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Half day or Full day trips out of Kyoto?

Atlanta, Georgia
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Half day or Full day trips out of Kyoto?

We're planning a trip in July. As my wife and I like historical things we are basing part of the trip in Kyoto. So far we are fairly sure that we want to do Nara, Himeji, and Igaueno (ninja museum to please the kids) as seperate day trips. How long do Nara (the main park and temple area is probably all that the kids will want to see although I have reason to believe that the deer will be a huge hit) and Himeji (castle only?) take?

After Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima, and Igaueno are there any other day trips out of Kyoto that make sense?

One thing that I would like, but perhaps the others in the family might not like, is someplace that will involve just a little bit of hiking in a non-urban setting.

Nashville, TN
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1. Re: Half day or Full day trips out of Kyoto?

Hiroshima should probably be an overnight trip if you can; Miyajima is spectacular and is worth it.

Nara and Himeji can both be either full days or partial days; a lot depends on what you see and do. However, in general plan on spending the better part of a day; meaning, don't plan too much else on those days except possibly for some 'down time'.

If you go to Himeji Castle you can probably be done within two hours; so if you get there first thing in the morning you should be finished by noon. Note that there are some family-friendly things in the area of the castle. In particular there is a large play structure (two, actually, one that has a massive slide and climbing areas that older kids like, and one that is more suitable for younger kids)in the park behind the castle (opposite the train station, outside the moat/wall); it's a good place to spread a blanket and eat a picnic lunch, or is simply a nice place to relax. The other family-friendly activity is the zoo next to the castle; I'll warn you in advance: some people really don't like the zoo because it is a very old-school facility where the animals live in cages and concrete. But it's cheap and kids like that they can see the animals very clearly, and there are some rides/games as well.

I also have to say that Engyoji Temple on Mt. Shosha is worth the short trip, though it involves a lot of walking. Older kids like to ring the peace bell (a large temple bell that visitors can ring), and the temples are the setting for numerous movies (including parts of Last Samurai; you can still see some shops in Himeji that proudly display 'Tom Cruise ate here' signs).

John W.

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2. Re: Half day or Full day trips out of Kyoto?

I would also recommend a stop at Fushimi-Inari on your way to Nara. It's a beautiful shrine area. Step off the train, cross the street and you are in the shrine grounds. Hike up to the top of the hill under 10,000 red tori gates for an amazing view from the top of the hill. Rest at the top with a cup of tea or soda, walk the short loop around to the back and then wander your way back down the mountain. Your kids will love it...mine sure did!


A couple of hours at Fushimi-Inari, then back on the train for Nara, a couple of hours there and get on the express train back to Kyoto. An easy day trip, you'll be back late afternoon.

Palo Alto...
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3. Re: Half day or Full day trips out of Kyoto?

I suggest a day trip to Kibune and Kurama, two small towns to the north of Kyoto. These are the places where Kyoto residents go to in order to escape from the heat downtown. In the summer, you can try Kawadoko cuisine, which is served on tatami mats set above running rivers.






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Tokyo and California
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4. Re: Half day or Full day trips out of Kyoto?

Good replies!

I, too think Hiroshima/Miyajima should be an overnight trip. Nara and Himeji can be done in half-day trips. The deer in Nara Park will be a big hit with your kids. It's always one of the highlights of my trip back to Japan even though I grew up in Nara. Fushimi-inari is well worth your time. And Kibune/Kurama would be so refreshing in summer because it'll be oppressively hot and humid in July.

My suggestion is, though, don't do too many day trips out of Kyoto because Kyoto itself has so much to offer.

5. Re: Half day or Full day trips out of Kyoto?

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