we have 5 days in Japan the middle of August...Tokyo looks enormous...Kyoto looks more manageable...any comments?
'Kyoto or Tokyo': This was the problem that beset emperors and shoguns for centuries!
Each has its attractions but there is no doubt - Kyoto is more manageable. Beyond that, I'd say, if it is a sense of history and the religious culture of Japan that you want to experience, then Kyoto is for you. If you want to see modern, up to date, often off the wall Japan - then go to Tokyo.
Kyoto is unique in its historical, cultural, and architectural aspects. Combined with a couple of days in Osaka, a happening modern city, you can get the best of both worlds for 5 days.
Tokyo is the ultra-modern city. If you are not as interested in history, then Tokyo and surrounding areas also offer lots to see.
Your interests dictate which one you should go.
Perhaps you might do both Tokyo and Kyoto, as the two cities are only 2 hours and 15 minutes apart by Shinkansen Nozomi.
However, if you would like to see the cultural side a bit more, visiting Kyoto (and Nara) only makes perfect sense.
I'd suggest going to both cities.
Yes! Tokyo is enormous but so easy to travel around thanks to the fantastic subway & JR system - I find it more manageable & faster to get around than Kyoto actually.
You should choose a couple of places in Tokyo that interest you or even take a tour on the JR Yamanote line that circles inner Tokyo getting on & off where you please.
Kyoto doesn't have the extensive subway system that Tokyo has, so buses are more useful - traffic is heavy, so it's a slower form of transport & can be time consuming. That's why I say Tokyo is more manageable for me - you are never more than a few minutes walk to subway station.
In Kyoto, the key is not to try and visit too many destinations in one day. And choose sites that are near to one another so you can walk & not waste time crossing town or waiting at a bus stop.
August is incredibly hot so you may consider using taxis in Kyoto once in awhile.
thank you everybody for the responses...reading the travel books is good...but hearing from some people on the ground has been helpful...I think we will do a little in each city...we plan on staying in ryokans they sound amazing
If you can visit both then that would be the best option but if you have to pick one then my choice would be Kyoto with a side trip to Nara.
Consider a 7 day JR pass or this offer - http://www.japanican.com/special/shinkansen/
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