I’ve been living in Kyoto for 10 weeks now. To be brutally honest, it’s not for me. I very much liked Tokyo life more than Kyoto life, and I’ll state some of the differences and reasons why below. This is of course just my opinion. A lot of people I have met love it here in Kyoto.
I haven’t actually traveled around Kyoto too much, but it is pretty easy. Kyoto primarily utilizes buses, but there are some major train lines as well. I actually really enjoy riding the bus, it’s a lot different than a train since you follow the streets. It’s a good way to see the whole city. As for price, it’s 230 yen one way, no matter how many stops you stay on for. So if you’re going just 1 stop, it’s 230 yen. 10 stops? 230 yen. This is both good and bad, depending on where you’re going. I like Tokyo’s intricate train system more, however, because you can get from just about any station to another with very little effort.
Kyoto’s lax atmosphere is perhaps the main reason I don’t enjoy it very much. It’s too quiet, slow, and old. If you aren’t by a main road (and quite often, I’m not), the only thing you hear is the wind and birds. It’s pretty serene, and for people who love that type of atmosphere, it’s perfect for them. It’s not that I don’t like this sort of atmosphere, it’s that I can’t really get the Tokyo atmosphere I love. There are a lot of old people in Kyoto too. At least where I’m living. Many of the buildings and houses are old as well, making everything feel, well… old. Of course this is to be expected of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital.
Like I said, I haven’t gone around Kyoto too much or visited the famous tourism sites; however, a simple google search will show you the main sites to see in Kyoto. It’s no surprise that just about every single one of the recommendations is a shrine or temple. And by all means, they are gorgeous (probably), but after you see five, ten, thirty shrines/temples, it’s not that interesting anymore. Tokyo, on the other hand, has many ‘sites’ that aren’t just sites. For example, just going to Shibuya crossing and watching is a site. Not only can you watch, but you can do all kinds of things as well. At a temple or shrine, all you do is look at it and enjoy it’s beauty. Which is fine, but it gets repetitive.
I’m from a suburban town in Ohio and attend university in a rural town in Ohio. I’ve grown up in the slow-paced, boring life. For some people this lifestyle is perfect for them. I’m sure I’ll want this lifestyle once I’m older, but for now, the city is my favorite place to be. Kyoto is absolutely gorgeous, the weather is great (pretty hot, but great), and overall life is wonderful, it’s just rather boring and not my cup of tea. It’s perfect for visiting, but not for living.