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Kyoto is so crowded with tourists

Kyoto is so crowded with tourists

Old Nov 25, 2023, 6:35 am
  #1  
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Kyoto is so crowded with tourists

Kyoto is super crowded with tourists!
arashiyama and the gion area were even more crowded than before covid.

Going up to kiyomizu is like being on yamanote line at rush hour.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 6:55 am
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It was like that for several years before the pandemic. Why are you surprised? However, there are many places that have basically no tourists. You just happened to list the two places that are on every person's first trip to Japan itinerary.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 6:57 am
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Hi,

Also , it probably does not help that it is around peak time for autumn/fall foliage colours in Kyoto

Autumn Color Reports 2023 - Kyoto: Approaching Peak (japan-guide.com)

Regards

TBS
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by HawaiiO
Kyoto is super crowded with tourists!
arashiyama and the gion area were even more crowded than before covid.

Going up to kiyomizu is like being on yamanote line at rush hour.
Going to *the* most famous areas in Kyoto during fall foliage season (and a long weekend in Japan) and then complaining about crowds is certainly...a choice.

I tell people going to Kiyomizudera/Sannenzaka/Nienenzaka area that they should arrive no later than 7am (very easy with North American jetlag), it gets bright very early and the temple opens at 6; take advantage of this fact.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Agneisse
Going to *the* most famous areas in Kyoto during fall foliage season (and a long weekend in Japan) and then complaining about crowds is certainly...a choice.

I tell people going to Kiyomizudera/Sannenzaka/Nienenzaka area that they should arrive no later than 7am (very easy with North American jetlag), it gets bright very early and the temple opens at 6; take advantage of this fact.
exactly. Our very first goodwill guide in 2007 refused to take us to Kiyomizudera and said go at sunrise. Said he does not like to visit as it is too busy.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 2:38 pm
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Given where the yen is at probably doesnt help much either with the tourists.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by hsumh316
Given where the yen is at probably doesnt help much either with the tourists.
it was packed when the yen was 30 percent more powerful at these same.places.in kyoto
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Agneisse
Going to *the* most famous areas in Kyoto during fall foliage season (and a long weekend in Japan) and then complaining about crowds is certainly...a choice.

I tell people going to Kiyomizudera/Sannenzaka/Nienenzaka area that they should arrive no later than 7am (very easy with North American jetlag), it gets bright very early and the temple opens at 6; take advantage of this fact.
I am guessing I'll be sleep-walking that area in the dark early-morning in January. I really hope it's not as busy as the recent images I've seen.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 10:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Topcare
it was packed when the yen was 30 percent more powerful at these same.places.in kyoto
Its even more packed now. It was pretty nice last year but that was when Japan just opened back up. Ive seen more tourists this year than I ever have before.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 11:16 pm
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Umm...are YOU Japanese? I mean if YOU are also a tourist...isn't that a somewhat odd complaint? Just sayin.....
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 11:46 pm
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Kyoto-Fu is ostensively broke. There was no planning on how to regulate and squeeze money from the overcrowding during the 3 years the tourist gates were shut. The municipal transportation system is a shambles. The overcrowding will get worse before it gets better.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 12:35 am
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Originally Posted by Chemystery
I am guessing I'll be sleep-walking that area in the dark early-morning in January. I really hope it's not as busy as the recent images I've seen.
Jan would prob be ok as it doesnt seem to be the tourist season.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 1:38 am
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With the JR Rail Pass no longer being an option for many travellers next year, the problems could get worse still.

For the past twenty/thirty years, visitors would weigh up the cost of going to/from Kyoto from Tokyo by train and decide (as it was about the same price) to get the JR Pass which encouraged a bit of tourism in places outside of the heavily trodden golden routes.

The return trip to Kyoto by shinkansen will cost (roughly) the same as before but the JR Pass is no longer on the table. Kiyomizu dera is going to be groaning with people who might have gone to Himeji or Kurashiki or Hiroshima/Miyajima, or left Kyoto earlier to fit Kanazawa into their itineraries.

There is still a LOT to see in Japan but the best experiences may need to be uncovered with a bit of research and imagination if crowds aren’t a feature of your ideal holiday.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 2:11 am
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Originally Posted by LapLap
With the JR Rail Pass no longer being an option for many travellers next year, the problems could get worse still.
I think it's hard to predict the impact of changes to rail passes. One possibility is that more people take up regional passes to explore Tohoku or Kyushu... but who knows? In terms of raw numbers, however, I think Japan is going to see more and more visitors, so yeah Kyoto's problems will get worse. The total number of inbound visitors now exceeds pre-pandemic levels despite the fact that the number of visitors from mainland China is still relatively low.

As others have pointed out, Kyoto's top attractions are a mess but the second-tier spots are still quite calm. My last two visits have been wonderful. I took friends around Myoshinji in early summer. They were delighted by the gardens at Keishunin, which we had almost to ourselves; An ideal way for them to decompress from the crowds at Kinkakuji and Ryoanji. Of course, they needed to see those A-list temples, but I waited at a cafe while they were there. Similarly, in October, I spent a relaxing afternoon exploring Tofukuji with a friend, who is on an extended stay in Kyoto. We were there before the foliage was at its autumnal best ... He decided to go back in late October to see it in reds and yellows. I am sure that it must have been more crowded at peak foliage-viewing season, but still not as over-crowded as Fushimi Inari shrine just two stations down the line.
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Last edited by jib71; Nov 26, 2023 at 2:24 am
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 2:37 am
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Originally Posted by jib71
I think it's hard to predict the impact of changes to rail passes. One possibility is that more people take up regional passes to explore Tohoku or Kyushu... but who knows? In terms of raw numbers, however, I think Japan is going to see more and more visitors, so yeah Kyoto's problems will get worse. The total number of inbound visitors exceeds pre-pandemic levels despite the fact that the number of visitors from mainland China is relatively low.
I agree that the past performance is no guarantee of future results warning is more relevant than ever going into the new year.

Whilst I can see and (to an extent) understand the patterns of movement by independent travellers, there is a whole other kind of mass working their way around the country in organised groups. We got a good reminder of what that means when we were in Matsushima to see family this summer. Almost impossible to find somewhere to sit and eat anywhere between Zuiganji Temple and Matsushima Bay with huge queues all around the Fish Market. We took a moment to appreciate that visitor numbers from the mainland hadnt yet picked up fully and considered ourselves fortunate to have enjoyed the restored temple when we did.

Just as there is a B-Gourmet* category, Im happy also to form part of the B-Tourist group.

* https://www.nippon.com/en/features/jg00015/
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Last edited by LapLap; Nov 26, 2023 at 2:49 am
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