Kyoto International Manga Museum#12 in Best Things To Do in Kyoto
Many of Kyoto's top attractions pay homage to a Japan of the past, but the Kyoto International Manga Museum focuses on a very current form of Japanese art. Manga is a style of comics that exploded in popularity during the post-World War II period (though some historians date it back to the 12th century) and has steadily been gaining worldwide exposure in the past 60 years. The International Manga Museum, which opened in 2006, showcases a massive collection of Manga (around 300,000 items), from famous works like "Astro Boy" to more obscure comics by non-Japanese artists.
Recent visitors marvel at the museum's extensive collection, and said this is a must-do if you're a manga fan. For many, being able to sit and read the manga copies stored here was a highlight (reviewers said it felt more like a library than a museum). Travelers were also pleased that there were translations in other languages besides Japanese.
The Kyoto International Manga Museum is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day (last admission at 5:30 p.m.) except Wednesday. Admission costs 800 yen (about $7) for adults, 300 yen (about $3) for high school and junior high school students, and 100 yen (about $1) for elementary school students. The museum is a 2-minute walk from the Karasuma-Oike subway station in central Kyoto. It's also accessbile via city bus nos. 15, 51 and 65.
For more information, visit the Kyoto International Manga Museum's website.
More Best Things To Do in Kyoto
#1 Fushimi Inari Shrine
As far as Shinto shrines go (there are about 400 in Kyoto), this one is pretty special. Perched on a wooded hillside in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari is a 1,300-year-old temple dedicated to Inari, the Shinto deity of rice and sake (Japanese rice wine). The shrine complex dates back to the eighth century, but it's not the star of the show. Most visitors come for the close to 10,000 red and orange lacquered torii gates that line the 2 ½-mile-long path up Mount Inari, where the shrine sits. Sometimes in dense rows and other times more staggered, the gates are all engraved with the names of Shinto devotees who donated them.
It takes about three hours to make the trek up the mountain, and some recent visitors say that the hike is mildly strenuous, but almost all agree this is a must-see spot in Kyoto, especially for first-time visitors. Plus, travelers report that there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. Peer at the dozens of stone and bronze foxes that line the paths along with the gates (foxes are thought to be Inari's sacred messengers). Or stop in to one of the tea houses or restaurants situated on the path, which serve udon noodle soup and sushi. Because crowds are drawn to their picturesque beauty, Fushimi Inari's trails can get quite congested during the day. To avoid the multitudes, opt for an evening stroll up the mountain – recent visitors say the pervading quiet coupled with the fading light filtering through the trees and torii gates makes for an eerie and spiritual experience. Early morning is another optimal time to experience the shrine sans the crowds.
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