My sister was visiting last December and we wanted to go Osaka for USJ, because, Hogwarts!!! (see here for my previous trip to USJ with the hubs) Although it was a short trip, I thought that since we were traveling all the way there, I tried to make the most of it and fashioned a little “Experience Kansai” itinerary for her.
Of the 5 days we spent in Kansai, 2 days were in Osaka, 1 in Nara, and 2 in Kyoto. In this post, I’ll be sharing our Kyoto itinerary. Links to individual posts will be added as they are written :)
9am: Left Osaka for Kyoto
10am: Arrived at kimono rental place
[see this post on where to rent kimonos in Kyoto]
11am: Dressed in kimonos and headed towards Kiyomizudera
12.45pm: Arrived at Kiyomizudera (after lots of pictures enroute)
1.30pm: Left Kiyomizudera and wandered through the traditional streets of Ichinenzaka and Ninenzaka
You must try the Kyoto snack Yatsuhashi 八つ橋! It’s my favorite! It’s a thin mochi-like skin with filling in the centre and comes in a wide variety of flavors :)
Also try nama yuba aka soy bean milk skin. Another favorite of mine!
4pm: Headed for bus stop to take a bus towards Kyoto station
5pm: Start of the tea ceremony
5.45pm: End of the tea ceremony; explored in and around Kyoto station
7pm: Returned kimonos and headed for dinner venue
8.10pm: Arrived at Kichi-kichi (the internet-famous omurice restaurant)
9.30pm: Checked in at 9hours
10am: Checked out (and left our luggage there)
11.30am: Arrived at Fushimi Inari Shrine, the place of the thousand torii (although there are technically more than a thousand here)
1pm: Left for Arashimaya
1.45pm: Arrived at Saga-Arashimaya station
2pm: Arrived at Arashimaya Bamboo Grove
2.20pm: Walked towards Togetsu Bridge (渡月橋)
3.20pm: Left from Hankyu Arashimaya station for hotel
And that was our Kyoto itinerary! (although it’s more like 1.5 days than 2 days since the rest of day two was unexciting events like going back to the hotel before rushing to the airport).
Yes, 2 days in Kyoto is severely lacking because there are so many other nice places we didn’t get to visit, but working with what we have, I tried to pick places and things to do based on our interests, and without making it too rushed and hectic. Hopefully this will provide some insight when you are planning your own Kyoto itinerary! I would say at least 5 days in Kyoto would be more comfortable to explore the many attractions that the city offers.
Although this was my 4th time to Kyoto, this was the first time I really felt charmed by Kyoto. Perhaps it’s largely attributed to my discovery of Arashimaya, the place I was most taken with. I really wished I had more time there! Arashimaya is definitely a place that I want to, no, make that will visit again! This time, I will make sure to have ample time there :)
This post made me so nostalgic. I loved Kyoto!! It’s such a good mix of city-convenience/energy, old-school charm and gorgeous scenery. I really really wanted to try a night at 9 hours but they were fully booked when I tried… :( How was it? And I didn’t make it to the torii but I loved Arashiyama too! And Kiyomizudera! Also walking around the twisty alleys of Gion was really fun…And even though my top two meals of my last trip were in Osaka, Kyoto is obsessed with the same food stuff I am –that sweet white miso, green tea, tofu and YUBA (sorta overlap with tofu but I love it so much it deserves its own category lol)! Mm. I ate yuba soft-serve and also this amazing tofu ice-cream at this restaurant at Arashiyama… man. I wanna go back. noww. I dunno if you made it to the departmental stores but did you see that fancy only-in-Kyoto green tea langue du chat cookies? I can’t remember what they’re called but the shop has this ‘bonsai’ made of the cookies.. haha
I think one reason I didn’t like Kyoto as much last time (2009 or so) is because I was somewhere in Kyoto (I don’t remember, but it probably wasn’t central Kyoto), and by 6pm, EVERYTHING was closed. In that moment, I decided Kyoto isn’t my city lol. But this time round I didn’t face that problem so we’re all good :D
9hours was a simple, fuss-free stay. Pretty decent, and the location is quite good too. In terms of comparing capsule hotels, I still prefer the Nagoya one though because it was cheaper and more importantly, had HOT SPRINGSSSS.
Hehe, yes, Kyoto food is awesome! I looove yuba too and was so happy I stumbled upon that little store! Yuba soft serve and tofu ice cream though? Sounds like a food adventure! I assume they were good!
No, I don’t know if we’re talking about the same cookies, but I tried these because they were giving them out as samplers (yes, the entire piece!) and they were REALLY good. I queued up again for a second piece hehe.
YESS those are the cookies! Mmm they’re sooo good. Shiro koibito ain’t got nothin’ on those! Mmmm soo good.
Heh, yeah, they were really good! Shhh, Shiroikoibito lovers will hear you! (But I agree. Green tea triumphs over white chocolate any day!)
going there the 3rd time this May but I definitely want to go Arashiyama this time! Will find out about the kimono stuff, even though I have severe lack of confidence I can survive the whole day in those tight fitting clothes.
thanks for the itinerary!
You have to visit Arashimaya! It’s a really lovely place and I’m missing it!
Haha, kimono-wearing is definitely a unique experience and one to remember. Do it for a couple of hours if you cannot stand wearing if for the entire day. For me, the most uncomfortable aspects were climbing stairs and sitting in a car (which I mentioned previously here). Otherwise, it’s actually pretty manageable!
okok…I’ll die die squeeze in Arashiyama into my trip!
As for the kimono, I’ll check out my condition (waist size) then and decide whether I’ll do it.will check out your kimono post soon! thanks
Gosh ! Your post make me want to book the air tix and fly to kyoto now. Argh! Your photo of autmun is simply beautiful and that what making me wait to Nov to go. :)
Any chance u know of a local photo walk to sign up. Googling does not shows up any local ones, all foreign leaded :(
Kyoto is famously crowded during autumn, so be sure to make reservations early for everything! It’ll be absolutely worth the wait. Spring is also a great time to visit for the cherry blossoms (see photos of my Kyoto spring visit here)
There are lots of walking tours in Kyoto, all of which should bring you to photo-worthy spots. Here are a few:
Walking tour with the last samurai
Thanks Rin! Yours link is most helpful. Thanks a million!
Nice sharing! Now I know where to start for my itinerary to Osaka-Kyoto this coming autumn. :)
Glad it was of reference :)
Kyoto is gorgeous during autumn! If you haven’t already, do make reservations for everything early because it’s the peak period! Enjoy your trip :D
Hi Rin! Thanks for this. Would you know any good / budgeted hotel near the areas that you mentioned. My husband and I are planning to go to Kyoto for 2 nights coming from Tokyo.
We stayed at 9 Hours (linked above) during our trip. A capsule hotel is definitely an interesting experience! But if you prefer to stay in the same room as your husband then it might not be suitable as the sleeping areas are gender-separated.
Thanks for your post, it help us for our trip on April 2017
You’re welcome :) Enjoy your trip!