It's almost that time of year again. Late-autumn means it is time to make your way to Kyoto to take a look at the beautiful fall colors at the (always impressive) historical tourist attractions.
|Ginkakuji - Kyoto|
You should be prepared for crowds...a ridiculous amount of people. Seriously. I thought I was going to be prepared, but I was not.
As a tip, there is a daily bus pass (Adult 500JPY - about 5USD) and a daily subway+bus pass (Adult 1200JPY - about 12USD). Don't waste your money on the combined subway and bus pass.
The bus is a lot more convenient to most of the popular tourist locations, so save the 700JPY.
If you are planning a daytrip, make an organized plan.
The bus system is kind of confusing. So, make sure you pick up one of those bus maps from the tourist information center. I got my map at the Kyoto train station on the second floor. Also, if you've never been there, stop by the information center. They have employees that speak multiple languages and are able to give you tips about the best places to go. The person I spoke with spoke Japanese, Korean, English and Mandarin Chinese. Other workers spoke French, Russian, and Spanish. I'm sure there were other languages represented, but I cannot remember them at the moment.
(I will try and find mine/scan it here, so you can see what I labeled.)
|Kiyomizudera (Kiyomizu Temple)|
The first weekend, I went to Ginkakuji and then toured around the city, including the Palace and other sights. I planned the first weekend because there was an evening Illuminations event at Kiyomizu Temple.
During this Illuminations period, they close the temple to the public a little earlier and then reopen it at night for a few hours. You pay an admission fee and then you get to tour the grounds and look at the autumn colors for a rather unique experience.
I was not ready for the crowds. Usually Japanese people are very particular about lines and order, but at this event. this was not the case. There were just hoards of people all crowded together and surging towards the entrance. I tried to find the back of the line, but ended up wasting time. I ended up having to ask some Korean tourists for help finding the line. So, just get yourself in the crowd.
The second weekend, I went to Arashiyama. I basically went there to see the monkeys...the baby monkeys. My friends and I did some more sightseeing around the Arashiyama area and looked around in Kyoto some more, too.
|Arashiyama Monkey Park|