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Please critique our 3-day itinerary

Las Vegas, Nevada
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Please critique our 3-day itinerary

Hello TripAdvisors! We are planning a trip next week to Tokyo & Kyoto from Okinawa. My in-laws will be in Japan for the first time from the US (Colorado). They are in their early 60's but very fit/no mobility issues. I, on the other hand, am 6 months pregnant. :) I have never been to Kyoto. Please take a look at my plan and let me know if you'd make changes or if we are trying to do too much:

Tues, 17 Sept continuing on from Tokyo...

Shinkansen from Shinagawa to Kyoto - 13:17 dep/15:28 arr

15:30 arrive in Kyoto - 16:00 check in at Iori Machiya (we chose Izumiya-cho)

Walk to Yasaka Shrine; quickly explore Higashiyama district up to Kiyomizudera (closes at 1800). Possible Inoda coffee shop stop. Return to Machiya (walk).

1930 pm Dinner at Issian Ponchoto (walk)

After dinner explore Gion (? is there much to see this late?)

Wed, 18 Sept:

08:30 Breakfast at Machiya(delivery)

Philosopher's Path 1/2 day walk from Japan-Guide.com (japan-guide.com/e/e3950_philosophers_half.ht…). This plan leads along the Philosopher's Path and makes stops at Ginkakuji, Nanzenji Temple and Heian Shrine. Start at Ginkaku-ji (take bus #32 from Kawaramachi to Ginkakuji-Mae stop). End at Heian Shrine. Walk to Shogoin Sannocho. Bus #204 to Kinkaku-ju. (<<<is this the best routing?) Return to Machiya.

Can anyone make a recommendation for relatively cheap (~3000 pp) lunch somewhere before we head to Kinkaku-ji?

7:30pm Dinner at Hafuu (take a taxi)

Thurs, 19 Sept:

09:00ish Breakfast at Kano Cafe (walk)

1100ish Check-out & move bags to Shiraume Ryokan (taxi)

NLT 1200 metro to Umahori (45 mins)

1300 Fast Lunch? (Recommendation where to fit this in????)

1400 - 25 min scenic Sagano train to Arashiyama

1430 Tenryuji Temple, the bamboo groves and Monkey Park (NLT 1600 to Monkey Park)

1730ish Train back to Shiraume Ryokan

Clean up

1930 kaiseki dinner at Ryokan

Fri, 20 Sep:

0830 Breakfast at Ryokan

Walk to Nishiki Market & explore

1130 check out

1210 Yasaka taxi pickup for Kansai flight to Okinawa

I know this is a lot of walking and I'm just really hoping that my feet will carry me through it with the extra pregnancy weight. Also praying for reasonable weather (anything is better than Okinawa heat/humidity!!!). I'm willing to cut out parts if need be, just need suggestions. We aren't HUGELY into museums or art, really love picturesque scenery, food, people watching.

Thank you so much!


Kyoto, Japan
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1. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

Great itinerary! You may be bilingual. Issian Pontochoto has an English menu: Your American family may be interesting in seeing menu even though they may not know the food.

I have a little concern about the Kiyomizu Gojo-zaka Slope. You can come to Yasaka Shrine any time while you are in Gion area even early in the morning. Please do not rush up to Kiyomidzu Slope to catch the time limit. The other thing is that there is a little distance from Gion Shijo to Kiyomidzu. You may have a taxi or the bus #207 clock-wise from Shijo-Kawaramachi to Kiyomidzu-Michi.

As you may know, the start of Torokko train, Umahori is the station of JR Sagano Line. You will need to goto Kyoto station.


I am sorry I do not know much about Umahori to Torokko Kameoka area:


According to Google, Sushi bar may only be your choice.


Why dont you purchase lunch boxes at Kyoto station?

>Train back to Shiraume Ryokan

As you may already know, the train to Shijo-Kawaramachi is Hankyu: You will need to change train at Katsura station.

One thing I always recommend the lunch at Nishiki market.


#99 Mochitsukiya


We can have Ozouni soup every time in a year. Mochi, Rice cake, in Kyoto is round!

Another food I tried is; Dashimaki Egg Roll at #29 Tanaka Keiran. It is a great egg. Since the store do not have a restaurant, you will take out to eat on your flight or at home.

Edited: 6:26 am, September 06, 2013
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2. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

My advice may seem harsh but just trying to be realistic so you can avoid stress & exhaustion next week.

Firstly, it's too much walking for you.

I would take a taxi straight to Kiyomizu then wander around the quaint streets & shops below. Taxi won't cost that much for these short hops.

I would skip Yasaka shrine (but if you go to this area, nearby are the much more significant & beautiful temples Chion-In & Shoren-In with their magnificent, important gardens, history & art works.)

You can go to Yasaka shrine at night too - I think it's better at night (so perhaps stop by when you visit Gion)

Anytime at night Gion's Shirakawa area (canal area) and Hanami-koji street are atmospheric. Before dinner you will probably see geiko as later on they'll be working. But it's pleasant to walk around later in the evening too to see the traditonal architecture & lanterns lit.

Day 2

I think it's way too much walking for you.

You will be on your feet for hours. Take it slowly & be flexible, stop to drink tea or have an ice-cream, take in the gardens - don't just keep on walking. Stop & smell the roses as they say!

If you follow that walking route on Japan guide then don't walk the whole way - take taxis between temples.

Ginkakuji - the Silver Temple & garden is for me one of the best places in Kyoto - you'll be walking around the garden there. But it is really a living museum. Stop at the refreshment/tea shop outside.

Nanzenji is a huge complex of sub-temples - with art treasures & gardens to see. I spent half a day here and didn't finish. But that's me. There street leading to the temple is famous for tofu restaurants.

Day 3

Arashiyama district is up a hill - Warning: lots of walking uphill here.

Actually Kyoto may surprise you as it's a completely modern city, I know all the photos are picturesque with cherry blossoms & such but.... I'm not trying to disappoint you, just being realistic, it's a very modern, urban place, with traffic, noise, concrete, etc. Sure there are some nice quiet bits ( and mostly the temple gardens you pay to enter are the best bits) but, I will make people angry by saying this; the city itself is maybe not as pretty as the tourist brochures make out, so don't think you're missing out on much by not doing this long walk, OK? Sometimes I feel it's a bit like the 'Emporer's new clothes' children's story - you know? People seem to be seeing something that I can't. Personally I don't think Kyoto is a very picturesque city at all. (But the history is amazing & the temples & gardens sublime.)

The temples are just like museums with art treasures & gardens & full of history. Are they really for you? Would you be better doing something completely different? Nothing wrong with that. A trip to Isetan (which is fantastic), see the brilliant interior of Kyoto station, explore the undergound shopping centre & you can enjoy people watching. Nishiki market has lots to see, poking around at the food shops.

Nara, Japan
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3. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

On day1 Kyoto, I'd cab it to Kiyomizu and then from here enjoy the downhill walk to Gion if I were in your shoes. FYI, you need only a 10-15min-long leisurely walk to hit Yasaka Shrine from your machiya, but Kiyomizu takes a good 25min from that shrine, and that gets uphill once you traverse Maruyama Park. So given the heat and humidity, you'd be better off getting a cab to Kiyomizu so you would avoid walking it there and backtrack.

P. Path on day2 is best when in April and/or Nov, so not all it's cracked up to be if at the end of summer. Note it's about a mile and a half long walking lane along the small canal that leads to Gion, so Ginkakuji and Nanzeni are 25min-walk apart from each other, give or take. Yes, there's a few cafes along your way, but can you bear the heat, I wonder? Um, we've been having a nice respite from the heat these two days though.

So if you ever do P. Path, I suggest you go to Nanzenji first, via Heian Shrine, and then fom here head north to Ginkakuji. That's a shortcut to Kinkakuji as well.

Re Arashiyama on day3, I think I know why you can come up with Umahori. It's a '5min walk' from there to Truck/Torokko Station Kameoka, from where you can take Sagano Scenic/Romantic Train to Arashiyama Station on the same line, which is the gateway to Bamboo Lane and Tenryuji Temple. And so, what you're saying makes sense to me, but how you can access from Umahori to the above-said truck train station, I don't know... See a (rough) pic map: http://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/eng/

Hopefully someone will chime in here for the Umahori-Truck Train Kameoka leg. But then you'd need to get to JR Kyoto to catch a JR train...

Edited: 2:19 pm, September 06, 2013
Nara, Japan
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4. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

Sorry, the link above doesn't work the way I thought. So click on 'Tram Access Route' in it when you go there.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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5. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

Thanks so much for all the great advice! I've massively revamped the itinerary based on your inputs:

Day 1:

Arrive 1218- Shinkansen Nozomi 221 train to Kyoto

Leave luggage, eat lunch.

1400 travel to Golden Pavilion/1430 arrival (take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 250 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, around 900 yen) from there to Kinkakuji.

1530ish travel back to Kyoto Station, retrieve luggage, taxi to Machiya

1930 dinner at Issian Ponchoto

After dinner Walk around in Gion, maybe Yasaka Shrine

Day 2

0830 Breakfast (delivery)

Silver Pagoda (Ginkaku-ji) (bus #32 from Kawaramachi to Ginkakuji-Mae stop) explore.

Taxi to Kiyomizudera. Explore.

Lunch & Wander Higashiyama (Inoda coffee stop?) down to Gion

Back to Machiya to clean up/relax (taxi or walk)

1930 dinner at Hafuu

Day 3

0730 depart for hike up to first observation point at Fushimi Inari Shrine (for non-pregnant people...pregnant lady wanders & takes photos)

0900ish Breakfast (Kano Cafe or train station)

1100/1200ish Check-out & move bags to Shiraume Ryokan (taxi)

Walk? to Nishiki Market & explore

Lunch at Nishiki Market

1500ish back to Ryokan

Clean up/baths/naps

1700 Shiatsu Massages in rooms

1930 kaiseki dinner

After dinner walk in Gion

Day 4

0830 Breakfast at Ryokan

Re-visits, shopping, or relaxing

1130 check out

1210 taxi pickup

So, I think this is a much better pace and leaves us free time to add activities if wanted. Thoughts? Suggestions?

New Zealand
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6. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

On day 2, the Inoda coffee shop is definitely worth a stop. It is a calm, relaxing place, looking out over a small garden, and with excellent service. It would be just the place to rest for a bit after some serious sightseeing.

Edited: 3:56 am, September 07, 2013
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7. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

Hi Shot

Can you advice how to take the short cut from Nanzenji Temple to Ginkakuji Temple. I have not intention of using Philosophy Path( is not wheelchair accessible ). Is this short cut friendly to wheelchair?

Kyoto, Japan
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8. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

I am sorry that although there is a bus stop to Kyoto City Bus #5 to Ginkaku on Shirakawadori, the bus operated in this line is not the bus with a lift.

Wheelchair taxi is available in Kyoto although they do not have English pages:




Try to ask your hotel for wheelchair vehicles.

Kyoto, Japan
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9. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary

The bus is a Non-step Bus. According to Kyoto City Bus page, you can take the non-step bus.


See the wheelchair logo on the back of the bus.

I learned the bus has a little plate to make a slope.


I am sorry for my confusion.

Nara, Japan
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10. Re: Please critique our 3-day itinerary


You seem to be confused. I did not say there was a short-cut route you could take from Nanzenji to Ginkakuji. What I said was that Ginkakuji serves better to access to Kinkakuji than the place OP had originally intended to head for. Part of P. Path is bumpy for sure, so you may like to get a cab at Nanzenji. A taxi-fare site says it's only a 720-810yen drive.

<<So if you ever do P. Path, I suggest you go to Nanzenji first, via Heian Shrine, and then fom here head north to Ginkakuji. That's a shortcut to Kinkakuji as well.>>