Kyoto, Japan Travel Tips – Help a Reader Travel!

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! Here are some travel tips and suggestions generated from reader comments on things to do in Kyoto, Japan.

A few weeks ago, a reader wrote in asking for Japan suggestions. I was able to cover an itinerary throughout Japan, but wanted to hit on many of the major tourist spots/cities within the country as well. This will include: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and any others that are requested.

Here are some things I am sure readers will want suggestions on:

  • Where to stay
  • How many days to stay
  • Sites to see
  • Recommended restaurants
  • Anything else you might think is valuable!

If you’ve ever been to Japan, specifically Kyoto, let’s help out reader Jeffrey and I am sure many other interested readers! The goal of this weekly post is to help readers get a top of travel advice from the thousands of Deals We Like readers. Also, make sure to check out last weeks post on Tokyo and leave her travel tips there as well.

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special.

Check out many other destinations and comment on suggestions here.


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  1. I’ve been to Kyoto two times in my three visits to Japan. In order to appreciate the city and its cultural significance you definitely need to stay several days.

    Off the top of my head, I’ve covered these areas below and would highly recommend them:

    – Kiyomizu-dera (Kiyomizu Temple) is the most important temple in Kyoto. Best to visit soon before reconstruction works overwhelm most of the major structures.

    – Heian Shrine is a popular place of Shinto worship, dedicated to the souls of the first and last emperors that ruled while Kyoto was still the capital city.

    – There is a nice stoned path along a small river known as the Philosopher’s Path, with many tucked-out-of-the-way shrines, temples and restaurants. I had some of the best soba noodles ever at one such place along this path (but I don’t remember what it was called!)

    – Kinkaku-ji Temple has its main building lined in gold.

    – Ryoanji Temple is a zen temple with a beautiful rock garden, considered one of the most famous in Japan. The garden has 15 stones, and if you look at the garden from any angle, one stone will always be hidden from view.

    – Arashiyama is a charming, old district. Across the river is a monkey park, Iwatayama Monkey Park.

    – To the south of Kyoto by train, Fushimi Inari shrine is the famous shrine with a mountain path lined by thousands of the orange shinto “Torii” gates.

    – The City of Nara, Japan’s original capital with a temple containing the world’s largest wooden structure, is an easy day trip from Kyoto (about one hour by train).

    I can vouch for two hotels in Kyoto: Right next to Kyoto Station is the New Miyako Hotel, one of the largest hotels in Kyoto by number of rooms. But it can tend to be expensive there. A more reasonably-priced hotel, and one with spacious rooms, is Citadines Karasuma Gojo Kyoto hotel. When my wife and I visited last year we paid a decent rate and got a large room with a bed and a sofa – something that, in Japan, 90% of the time you’ll find in more luxurious and pricier hotels. When we booked the hotel, we got a discounted rate by using a Citibank credit card – there was a specific rate for that. Hopefully that rate is still offered, though I’d imagine that would be going away soon since Citibank is looking to pull out of the personal banking market in Japan.

    I hope this helps! I’d be happy to offer more suggestions if asked about places to see in Kyoto, or in Japan in general. I also offer travel tips on my blog.

  2. I stayed at Crowne Plaza this past June, which is located right across the Nijō Castle. Wonderful place to stay. The best part is that it offers complimentary shuttle from/to the train station.

    Kyoto has wonderful bus services. With 500 Yen, one gets unlimited rides per day. There are three buses that pass by almost all the sight-seeings.

    The Imperial Palace is also a must-go. One can make an online reservation for the tour, which is offered in English.

  3. Big thumbs up for the Hotel Kanra Kyoto. Nishiki Market is a must. Our most memorable lunch of our entire Japan trip was at Syouraian. Make a reservation and enjoy!

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