with some information on Japan, that you can read here: GregW's trip to Japan
Nijojo... the squeeky castle. This was my favourite in Kyoto.
Gion... as you said, of course.
Fushimi Inari... good, but a bit of a hike. You can see it in the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha
Akihabara.... soo, soo geeky and electronic
Harajuku... cool, crazy fashion... esp. on Sunday
Chinatown... seemingly the worlds cleanest.
In Tokyo dont miss Yasukuni Shrine & Meiji Shrine (near Harajuku Station).
Roppongi - popular nightlife area. You can find lots of Gaijin there.
You are going to be there in August. There are few festivals like Tokyo Bay Fireworks and Asakusa Samba Matsuri.
Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I'm going to check them all out ^^ except maybe Roppongi ... I'm in Japan for Japanese culture. don't care if I don't see another American/European while I am there ... :P If fact I hope I don't.
Keep 'em coming!
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 17, 2007, at 8:02 AM by starlight2 ]