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  1. #1

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    Off To Kyoto Soon

    Looking for favorite shooting locations in Kyoto so please do share if you have some. Am specifically interested in areas with reflection pools or something like that. I'm well aware of the Golden Pavilion area so something less common is desired.

    Also, is biking around the city a good idea? I'm going to have a fair amount of gear, 3 medium format cameras (Fuji GF670, GF670W, and GA645). I'd have to get a backpack I think if I wanted to bike around. I'm thinking that a lot of time could be saved if biking is a feasible idea.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    Seems like there is some kind of garden everywhere you turn in Kyoto. Depending how long you are there I would look to take some day excursions out of town - up into the mountainous terrain. I spent 3-4 days there and only touched the surface - just the highlights you'd find in a Michelin guide or similar. The buses/trains seemed pretty efficient. I think I'd go that route unless you really love biking.

    Japan is such a pleasure to travel in: clean, efficient, polite, amazing. Just don't run out of money!

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    Like some will say, Kyoto is a garden city - every location in the city feels like it was designed to be photographically beautiful! I have been to Kyoto twice and I have learned many important things keep your weight down to one camera and just 2 lenses while carry lots of film.
    Spend more time enjoying the sight with less weight and your time there will be well spent.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Kyoto is pretty flat, so it's ideal for biking -- a lot of people do it, tourists and locals alike. When I came here as a tourist I did it, but now that I live here I use the very efficient public transportation network here. It's quite cool here though, so make sure you have some warm gloves with you to keep your fingers warm if you are biking.

    As for reflection pools...I guess it depends on what you are looking for. Many temple and shrine complexes have some kind of water (pond, river, etc.) on the grounds, but are not famous for it as such. I haven't been to as many places as I probably should have here in Kyoto so don't have any specific recommendations for places off the beaten track, but a quick look at Google Maps can give you a pretty good idea of which places have water and which don't. That might help you more than any guide would. For example, Ryoan-ji is famous for its rock garden, but there is also a huge pond on the premises, which rarely figures in descriptions (or photos) of the site.

    And regardless, if you are coming soon, then you may not be able to avoid the masses. I live and work in some pretty off the beaten places in the city, yet I constantly see people with huge photo backpacks, multiple cameras, and tripods attached to their bodies in different ways. I haven't been to any of the tourist sites yet this season (but will, starting tomorrow), but I can only imagine what its like in those places. Fall foliage in Kyoto is probably the busiest of the high seasons, so be prepared.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooseontheloose View Post
    Kyoto is pretty flat, so it's ideal for biking -- a lot of people do it, tourists and locals alike. When I came here as a tourist I did it, but now that I live here I use the very efficient public transportation network here. It's quite cool here though, so make sure you have some warm gloves with you to keep your fingers warm if you are biking.

    As for reflection pools...I guess it depends on what you are looking for. Many temple and shrine complexes have some kind of water (pond, river, etc.) on the grounds, but are not famous for it as such. I haven't been to as many places as I probably should have here in Kyoto so don't have any specific recommendations for places off the beaten track, but a quick look at Google Maps can give you a pretty good idea of which places have water and which don't. That might help you more than any guide would. For example, Ryoan-ji is famous for its rock garden, but there is also a huge pond on the premises, which rarely figures in descriptions (or photos) of the site.

    And regardless, if you are coming soon, then you may not be able to avoid the masses. I live and work in some pretty off the beaten places in the city, yet I constantly see people with huge photo backpacks, multiple cameras, and tripods attached to their bodies in different ways. I haven't been to any of the tourist sites yet this season (but will, starting tomorrow), but I can only imagine what its like in those places. Fall foliage in Kyoto is probably the busiest of the high seasons, so be prepared.
    I'm arriving in Kyoto the night of Dec. 5th, which I'm told is after the fall season. I was in Kamakura this time last year and found the trees quite beautiful still, so I'm hopeful that Kyoto is as good if not a bit better (because it is further south).

    Crowds won't bother me. I live in China, filled with the teaming masses. Japan, with its ultra polite population, is an absolute cake walk.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatchetman View Post
    Seems like there is some kind of garden everywhere you turn in Kyoto. Depending how long you are there I would look to take some day excursions out of town - up into the mountainous terrain. I spent 3-4 days there and only touched the surface - just the highlights you'd find in a Michelin guide or similar. The buses/trains seemed pretty efficient. I think I'd go that route unless you really love biking.

    Japan is such a pleasure to travel in: clean, efficient, polite, amazing. Just don't run out of money!
    Absolutely agree. This is my 4th trip to Japan and I never tire of the place. AND it's not as expensive as it used to be. The yen is falling like a stone. Down over 15% since my last trip here. It's almost cheap to go to Japan now! My first time there the yen was 70 to the dollar. Today it's 116!

  7. #7

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    There's a very good reason why prices are dropping and Japan is entering a recession. The media has done a masterful job of covering up the facts that are available. You have to wonder what isn't available.

    http://fukushimaupdate.com/

  8. #8
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RattyMouse View Post
    I'm arriving in Kyoto the night of Dec. 5th, which I'm told is after the fall season. I was in Kamakura this time last year and found the trees quite beautiful still, so I'm hopeful that Kyoto is as good if not a bit better (because it is further south).

    Crowds won't bother me. I live in China, filled with the teaming masses. Japan, with its ultra polite population, is an absolute cake walk.
    Yeah, I guess compared to China it would be! I have to admit there are times when I would like to go there, but it always seems to be during Chinese holidays, and the thought of dealing with even bigger crowds than normal puts me off (until I think about it again the next year).

    In theory there should still be leaves on the trees, but I think this year the leaves started turning earlier than normal. It's hard to say though, as this is my first year in the city -- so it's new to me too. Being further south doesn't always work here. Tokyo often gets cherry blossoms before Kyoto does, and when it snows here it may not in the Tokyo area (further north, yes). However, the fact that Tokyo is a huge city and Kyoto is a much smaller one nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains may have something to do with it. (I'm just guessing though).
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  9. #9
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RattyMouse View Post
    Absolutely agree. This is my 4th trip to Japan and I never tire of the place. AND it's not as expensive as it used to be. The yen is falling like a stone. Down over 15% since my last trip here. It's almost cheap to go to Japan now! My first time there the yen was 70 to the dollar. Today it's 116!
    That's great for people coming here. Not so great for those of us living here and needing to send money abroad (or to travel abroad). My salary has dropped by about $20,000 because of the fluctuations in the exchange rate. So I'll be holding off buying a new tripod or the Mamiya 6 that I would like for some time. The good thing is I have a lot of film and paper in the fridge so I don't need to worry about those consumables.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooseontheloose View Post
    That's great for people coming here. Not so great for those of us living here and needing to send money abroad (or to travel abroad). My salary has dropped by about $20,000 because of the fluctuations in the exchange rate. So I'll be holding off buying a new tripod or the Mamiya 6 that I would like for some time. The good thing is I have a lot of film and paper in the fridge so I don't need to worry about those consumables.
    I can understand. I'm in the same situation in China as the dollar falls compared to the yuan. It's not as bad as the yen, which is seemingly in free fall this past year. That's got to really be tough to watch your take home pay drop by such a substantial amount. Japan seems to be in really bad shape these days. It's hard not to feel sorry for the people there.

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