Traveling to a foreign country can be exhilarating, but it also requires a bit of preparation. This blog post is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know before setting off on your adventure to Kyoto, the heart of traditional Japan.
Understand the Culture
* Respect for Tradition: Kyoto is deeply rooted in tradition. It’s important to be respectful of local customs and practices.* Etiquette: Japanese society values manners and politeness. Basic phrases in Japanese like “Thank you” (Arigato) and “Excuse me” (Sumimasen) are well appreciated.
* Footwear Customs: It’s common to remove shoes before entering homes, temples, and even some restaurants. Look out for racks or spaces designated for shoe storage.
* Tipping: Unlike many western countries, tipping is not customary in Japan. Good service is expected and therefore not rewarded with extra money.
Know the Climate
Kyoto has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons:
* Spring (March to May): Mild temperatures and cherry blossoms make it a popular time to visit.
* Summer (June to August): It can get hot and humid, with the rainy season in June and July.
* Autumn (September to November): Cool weather and vibrant fall foliage attract many visitors.
* Winter (December to February): It’s typically cold but rarely snows.
Pack your clothes accordingly, always checking the forecast before your trip.
* Public Transport: Kyoto has an extensive network of buses, trains, and subways. Consider getting a rechargeable ICOCA card for easy travel.
* Bicycles: Kyoto is a bike-friendly city with many rental shops.
* Walking: Many of Kyoto’s attractions are within walking distance of each other, especially in districts like Higashiyama and Arashiyama.
Food and Drinks
* Local Cuisine: Kyoto is famous for kaiseki (traditional multi-course meal), yuba (tofu skin), and matcha (green tea). Don’t miss out on these local delicacies.
* Drinking Water: Tap water in Kyoto is safe to drink.
* Special Diets: Vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options may not be as common. Learning some phrases to express dietary restrictions in Japanese can be helpful.
* Currency: The Japanese Yen (JPY) is used in Kyoto. Many places accept credit cards, but it’s good to have cash for smaller establishments or street vendors.
* ATMs: Foreign cards can withdraw Yen from ATMs in 7-Eleven stores or post offices.
Japan, including Kyoto, is considered one of the safest countries in the world. Nevertheless, it’s always important to stay aware of your surroundings and secure your belongings.
With these insights in mind, you’re ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting city of Kyoto. Enjoy the fusion of history and modernity, explore scenic landscapes, discover vibrant culture, and savor delightful cuisine. Happy travels!