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Kyoto - The Local Way
Japan’s former imperial city is home to some of the country’s most famous architecture, and Ben Hall finds a few hidden delights by asking the locals what they do on their day off.
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When to go:
The best times to go are spring (March to May), during the cherry blossom season, and in autumn (September to November). Summers in Kyoto are hot and can be humid, and the winter is cold. June is the rainy season.
Kyoto has an intricate and efficient network of bus routes providing a cost-effective way of getting around and this is the best way to get to Ginkakuji and Kiyomizu-dera. There is a visitors’ information centre in Kyoto Station which can provide bus maps, and advise which passes are best. Japan Rail also has English-speaking staff in Kyoto Station who sell tickets for the 12 minute JR train ride to Saga Arashiyama Station. Most buses and trains have announcements in English. Some areas are best done on foot, such as Gion, and an alternative is hiring a bike. Taxis are convenient but can be expensive.
For more information visit www.jnto.org.au.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Granvia Kyoto is a 535 room luxury hotel located in the striking JR Kyoto Station building which also features a department store, a museum and a vast underground shopping mall. Hotel guest have easy access to transport throughout the area. Visit www.granviakyoto.com.
Jetstar flies to Osaka and Tokyo. Call Jetstar on 131 538 or visit www.jetstar.com. Japan Airlines also operates daily direct flights to Tokyo from Sydney and Brisbane. Call Japan Airlines on 1300 525 287 or visit www.au.jal.com/en. Qantas operates direct flights between Australia and Tokyo. Call Qantas on 13 13 13 or visit www.qantas.com.au. Connections from Tokyo and Osaka can be made by Shinkansen “Bullet Train”, and from Osaka by bus. Visit Japan Rail at www.japanrailpass.net.
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