Hello everyone. Here is part two of…
The Big List of Stuff to Do for Free in Kyoto!
6. Take a Free Walk
The best way to discover Kyoto is on foot. This is the only way to spot the tiny, beautiful details that set this city apart from any other in the world. For some handy help, you can now download free podcasts of walking tours.
7. See a Festival
There are so, so, so many festivals taking place in Kyoto. Honestly, an ancient ceremony or tradition of some kind is honoured almost every day. Get hold of the monthly Kyoto Visitor Guide from the tourist information centre in Kyoto Station. Here you’ll find up to date listings of all special events. Most of them don’t cost anything to watch. Festivals always draw a huge crowd though, so go early to get a good viewing spot.
8. Spot a Geisha
The Kyoto tourism industry offers many great, fascinating tours of the geisha districts. But if you are on a budget, it really isn’t hard to find a geisha by yourself. At dusk head to Shijo bridge and walk towards Yasaka Shrine. Turn right into one of the pretty side streets and with a bit of luck you’ll spot a geisha or maiko scurring to her evening appointment. …Or you’ll spot a Japanese girl dressed up as a geisha (tip: the fake ones will be giggling, gesturing a lot and followed by their boyfriends). Real or fake, your friends back home will be impressed by your geisha photos.
9. Visit Keage International Community House
Take a gander at The International Community House website. Located near Keage subway station this place is an amazing resource of free stuff for visitors and ex-pats. There are regular free cultural classes, such as manga drawing classes and kimono dress-ups. There’s also a message board, usually for Kyotoites wanting to make international friends, so why not arrange to meet up with a friendly local? (The House is closed on Mondays.)
10. Stroll through the Bamboo Groves
People often ask us at InsideJapan Tours where they can walk through a forest of bamboo trees. This, ladies and gentlemen, is in Arashiyama, a beautiful district of Kyoto. I absolutely love Arashiyama (‘storm mountain’) and highly recommend a stroll through the bamboo groves here.
Part three on its way :)