Kyoto is easily accessible from Tokyo by the famous super-fast railway line: the Shinkansen, which travels on the train called “bullet”. I took the Series N700, train that reaches a top speed of 300 km / h and that allowed me to reach Kyoto in 2 hours and 20 minutes of great comfort (like Milan – Rome). It is not the fastest, because there is a magnetic levitation one which reached 581Km / h !!!!! (But is still under development).
It is useless to write about transport punctuality if you have already read the chapter on Tokyo, because of beeing Italian I’m always amazed by this factor, the “average delay” of these trains is estimated under 10 seconds … .. speechless … ..
Once in Kyoto, I was astonished by the train station, a work of art designed by Hiroshi Hara who, I think, was under influences of some kind of drug (ed.). The impact with Kyoto is different, first of all no more “crowd effect” like in Tokyo, and a lack of skyscrapers I was used to.
Kyoto is more “Japanese” city, less chaotic (1.5 million inhabitants compared to 12 in Tokyo) and more easily accessible for tourists, in fact its grid structure, makes it easier to walk around and more difficult to get lost. I immediatly noticed more cars traffic (is It possible??) than in Tokyo, because most people use public transportations, the subway in Kyoto is much more limited and therefore more people are using their own cars.
I recommend you to walk around Kyoto and to avoid the big roads and just dive yourself through the small streets, where you will see the real Japan, with very narrow alleyways lined with houses attached one to another as you could see in cartoons, enjoying the daily life of a city students return to school, artisans at work and children who roam the streets.
That’s how I came across a small school where you can see a picture on the blog: the football field and the building around, the clock on the front … I expected Lum (Urusei Yatsura) flying out from a window and it would have been perfect J.
The ancient capital of Japan is famous for being full of temples and historical buildings, so I suggest at least 5 days to visit this city , unfortunately I have seen in 3 days just a part of all, I visited about 4 or 5 more temples, the Nijo-Jo Castle, the Manga Museum and big walks through the different districts.
The temples are masterpieces of architecture, huge wooden buildings, beautifully decorated, the interior of which is accessible only by walking barefoot (in Japan be ready to often take off and put back your shoes) because it leads to a large covered with tatami room, where the inhabitants kneel and pray, while tourists wander with the guilty look of the “profane”. The interior is superb, It shall immediately transmit a sense of calm and peace, perfect to be able to say a prayer to local deities or sit to think about their own business in peace, unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures or shoot movies (Sandro! ), then you will not find on this blog. Into the Shogun’s Castle was forbidden to make drawings !!!!! (No sketching). Keep in mind that most of these temples have been rebuilt due to wars and fires.
In the few days that I was in Kyoto I can only suggest the following temples: Nishi Honganji, Kiyomizu – Dera Temple, Sanjūsangen-dō, Higashi Hongan-ji Temple and Nijo-Jo Castle.
If you love manga, do not miss the Museum, you will be surrounded with thousands of Manga that you can freely browse and read (if you know Japanese, if not, look at the figures as I did) and learn the history and evolution of comics up to nowadays, and if you are a fan, you can get out, like I did, with two original numbers of Doraemon and Urusei Yatsura (Lum) as a souvenir. Oops almost forgot the banner of Mazinger 🙂
To visit the Imperial Palace you must book a guided tour in advance (you need passport) and for this reason I didn’t make it, but it worth a visit to the gardens of the palace, although I guess in the spring are another show.
Last but not to be missed is a trip to Yodobashi Center, a shopping center next to the tower in Kyoto where, if you love all about camera equipment, you might want to move in immediately, it was also essential due to the massage chairs, where I spent all day at least 20 minutes trying to recover from sore muscles to walk …. It costs € 4000 !?!?!
Kyoto also impressed me a lot, definitely a destination not to be missed for a possible trip to Japan, you can relax while enjoying the ancient art of this country, if you have more time enjoy Kyoto for a stop and then go to south to Osaka and Hiroshima.
On the next trip (hopefully soon) … bye.