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Kyoto attractions

Kyoto tourist information

Kyoto hotels

Kyoto is home to many major international and local banks as well as the Bank of Kyoto and Kyoto Bank, which are two different financial institutions. Virtually every bank provides foreign currency exchange for US dollars in either cash or traveler's checks. Rates for US dollars and Euro dollars are practically the same in any bank and are typically around 2% below the official rate.

For other currencies, such as British Pound Sterling and Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars, the exchange rate can be as low as 15% below the official rate. Except for Singapore dollars, other Asian currencies are usually not accepted. Banks are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.

The Yen is Japan 's currency. There are four types of coins: 1, 5, 10 and 500 Yen. Meanwhile, there are also four types of bills: 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; and 10,000 Yen. Tourists cannot use foreign credit cards at Japanese ATMS, but they can use them at international ATMs located at airports, post offices and some department stores.

Kyoto is acknowledged as the birth place of some of Japan 's most ancient traditions. These include flower arranging, the tea ceremony and the schooling of geishas. These customs may be observed in many places around Japan but it is only in Kyoto where they are regarded in their original form.

Unlike North America's 110 Volt or Central Europe's 220 Volt, Japan's standard voltage is 100 Volt, so be careful with your hair dryers, electric razors and other essentials. Some American and Canadian electrical equipment works find in Japan , but it's best to get a Japanese adapter to avoid damage.

In case of a medical emergency in Kyoto , there are four institutions that are highly-regarded for their emergency services. These include:

Sakabe International Clinic
Located at Goko-machi, south of Nijo
Hotline is 231-1624.

Japan Baptist Hospital
Located north of Mikage, east of Shirakawa
Hotline is 781-5191.

Holiday Emergency Clinic
Located at Shichihonmatsu, north of Marutamachi
Hotline is 811-5072.

Japan Help Line
They provide English counseling 24 hours a day
Toll-free hotline (all-Japan) is 0120-461-997, available 24 hours a day

Japan has a “general visa exemption arrangement” with over 50 countries, including the USA and Canada . If you belong to any of these countries, you can enter Japan as a tourist for up to 90 days if you have a valid passport. Otherwise, you will need a Japanese visa.

Foreign tourists in Kyoto are required to have their passports with them all the time. It would be wise to get in touch with your local Japanese embassy or consulate to inquire about all required documents necessary for traveling to Kyoto .

The two best sources of English books are Random Walk, located in the Teramachi shopping arcade, a stone's throw away from the Kawaramachi station; and Junkudo, located within the BAL building near Shijo and Sanjo streets.

Does your body ache from all that walking? You need a massage and what-not to recharge yourself. Visit the Riraku Spa at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel, located at Higashiyama-ku.

Kyoto shopping
If shopping is your passion and you hate tacky souvenirs, head to the Arashiyama station in Western Kyoto where the souvenirs on sale will surely impress your friends. If you don't mind being tacky, the Gion area near Kyomizu Temple will provide you with as many traditional souvenirs as your heart desires. Meanwhile, manga and anime lovers can get their fill at Teramachi Street near Shijo-dori. There's a huge two-story branch of Gamers there that offers all the collectibles you want. Now, if you'd rather splurge on, say, a samurai sword or your own kimono, head to the shopping areas across Kiyomizudera.

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