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Zone: The time is 13
hours ahead of EST time in New York City. Daylight Saving Time is not observed.
Seasons: Kyoto has a
relatively mild climate with four distinct seasons. The average daily
temperature, which varies from 42 F in the winter to 86 F in the summer, is 61.3
F. Average precipitation peaks during the rainy season, which is usually between
late June and late July, and in September during typhoon season.
- New Year's Day (Ganjitsu)
Monday in January - Adult's Day (Seijin-no hi)
11 - National Founding Day (Kenkoku Kinen-no hi)
or 21 - Vernal Equinox (Shunbun-no hi)
April 29 -
Greenery Day (Midori-no hi)
May 3 -
Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpou Kinenbi)
May 4 -
National People's Day (Kokumin-no Kyuujitsu)
May 5 -
Children's Day (Kodomo-no hi)
July 20 -
Marine Day (Umi-no hi)
15 - Respect-for-the-Aged Day (Keirou-no hi)
23 or 24 - Autumnal Equinox (Shuubun-no hi)
Monday in October - Health/Sports Day (Taiiku-no hi)
- Culture Day (Bunka-no hi)
23 - Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinrou Kansha-no hi)
23 - Emperor's Birthday (Tennou Tanjoubi)
Kansai Airport: If you arrive in Japan at Kansai International Airport (KIX)
outside Osaka, the JR Haruka Super Express train has direct service every 30
minutes to Kyoto Station; the trip takes approximately 75 minutes. A cheaper,
though less convenient, alternative is the JR Kanku Kaisoku, which departs every
30 minutes or so from Kansai Airport and arrives in Kyoto 100 to 120 minutes
later with a change at Osaka Station.
have a lot of luggage, try the Airport Limousine Bus (tel. 075/682-4400) from
Kansai Airport; buses depart every hour or less for the 105-minute trip to Kyoto
Station is like a
city in itself with tourist offices, restaurants, a hotel, a department store, a
shopping arcade, an art gallery, a theater, and stage events, and is connected
to the rest of the city by subway and bus.
Train from Elsewhere in Japan: Kyoto
is one of the major stops on the Shinkansen bullet train; trip time from Tokyo
is 2 1/2 hours. Kyoto is only 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station in
Osaka, but you may find it more convenient to take one of the local commuter
lines that connect Kyoto directly with Osaka Station. When taking the bullet
train, be prepared to enter and exit at a high rate of speed. The train is
truly efficient, and there is only a momentâ€™s stop before it glides on at its
you can reach Kyoto from Sannomiya and Motomachi stations.
from Tokyo -- Night
buses depart from Tokyo every evening for Kyoto, arriving the next morning.
Buses depart from Tokyo Station at both 10 and 10:50pm, arriving in Kyoto at
5:55am and 6:32am respectively, and from Shinjuku Station at 10:45, 11:10, and
11:50pm, arriving in Kyoto at 6:02, 6:32, and 7:12am. Day buses depart Tokyo and
Shinjuku stations several times daily. Tickets can be purchased at any major JR
station or a travel agency. Contact the Tourist Information Center (TIC) in
Tokyo for more information.
Cruise Ships dock at
the Port of Kobe or the Port of Osaka. There is excellent public
transportation available at either site.
features a rectangular street system. Unlike the streets in other Japanese
cities, most of central Kyoto's streets are named. The main streets running from
east to west are numbered in ascending order from north to south, and are about
500 meters apart from each other, with several smaller streets in between. For
example: Shijo means "4th Avenue" and Nijo means "2nd Avenue".
city center with the highest concentration of dining, shopping and entertainment
opportunities, is located around the junction of Shijo-dori (4th Avenue) and
Kawaramachi-dori (Kawaramachi Street). JR Kyoto Station is located south of the
city center at the top of Hachijo-dori (8th Avenue).
prominent north-south street is Karasuma-dori (Karasuma Street), which runs from
Kyoto Station via the city center to Kyoto Imperial Palace. Another north-south
axis is Kamo River, about one kilometer east of Karasuma-dori.
Kyoto's tourist attractions are located close to subway or train stations.
Instead, Kyoto has a dense bus network with direct bus lines from Kyoto Station
and/or the city center around Shijo-dori (4th Avenue) and Kawaramachi-dori (Kawaramachi
Street) to most major sights.
served by multiple bus companies. For getting around central Kyoto, the green
Kyoto City Buses are most numerous and useful. The red buses by Kyoto Bus are
second most prominent and convenient to access sights in more outlying areas of
tourist offices provide a superb English network map for the Kyoto City Buses,
which makes it quite easy for foreign visitors to access tourist attractions by
bus. Despite the good map and some English displays and announcements, however,
getting off at the correct bus stop can still be stressful, especially in
buses are small and operate surprisingly infrequently even on some major routes,
buses to major tourist sights can often get crowded, especially on weekends and
during holidays. In addition, much time can be lost when buses get stuck or only
proceed slowly in the busy street traffic.
subways and trains as much as possible, and use buses only for medium and short
distances, for example, from the closest subway or train station to the
entered through the back door and left through the front door. The fare has to
be paid when leaving the bus. Inside much of central Kyoto, there is a flat rate
per ride. Outside the flat fare zone, the fare increases with the distance..
two subway lines in Kyoto, the Karasuma Line which runs from south to north
along Karasuma-dori (Karasuma Street) and stops at JR Kyoto Station, and the
newer Tozai Line which runs from east to west and crosses the Karasuma Line at
the intersection of Karasuma-dori and Oike-dori.
lines including the Tokaido Shinkansen pass through or commence at JR Kyoto
Station. JR trains are a good option for accessing the Arashiyama area (Sagano
Line) and some attractions in southern Kyoto along the JR Nara Line, e.g.
Fushimi Inari Shrine and Byodoin in Uji.
Railways connect Kyoto with Osaka. The line initially runs below Shijo Avenue
from Kawaramachi westwards in direction of Osaka. It is a good option for
accessing the area around Katsura Rikyu.
operates two tram like train lines in northwestern Kyoto. For train lovers, a
ride on these trains is a small attraction by itself. The lines can be an option
for accessing Arashiyama and the area around Ryoanji and Kinkakuji.
Main Line runs next and parallel to Kamo River, but unfortunately does not
connect to Kyoto Station. The line continues to Osaka and is an alternative to
the JR Nara Line to access attractions in southern Kyoto.
train lines commence where the Keihan Line ends, at Demachi Yanagi Station in
northern Kyoto. Eizan Railways operates two lines, one to Kurama and one to the
base of Hieizan.
offers good connections from Kyoto Station to Nara. Note that some trains on the
Karasuma Subway Line continue to run on the Kintetsu Nara Line, and the other
probably the Japanese city with the highest concentration of taxis. Especially
in the city center, taxis are found everywhere. Taxis can not only be a more
comfortable, but also an economical alternative to buses on short to medium
distances for groups of three or more people.
accommodate up to four passengers (not including the driver), while larger
vehicles are able to accommodate an additional fifth passenger.
(one day and two day)
usage of Kyoto City Buses, Kyoto Buses and the two subway lines in the city of
Kyoto. The 2-day pass can be used on two consecutive days.
Kyoto City Bus One Day Card:
Unlimited use of Kyoto City buses in central Kyoto. The area of validity is
smaller than that of the Kyoto Sightseeing Card, and doesn't include some of the
city's more outlying districts, such as Arashiyama.
cards don't give discounts, but they make the process of taking trains and buses
easier, as you do not need to buy a new ticket for each ride. Prepaid cards can
be purchased at vending machines.
Surutto Kansai prepaid cards can be used on most trains and buses in the
Kyoto/Osaka region with the exception of JR trains. The Surutto Kansai Card is
also known under various different names, depending through which company you
are purchasing it, e.g. Miyako Card (subway and city buses), K Card (Keihan) and
Lagare Card (Hankyu).
be a worthwhile alternative when in doubt, and if time is a factor.
Kyoto Station: The
southern ward of Shimogyo-ku, which stretches from Kyoto Station north to Shijo
Dori Avenue, caters to tourists with its cluster of hotels and to commuters with
its shops and restaurants. Kyoto Station, which was controversial when built
because of its futuristic appearance, is now this area's top attraction with
Isetan department store, a shopping arcade, restaurants, a cinema, a theater, an
art gallery, and a rooftop plaza.
the central part of Kyoto west of the Kamo River and north of Shimogyo-ku, is
the location of Kyoto's main shopping and nightlife districts, the major ones
being on Kawaramachi and Shijo Dori avenues. In addition to its many shopping
arcades, restaurants, and bars, Nakagyo-ku also has a number of exclusive
ryokan (Japanese style Inns) scattered through these neighborhoods that are
typical of old Kyoto. It is also home to Nijo Castle. Nakagyo-ku is one of the
most desirable places to stay in terms of convenience and atmosphere.
Pontocho, a narrow
lane that parallels the Kamo River's western bank just a stone's throw from the
Kawaramachi-Shijo Dori intersection, is Kyoto's most famous street for
nightlife. It's lined with bars and restaurants that boast outdoor verandas
extending over the Kamo River in summer.
Kyoto: East of the
Kamo River, the wards of Higashiyama-ku and Sakyo-ku boast a number of the
city's most famous temples and shrines, as well as restaurants specializing in
Kyoto cuisine and Buddhist vegetarian dishes and shops selling local pottery and
other crafts. Eastern Kyoto is a great area for walking and shopping,
particularly Higashiyama-ku, and has several ryokan (Japanese style inns)
Included are the Kita-ku, Kamigyo-ku, and Ukyo-ku wards. Northern Kyoto is
primarily residential but contains a number of the areaâ€™s top attractions,
including the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion),
and Ryoanji Temple, site of Kyoto's most famous Zen rock garden.