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Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Minnesota, USA
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Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

I'd like to spend about ten days in Kyoto during the peak of fall color. It appears that peak fall color is likely to coincide with Japan's Labor Thanksgiving Day on Nov 23. Will most gardens and temples be closed that day and the following weekend? If open, will the gardens be quite crowded on the holiday? Or do most people celebrate at home? Would I be better off going earlier in the month? I don't want to pay to be in Kyoto and then find many gardens, temples, etc., to be closed for a long weekend. Do trains and subways run on holidays? Thanks.

11 replies to this topic
Tokyo and California
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1. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Temples and shrines don't usually close, they are open everyday. Many have open hours but some are open 24 hours. All trains/subways run on holidays.

Kyoto will be absolutely packed in late November especially on weekends and holidays. Brace yourself.

Minnesota, USA
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2. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Thanks. Might it be better to take train to Okayama or Kanazawa over the holiday than to try to visit Kyoto Nov 23? Or will it be just as crowded at their gardens, too, as in Kyoto?

Tokyo and California
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3. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Okayama and Kanazawa would be less crowded. Kyoto most likely will be the most crowded city in Japan on November 23, so any other city would be better.

Vladivostok, Russia
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4. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Kyoto is ALWAYS packed nowadays, so no real difference.

Tokyo and California
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5. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Kyoto is always packed these days but in Sakura and koyo seasons, it's like Shinjuku Station in the rush hour.

Singapore
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6. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Thanks for the insight! I'll be in Kyoto too in late Nov, including on 23 Nov, and starting to have mild panic thinking of the massive crowds, haha. Still, I've always wanted to see autumn in Japan (done all the other 3 seasons), so I think it'll be worth it.

Hong Kong, China
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7. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Wow with 10 days in Kyoto, then consider also a day trip to Hikone, Omi Hachiman on the eastern shore of Biwako, Nara and Uji within 1 hour from Kyoto to the south.

Or go to historical Arima onsen for an overnight stay to pamper yourself, like we did in Nov 2004.

All the above would have fall foliage by 23rd Nov, though less crowded than in Kyoto.

>>so I think it'll be worth it.

It does.

refer to our 3rd koyo visit to Kyoto in 2016 on the same week.

japantravelinsights.com/2016/…

Edited: 14 September 2017, 16:37
Hampshire, UK
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8. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

The crowds are a reality but can be overcome by going to certain places at better times. E.g. fushimi can be seen all hours so if you go early or later it is less crowded. Try and get to key tourist spots as they open so you will be done before the main crowds arrive. Also day trips to places such as Hikone castle will give great views with fewer people. I'd suggest going to Mie prefecture and doing the 48 waterfalls hike, it's best in Autumn https:/…

London, England
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9. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

The Korakuen garden in Okayama had amazing autumn colour when I was there near the end of November in 2014. There were people in the garden but it wasn't particularly crowded.

Korakuen is one of the two places I visit on every trip to Japan. It is spectacular in every season. The only time it seemed at all crowded was in April last year when there were school trips there but it was still enjoyable.

A few days before I had been in the garden at Kanawaza. For the first time in 4 trips there I found it too crowded to enjoy.

Okayama is about 1 hr 40 some odd minutes from Kyoto by train, you can even stop about half way at Himeji for Japan's most spectacular castle.

Busses for Himeji castle go from Himeji station. Trams for Korakuen leave from near Okayama station.

Nara, Japan
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10. Re: Tourist in Kyoto during Holiday Weekend

Yes, there WILL be a huge crowd on Nov 23 this year too, in almost anyplace you go in Kyoto. Belaboring the obvious, there's a good reason to it of course: stunning colors. (DLi_hk, I hope you don't mind me pasting your photo link here.) See what he got on the wooden terrace of Kiyomizu Temple last Nov: japantravelinsights.com/2016/12/08/jp-koyo-2…

That's the way it is with many other well-known spots too. Freaking or not, it's up to you. But I guess the people on the said terrace were all mesmerized by the gorgeous colors.

Edited: 14 September 2017, 17:28
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