Adventure, Art, Culture

Our take on Kyoto

While David and I expected Kyoto to be filled with ancient shrines and temples, we didn’t imagine that the entire city would also be frozen in time. It seems as though construction of the newer areas of the city ceased sometime in the 80’s and not one thing has changed since. The actual city is not at all what you’d expect – mostly simple, old rectangular buildings…

So then what should you expect of Kyoto?  The temples are each unique, the city is huge, the bus is very useful and only costs about $5 per day for unlimited rides, train is cheap, mall is great. Constructions have been developed in areas that feel like they should be dedicated to the temple that sits beside it, so it feels a little cramped around some sites. Kyoto can initially feel small, but once you ride the bus, you realize it’s actually quite large and sprawling. There aren’t many sky scrapers or huge buildings besides the Kyoto tower, and it doesn’t light up the way Osaka does, not much night life or activity after 10pm.

Take away: Go there expecting not to love the city itself, go just for the temples/shrines. When you get there grab a city map and mark all the sites you’d like to see. The city is quite spread out, but the bus system is quite well mapped and organized – so as long as you have your sites selected, you’ll have no problem making your way around and fitting them all in a few days (one day if your pressed for time and start early, as most sites close up by 3 or 4pm).

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