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Help with itinerary and q's - temple opening times?

Auckland Central...
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Help with itinerary and q's - temple opening times?

Hi all, trying to plan my trip to Kyoto for the end of July (28-30) and would appreicate some help. I've done some research on temples but given limited time I'm thinking I'll hit the standard tourist ones and leave the more remote areas to a future trip (wishful thinking!).

1. I was planning to leave Tokyo (Shinjuku station) at 8am 28 July (Tues) to get to Kyoto just after 11am. Am I crazy? Should I move to an earlier route (leaving at 6.38am to get to Kyoto before 10am) to miss the morning traffic? Also gives me more time in Kyoto but not sure whether 6.30am traffic will be just as bad (and by 'traffic' I mean loads of Japanese business men!)

I am doing a Meiko dress up on 28th in the afternoon and a kaiseki in the evening so probably wont have much time to visit any temples. I was thinking spending what time I have on the 28th looking around the Gion area where I am staying and doing the shopping thing (e.g. Nishiki market, Gion-Shinbashi district, Kyoto handicraft center).

2. Wed 29th: this is my (draft) plan - any comments much appreciated. i.e. should the order be changed to hit the most popular first, although I think they're all popular - I just tried to do it geographically the best I could. I also realise this may be too much so I've tried to order them in such a way that if I run out of time, I've done the more popular ones first.

- Ginkakuji temple

- walk down Path of Philosophy (is it worth it this time of year?)

- Nijo Castle

- Kiyomizu-dera temple

- Sannen-zaka district

- Kodaiji temple

- Yasaka Jinja Shrine

- Chion-in temple

3. Thurs 30th: I fly out of Narita Airport at 6.15pm. There are two shinkansens I can catch to get me there by 3pm/4pm, leaving at 11am/12 noon respectively. Would it be feasible to get up early Thursday morning and go out to Kinkakuji temple and Ryoanji temple and be back to the Gion area to get my bags and get to Kyoto train station by 11am/12 noon? Do these places have 'opening hours' as such? Or alternatively, should I do these places on Wed and instead move some of Wed's itinerary to first thing Thurs morning?

Thanks in advance for your help and feedback.

Kyoto, Japan
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1. Re: Help with itinerary and q's - temple opening times?

Seeing you have no responses,

1. yes, I think you are crazy New Zeelander! 8am in the morning of weekday at Shinjuku station is the commuter rush hour: you will see a number of people you have never seen in New Zeeland: you will be stacked with your suitcase at the station. You will have to leave that area before 730, hopefully, seven o’clock to Tokyo station.

You will cover so many things to do for your itinerary. Don’t know if you can make it in a couple of days. I even do not know some or do not remember where exactly is. Why do you get on the one day sight seeing tour bus with English guide. The tour bus is not optional, but a short cut sometimes.

2. Your flight is 6.15pm. you will need to arrive at Narita A/P around 400pm

NEX33 arrives Narita at 1555, leaving Tokyo station at 1503.

From Kyoto, the last one to catch this:

Nozomi 18 leaves Kyoto 1216, arrive Tokyo 1433. The change trains at Tokyo station from Shinkansen Platform to Narita Express Platform is just like walking steps down from the second floor to basement 2 on escalators. you will need to carefully to go down to the Narita Express train. Please double check at JR ticketing office the each departure and arrival time when you purchase tickets.

A couple of others:

Kinkakuji opens doors at 900 in the morning. Please check the time requiring to go to Kyoto station. It has distance. You may not able to visit two places in the morning although Ryoanji stone garden is near by. Ginkakuji’s historical main building is under construction covering with construction format until Jan. 2010.

hopefully, some other comments coming soon.

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2. Re: Help with itinerary and q's - temple opening times?

Looks really rush but FUshimi is also one of the best temples in Kyoto if you have time to go.

Auckland Central...
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3. Re: Help with itinerary and q's - temple opening times?

Hi jth39, I am also from Auckland and planning to go to Tokyo/Kyoto (end of Sept/early Oct).

1. From what I have heard so far it is best to avoid the 8am 'rush hour' on the train. They don't call it 'sushi-packing' for nothing. Plus you get to have more time in Kyoto, so if you have no problem getting up early, that's the way to go. I am going the night before because my partner and I are terrible with getting up early haha.

2. If you're staying in the Gion area, you can bus to Kiyomizu-dera Temple and walk up to Kodaiji Temple and then to Yasaka Shrine and Chion-in Temple as they are all dotted in one route from Kiyomizu. Walk or bus a bit more and you'll see on the map is Nanzenji Temple and that is the start/end of the Philosophy Path to Ginkakuji Temple. That's what we're doing too, but you can always go the opposite direction, e.g. Ginkakuji-Kiyomizu. I'm also trying to squeeze Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) after Ginkakuji which is about 35min bus ride out to the north-western part of the city. I'll also be going to Ryoanji temple and then bus home.

3. I thought about doing exactly the same as you. But I decided to move my Kyoto stays earlier and spend the last 5 days in Tokyo.

Opening hours according to JNTO

Kinkakuji 0900-1700

Ryoanji Temple 0800-1700

Ginkakuji 0830-1700

Nanzenji Temple 0840-1700

Chion-in Temple 0900-1600

Yasaka Shrine

Kodaiji Temple 0900-1700

Kiyomizu 0600-1800

Note that most places admit the last visitors around an hour before closing time.

I have lots and lots and lots of map in my computer that might be useful to you. PM me if you're interested.

4. Re: Help with itinerary and q's - temple opening times?

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