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Kyoto and Tokyo - need help to organize

Kyoto and Tokyo - need help to organize

Old Oct 11, 14, 11:21 pm
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Kyoto and Tokyo - need help to organize

The lists below are the things I have found here that interest me for our trip to Kyoto and Tokyo starting next weekend. I am looking for some help to group them in a logical order of how many and which ones to do each day. As in a logical progression so I am not running all over the place and backtracking. And don't hesitate to tell me to skip anything on the list as not worth it or to add in anything that is a must see/do. While these are all touristy things, we do like to wander around cool neighborhoods to get a flavor for real life. Not into anime or electronics.

Kyoto - 3 to 3.5 days (we are there for 6 but plan day trips to Hiroshima, Nara and there is the Jidai Matsuri festival on the 24th so that will include Heian, I guess. Staying at the Westin Miyako. I'd like to cut out ones that aren't worth bothering with. How to group these?
Nijo Castle
Nishiki Market
Imperial palace (not sure if it's worth seeing?)
Ginkaku-ji
Higashiyama
Sanjusangendo
Chishakix-in Temple
Kiyomizu-dera
Nanzen-ji
Gion - really want to see geisha
Kinkaku-ji
Ryoan-ji
Heian Jingu
Higashi-ji
Nishi hongan-ji
Katsura - have been trying to reserve a visit
Trip to Hikone Castle - worth it?

Tokyo - 3 days/nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. This is where I am really confused about how many realistically per day and how to group them logically as Tokyo is so vast.
Meiji
Asakusa
Senso-ji
Imperial Palace
Tsukiji - probably for breakfast, not getting up for the tuna auction.
Shinjuku, Shibuya crossing, Harajuku - just to walk around
Tokyo Metro building for viewing platform
Ginza
Yoyogi Park
Tokyo Station - because it sounds cool and for ramen
Yasukini Shrine

I know I have far too much so that's why I need help. I don't know what to skip (or what to add). We like to walk and take transit. And I am really looking for that hidden gem, the must-see, not-well-known thing that you've found.

Thanks so much for any help/advice.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 2:13 am
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
...
Kyoto - 3 to 3.5 days (we are there for 6 but plan day trips to Hiroshima, Nara and there is the Jidai Matsuri festival on the 24th so that will include Heian, I guess. Staying at the Westin Miyako. I'd like to cut out ones that aren't worth bothering with. How to group these?
Nijo Castle
Nishiki Market
Imperial palace (not sure if it's worth seeing?)
Ginkaku-ji
Higashiyama
Sanjusangendo
Chishakix-in Temple
Kiyomizu-dera
Nanzen-ji
Gion - really want to see geisha
Kinkaku-ji
Ryoan-ji
Heian Jingu
Higashi-ji
Nishi hongan-ji
Katsura - have been trying to reserve a visit
Trip to Hikone Castle - worth it?
...
Ok, I'll take a stab. I'll break this up into multiple responses as it is late and I don't want to be up all night addressing such a long list.

For Kyoto, you really have too many temples and shrines. It is easy to get completely "templed out" if you overdo.

Are you sure about the Jidai Matsuri? It is almost always on October 22. At any rate, don't plan on getting into Heian Jingu shrine that day. It will be a sardine can and available seats will be reserved and sold out a long time ago. Your best bet is to stake out a decent spot on the sidewalk along the route and watch from there.

For your 3 to 3.5 free days, I'd leave that 1/2 day free as a buffer in case you miss out on something during the other 3.

I don't think the Imperial Palace is worth the time. During that week, the available spots on the guided tours will be in demand and getting in to the Imperial Household Agency office to reserve a tour spot will be a pain. The tour doesn't even get you inside the Palace. It is just of the grounds and a few places where you can look inside the buildings but not go in. Buy a photo set from one of the tourist centers and you will see more - and get much better photos - than if you took the tour.

Grouping sites is good but be prepared to make changes on the fly. The week of the Matsuri is very busy all over.

Nishi- and Higashi-hongan-ji are within a short walk from Kyoto Station just north of Shichijo Dori. Choose one. I think Nishi- is better. Shoseien Garden is also on Shichijo Dori just east of the station.

Sanjusangendo is not too far from the main station, east on Shichijo Dori (a short bus or cab ride) and right across the street from the National Museum, which is not on your list. Also nearby (short walk) is Kiyomizu-dera and Nazen-ji is a few minutes walk north from there. Between the two is the area known as "pottery slope," which makes for some nice strolling and window shopping among the many tiny shops. These three would make a nice half-day and are in the southern part of "Higashiyama," which is just the eastern or "mountain" part of the city.

Be sure to visit the Tourist Information Center on the 9th floor of Kyoto Station (up the escalator) for a good tourist map that will show you how to navigate the sites and other info. You may also enjoy a wander around the station building, which is huge and interesting. There is an open air observation deck on top and a high-end department store that takes up several floors. The station has many other eateries and shops as well.

Maruyama Park is also located in the central part of Higashiyama but I wouldn't waste time there unless you have extra time. If you visit Nazen-ji, be sure to visit the "back" part of the grounds, which is not on the usual walking route. As you enter the temple grounds, keep an eye to the right for glimpses of what looks to be an old, brick Roman aqueduct. Walk under it to a semi-natural area that many miss.

Ginkaku-ji (the Silver Pavilion) is in the northern part of Higashiyama at the northern end of the "Path of Philosophy." I thought the "Path" was just an over-rated, over-long trek through a rather uninteresting area and recommend just busing or cabbing by it unless you are interested in the little art galleries along the route. Frankly, Ginkaku-ji is a little bit of a letdown in one respect. The builder back in history ran out of money and time and never had the silver plating applied so it is just a wooden structure. The garden is quite nice though, with some interesting art and plants and the garden path winds up to a nice overlook over the city. The shopping street leading up the the property has a number of souvenir and snack stalls and a couple of restaurants for lunch.

Heian-Jingu is quite striking and is located not far from Higashiyama, just up the street from the giant torii gate you can see from blocks away. The bus route to/from Ginkaku-ji goes right past it. It does tend to get pretty crowded later in the day so a morning visit might work better if your schedule allows. A block north and a half-block west of Heian-jingu is the Kyoto Handicraft Center, which is a 6-floor tourist souvenir extravaganza populated by outlets of several companies, if you are looking for that sort of thing. I don't think their prices are any better than elsewhere but they do have a lot of different things, from cloisonne to summer weight kimono (yukata) to fans and chopsticks to pearls and other jewelry, all in one building and are set up to fill out the paperwork for the return of sales tax for foreign tourists. They also have many English speakers to help you spend money. There is an overpriced buffet lunch place on the 5th floor but I found a nice little lunch diner a few doors west that was much more reasonable and quite good.

Gion is located about halfway between southern and northern Higashiyama but if you are interested in the chance of seeing maiko out walking to work you should visit around or just after sundown (you are unlikely to see full-fledged geiko and may not see any of the apprentice maiko.) Gion can be combined with a visit to Yasaka Shrine, which is the patron shrine of Gion and is right across the main north-south street. When I took my college-aged nieces a few years ago, they loved pawing through the trinket stalls on the grounds at Yasaka.

Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo) is one of my must-sees and is located in the central part of the city not too far from Nishiki Market to the south and the Nishijin textile neighborhood and museum to the north. The textile area is declining as many of the older artisans die off but you can still find some old places making textiles in the traditional ways if you poke around the alleys and side streets. The museum may be of interest if you catch it when they are doing a kimono fashion show. Nijo-jo is best visited as early in the day as you can manage. I try to be there before the gates open at 8:45 am. The tour buses start dumping huge tour groups off around 9:30 so be forewarned. Nijo-jo is good for several hours and strong walkers will climb the steep stone steps at the rear of the grounds for views out over the city. If you have time after your visit, there is a tiny, walled garden and tea house on the street that runs along the south of the castle (Oike Dori,) about a block west and across the road, called Shinsenen. It is tiny and often overlooked by the hordes but makes a nice spot to sit on a bench and rest for a minute. Every time I have been there, I have found artists set up, painting the scene. The tea house near the back is small and very traditional. I don't think you will find much English spoken there. I just use the garden.

Kinkaku-Ji and Ryoan-ji are in the northwest part of the central city and are very near each other - I think 3 stops on the bus or a 15-20 minute walk. Kinkaku-ji is very popular and unlike Ginkaku-ji, WAS finished in gold plating. The walk through the grounds starts right at the bus stop, proceeds uphill past a rest stop with vending machines to a "photo op" spot and through the grounds, past the pavilion and several shrines and into a souvenir shop. Plan at least an hour or two. Ryoan-ji is the home of the famous Zen Rock Garden but after visiting the garden and buildings, don't neglect to take the walking path around the adjacent lake, which has some very scenic spots.

The above may keep you busy for your 3 days and may require using that 1/2 day "overflow" time. I wouldn't try to cram in much more. FWIW, I took over 5 days to see all that during my first visit but I walked almost everywhere and did the Imperial Palace tour. If you want a nice spot for a picnic lunch, the Imperial Palace Park is the grounds that surround the Palace and is free to enter. There are benches and nice spots to sit for a bit. We usually buy sandwiches and stuff from a convenience store to eat there if time permits. It is right on a subway stop so easy to reach.

Hikone Castle is the standard replacement to the under-renovation Himeji Castle for those who wish to visit an original feudal era stronghold castle. Nijo-jo wasn't really a "stronghold." It was a luxurious residence for the shogun when he visited Kyoto. It had walls and could be defended but was different from the real castles inhabited by samurai lords. If you have time and wish to see the castle, plan at least a half day or more as the train trip from Kyoto is over an hour one-way. I like Hikone-jo. It is smaller than many but very authentic and sits on a high point overlooking wonderful views out over Lake Biwa. The little town of Hikone is less crowded than Kyoto and is very welcoming to tourists. The ladies at the tiny tourist office adjacent to the station seemed surprised to see a "gaijin" when I arrived and fell all over themselves helping me. For your limited time, I think Hikone falls in the "if there is time" category rather than must-see but would make a nice change if you finish the above with time to spare.

Be aware that virtually all of the attractions above have entrance fees, even the temples - usually a few hundred yen.

Enough. I'll tackle Tokyo tomorrow. I hope others will chime in as I am not a Tokyo lover and avoid it these days.

Last edited by abmj-jr; Oct 12, 14 at 2:28 am
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Old Oct 12, 14, 3:18 am
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I'll take on abmj-jr's baton and tackle Tokyo

Your list was:
Meiji
Asakusa
Senso-ji
Imperial Palace
Tsukiji - probably for breakfast, not getting up for the tuna auction.
Shinjuku, Shibuya crossing, Harajuku - just to walk around
Tokyo Metro building for viewing platform
Ginza
Yoyogi Park
Tokyo Station
Yasukini Shrine

Here's the cleaned up version:

Itinerary 1
Asakusa
Senso-ji

Itinerary 2
Tsukiji
Tokyo Station
Ginza
Imperial Palace

Itinerary 3
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Viewing Platform
Shinjuku
Yoyogi Park
Meiji Jingu
Harajuku
Then on to Shibuya
(Alternatively, do this the other way around and end at the viewing platform - seeing dusk descending on Tokyo is a wonderful experience. Not sure what the point is, don't think the view will be very different from that at the Park Hyatt.)

Odd one out from your list is Yasukini Shrine. Except there's not much to see there so what you are probably wanting to visit is the attached privately funded Museum.
Seems strange to me that your plans do not feature one single museum except this one. On the other hand, out of all the museums in Tokyo it is one of the best when it comes to English language descriptions and signs. If you want a glimpse of how the History books would have been written had Japanese not lost WWII, this is the place to come.
If you are not interested in Museums and have come to see the shrine itself... Frankly, it really isn't worth the effort you'd need to make to get there.

As for additional places you could tack on:

Itinerary 2
as well as Tokyo Station you might want to tack on the Tokyo International Forum. The architecture is impressive and it has lately become a street food destination as the lunchtime food trucks have become a fixture there.

Itinerary 1 is the most sparce
Near Asakusa you have Ueno and its museums. Between Asakusa and Ueno is Kappabashi (AKA Kitchen Town). A little further South from Ueno is Akihabara.
Alternatively, you could head off a little to the West and go to Nippori and explore the YaNeSen area, which is one of my favourite parts of Tokyo.

--
If Yasukini Shrine remains a place you absolutely want to visit then you may want to consider exploring the nearby Kagurazaka district, another of my favourite areas in Tokyo.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 11:12 am
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Thank you both so much! In fact, thank you doesn't even begin to cover how grateful I am for such amazing answers. This is exactly what I was looking for; organization and suggestions on what to cut. And the best part - the hidden gems you both offered. They all sound perfect and are now on the list.

Abmj-jr, you are a gem, one of the shining stars of this board with all the help and advice you offer to everyone who asks. You are right; Jedai Matsui is on the 22nd, Wednesday. We left Wednesday free just to experience it. I love the suggestions for markets, strolls, shopping etc. Exactly was I was hoping to get.

And LapLap, thank you as well. You are amazingly helpful. Exactly what I was looking for and you are right - not a single museum other than Yasukini. I don't know why, as I love museums. So I'll have to re-look at that and any suggestions in Tokyo are most welcome. But all the other stuff is perfect, especially the suggestion of Tokyo Int'l Forum and YaNeSen.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 11:56 am
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Not too far away from Asakusa is Ryogoku. If I were to recommend one museum in Tokyo it would the Edo Tokyo Museum. You should also have the opportunity to have a quick look at the Sumo Stadium and it's small museum (free) which is close by. There is also a pleasant Japanese garden in the vicinity, the Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden.
I was going to suggest Kaeruhonpo for evening monjayaki (unique atmosphere, inexpensive and the owner speaks excellent English) but their website address is no longer valid, so cannot be sure it is still open. They also did great 500yen deals at lunch time.
Keep your eyes open and your nostrils flared, very possible that you'll catch a glimpse of a passing sumo wrestler, walking or on a bicycle. Note the smell of their hair pomade, glorious.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 2:57 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Not too far away from Asakusa is Ryogoku. If I were to recommend one museum in Tokyo it would the Edo Tokyo Museum. You should also have the opportunity to have a quick look at the Sumo Stadium and it's small museum (free) which is close by. There is also a pleasant Japanese garden in the vicinity, the Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden.
I was going to suggest Kaeruhonpo for evening monjayaki (unique atmosphere, inexpensive and the owner speaks excellent English) but their website address is no longer valid, so cannot be sure it is still open. They also did great 500yen deals at lunch time.
Keep your eyes open and your nostrils flared, very possible that you'll catch a glimpse of a passing sumo wrestler, walking or on a bicycle. Note the smell of their hair pomade, glorious.
Ryoguku and Eso sound great and now added to the list. I've read about the smell of the sumo pomade and to see one would be awesome. And that ties in perfectly with your suggestion for Kaeruhonpo. I had planned to have okonomiyaki in Hiroshima but monjayaki will fit the bill nicely in Tokyo.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 3:08 pm
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The okonomiyaki with noodles is a Hiroshima legend - a true calorie bomb. Monjayaki and a cold, cold beer (or delicious Kaeruhonpo house style soda) is pretty different, almost monastic and Spartan in comparison. ) Have both, gastronomically, there is no conflict of interests, it's like comparing cheese on toast with a Pizzeria's Calzone.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
The okonomiyaki with noodles is a Hiroshima legend - a true calorie bomb. Monjayaki and a cold, cold beer (or delicious Kaeruhonpo house style soda) is pretty different, almost monastic and Spartan in comparison. ) Have both, gastronomically, there is no conflict of interests, it's like comparing cheese on toast with a Pizzeria's Calzone.
Oh, I'll have both, believe me. And the cold, cold beer . Food is definitely a top priority and we are game to (and aim to) try everything.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 3:26 pm
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Old Oct 12, 14, 4:26 pm
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abmj-jr has given you a great summary of the attractions of Kyoto, but I'll just add two notes.

First, don't be disappointed by your first glimpse of the city. Large parts of it are very modern, and it's the individual neighborhoods that hold the charm. That being said, Kyoto Station is a sight in itself.

Second, if you want to see maiko, go to Pontocho along the Kamo river in the evening. There are a lot of traditional-style entertainment establishments there, precisely the ones that send for maiko to entertain the customers. You can tell the maiko from the full-fledged geisha (known as geiko in Kyoto) by their hair or wig styles. The maiko have the hair on the top of their heads pulled straight back with a part on either side and the side hair pulled down at a slight angle, while the full-fledged geisha have all their hair pulled straight back.
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Old Oct 12, 14, 5:25 pm
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A few thoughts to tag onto the above.

I would agree with LapLap on the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku. It is one of my favorite places in Tokyo. As she stated, it is right next door to the sumo stadium called the Ryogoku Kokugikan, which is a futuristic-looking, very distinctive piece of architecture. Both are right on both a subway stop and a train station and have signed exits from each. I find the subway to be more convenient but if you are going to Akihabara ("Electric Town,") Ryogoku is one JR rail stop further.

The Edo-Tokyo is even more distinctive in appearance than the stadium, being shaped to resemble the old traditional, stilt-legged storage warehouses. The building is set over a nice plaza and supported on huge legs. Tickets are purchased from a booth on the plaza and you enter by way of a long, amusement park ride of an escalator all the way to the top and then work your way down through the various floors. The exhibits and displays show life in the city from when it was a small fishing village named Edo, through the time it was the capitol of the Tokugawa shogunate and into the modern era when it was renamed Tokyo. I like the recreation of an old kabuki theater but most all of it is fun and informative. The World War II displays are a little chilling. If you are lucky, there may be an art or crafts display or free concert going on in the outdoor plaza, below the building. Well worth a couple of hours.

In Ryogoku, you will be fortunate to see sumo wrestlers but it is possible. The younger apprentices often are sent to run errands and seeing the huge young men in yukata and zori sandals, riding along on bicycles can be a little strange. There will not be a tournament on during your visit so the athletes will be busy preparing for the next one in November. At the Kokugikan, you may not be permitted inside the stadiumbut the tiny museum, located down a ramp on the station-side of the building, is free and they have an English-language brochure at the office near the entrance. The museum will only take about 10 minutes and is rather unimpressive. For a unique experience, you can take a stroll through the nearby neighborhood and find a chanko-nabe restaurant for lunch. The hearty fish, meat and vegetable-based stew, along with rice, is the traditional meal of sumo athletes trying to bulk up. I am not really a fan but I suppose it is a cultural thing to try once. Many of these places are owned and operated by retired sumo wrestlers.

Another way to see and learn some of the culture is a visit to the huge Ueno Park, in Ueno and only two subway stops from Asakusa. One of the first things you see when you climb the stone steps up from street level to the Park entrance is a statue of the "real" last samurai, Saigo Takamori, in a very unmilitary pose walking his dog. Saigo led the last revolutionary attempt against the new Imperial Japanese government, called the Satsuma Rebellion, in 1877. He died during a battle near the end of the fighting. The character of Katsunori, played by Ken Watanabe in the Hollywood film, was loosely based on Saigo. There are several other memorials scattered around the grounds.

Less morbid than the outdoor memorials is the large park with its seasonal color and outdoor art works. There is a small zoo (don't bother), pagodas and other building and displays and near the rear of the park grounds are several buildings of the National Museum. The main building is worth a visit as are some of the nearby art museums. Everything is signed in English. The biggest drawback in Ueno Park is a moderately large, rather unsightly population of homeless persons. You will occasionally see the blue plastic tarps they use for shelter. I haven't heard of any reports of the homeless bothering tourists. I never had any problems.

Right across the street from Ueno Park is the entrance to the Ame-Yoko outdoor shopping arcade. Delightfully seedy, Ame-Yoko is a fun, bustling place to browse for souvenirs or just "window" shop. Just be sure to avoid the foreign touts and hucksters trying to sell you fake phone or transit cards and other counterfeit junk. They can be a little verbally aggressive but just ignore them.

Frankly, when seeking museums, the above are so much better, I really don't think Yasakuni is worth the time unless you really want to see the war criminal stuff.

Senso-ji temple is the most famous visitor site in Asakusa but not the only thing to see there. The long Nakamise shopping arcade leading to the temple has many stalls selling every kind of souvenir, food items and other interesting stuff. The various odors of cooking permeate the area. My favorite is the freshly-baked, soy-flavored senbei rice crackers (the round flat ones, not the tiny snack-bowl kind) but there are many different treats to try. If there is any type of festival going on, there will also be food stalls on the temple grounds where you can get a freshly prepared lunch. Okonomiyaki, grilled corn, beer, lots of stuff. My first (but not last) takoyaki octopus puffs were found there. My nieces loved the three ball-shaped dumplings-on-a- stick called dango, which come with various flavored sauces. Google any of these foods to see mouth-watering photos.

The area around Senso-ji includes the old entertainment quarter from a hundred years ago, with many tiny performance venues and theaters. Sometimes you can find street performers plying their trade. If there is time, walk northwest from the temple to find this area. Just outside the temple grounds to the east is the riverside parkway. You may find rickshaws for rent there or just a bench looking out over the Sumida River toward the famous Asahi Brewing Company "golden turd" building for an iconic photo. It is actually supposed to resemble a beer glass and a forward-moving flame but you be the judge.

Also along the river, just south of the distinctive triangular entrance to the Matsuya Department Store is the ticket office and dock of the water taxi. You can take a glass-walled boat from Asakusa down to the Hama Rikyu Detached Garden, which was a playground and hunting preserve of the shoguns during the feudal era. The gardens are spectacular during cherry blossom season but should have some fall color for your visit. If time allows, I recommend a couple of hours in Hama Rikyu. From there you can catch a return boat or walk (or taxi) over to Ginza or Tsukiji Market, where you can find subway stations. The water taxi continues on past Hama Rikyu all the way to the mouth of the harbor on Tokyo Bay if that interests you. Even just between Asakusa and Hama Rikyu, the boat ride gives an interesting alternative, back-side look at the city and many of its iconic bridges.

Speaking of department stores, an hour or so visiting a good one can be fun and interesting. Having white-gloved attendants open doors or operate elevators for you and sales persons bowing as you approach gives new meaning to customer service after the rude, uncaring attitudes of western clerks. In addition to the various wares, most good depatos have food halls in the basement that are a wonder to see. Matsuya at Asakusa Station is a wonderful example, as is Isetan in Kyoto Station.

For Tokyo, subways and trains are the transit choices. Unlike Kyoto, the Tokyo bus system is not very helpful for casual tourists. Although you will probably want to use the less expensive transit options, remember that the occasional taxi can save you a lot of your limited time. I try to balance expense versus convenience and splurge on a cab when it is warranted. Cabs are plentiful and can be flagged down all over. If time gets short, keep the same in mind in Kyoto.

Have a great visit to Japan.
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Last edited by abmj-jr; Oct 13, 14 at 8:05 pm
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Old Oct 12, 14, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by ksandness View Post
... You can tell the maiko from the full-fledged geisha (known as geiko in Kyoto) by their hair or wig styles. The maiko have the hair on the top of their heads pulled straight back with a part on either side and the side hair pulled down at a slight angle, while the full-fledged geisha have all their hair pulled straight back.
Also the knot on the obi in back. The maiko usually have a "tail" dangling behind.

Good advice here.
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Old Oct 13, 14, 6:30 pm
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I just got back from doing a very similar trip. My $.02. Skip the Metropolitan Government Building. It's just a tall building. The observation deck is kind of a dump. It's messy and unorganized. Also, Asakusa and Senso-ji (and the surrounding few blocks) are very touristy but also very interesting. I liked my time there, but if you're not into walking the tourist line, it doesn't take that long to see the temple (which is beautiful). While you're there, why not swing over to Ueno and see the park and Tokyo National Museum? You can do the entire museum in 1.5 hours. I also liked the Edo Tokyo Museum and might add it to your itinerary.

Kyoto is GREAT and by far my favorite city in Japan. Spend as much time there as you can. Kyoto station is a great place to stay - there is a hotel in the station (Hotel Gran Via) that I stayed at and was well worth the money for the time saved. Check out the ramen restaurants on the 9th floor. The Philosophers Path is WAY over-rated. Ginkaku-Ji is great and so is Nanzen-Ji. Everything in between is not that interesting (to a tourist. I'm sure it's great if you're Japanese, it's just not beautiful or awe-inspiring or anything). Also, I liked Gion Corner - it's quick and interesting - and the Gion Area of the city is very pretty especially at night. I also really liked Higashi-Hongan-ji. I thought it was really beautiful and peaceful. Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 13, 14, 7:55 pm
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This totally helps and I am feeling a lot better about things now. I was getting a bit overwhelmed with all the choices and the four of you have helped me put it all in a manageable package without feeling like I've missed something. The ramen tip was also perfect. I would have wasted time on the Tokyo Metro building and other not-so-worth-it sights without you, which was exactly the advice I wanted.

We are off tomorrow night for a few days in Beijing and then onto Kyoto on Sunday. I have to say, the Japan board is one of the friendliest on FT with so many great members. I am so much more excited and prepared now, thanks to you all.
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Old Oct 13, 14, 11:18 pm
  #15  
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 13,848
I'm glad our comments have helped you feel more confident about your plans.

But, for the record, the ONLY reason I suggested not to climb the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is because you are staying at the Park Hyatt, one of the nearby high rise buildings you can peek out on from there. There really is no need for you to go.

I am not usually installed in such a lofty perch and the viewing platforms at the TMGB are a looked forward to highlight during my own visits. As I said, seeing day turn to dusk turn to night from here is usually a magical experience. I don't consider the big atria to be "dumps", they are what they are, large public spaces, not the reception lobbies of a 5 star hotel. Particularly when musicians are playing, they can be a very pleasant place to kick back with a reasonably priced hot drink.
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