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Kyoto in February or rather later?

Brno, Czech Republic
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Kyoto in February or rather later?

I have opportunity to go to Kyoto in February, but I am not sure if it is good time for visiting or should I rather wait for some nicer weather? It will be my first time in Japan, do you have any idea, how much money I should save for staying in Kyoto 2 for weeks (some very cheap hostel, food, transport, museums)? Thank you!

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

Kyoto is particularly nice in the sakura season (first weeks of April, usually). However, it's the most busiest, and it doesn't mean that earlier is bad.

See around 600 yen for breakfast, 1,000 yen for lunch, and up to 2,000 yen for dinner. Perhaps 1,500-2,000 yen each day for admissions. Somedays you'd be spending a bit less, some days more. For hostel prices, see hostels site like K's House Kyoto.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

Kyoto during cherry blossom time (sakura season) is spectacular and so beautiful. As Yobeekool said, it is usually the first weeks of April, but this does vary depending on the weather and the blossoms only last for 10-14 days. Unfortunately, being there at the right time requires a certain amount of luck!

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

February is chilly and the days are short (See http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2273.html ; Kyoto is near Osaka). It is not the best time but you should visit if this might be your only opportunity. You will have a memorable visit. I have enjoyed sightseeing in Japan in every season except the hot summer.

If you come in February, must you stay in the Kyoto area? Rail travel between Kyoto and Tokyo is expensive, but there is bus service, ranging from cheap to luxurious. The night bus to Tokyo will also save you the price of a hotel stay. http://willerexpress.com/

.
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4. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

February is indeed cold but can be a wonderful time to visit Kyoto. Just make sure you wear a thick, warm pair of socks for taking your shoes off when visiting temples.

February will give you the chance to see the beautiful plum blossom which flower earlier than cherry. I prefer plum blossom over the cherry as they suddenly burst & announce 'Winter has come at an end'! The intensely coloured plum blossoms against the stark branches can be dramatic & so lovely. (If you are lucky to see them against the snow, it's sublime.) There are lots of places to see plum blossoms you could visit Shimogamo Shrine.

Camelia will also be in flower - they are always beautiful.

Setsubun festival is observed early -February 3rd.

Any time to visit Kyoto is a good time (although like Roger observes above, the oppressive heat in Summer is probably the least desirable time.)

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

Oh, didn't know about the plum blossom - now I feel the desperate need to return in plum blossom time!

Tokyo, Japan
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6. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

Autumn is equally nice as the sakura season.

www.youtube.com/watch…

London, England
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7. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

If you are going in plum blossom season. consider visiting Mito. The beautiful garden there has a large section of plum trees.

Nara, Japan
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8. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

I don't want to be pigeonholed as a naysayer to visiting Kyoto during the winter, but the month you're planning to come is the coldest of the year for Kyoto. In my case, when the wind picks up, the piercing cold really tells on me. But once it dies down and the sun comes out, you'll know you can enjoy crispy weather. Kyoto gets snowed sometimes, but most of the time snow doesn't stay. Yet if it does, I guess you'll want to visit Golden Pavillion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGK4U31gcrA

Queenstown, New...
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9. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

Thank you Elly M.... I completely agree... Feb for the Plum Blossoms... the Ume have wonderful vivid colours... rain, snow, sunny... all stunning.

yes Feb is a colder month, but as I'm usually out walking around Kyoto I warm up quickly, and you can always stop for hot green tea, ramen and other yummy Kyoto delights!

There are also a few less people around (there are always stacks of people in Kyoto)

I NEVER miss Kiyomizu-dera and 'teapot alley' when in Kyoto... goregous in all seasons (though hot, steamy, packed in summer!).

Zozo R, will you stay in Kyoto the whole two weeks? While there is plenty to see and do (I still explore new places every time I visit!); Nara and Osaka are right there, offering completely different experiences of Japan!

ENJOY!

Kanagawa...
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10. Re: Kyoto in February or rather later?

Kyoto's great pretty much any time of year (except the hot, steamy summers, which I wasn't around for!). I visited several times in December, January, April and May. It's true that it can be cold, but it warms up quite nicely in the sunshine. You will see something new on each visit: ume blossoms in early spring, cherry blossoms in April, fall colors, etc. Plus, it's less crowded during the off-season (another bonus!) and you might be able to get cheaper rates.

Budget-wise, if you're sticking to hostels, multi-day bus passes, and fairly cheap meals, the most expensive thing will be admissions to museums, etc. You may want to invest in the Museums Grutto Pass (www.museum-cafe.com/gruttokansai_english), which gives you access to about a dozen Kyoto museums like Kyoto National Museum (keep in mind that temples/gardens also charge separate admission). I really didn't visit that many museums, and instead visited 50+ temples and shrines in Kyoto, Arashiyama, and Nara.