The best things to do in Kyoto! Fun things to do in Kyoto!

The Perfect Guide to Kyoto

A complete guide to Kyoto written by an average family, for above average travelers.

things to do in Kyoto

Travel Tips:

From my experience, I was a minshuku(guesthouse) manager for 5 years in Kyoto, I will write travel tips that might be helpful.

General tips
100yen stores
Use 100yen stores wisely. You can even find things like batteries, cables, eating utensils, etc.


The best ways to withdraw money from an international credit card to do it from a post office ATM or Seven Eleven ATM.

Tipping is never neccessary in Japan. The only tipping is when you are drinking at a bar and the bartender is a girl. You buy her a drink.

Best deal bento(take out meal):
Visit a local grocery store, 1 hour before they close. Bento, pre-cooked take-out meal box, are 30% to 50% off. You pay 300yen and you can get a fairly balanced meal. You can also do the same with department stores. Usually, department store grocery store floor closes at 8pm, so going there at 7pm - 7:30pm is good.
Don't be ashamed, lots's of locals do this:)

Useful phrases in Japanese:
-arigato gozaimas: thank you
-sumimasen: excuse me
-dou itashi mashite: you're welcome

By the way, you will always hear in stores/restaurants in Japan "irasshaimase!!!!" from the employees. They shout this out to all the customers. It means "welcome!" and you don't need to say anything back. They do not expect anything back. A smile and nod is the best way to react to this.

When leaving the store/restaurant, they will shout out "arigato gozaimas!" or "arigato gozaimashita!" they both means thank you. This also, the best reaction to this is a smile and nod.


One day bus pass(city bus)
This is probably the most useful and affordable public transport ticket in Kyoto. 500yen per day(not 24 hours, until the last bus on that day). Noramlly a bus ride is 220yen a ride for adults. The city bus runs just as frequent as trains/subways and there are much more lines. Kyoto people love our city bus.

JR pass
This is not so useful in the city of Kyoto. The most useful public transport in Kyoto is the city bus.
*However, JR pass(about 27,000yen for one week) is a wonderful thing to have when traveling between cities. For example, traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto is already 13,000yen per person(one way). You must purchase it in your country, before you arrive to Japan.

If you did not buy JR pass and came to Japan, there are not many options to get from one region of Japan to another.
1.Buy expensive Shinkansen tickets and save time
(Tokyo to Kyoto is approx. 13,000yen and it takes 2 hours)
2.Buy cheaper night bus tickets(1/3 the price of Shinkansen) and get sore back the next day.
(Tokyo to Kyoto is approx. 5,000yen and it takes 8 hours)
3.Go to JTB(biggest travel agency in Japan) and purchase "puratto kodama." Puratto kodama is almost non-refundable way of reserving kodama(the slowest shinkansen) tickets. It must be purchased at least one day in advance.
(Tokyo to Kyoto is 10,000yen and it takes approx. 3.5 hours)

By the way, taking a local train is almost not an option. It takes at least 8 hours and you must transfer several times, which means you cannot even sleep. I have done it once when I was a student. I never did it again. I took the night bus 3 or 4 times when I was a student. The night bus, I can recommend to travelers who are tight on budget and has lots of free time.

In Kyoto, bicycle is one of the best ways to get around. If the sun is out.
-Kyoto is a flat city
-If the bus takes 15 min to get from one place to another, it takes 15 min also by bicycle.
-You can stop when ever you want
-You can go to small alleys

Bike rentals KCTP
*800yen to 1,000yen a day
You can also buy a second hand bike if you want to use it for more than 5 days at EIRIN.
I am sorrry the website is only in Japanese. Eirin is a chain. There are 10 or 11 stores in Kyoto so please ask at the front of your hotel for further info.
Eirin can be found in Saiin, Nijo station and mainly northern Kyoto.

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