Kyoto is full of beauty and history. Every narrow street leads to something new and amazing, but as majestic as the capital is, it does have its issues. Here are five things that are not so great about the ancient capital of Japan.
Busy – If you think Tokyo is busy, get ready for Kyoto (during normal times). Kyoto is a smaller city with a lot of shrines that are not designed for the huge crowds that are always packed with visitors. During normal times, it is packed with tourists from all over the place and locals complain about how crowded it is (just Google for the news reports) so be ready for that.
Food options are pricey – When looking for a meal to eat, you might think about a dinner in Gion with the Geishas and what a wonderful experience it would be. Yes, it would be, but just look at the prices, they start around $100 and go way up after that, depending on what food you want and what kinds of performances you want. There are reasonably priced restaurants, but if you are looking for something traditional, get ready to pay the price tag.
Modern is limited – I love modern Japan with all of the towering buildings and modern amenities, but in Kyoto, those are limited to around the Kyoto Station. Yes, the city is known for its ancient history but I still love the modern side of Japan, so only a little bit of Kyoto is fun for me and just for a short time. I prefer the concrete jungle of Tokyo but that is just my opinion.
Transportation is not good – Getting around is hard in Kyoto. With subways that only run either north-south or east-west, you will have to make your way and then travel on foot to get to all of the sites that you want to see throughout Kyoto. You really have to plan where you want to go because some of the biggest sites can be far apart and take some time to get to, so plan ahead or you will end up spending a lot of time getting around or spending a lot of money on taxis to get there.
Very spread out – Everything in Kyoto is so far spread out, making it hard to see everything. It can take days to get to all of the big sites on your checklist when exploring the city. It can be quite annoying when it can take over an hour to get from the bamboo forest in the west all of the way over the east to Fushimi Inari. Like mentioned in number four, but prepare the best you can and leave plenty of time for travel because it takes a lot of time to get to all the spread out sites.