Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Must-do in Kyoto

My boyfriend and I will be going to Kyoto for 2 nights Tue, Apr 7 - Thur, Apr 9 and have a few questions remaining:

1. Can anyone recommend a translator to accompany us through Nijo Jinya?

2. Is it worth it go also go to Nijo castle if we are doing the other and visiting the castles in Osaka and Himeji on other days? (And, if so, does this also need to be booked in advance?)

3. I%26#39;ve heard there%26#39;s a special Geisha festival on while we%26#39;re in town; does anyone know anything about this? Is it worth attending, or better to just go to Gion Corner?

4. Does anyone know of tours other than Peter McIntosh%26#39;s geisha tour? I never received a response from my inquiry to him, and see on these forums he%26#39;s less than reliable, still I%26#39;d like to learn more about this....

Must-do in Kyoto

By the way, any other tips of things we can%26#39;t miss in this short time is appreciated....we%26#39;re also planning on going to the Kiyomizu temple (probably will give the Golden Temple a miss). But, anything else MUST see?

Must-do in Kyoto

If time is limited, I would drop Nijo since you%26#39;re already planning on the Osaka castle. Once you%26#39;ve seen Osaka, you%26#39;ve seen them all. Then put the Golden Pavilion back in. It%26#39;s a short bus ride and worth the sight.


Nijo Castle is so different to Himeji and Osaka Castles. I found it a beautiful place and a lot more interesting than the Golden Pavilion which you can%26#39;t go inside. It%26#39;s a palace castle, so instead of having several floors, it%26#39;s all on the one level. It also has lovely paintings on the walls, unlike Himeji which is quite bare.The garden is nice too.I beleive the castle is World Heritage listed.

When we went on a Saturday morning, we were approached by a group of Kyoto Uni students who were studying English and had to do an assignment where they accompanied English speaking people through the castle. We accepted their offer and it was a very interesting experience. We spoke to them about many aspects of their lives in Japan and they asked us lots of questions about Australia.

You don%26#39;t have to book to see the castle - just arrive and you might be lucky to get a free guided tour like we were.


So you see how hard it is to suggest when different sites make different impressions depending on who you are. I like Sammy%26#39;s approach to study the history behind the sites and follow your interest from the gathered information. The history is often more interesting than the visual. This is good discussion, start your research.


Also, if you%26#39;regoing to drop a castle from your itinerary, I%26#39;d drop Osaka%26#39;s. It was a pleasant way to fill in a couple of hours, but isn%26#39;t an authentic castle experience like Nijo and Himeji.

Thanks for the advice...as a history buff, I%26#39;ve already read a couple of books in preparation for my trip to Japan, which is how I%26#39;ve come up with these questions in the first place.(And why I%26#39;ve decided to drop the Golden Pavilion.) :-)

As for Nijo Castle, perhaps we will just stop by there before/after Nijo-Jinya since we%26#39;ll be in the area anyway and see if we get lucky... I hear there%26#39;s also something going on there at night during the cherry blossom season. Has anyone been to that?

And, still looking for any information anyone might have about geisha tours.... And, my boyfriend is very interested in taking part in a tea ceremony. Any recommendations about that (that%26#39;s not too expensive)?

(BTW, the reason we%26#39;re visiting Osaka castle is that we%26#39;ll be staying in Osaka as a cheap base to take day trips around the region and plan to spend our last day there, a Sunday, relaxing in the castle park and visiting the aquarium.)

Osaka Aquarium is a winner. Geisha tours may be too commercial (read expensive) unless you really want a pic of boyfriend in a kimono. The tea ceremony done by novice clubs are affordable, if not free.

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