Categories Hotels Japan Recent Discoveries Top 10 Travel with TJD

Japan: Your Vacation Guide in Kyoto

Monday, May 29, 2017
Japan: Your Vacation Guide in KyotoLike1

Japan has always been on my bucket list. I think it is on almost everyone I meet. It’s one of those places that takes you on mystical journey to another world. Actually, it is exactly like that and here’s is your vacation guide in Kyoto.

No exaggerations. 

I fell in love with Kyoto because of that energy and feeling. Transported into another time. Looking around me on the streets of GION, I can almost see everyone’s face with awe and satisfaction that they have also ticked that off their list.

The smell of woodsmoke, the drift of incense; a procession of monks in black-and-gold robes and the silence and stillness from the crowd as a geisha pass them by.

Kyoto cannot be done in just one trip. It’s a start though. It’s a place you need to dig deep into its’ roots and understand its’ history and culture. 

Then there is the food…But that’s for another post. For now, here is a guide to Kyoto when you are planning your vacation to Kyoto, Japan.

TOKYO TO KYOTO

Trains are the best way to get around Japan moreover the bullet train that we took from Tokyo to Japan. Japan’s high speed bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen trains, offer visitors an experience like no other with speeds reaching up to 320 km/hr! The main Shinkansen lines with bullet trains include Tokaido, Sanyo, Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano and Kyushu. The 2 shinkansen terminals in Tokyo are at “Tokyo” and “Shinagawa” stations. It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach Kyoto.

Here is an excellent guide on the bullet train and inside information.

Learn more
SLEEP

Stay at The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto

As a first time visitor to Kyoto and a hotel lover (junkie), The Ritz – Carlton in Kyoto is a property that has to be on your bucket list to stay. It was built on the banks of the Kamagawa River with views of the Higashiyama mountains in the East and minutes away from Kyoto’s popular downtown and 15 minutes away from Kyoto Station and a bike or walk ride away from Gion. We checked into our room facing the Kamogawa river and from the moment you step into the room, you are in the presence of tranquility. The hotel organizes tours and excursions and even a private shrine viewing with sunrise breakfast with monks. The dining at The Ritz-Carlton is nothing shy from exquisite such as Mizuki, a Japanese themed restaurant and the Italian La Locanda. Delicacies with the Pierre Herme boutique by the lobby every time you pass by, you would stop and admire the selection of Macaroons and signature cakes. The most impressive dining of them all was breakfast. There are three types of rooms here: Deluxe, Deluxe Garden, and Luxury; and three types of suites: Garden, Garden Terrace, and Garden Terrace Tatami.

The average room price ranges from ¥63,000/$532 US for a Deluxe City View room with one King bed to ¥268,000/$2,262 US for a top-floor suite with a private balcony and mountain view.

Highly recommended and a walk, cycle, taxi away from the center.

BOOK HERE
THINGS TO DO IN KYOTO

Visit Gion

Take a walk from The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto to Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain. Gion is one of my favorite places in Kyoto with the traditional wooden buildings and the historic district is the most popular place for seeing Geisha especially at around 5pm where the Geisha starts to head out. Please make sure you respect the laws and don’t get up in their faces and respect their presence as she walks by. Always take photos from the side or back, but leave their path open.

Kimono Experience 

The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto offers the Kimono Experience. You are brought into a room filled with colorful material and Kimonos for you to choose from, with a hair stylist and a make up artist and for the next 15 minutes, you are being pampered and taken care of by professionals. It’s an experience you cannot miss out on and a chance to be drawn into the culture by local attire. 

Bamboo Forest 

The Japanese have a long history with bamboo, in myths and legends, metaphorically linking a man’s strength with this plant. The Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama paths which are over 500 meters long, set between Tenryuji temple and Nonomiya Shrine. You can either walk along the forest by foot, cycle or by rickshaw. You can find the rickshaw almost at every corner and they take you to great secret spots!

Japanese Tea Ceremony 

For over 1,000 years, Japanese drank tea and up to the 16th century did they start to take it seriously. Kyoto remains the center of the Japanese tea ceremony world (and tea growing world) and a popular place called Camellia is known to be one of the best amongst many. The Japanese Tea Ceremony It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea.

Fushimi Inari Shrine 

On my bucket list for the longest time! Despite not hiking to the very top (lack of time), you should make sure you do! The hike to the summit of 233m Mt. Inari-san and the pilgrimage circle around the shrines near the top is one of the most interesting short walks around Kyoto. It’s also the best way to see all of Fushima-Inari Taisha Shrine. One of the most memorable moments in Kyoto and one of the most beautiful shrines.

Bike around Kyoto 

Everyone highly recommends and insist on biking around Kyoto as the best way to explore the beautiful gems. It is one of the world’s greatest bike cities and you will find a bike to rent around every corner. Remember that people drive on the left there and so should you on a bike. You can park your bike in many bike stations parking and take a walk after that. One easy route I found online is Kyoto Station to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens via the Kamo-gawa River and will take you about 2 hours.

Visit Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion) 

Kyoto’s most iconic sight. We made sure we went there on a weekday very early morning. Wake up at 6am to catch the sunrise otherwise it would be packed with tourist.

Walk the Philosopher’s walk

Cath the Sakura (cherry blossoms) by walking through the philosopher’s walk. Its name comes from the Japanese philosopher of the first half of the ‘the 900th Kitaro Nishida, who taught for several years at the University of Kyoto, and it is said he used to walk along this street during his moments of reflection.

WORDS TO GET YOU BY

Sumimasen – Excuse me

Thank you – Arigato gozaimasu

You’re welcome – Do itashimashite

Goodbye – Sayonara

Doko – Where?

Hai – Means I’m satisfied ( sometimes could mean yes)

Wakarimasen – I don’t understand

Ganbaru – Ill do my best

Oyasumi Nasaii – Goodnight

Like this article? Share it and save it on Pinterest!

Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler

Leave a Reply

Follow @ traveljunkiediary
  • Sailing has become our family norm in summers for a very long time - sleeping on a yacht for days has become somewhat of a summer tradition for Chloè now in Greece. I’ve been lucky enough to have great sailing experience and learning from the best. This summer, back to Portugal but this time across the islands for the very first time!!
  • She’s the girl that has a thousands things to say to you, and a thousands reasons not to... 💫
  • I can’t wait to go back to my beautiful home 🇱🇧 Have you been to lebanon before? ♥️
  • I read once that some people have the ability to magnetize the people they need to help push them even further into greatness. Some take them for granted, some don't see it because they are too blind. But for those who can see it, be grateful for it, because even if you think you don't need them, one day you might understand the chemistry you once had. 💫
  • Just found this photo, 4 years ago, when I was back in Sri Lanka, it feels like another lifetime, do you ever have that feeling when looking at old photos?
  • The start of summer days in Dubai isn’t so easy with the heat but I’ve managed to pull through by keeping busy with upcoming projects and getting ready for my trip back to Portugal in a couple of weeks for summer!
The exciting bit is that on Saturday the 9th of June in Dubai, I’m hosting another successful and popular workshop: ‘Let’s Get Social’ A workshop on how to turn your passion into a business and the use social media. You can message me to learn more on how to join and learn almost everything I know on how to run your business successfully on social media and tips on successful blogging! Happy Sunday everyone! ☀️
  • There is something you should know... I don’t have everything figured out. Believe me, sometimes, even the people who look like they have their sh*t together... sometimes don’t know what the hell they are doing, but that’s ok because we are not meant to all the time! ♥️
Thank you to @dennisstever for the picture 💫
  • The midnight sun. Where the sun never sets. Endless days... For once, I finally found a place where I had enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted. To take my shots without rushing for the sun to set and keep those color in the skies for more than just seconds and minutes and have endless conversations with friends. This is the sun at midnight beyond the arctic. The sun remains this way till sunrise in the summer from the 20th of May till the 21st of  June and we witnessed the first day of the rise of the midnight sun ♥️ thanks to my wonderful friends @pukkatravels where you can join my next trip in October but this time, we sail in search of the Northern Lights 💫
  • JOIN ME THIS OCTOBER!! The remote islands in Tromsø are one of the most rugged landscapes I’ve ever seen!! I’m so excited to share it with you for those who are interested in joining one of my next @travelwithtjd adventure series with @dennisstever who took this photo of me!!
In October you can also join us as we sail for one night in the arctic and into the fjords to watch the NORTHERN LIGHTS, the rest of our stay will be on land driving into the fjords and set a campfire to see the Auroras! 
It’s going to be an adventure with photography advise, arctic wildlife on ground, at sea and in the skies!
In partnership with my dearest friends from @pukkatravels 
Spaces are very limited and all the info is found in the link in my bio and you can always get in touch if you have any questions!! (More on highlighted stories) #TravelwithTJD
  • I hope you find that place one day. Where the chaos inside is understood and your heart feels at home... no matter where you are. 💫
  • Lost and unlost... Lost and unlost... Over and over again. 
It was almost midnight, (Yes, this is how midnight looks like) where the sun never sets till sunrise, and we decided to climb up the hill to see where we actually anchored the boat, knowing this was a remote island.  The wind was pushing us back and forth and we kept losing balance, no tripod would ever stand-alone. Then, when we reached the top, both Dennis and I froze, dropped to the ground from the shock and suddenly we were numb. The light from the midnight sun reflected the mountains, the sea, the grass and the skies turned pink and purple!! All of a sudden I had a rush of emotions that I couldn’t hold inside of me and my eyes were filled with tears, mostly from the wind and mostly from not knowing how to deal with so much feelings. 
This was a reality I would always want to stay awake for. Then, @dennisstever pulled his camera and took my picture when I was in my moment and I’m so grateful for that!! @pukkatravels @travelwithtjd
  • They say, reality is a projection of your thoughts. I’ve dreamed about sailing north of the arctic for years... I never doubted for a second that it would not happen ‘one day’ but, nothing every prepared me for what I’m experiencing on this trip witnessing the magic of the midnight sun!! I’ve seen and felt things I never imagined existed or at least only on @natgeotravel magazines. This is the start of my 3 day journey sailing in the arctic! 💫

I’m also very excited to announce our new partnership with @pukkatravels for our next @travelwithtjd #TravelWithTJD in October and now, you can join me too! Information will be up tonight on the link in bio!