Video:Where to Go in Downtown Kyotowith Nathan Buck
Downtown Kyoto offers as many modern attractions as it does historical temples and scenic gardens. Watch this About.com video to learn more about downtown Kyoto and tips for navigating through the area.See Transcript
Transcript:Where to Go in Downtown Kyoto
Hi my name is Nathan Buck for About.com and today I am going to give you a little information on where to go in Kyoto.
Modern Attractions in Kyoto
Although Kyoto is fiercely proud of its past glories, it is also a thoroughly modern and cosmopolitan city, offering a wonderful array of shops offering everything from high end luxury goods to antiques and exquisitely crafted local fare, like this bead shop which makes hand made prayer beads for Buddhist temples and worshipers.
Kyoto's Gion District
And of course, the legendary Gion district is the pleasure quarter of Kyoto. Hidden behind these subtle doorways and walls are restaurants, Geisha houses, ryokans, and tea houses. Gion comes alive at night and a stroll through this district might yield a young Geisha - or Maiko - scurrying to an appointment. Kyotoans, perhaps rightly, tend to think that their city has the most refined and sophisticated artistic life and cuisine in Japan, so it's easy to find a local who will have a connection or an idea of a good place to go.
It is helpful to get a little insider knowledge from a local inn owner recommending a good restaurant - as the area can seem impenetrable to the visitor. To get around Kyoto it's best to use the bus system as there are only two subway lines which serve mainly the center of town. As most of the temples and gardens are found on the outskirts of town, plan your visits carefully and be prepared to walk and climb a lot as well. Like most Japanese cities, the train station has a tourist office and plenty of information to help orient you. If you are pressed for time, consider hiring a taxi for a day: it is surprisingly affordable and seasoned local drivers can help you discover hidden treasures of this ancient city that you might miss if left to your own devices.
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