3 Kyoto festivals GoingforgoldinKyoto Japansautumnleavesbringakaleidoscopicdisplayofcolourtotheseason BY STEVE NIMMO Leafy: the Arashiyama district of Kyoto turns gold in autumn 1Gion Festival An ancient festival that is one of thelargest and most famous inJapan. Full of unique ceremoniesand a float parade. 1-31 July 2Jidai Festival Witness aprocession that displays theevolution of 1,000 yearsof culture and clothing. 22 October 3Gozan Fire Festival Mind- boggling displays of fire in the surrounding hills dazzle Kyoto, where the sky is turned red by all the blazes. 16 August WHATS GOING ON? AUTUMN in Kyoto is a festival of natural colour and the best time of year to explore the city. Locals and tourists flock to see kaleidoscopic scenes once the green leaves on the trees have transformed into a dazzling display of reds and golds. The best views are in November, peaking in the middle of the month. BED DOWN KYOTOS Hyatt Regency (kyoto. regency.hyatt.com, rooms from 137 per night) is a thoughtfully designed Zen-style hotel, reflect- ing the typically low-rise nature of Jap a n s a nc ie n t c ap i t a l . Nevertheless, this oasis is close enough to visit the up- market shopping and dining areas around Shijo station. HIT THE TOWN START with a cocktail or two a few blocks north of the Karasuma-Shijo intersection at the grungy Bar Fakers or the retro Ace Caf. Later, hit Club Metro, only a stones throw over the river, for DJ sets, bands and even the occasional drag act. REFUEL KUSHYA restaurant, n e a r S a n j o a n d Kawaramachi Street, is an easy introduc- tion to Japanese cuisine and sells tasty morsels on skewers. The local speciality, and highest quality food, is kaiseki cuisine, a multi-course and seasonally sourced ritual feast. For this, try the Hyatts restaurant, Touzan, or Pontocho Uan on Pontocho-dori Street. CULTURE VULTURE A MUST-SEE is the Nijo Shogun Castle, with its nightingale floor that once acted as an intruder alarm for the 17th-century shogun: just one squeak could foil a ninja assassin about to attack. DONT MISS THE centrally located Nishiki Ichiba food market is one of the worlds greatest gastronomic sights. Sample delicious foods at the many stalls and bars along the covered route. HOW TO GET THERE JAPAN AIRLINES offers twice-daily services from Heathrow to Tokyo and an extensive domestic service, includ- ing connections to Osaka (for Kyoto). Fares start at 577 including taxes and surcharges. A one-way ticket on the Nozomi bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto costs 13,320 yen (83). uk.jal.com, 0845 774 7700 MORE DETAILS japantravel.co.uk Wetellyouwheretogoandwhen... Kyoto London Lite Monday, 24 August 2009 29 index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html