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Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

Breda, The...
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Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

I will be arriving in Kyoto in the afternoon on Friday November 17 and will be departing in the morning of Tuesday November 21 by train to Tokyo. So I will have 3 full days in Kyoto; Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On one of these days I would like to make a day trip to Nara, the other 2 days I will be exploring Kyoto.

My visit will (hopefully) coincide with peak koyo, so I guess it will be very crowded in both Kyoto and Nara. I just wonder if Monday might be less busy because it’s a weekday? And if so; would it be better to spend that day in Kyoto or Nara?

Thanks in advance for any help. Other tips to make the most out of my stay in Kyoto are welcome too! I’m an amateur photographer and look forward to photographing the beautiful fall colors.

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Kyoto
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Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
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7 replies to this topic
Blackpool, United...
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1. Re: Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

Kyoto and Nara are busy all the year round, and day of the week doesn't make much difference. There will be more Japanese visitors at weekend, but the majority of visitors will be overseas so won't make much of a difference.

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puerto princesa
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2. Re: Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

We will be going to Kyoto next week and it appears that the attractions are extremely crowded at the weekend, but also very busy on weekdays too as it is a very popular tourist destination.

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Kyoto
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Toronto
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3. Re: Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

Nara is not very crowded.

In Kyoto, weekends are way more crowded than weekdays. Just look at Kyoto Station bus terminal.

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Tokyo and California
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4. Re: Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

Kyoto is always crowded but more so on weekends as Japanese people don't usually travel on weekdays. Nara will be crowded in koyo season but not as bad as Kyoto. Personally, I'd go to Nara on Saturday or Sunday to avoid the worst crowds in Kyoto.

Your timing might be a tad early for the peak koyo.

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London, United...
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5. Re: Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

Kyoto is a large city of more than 1 million people, it is always busy.

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Breda, The...
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6. Re: Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

Thanks for your replies!

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7. Re: Difference in crowds weekend vs weekday Kyoto/Nara

Foliage season from mid-November through early December is the worst timeframe for overseas tourists. The worst spots are Tofukuji Temple and Enkando Temple: These two are terribly crowded with local tourists, and Kyotoites even on weekdays. Tofukuji last year banned to take photos for smooth flow of crowds. We need to walk just like political demonstration.

First timer attraction such as Kinkakuji Temple, Ginkakuji Temple, Kiyomidzu Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine are always full of people, but it may be easier on weekend since school trips are never conducted on weekends.

Tenryuji Temple at Arashiyama including Hohgeninn is the foliage spot. Kiyomidzu Temple is also the popular foliage spot. These two may be more people on weekend, but you may be easier to walk around unlike Tofukuji Temple and Enkando Temple.

As road traffic, Higashi-Ohji Street is the Kyoto’s bottle neck. Higashi-Ohji and Gojoh under the foothill of Kiyomidzu always has long vehicle line sometimes up to Sanjo Street. So city buses are stuck in the jam. It is the worst in foliage season due to big local tourists buses are coming from overall Japan. Other particular bottlenecks in foliage season are also in Higashiyama area around Eikando Temple and Arashiyama as well since so many cars are coming from Osaka, Shiga and Prefecture Kyoto on beautiful weekend. On the other hand, other area of Kyoto may be less traffic since factories and offices are closed on weekend. In my neighborhood, Kawaramachi Street is very little traffic just like ghost town on Sunday morning.

Edited: 16 September 2017, 09:13
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Kinkakuji Temple
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Kyoto, Japan
Tenryuji Temple
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