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Kyoto - Hozugawa boat ride


Suggested itineraries Kyoto tours

On the Temple Trail

JTIO's Kyoto top 10!

Hozugawa River Trip
Peter Macintosh's Gion walking tour
Bamboo forest, Arashiyama
Kyoto Station Building
Kitano Tenmangu temple fair
Kyoto Botanical Gardens
Sannenzaka / Ninnenzaka
Malebranche cake shop
Nijo Jinya
Sanjusangendo Hall

Useful Kyoto Links

Kyoto tourism information system
Metro planet - Kyoto subway info

JTIO's Kyoto top 10!

Hozugawa River trip

The temples and shrines of Kyoto are undeniably absorbing but even the most hardcore sightseer can easily become “templed out”. On days like these the best remedy is travel a little way out of Kyoto to experience some of the beautiful countryside that is on offer. The trip down the Hozugawa River on a traditional boat is a fabulous experience taking in the dramatic scenery of the Hozu Gorge and also experiencing the excitement of some river rapids. Although little English is spoken by the boat rowers, they often burst into traditional song as they safely steer the boat down to Arashiyama.

Kameoka City web-site - Hozugawa boat information

Peter Macintosh’s Gion District Walking lecture

Long term Kyoto resident and historian Peter Macintosh is an undisputed authority on the old capital and his walking lectures of the Gion Geisha District in particular offer the visitor a real cultural experience which can be difficult to gain otherwise. The Geisha world has a reputation of being one of the most inaccessible aspects of Japanese culture and Peter has worked extremely hard to gain an insight into this world and make it accessible to foreign visitors.

Kyoto Sights and Nights

Bamboo forest in Arashiyama

If you visit Tenryu-ji Temple in Arashiyama then be sure to visit the extensive bamboo groves which can be reached by exiting from the North exit of the temple.

Kyoto Station Building

It may seem bizarre to spend an hour looking around a train station but the main Kyoto station building is impressive example of modern Japanese architecture which provides a stark contrast to the more traditional elements of the Kyoto cityscape. Designed by the architect Hara Hiroshi, it is one of the true modern wonders of the city. Opened in September 1997, the spacious atrium expands seemingly ever upwards as the escalators cascade down from the dizzying heights of the open rooftop. It is in itself, well worth a couple of hours of your time just to marvel at the grand design and soak up the buzzing atmosphere of the place. It is among the biggest station complexes in Japan, with a station hotel, department store and various cultural facilities and is not only the centre of the urban transport network, but also a meeting place for people from around the world.

Kyoto Station (Japanese) / Kyoto Station (English)

Kitano Tenmangu temple fair

Held on the 24th of every month, the Kitano Tenmangu temple fair is a huge market selling a whole range of antiques, handicrafts, food and produce. There are many bargains to be had including used Kimono and crafts produced by young, local artists.

Frommers guide to Kyoto markets

The Botanical Gardens

Most visitors to Kyoto concentrate on the traditional Japanese style stroll or Zen gardens but to miss the Kyoto botanical gardens is to miss one of the biggest treats that the city has to offer. Opened in 1924 Kyoto's botanical gardens are perhaps the finest in Japan. The gardens occupy several acres of land which is divided into areas each displaying a unique collection of plants from different bio-spheres. The rose garden is a sight to behold and when in full bloom the smell is heavenly.

Kyoto Botanical Gardens PDF (757K)


Sannenzaka and Ninnenzaka are two of Kyoto’s oldest streets located in the Higashiyama district of the city down from Kiyomizu Dera temple. This area of town was once known as a centre for ceramic production and many of the shops which line these streets sell fine pottery and traditional Kyoto souvenirs. They are very busy streets but the atmosphere is wonderful with traders selling their wares, tourists from all nations milling around and rickshaw drivers touting for business. They also provide the most interesting route from Kiyomizu-dera temple to the Gion Geisha area.

Malebranche Cake Shop

Located at the almost directly oposite the main entrance to the botanical gardens this cake shop is to die for. Having been escorted to your seat you will be presented with a beautiful menu featuring all the available cakes and deserts expertly photographed. The range is delectable and if you are a cake fan like us choosing will be a challenge in itself. Highly recommended is the fruit infusion tea - a house speciality!

Malebranche Homepage

Nijo Jinya

Located close to the castle, this old house was formerly a lodging for Daimyo Lords when they travelled to Kyoto. Seldom visited by foreigners, from the outside the building seems like any other old house but once inside you will find a warren of hidden passageways and staircases designed to protect the ‘daimyo’ (local war-lords) against sudden attack. The interior is a maze of rooms and passageways with hidden overhead compartments where the ninja could hide to oversee comings and goings. Non-Japanese speakers are asked to visit the house with a Japanese speaker and an advance booking is necessary. Ask a Japanese friend to call or drop in personally the day before you wish to view the house.

Nijo Jinya Information

Sanjusangendo Hall (Hall of the thousand Buddhas)

A definite feature on the well-beaten tourist trail but worth a visit despite the crowds. The hall houses one thousand identical images of the Buddhist goddess of mercy, the Kannon who surround a single image of a seated Buddha. An impressive sight indeed!


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