Kyoto, in pictures

I rarely run tourist photos on Head for Points – it isn’t what we do.  However, as a counterpart to my review of The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto today, I thought it was worth an extra 4th article with a few shots from our 48 hours in the city.


Feel free to ignore if you’re not interested!


The fastest bullet train services from Tokyo take 2 hours and 15 minutes.  The train tickets are eye wateringly expensive however – close to £1,000 return for two children and two adults in ‘Green Car’ business class.


You can use the Japan Rail Pass but if your only trip is Tokyo-Kyoto then it isn’t worth it, especially as the fastest bullet trains are exempt.  We also saw long lines at Rail Pass counters at stations for people looking to reserve seats.


There are taxi ranks at the major Kyoto temples so it is easy to get around the key sites.  Some are also accessible by metro and tram or on foot from the centre.


English seemed more widely spoken than it did on my two previous trips to Japan, which were probably 10 and 20 years ago.  Railway stations and the like are effectively multi-lingual and you won’t struggle.  There is now an Oyster card-equivalent for the subway in Tokyo and Kyoto which makes life easier and saves you spending time at the ‘Fare Adjustment Machine’ each time.


It is definitely somewhere you should visit once.  Avios availability to Tokyo on BA is difficult to get if you have a 2-4-1 voucher, but Seoul (a 2 hour connection via JAL which can be done on Avios) always has seats.  If you don’t have a 2-4-1 voucher, you have additional options – JAL direct from Heathrow, Finnair with a change in Helsinki or Qatar with a change in Doha.  You can even route yourself via Moscow (on BA) with a connection to JAL.


Alternatively, a routing like our Hong Kong to Tokyo to Kyoto (rail) to Beijing one gives you some extra variety.  I would recommend Shanghai instead of Beijing but we had personal reasons for going through there on the way home.

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My review of The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto hotel
Why are some Lloyds Avios cardholders not receiving any points?
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  1. Rob ,
    I have got a lot of information today for my trip at the end of the year in the comments . Plus, I enjoyed seeing this Morning some pics of your recent trip and your review .
    It would be great to slot in some popular destination reviews !

    • We had a similar discussion in the office the other week about luggage – Anika wanted to do something on luggage to spark reader discussion, but we don’t actually have any luggage ‘news’ to wrap such an article around. Is is ‘good enough’ to write an article saying “why don’t you all talk about luggage today in the comments?”? We’re not sure.

  2. David says:

    Since we’re talking Japan, I’m planning on using my 2-4-1 for spring 2018 to Tokyo.

    Recent availability suggests that there is often F availability to HND on the 777, but rarely on the 789 to NRT where there’s usually only J. So I’m trying to weigh up the relative benefits of those two options.

    Any thoughts from those more au fait with BA F than I am? I’ve done J on both the 777 and 789…

    • Jimmy says:

      I flew BA NRT-LHR in F on their 789 recently..was 2 months old, the plane, not me. Its good. Better than 777. Small cabin, larger fixed screen etc. But like any flight, its the staff that make it. We had good staff so enjoyed it…..even met the spare (female) pilot (am sure there’s a proper term, the one who sits on the right hand side….first officer perhaps??) in her PJ’s lol

      I believe the 789 in J is better than the 777 equivalent also?

      Another consideration (for some) is HND is MF and NRT is WW cabin crew. Currently NRT has better timings but HND quicker to reach.

  3. Now this is a luxury Japanese train:

    Tickets just over 2000 GBP, up to 10,000 USD.