Shijo Kawaramachi

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The Shijo Kawaramachi intersection is Kyoto’s busiest shopping district. The opulent Takashimaya department store is located on the south west corner on Shijo opposite Kyoto Marui department store (which replaced Hankyu department store) on the south east corner. The Koto+ (Koto Cross) mall with mainly ladies’ fashion is across Shijo on the north east corner. Daimaru department store is located a little way to the west on the south side of Shijo.

Takashimaya is the queen of Kyoto’s department stores and has a wonderful food hall in the basement, a selection of fine restaurants on the seventh floor and Japanese and imported brands including Issey Miyake, Burberry, Chanel, Shiseido, Prada and Louis Vuitton. Kyoto kimono are on the 5th floor.

Marui has six floors with a food hall in the basement. Stores are mainly women’s and men’s fashions.

Fujii Daimaru has seven floors with a food hall in the basement. Brands are aimed at the younger crowd and include Adidas, Beams, Birkenstock, Comme des Garçons, Crocs, Fred Perry, Katharine Hamnett, Paul Smith, Ugg, Vivienne Westwood and The North Face.

Also along Shijo Street west towards Karasuma Station are Louis Vuitton and Armani stores. Heading east from the Marui department store across the Kamo River towards the Minamiza Theater, Yasaka Shrine and Gion the shops are more traditional including tradional Japanese bags, tabi and geta, reflecting the area’s association with geisha.
read more at japanvisitor.com
read more at kyoto-kawaramachi.or.jp

Shopping malls

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Aeon Mall is a large shopping center situated 5 minutes’ walk from the Hachijo Exit on the south side of Kyoto Station. Inside are popular national and international retail stores, a number of cheap eateries, a grocery store, an amusement arcade, and a cinema. The mall consists of two buildings connected by a walkway on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The Sakura Building has 5 floors and the Kaede Building has 4 floors. read more…

The Cube is a shopping mall occupying three floors on the north west side of Kyoto Station building. On the first floor and first basement floor (B1) you will find Kyoto confectionery and souvenir shops. This is a very handy area for picking up souvenirs unique to Kyoto before you depart for your next destination. On the second basement floor (B2) are ladies’ fashion boutiques and cosmetics stores. Though opening times vary according to the individual store, the souvenir shops are generally open from 8:30 – 20:00. Most of the clothing stores are open from 10:00 – 20:00 on weekdays and until 21:00 on Friday and Saturday.
read more…

Shopping arcades

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Nishiki market
Nishiki Market (錦市場, Nishiki Ichiba) is a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. read more…


Teramachi and Shinkyogoku shopping arcade

These two covered shopping arcades are the most popular shopping streets in all of Kyoto, and they’re often crammed with kids out on school excursions. Right in the middle of downtown Kyoto, these two streets form the heart of Kyoto’s main shopping district. The eastern street, known as Shinkyogoku, is filled with tacky souvenirs of almost every description. The western street, known as Teramachi, is an altogether more refined place, with a variety of art galleries, bookshops, and clothing shops. In addition, you’ll find several shops selling religious goods like incense, Buddha images, prayer beads and the like. These shops are a holdover from the 16th century, when the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi moved many of the city’s temples to Teramachi Street in an effort to control the clergy (the name of the street, Teramachi, literally means “temple town.”)read more…

Sanjo shopping street;
Sanjo-kai Shotengai shopping arcade is less than a kilometer long but is full of old, family-run establishments, specialist shops and local life. Florentyna Leow highlights some of its attractions in a virtual tour. “Shotengai” means covered shopping arcades. Kyoto’s shotengai are fantastic if you want to catch a glimpse of local life as most began as clusters of shops serving local communities. Kyoto has a number of shopping arcades which have adapted to cater to tourist crowds. A few examples are Nishiki Market, Teramachi Street and Shinkyogoku Street which consistently pull in travelers looking to shop. One of my favourite shotengai, however, is Sanjo-kai Shotengai – not to be confused with the more famous Sanjo Meitengai Shotengai further east, which intersects with Teramachi and Shinkyogoku shopping streets.
read more…

Onsen

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Kyoyumoto Hatoya Zuiho-kaku(Onsen);
Bit expensive, need reservation before hand. But one day or half-day Hot Spring Bath bathing and dinner or lunch.
Visit website

Also there are some facilities near Kinkaku-Ji (Golden pavilion) and Arashiyama area.

If you want to have experience in public bath (Sento), there are some nearby.
Usually, costs are;
430JPY/adult, 150JPY/kid under 11, 60JPY/kid under 6
It’s recommended to bring your towels and soaps with you, or you can buy or rental there.

Matsu-yu(Sento), 松湯
See map

Aketa-yu(Sento), 明田湯
See map

Beppu-yu(Sento), 別府湯
See map

And other interesting option, Kyoto Tower has a public bath called YUU 🙂
890/adult, 450/kid
Visit website

Taxis vs Uber

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Don’t bother with Uber in Japan. Normal taxi should be easier, less expensive or the same, more reliable, and straightforward.
There are taxi ranks outside most train stations, bus terminals and some larger shops. You can also flag taxis on just about any street in the city.
The bus fare for four people is Y880 in central Kyoto. Meanwhile, it can cost less than Y1,000 to cover the same distance by taxi. Thus, it’s sometimes a better deal to take a taxi, especially when considering comfort and speed.
Most taxis cost Y640 for the first 2km. However, MK Taxis (721-2237) cost only Y580.
All taxis accept cash, and some taxis also accept credit cards.
Flagging a taxi is done like other places: just raise your hand at an oncoming taxi.
At night, it’s easy to spot an open taxi: the light on the roof will be illuminated.
Four people can fit into a kogata (small) taxi, while five people can fit into a chugata (medium) or ogata (large) taxi. Note, however, that some taxi drivers will refuse to allow five large foreigners into their taxi. In this case, you’ll have to take two different taxis.
For taxi you don’t need to pay tips.
More info: http://www.insidekyoto.com/kyoto-taxis

To Kansai Airport from Kyoto Station

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By train:
The most comfortable option is Japan Rail (JR)’s limited express ‘Haruka’. At Kyoto Station the Haruka departs mainly from platform 30, though some early trains depart from platforms 6 and 7. It takes about 75min. From Kyoto, the first train is 5:45am and last train at 8:16pm. Here you can find train timetable: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/
You can buy tickets just outside the Shinkansen gates at Kyoto Station.

You can find more information here:
JR West website: https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/travel/shopping/access/train.html
Japan Travel website: https://en.japantravel.com/kyoto/best-way-to-and-from-kansai-airport-to-kyoto/404

By Bus:
Bus depart from the south side of Kyoto Station in front of Avanti store. I can help you make a reservation if you choose this option. The bus is very comfortable and costs about 2,550 yen and goes directly to Kansai Airport. In peak season it can get busy so it is best to book in advance.
The earliest departure from Kyoto Station is at 4.30 am reaching Kansai Airport’s Terminal 1 at 5.55 and Terminal 2 at 6:06.
The latest departure from Kyoto Station is at 21.40 reaching Kansai Airport’s Terminal 1 at 23.05.
Full timetables for the Limousine Bus service between Kyoto Station and Kansai Airport are available on the Kansai Airport website

From Kansai Airport

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Transportation from Kansai International Airport (KIX, Osaka) to Kyoto Station

By train:
The most comfortable option is Japan Rail (JR)’s limited express ‘Haruka’. The Haruka will take you to Kyoto Station directly. It takes about 75min. There are two railway companies operating, JR and Nankai. JR is best for southern Kyoto where your house is.
Even if you don’t hold the Japan Rail Pass the Haruka can still be a cheap option. Overseas Tourists can buy a 1 day JR West Kansai pass. It is only 2,200 yen with the early bird discount and gives you unlimited access on the Haruka plus all other JR trains within the Airport, Nara, Kyoto and Himeji (except bullet trains). The one way fare on the Haruka from KIX to Kyoto is 3,170 yen (unreserved seat ticket), so you save money even just going to Kyoto. You don’t have to pre-purchase the JR West Kansai pass before you arrive in Japan, you can get it from the ticket office at JR Kansai Airport Railway Station, and it only takes five minutes once you show your passport.
At Kansai Airport Station the Haruka departs from platform 4.
JR West website: https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/travel/shopping/access/train.html
Japan Travel website: https://en.japantravel.com/kyoto/best-way-to-and-from-kansai-airport-to-kyoto/404

By highway bus:
You can take high way bus to Kyoto from Kansai International airport as well. Here is the website for the highway bus system. This bus will take you to Kyoto station Hachijo-exsit (south side).
http://www.okkbus.co.jp/en/index.html

Fushimi Inari

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Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.

Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794… read more…

About access to Fushimi-inari,
Bikes will take you there in 10 to 15 min.
If you like to take train, I recommend to start from Tofuku-ji station which is about 15 min walk from your stay, within 10 min by bike.

There is a bike parking just before the station, under the elevating road. 24hours open. Free for first one hour, 150Yen/day.

Tofukuji station has 2 lines (JR-line and Keihan Main-line). So you can use JR rail pass for JR line.
There are 2 stations near Fushimi Inari (Inari station on the JR-line and Fushimi Inari Station on the Heihan main line), both are OK to access to the shrine. JR-line’s Inari station is located just in front of the main gate. Heihan-line’s Fushimiinari-station is about 10 min walk from the shrine, but there are many stalls and shops on the way 🙂

Local Restaurants

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#1 SHINKAWA/Chanko nabe restaurant :
Former Sumo wrestler opened this place to introduce sumo wrestler hot pot. Big pot of meat and vegetables. Good and healthy! The atmosphere is very Japanese, and very friendly. Although there is no English menu, you can order “chanko nabe” and they will understand. There are lots of side dishes you can order too such as sashimi, tofu, noodles, salad etc.
My guests often use this restaurant and always say they had a great time. Also the owner and staff know me and they can ring me anytime if you are having problem ordering etc : )
Please contact me and I can make a reservation for you. For large pot that is cooked at your table costs about Y2,200 per person. It takes about 5min to walk from the house.
Their website:
http://shinkawa-nabe.com/

#2 Okonomiyaki Kyoto style,
Yocchan
Very Kyoto Okonomiyaki, different from Osaka and Hiroshima style.
Very local atmosphere, If you concern smoking matter, it won’t be your list. Sometimes too friendly for smokers, but the taste is so good…
It takes about 3min to walk from the house.

#3 Tsujikawa restaurant
Japanized western food restaurant. You can order lunch sets even at night. You can order alcohol with your meal… good atmosphere!

#4 Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower has just renewed their food court in the basement (B1) which provide lots of stalls providing local tastes and souvenir shopping area on first floor (1F). The view from the top is good too : ) For your information:
https://www.kyoto-tower-sando.jp/en/

Bike riding in Kyoto

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The riding conditions in Kyoto are very convenient. There are many bike tracks, especially along the river that can take you to many sightseeing spots.
Usually each temple has some bike parking spots, sometimes free and sometimes small fee of Y100 or Y200 yen.
When you come to Kyoto I can tell you about some bike routes that I like. I will show you map : )
About bike parking:
Here is Kyoto City’s website showing bike parks. Although there is more parking area at each temples and shops, this website might be helpful;
https://kyoto-bicycle.com/parking

Nearby bus stops, train stations

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The house is very near a bus stop that can take you to places such as Kiyomizu Temple and Gion. Also there is a train station (Tofukuji Station) that is near, and can take you to Fushimi Inari Shrine. Also the main Kyoto train station is about a 15min walk.

There are 3 train stations nearby my house:
-Kyoto-station (with JR-line, Kintetsu-line and subway-line), about 15 min walk from the house.
-Kujo-station (subway-line), about 5 min walk.
-Tofukuji-station (JR-line and Keihan-Line) about 15 min walk.

Here is train planning website;
https://world.jorudan.co.jp/mln/en/?sub_lang=ja

Pocket Wifi

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There are some choices.
#1 Pocket Wifi router rental at Kyoto tower Kansai Tourist Information Center:
http://www.tourist-information-center.jp/kansai/en/kyoto/topics/detail.php?no=NDg=

#2 Online Pocket Wifi rental service which I found :
http://en.wifi-rental-store.jp/

#3 Using Free Wifi connection in Kyoto:
Kyoto Wi-Fi;
http://kanko.city.kyoto.lg.jp/wifi/en/

Coin lockers in Kyoto station

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There are many coin operated lockers in and around Kyoto station.
Lockers can be found throughout the station building. They come in a range of sizes at fees of 300, 500 and 700 yen. There is usually a change machine nearby, or sign pointing the way to one. These are easy to use and can change 1000 yen notes for appropriate coins. If your luggage is too bulky for a locker you can use the Baggage Room on the B1 floor.
For more information visit this website:

Kyoto Station Lockers – Luggage Storage and Delivery

Restaurant recommendations at Pontocho

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There are so many restaurants and bars, so it’s hard to make recommendation…
Here are some relating websites and blogs;
Pontocho Local group’s website (Only in Japanese)
http://www.ponto-chou.com/

The best 10 dinner spots we recommend in Pontocho Kyoto

Pontocho Alley – Downtown Kyoto

https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Restaurants-g298564-zfn8277484-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html

About Arashiyama

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From Kyoto-station, using JR Sagano line, get off at Saga-Arashiyama station. It will take about 15 min. No need to change trains.

Arashiyama (嵐山) is a pleasant, touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons.

The Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama’s well known, central landmark. Many small shops, restaurants and other attractions are found nearby, including Tenryuji Temple, Arashiyama’s famous bamboo groves and pleasure boats that are available for rent on the river.

North of central Arashiyama the atmosphere becomes less touristy and more rural, with several small temples scattered along the base of the wooded mountains. The area north of the Togetsukyo Bridge is also known as Sagano, while the name “Arashiyama” technically just refers to the mountains on the southern bank of the river but is commonly used to name the entire district.

More info: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3912.html

Arashiyama monkey park is about 15 min walk from the station where you will get off (Saga-Arashiyama station).

Here is train planning website in English;
https://world.jorudan.co.jp/mln/en/

Here is Arashiyama Monkey park’s website;
http://monkeypark.jp/en/

Japanese wine

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I believe you can find Japanese wines in shops in Kyoto station, department store’s wine section and discount shops(such As DonQuijote). But if you want to hear and decide what to buy, you might want to go to liquor or wine shops. So here are some shops info I’ve found:

Wine’s Takimoto;
Not too far from Kyoto station, definitely wine shop.
http://www.meishukan-takimoto.com/wines/wines.html
How to get there on Google map;

-Liquor Burn Gion;
Located in Gion, so it might be convenient to stop by. They has English website.
http://www.liquorburn.com/

-Wine Grocery;
Bit far from your stay and Kyoto station. But definitely wine shop, and they have nice list of Japanese wines.
https://kyoto.winegrocery.com/eng

Massage

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Here are nearby 3 massage shops information.

#1, CHIYOMATSU
http://chiyomatsu.kyoto.jp/
Japanese style setting house and room. Variety of menu. Open 14:00 to 21:00 or 23:00 depending on the day. Please check their calendar on the website. Closes on Monday and Thursday. You need to get resaervation beforehand.
Quite close to your stay, I estimate within 5 min to walk to go. Near Kyoto station.
How to get there;

#2, IYASHISU in Kyoto AEON MALL.
http://iyashisu.silk.to/shop/kyoto.html
This shop is located in Kyoto AEON MALL where is just in front of Kyoto station south side. Open 10:00 to 20:45.
How to get there;

#3, RIRAKUYA SHION in Kyoto Station.
http://www.rirakuya-shion.com/indexeng.html
Located in Kyoto station. They have SHIATSU menu. Open 9:00 to 21:00.

Please feel free to ask me to get a booking if you need 🙂

TO NARA

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To go to Nara by train, depart from Kyoto Station or Tofukuji Station. JR Nara line.
Both stations are located about 12-15 min walk from your stay but different direction.
Tofukuji station is nearer to Nara but only one station from Kyoto station.
If you want to stop and check some shops in Kyoto station or nearby, it’ll be nice to start from Kyoto station.
If you want to see local atmosphere, it’ll be interesting starting from Tofukuji station.

Here is train planning website, just for your information:
https://world.jorudan.co.jp/mln/en/?sub_lang=ja