I just wanted to know if you guys have any recommendations for our Kyoto itinerary. I'll be staying on a Wednesday to Saturday - but part of Wednesday and Saturday will be devoted to arriving in Kyoto and leaving for Tokyo respectively. So I was thinking of heading to Himeji on Thursday, making it an all-day trip but Friday is pretty open. We want to see Kiyomizudera but there's a whole bunch of other sights to see there. Any suggestions/order of priority anyone can give? The trip will be in June, BTW
Hello, I would be really interested to hear if anyone had any suggestions on this one too. We have a similarly short trip to Japan 5 nights and hoping to see the highlights of Tokyo and Kyoto
I would say that if you only have two full days then don't bother going to Himeji. Himeji castle is great, but the time it takes to get there doesn't justify wasting whole day in Kyoto. And if you want to see a castle, you can always visit Nijo Castle in Kyoto. Sure, it can't even come close to comparing to Himeji in it's scale and grandeur, but it's still and great place to see with an interesting history and you get an idea of what castle architecture is all about.
So what to see in two day in Kyoto? I would say one whole day can be spent checking out just the sights east of Gion. From Kiyomizu-dera (which is my favorite temple), you can spent hours and hours casually strolling north through old streets, parks, and countless temples and shrines. You can end up somewhere around the very impressive Chion-in Temple. Then you can decide to either head into Gion for some Geisha spoting, or if you still have the energy you can keep one heading north to more temples and eventually the Philosopher's Walk.
On the second day you can hit some of the more spread out sights. I think that Fushimi Inari Shrine is unmissable. Nishiki Market is pretty cool to see if you are sick of temples (it happens). I haven't been yet, but I'm told that Kinkaku-ji (Golden Temple) is worth a visit. Ponto Cho is nice to stroll down in the evening. Add all this with Nijo and you've pretty much filled up an exhausting two days.
I would have to agree with Degolasse.
Had 3 nights/2 days in Kyoto back in late September and took the LP Kyoto City Guide book with us.
Get it out of the library if you can and photocopy the 'Walking Tours' section pages 94-95 and 97-99. Those were the walks we did and they were fantastic.
Pages 94-95 (Hills, Temples & Lanes of Southern Higashiyama) is the must-see route so will be busy but it takes in Kiyomizu-dera through to Chion-in and I recommend it highly.
Pages 97-99 (Night Walk Through The floating World) is the evening walk through Gion. I also recommend this one highly. Stop off for a Japanese pizza and beer at Issen Yoshoku (look for the outside statue of the dog pulling the youth's shorts off). If you have the dosh, have a meal at one of the upstairs restaurants overlooking the river (heading north on Pontocho). If you want a cheap but huge bowl of noodles, there is a great restaurant very close to the main drag on Kiyamashi-dori.
The next day we took it slow and only did Nishiki Market, Nijo-jo and Seiryu-en Gardens, the Golden Pavilion and back across town to the Silver Pavilion (which it ain't).
Don't forget to spend a little time in Kyoto train station. An architectural delight.
All of these recommendations sound real feasible and yes - I have the LP guide for Kyoto as well as the Frommer's Japan guide. I'll definitely pair Kiyomizu-dera and an evening walk in Gion and we'll see how we're feeling on the Wednesday and Saturday we'll be arriving/leaving Kyoto. Thanks a lot!
I'm with the others on the itinary, it looks good and varied. Kyoto is a wonder of things to see and has interesting things around every corner. Don't be afraid to wonder. The only thing I would say is that Nara (a day trip) is amazing and the deer are too cool. You really need another day.