Written by jenae567 on 24 Mar, 2010
In my last Kyoto Journal, I covered how to get around the city using the buses. This time around, I figured out how to navigate the subway system, and it's not as scary as I had initially thought it to be! Here, I'll…Read More
In my last Kyoto Journal, I covered how to get around the city using the buses. This time around, I figured out how to navigate the subway system, and it's not as scary as I had initially thought it to be! Here, I'll explain how to get around the faster way in Kyoto!The Kyoto subway system is wonderful; it gets you where you want to go (or very close to it), without having to wait for traffic. Consequently, it winds up being much faster than the buses for about the same price!There are 2 main lines in central Kyoto: The Karasuma line, which runs south and north, starting from Kyoto Station, and the Tozai line, which runs east and west. Both lines are mapped out at Kyoto station, which is the starting point for most tourists.Here is a step-by-step guide for the ticketing process:1.) Determine which subway station is your final destination.2.) Go to the fare map and find your destination/fare on the map. Remember this fare.3.) Go to the ticketing kiosk and press ENGLISH SERVICE. (This makes things a lot easier!)4.) Insert your money based on your TOTAL FARE(S). You can purchase tickets for more than one person at a time.5.) The kiosk will then ask you for your individual fare. If your destination states on the map that your fare is 250 yen, enter "250". 6.) At the bottom, there are buttons that have pictures of one to five people; if you are purchasing tickets for 2 people, press the button indicating 2 people.7.) Press "Purchase tickets". Tickets will spit out of the machine. Hooray!If you're starting from Kyoto station, you will be on the Karasuma line and can only head north. Depending on your destination, you may have to switch to the Tozai line. Be sure to note the station at which you must switch trains. There are English announcements on the trains informing you of the stops, but if it is during the busy hours, you may not be able to hear the announcements, so be alert. It helps to count the number of stops the train will make before your final destination. That way, if you miss the announcement of which station you're at, you will still know which station to get off at. Also make note of the final destination of the TRAIN you need to get on - and make sure it matches the destination of the train you actually board. It is easy to get on a train that's headed in the opposite direction - so if you're going to sightseeing attraction on a train that ultimately heads to "X", make sure you hop on the train that says "X" and not "Y", or you may find yourself lost!While the subway system may be a bit intimidating to a first-timer, I assure you, once you get the hang of it, using it is a snap, and will save you a lot of valuable sight-seeing time! Close
Written by Sakura on 31 Mar, 2009
I took JR from Sumiyoshi station to Kyotanabe St. (Tosai Line) then walked to the temple. It was almost 15 minute walk. You can also take Keihan Kotsu Bus from Kyotanabe to the Ikkyuji-do stop. It takes only 5 min. though. If you use Kintetsu…Read More
I took JR from Sumiyoshi station to Kyotanabe St. (Tosai Line) then walked to the temple. It was almost 15 minute walk. You can also take Keihan Kotsu Bus from Kyotanabe to the Ikkyuji-do stop. It takes only 5 min. though. If you use Kintetsu Kyoto Line, you should get off at Shintanabe St.. It takes about 20 min. from the station to the temple on foot.Ikkyu (1394-1481) is one of Japan’s most famous Zen priests known as his"quick-witted" character. His mischievous adventures as a child are introduced in the TV animation "Ikkyu-san", which is very poplar not only in Japan but some other Asian countries.Though this temple was built by different priest between 1288 and 1292, and then repeatedly destroyed by war. Ikkyu restored the temple in 1456 and named it Shuon-an Temple. But it became generally known as Ikkyu-ji temple.Beyond the main gate is the stone-paved approach to the temple. The temple has a number of exquisite Zen gardens made in early Edo period (1806-1867) in the precincts. North garden is the beautiful dry garden South garden with well trimmed azalea bushes and white sandThe temple also sells original natto (fermented soy beans). I don’t think foreigners like it. But they say it can be preserved for 10 years at room temperature without spoiling! Why don’t you buy and test it? Close
Written by jenae567 on 04 Sep, 2008
If you plan on visiting Kyoto during your first trip to Japan (or if you're unfamiliar with the Japanese bus systems), the thought of just hopping on a bus could send anyone panicking. Here, I'll explain the very easy process of getting to all…Read More
If you plan on visiting Kyoto during your first trip to Japan (or if you're unfamiliar with the Japanese bus systems), the thought of just hopping on a bus could send anyone panicking. Here, I'll explain the very easy process of getting to all the sightseeing destinations, without going broke paying for taxis.The best place to start from is Kyoto Station. It is the largest bus stop in Kyoto. The buses pull in right in front of the main building. You can't miss it! Hundreds of people, both Japanese and tourists, will be forming multiple lines beneath signs that may be a bit confusing.The first step: DON'T BE INTIMIDATED. It's very easy to get the hang of!! And to make the process even easier, all stops are announced in both Japanese and English! Facing Kyoto Station, you will find a small building to the left of the bus stops. It will be labeled "BUS TICKETING AND INFORMATION." For the best bang for your buck, (or perhaps, yank for your yen!), head to the furthest counter and purchase an all-day bus pass. For only 500 JPY (or about $5), you will be able to ride the city busses for unlimited trips, so long as you don't venture too far into the suburbs. On this ticket, you will see pictures of two different busses - a green bus and a pink flowered bus. This ticket is good for either types of these busses. The pink flowered bus is better if you're headed to the regular tourist stops - it will only stop at the major sights, instead of every bus stop on the way like the green bus.Second Step: Find your bus stop. Let's say you would like to go to Kiyomizudera Temple. Head towards the bus stops and then look up. You will see signs with destinations. The sign for your destination will most likely say "SANJUSANGENDO GION KIYOMIZUDERA". That means this bus will stop at Sanjusangendo Temple, Gion district, and Kiyomizudera Temple. (Sometimes the name of your destination may be a bit altered due to translation issues - for example, Fushimi Inari Shrine becomes "Inari Taisha", but just make sure the name contains at least part of your destination.) Directly beneath the sign, you will see a four-sided post. This post will digitally display the time the next bus is expected, and if there is more than one bus due to arrive.Third Step: Once the bus arrives, look on the side. There will be a scrolling sign that should also bear the name of its destination. If you are headed to Kiyomizudera Temple, make sure the bus says so. It should match the sign above your head. (We made the mistake of hopping on a bus without checking the scrolling sign first - and wound up about an hour outside of town!) If the bus does indeed go to your intended destination (or nearby area), hop on. Once on the bus, you will notice an electronic board in the front of the bus, near the ceiling. Keep an eye on this board. Especially during rush hour, the busses get crowded and noisy, and you may not hear the announcement. This board will display (in Kanji and English) the next stop. Fourth Step: Once "Kiyomizudera" is announced and displayed, head to the front once the bus has stopped. If you have purchased an all-day bus pass, all you need to do is show the driver your ticket. If your ticket has not yet been stamped with the date, just stick it in the machine sitting next to him and grab it when it pops out. If you did not purchase a ticket, simply throw your fare into the box next to him and get off. Tadaaa! You have arrived!Once you have finished seeing the temple, head back to where you were dropped off. Then scan ACROSS the street for another bus stop - you need to get back on the bus from the other direction of traffic if you want to get back to where you started from. Seen how you started from Kyoto Station, you will want to wait for the next bus bearing the sign "KYOTO STATION". Get on this bus and repeat the same process.Easy enough, wasn't it?A few tips: If you don't purchase an all-day bus pass, most of the busses headed to the tourist spots are a flat-fare. This means no matter where you get off, you pay only one fare. At the time of our travel, this fare was 220 yen. (Roughly $2.20). Very cheap! HOWEVER, fare MUST be paid in EXACT CHANGE ONLY. There are machines to make change located next to the driver, but it will only make change for up to 1000 yen - so be sure to carry the smallest bills or change if you intend on taking the bus. One poor tourist wasn't aware of this, and was embarassed when the irritated driver had to announce over the PA that she needed someone to make change for her large bill! Through the generosity of locals, the now red-faced lady was able to pay her fare. Busses get PACKED during rush hour. You may wind up standing if it is during morning or evening traffic. As a common courtesy, it is expected that you give up your seat to an elderly passenger that boards - if you are young and without handicap. Not every stop is listed on the bus signs - so don't panick if you make an unexpected stop. (Which you probably will.) As mentioned earlier, the pink busses don't stop at every stop along the way like the green busses do, so hop on a pink bus if it's not too long of a wait. Now you're ready to grab your ticket and hop on a bus! Go see some temples!! Close
Written by Idler on 11 Jul, 2007
Little shrine with rice cakes, of course... spring rain Kobayashi Issa, 1818In the Shinto religion, powerful spirits or kami abide in a multitude of natural objects such as mountains, waterfalls, and even exceptional people. There are innumerable kami, but the most important have shrines devoted…Read More
Little shrine with rice cakes, of course... spring rain Kobayashi Issa, 1818
A lucky fox deigns to come out spring rain. Kobayashi Issa, 1819
Written by Idler on 05 Jul, 2007
Often when I return from a journey, it’s not the well-known places or famous sights that I recall most vividly, but some little-known spot that I came across quite by chance. And so it is with Gio-ji. I hadn’t planned to go there, but perhaps,…Read More
Often when I return from a journey, it’s not the well-known places or famous sights that I recall most vividly, but some little-known spot that I came across quite by chance. And so it is with Gio-ji. I hadn’t planned to go there, but perhaps, reflecting back, it was simply meant to be.In Sagano, a western district of Kyoto, there is a much-celebrated bamboo forest, and it was while exploring this that I came across Gio-ji. I was instantly enchanted by the setting. A path led to a simple thatched temple set in a lush garden of moss, ferns, and slender trees. By this time, I’d seen at least a dozen elaborate temples and shrines in Kyoto, and truth to tell, I’d become a bit jaded, but something about this secluded glade drew me in. Through the gate and up the path I went, coming to a tsukubai, a stone basin provided for ritual cleansing of hands and mouth before entering the temple. Water flowed from a rustic bamboo spout down onto the basin, its splashing one of the few sounds breaking the silence of the peaceful sanctuary. An azalea bonsai in exquisite bloom was the sole ornament here, an appropriate seasonal focal point. After making my simple preparations, I entered the temple.Although there was a statue of Buddha and several other small shrines on the grounds, I was essentially clueless as to the temple’s history and significance. It seemed to me more a house than a temple, perhaps the dwelling of some person of refined but simple taste. In the main room, open to the garden, a white cat lay curled on the tatami matting, just a few feet from a peony bush bearing a single blossom. Of course, cats and peony blossoms are both popular subjects in brush drawings and scrolls, and for a moment, I had the disjointed sense that I’d stepped into a painting. At that instant, the cat opened one eye and surveyed the scene, fixing its gaze momentarily on the peony blossom. Then she resumed her nap, unperturbed.It is this moment of peony-blossom/cat-glance that remains crystallized in my memory. Insignificant? Perhaps. But still it resonates, much like Issa’s haiku, the distillation of an everyday moment.
Written by Foxboro Marmot on 05 Apr, 2004
Dipping into the Marmot's Mailbag we have this plaintive missive: Dear Marmot, I'm looking forward to my trip to Japan but am starting to worry. My problem... I'm allergic to shellfish. I guess I'll live on rice and noodles. But how to explain my problem?…Read More
Dipping into the Marmot's Mailbag we have this plaintive missive: Dear Marmot, I'm looking forward to my trip to Japan but am starting to worry. My problem... I'm allergic to shellfish. I guess I'll live on rice and noodles. But how to explain my problem? (signed) s-p-
Here at the Marmot International home office, we've placed our Asian Affairs staff on the problem... and we get results!
Dear s-p-, Write this stock phrase on an index card: "Sumimasen. Watashi wa koukakurui to kai no arerugi ga arimasu. Osusume wa nan desu ka?" If bold enough, you could memorize it and try to say it. "Sue-me-mah-sen. Wah-tah-shi wah koh-ooh-kah-kuh-roo-eeh toh kai no ah-ree-rooh-gi gah ah-ri-mas. Oh-sue-sue-meh wah nahn des kah?" Try to say each syllable with equal emphasis.
The first sentence explains the problem. "Sumimasen" is "Excuse me," a good all purpose word to know in any case. "Koukakurui" is "lobster, crab, etc." and "kai" is "mollusk, clam, oyster, etc." If one is a problem but the other isn't, eliminate "to" (it means "and") and the appropriate shellfish word. Believe it or not, "arerugi" means, well, allergy - say it out loud and it almost makes sense, sorta. "Osusume" is "recommendation," so the second sentence means "What do you recommend?" As a rule the Japanese try to be very accomodating to foreign visitors and hopefully you will be steered toward a safe dish.
If there is something mysterious on your plate you could say "Sumimasen. Kore ni koukakurui ka kai ga haite imasu ka?" It means, "Excuse me, is there shellfish in this?" Follow it up with: "Watashi wa koukakurui to kai no arerugi ga arimasu" to explain why you are asking. Again, you'll probably be happier having this on an index card rather than trying to remember it at the exact moment of crisis.
Noodle dishes like soba, ramen and udon should be safe, although they're sometimes topped with a funny pink wedge of imitation crab, which I'm told is miscellaneous sea creatures, so be aware. Of course, sushi and sashimi should be safe, since as long as you know what you're ordering, there's no surprise. You can't go wrong with vegetable tempura. "Katsu," like "tonkatsu" (fried pork) and other fried food should be fine. "Oyakodon" is a seafood-free chicken and eggs on rice number. Stay clear of "okonomiyaki," often translated as "Japanese pizza," but which is really more like a cabbage pancake. "Okonomi" basically means "things you like" - just about anything could be in there. Real Japanese pizza should be fine, just be prepared for lots of corn on top. The biggest problems would be various side dishes whose origins are hard to discern, in which case the phrase for "Excuse me, is there shellfish in this?" would be best.
Another good phrase: "Sumimasen. Beeru o kudasai" will get you a beer.
If all else fails, shellfish-free zones called Starbucks, Mister Donut, Wendy's, McDonalds and the Kentucky Fried Colonel can be found without too much trouble!
From Marmot Central - good luck - gambatte kudasai!
Written by gwenamon on 24 Nov, 2005
Kyoto has piles of temples and shrines, making it really difficult to decide where to start. We went to four. Two of them ended up being my favourites.Sanjusangen-do was incredible. We had to round a couple of corners of the enormously long, dark, dusty, 700-year-old…Read More
Kyoto has piles of temples and shrines, making it really difficult to decide where to start. We went to four. Two of them ended up being my favourites.Sanjusangen-do was incredible. We had to round a couple of corners of the enormously long, dark, dusty, 700-year-old temple hall before we got our first peek at them – 1001 somewhat tarnished, yet shimmering golden statues of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. There they were, with the heavy beams above, the wide floorboards below, and the thick, musty, incensed air all around.The statues looked like they were emitting their own light rather than reflecting it from the paper-screened windows running down one entire side of the hall. We slowly walked (crept?) past the first five hundred figures to the gigantic one in the middle. That was amazing enough. But we still had another five hundred to pass. Each one is individually carved from cypress and covered in gold leaf. And each one has its very own expression. Awe-inspiring.Another morning, we boarded a bus that crawled up the twisty roads of Mount Hiei in order to drop us at magical Enryaku-ji – a complex of mountainside temples that have been around for over 1200 years. Being high up on the autumn-clad mountain, away from the noisy crowds, in the chilly air was so peaceful and beautiful.With only an hour to spare before the bus returned to take us back to Kyoto, we decided we’d hurry and do the one-kilometre hike to the Sai-to temples, nestled in the forest. Our effort was rewarded. Sunlight beams filtered down past the tall heads of the thick trees. New bamboo stretched out onto the path, which a couple of monks were calmly sweeping with thresh rakes. Luscious moss spread everywhere, skirting the forest’s gnarly legs.Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto, although not one of my top two, was very pretty and definitely worth seeing. It is set at the top of cobble-stoned streets, with a massive wooden terrace overlooking the city and a pretty stream running through its hilly grounds. Close
Written by Idler on 10 Jul, 2007
Late one afternoon I make my away to Adashino Nembutsu-ji, the famous temple and cemetery on the outskirts of Kyoto. Along the way I ponder just what draws me to these places beyond mere historical and architectural interest. Is it the sheer novelty…Read More
Late one afternoon I make my away to Adashino Nembutsu-ji, the famous temple and cemetery on the outskirts of Kyoto. Along the way I ponder just what draws me to these places beyond mere historical and architectural interest. Is it the sheer novelty of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, or is there some underlying principle that I find appealing? The key, I think, is rooted in mono no aware, a sensibility that is uniquely Japanese. Without going into a prolonged discourse, the simplest definition would be a keen appreciation of the vulnerability of life and the transitory nature of all things, yet at the same time a pleasurable sadness that arises from cherishing brief moments of beauty. The cherry blossom is perhaps the most common symbol of mono no aware—budding, blooming, and falling softly to the ground in only a few days—evanescent beauty in a world in which all things continuously change and disappear. The concept of the transience of the world is central to Buddhism, particularly Zen Buddhism, with its appreciation of beauty as a fleeting state and its longing for the infinite and eternal. The very brevity and fragility of life makes it all the more touching. Those who possess a sense of mono no aware are sensitive not only to ephemeral beauty but to the suffering of all living things.
Written by Clovery on 19 Apr, 2005
The trip was a short one--two days and one night over the weekend. It was enough to cover the main attractions in Kyoto. My start-off point was in Tokyo. I purchased the Shinkansen ticket three days in advance, and it cost me a bomb! Round-trip…Read More
The trip was a short one--two days and one night over the weekend. It was enough to cover the main attractions in Kyoto. My start-off point was in Tokyo. I purchased the Shinkansen ticket three days in advance, and it cost me a bomb! Round-trip ticket 27,500 Yen (U$256), for reserved seat and Nozomi type (the super express train). It stopped only at Nagoya then to Kyoto. The speed of the Shinkansen (bullet train) was impressive. Riding on the train, I felt empowered. The cars on the roads seem to crawl or stall.
Roughly about 2 hours and 35 minutes later, the train arrived at Kyoto Station conjunctional to the JR (Japan Railway) that links to other parts of the region. It was hard to identify the bus station at first, since there was no signboard indication. After a few attempts, I found the sign. It was about 10 minutes' walk from the Kyoto Station via an underpass then to the bus station. To keep low traveling cost, I purchased an one-day unlimited bus ride at 500 yen, and this ticket entitles only to buses traveling within Kyoto City or the loop ride. The normal cost for each ride was 220 yen if no unlimited ticket was purchased. So if you took a bus ride more than two times in a day, this unlimited ride was definitely cost-saving.
My first stop was the Kiyomizu-dera or the Pure Water Temple. It was located on the east part of Kyoto. It requires 15-20 minutes' walk uphill before reaching the entrance of the temple. There are two routes to the main entrance; the straight path is busier, with more shops and restaurants, while the other route, turning on the right, has less bustle. I took the quieter route when ascending and the other on descending. At the main entrance, bundles of trees adorned with pinkish flowers were the first to welcome me. Next, there was a flight of stairs to a small red-roofed shrine. Again, there was another flight of stairs to the second layer of the entire temple where you can view the whole Kyoto City, and on the right was a three-story pagoda. Before admission to the actual temple, which cost 300 yen, there was a greenish dragon sculpture spilling spring water into a stone tub filled to its brim. I had my hands washed and cleaned before entering the temple.
The temple was built high near the mountains. There was a platform on the side of temple where it served as a lookout point for tourists. The view was enviable, with varieties of trees coexisting in harmony: the deciduous, pine trees, and some cherry. And in the background, the canopies form the outline of the mountains. On the left side of the temple, there was a shrine of the Earth God. Two stones were erected at each end of the pathway, a fable saying that if you could walk with your eyes closed from one stone to the other, your love life will be a fulfilling one. Next, I sauntered along the trail walk to the back of the temple. The view of the entire temple was picturesque, adorned with cherry and greenery and the view to the gritty landscapes of Kyoto City. I traced down the trail further and came to an abandoned pagoda. Nothing much amazing about it, but one thing good about it was no crowd.
The second stop was Ginkajuji Temple, or the Silver Pavilion. I lingered outside this place and did not make a personal visit for three reasons: admission fee is 500 yen, which I do not think is worthwhile; the pavilion is not painted in silver; and I will be visiting the Golden Pavilion tomorrow, which will be more impressive. As I hung out around the premises, I realized how close I was to the Path of Philosophy, which was another attraction in Kyoto with free admission! Cherry and other kinds of trees were planted neatly along the path. There was a stream flowing across the middle of the path with white-flowered trees hanging low across the stream, and several shops and cafe can be found along this path. I spent almost an hour there, visiting shops and taking photos of the flowers.
Before sunset, I strolled down to Kamo River along Kyoto Shiyajusho-mae. This river flows for few hundred miles along eastern Kyoto. Many houses, hostels, and hotels are located along this river. It is a favourite hideout for couples dating, cycling along the granulated path, fishing, and lazing your time away with friends or families. Pieces of huge boulders were laid separately across the river, acting as a bridge. Beware when you skip from one boulder to another, as the gaps between the boulders are big. But it was fun!
The second day, or the last day in Kyoto, I visited Kyoto Imperial Palace a common venue for baseball games. The park outside the palace was spacious. But the whole stretch of ground was carpeted with granulated sand that was very uncomfy to walk on. Besieging the palace was a long stretch of solid walls, accentuating the grandeur of this place. Haplessly, the palace was not open to public on the day I visited. I ended up taking a few snapshots of the entrance of the palace.
I rode on bus number 204 to the northern part of Kyoto, where Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion, was located. The admission fee was 400 yen, and the entrance ticket resembled like a door amulet; manuscripted in Chinese characters was "Jin Ge Shi" (Golden Pavilion) on a piece of white rectangular paper and endorsed with red stamps. The moment I set foot inside the garden, I was awestruck to see the pavilion. It was gold-plated. The edifice stood so prestigiously and nobly in front of my eyes. Surrounding the golden pavilion was an enclosed lake. The lake was so tranquil that the reflection of the pavilion was so clear. No public was allowed inside the pavilion. So the closest view you can catch was at the edge of the railing surrounding the pavilion.
Gion was the last attraction I visited in Kyoto. It encompassed three parts: Yasaka Shrine, Chionin Temple, and Maruyama Park. Yasaka Shrine was near to the main street of Gion. Japanese come here frequently to pray for their wishes and ask for good luck charms for their relationships, health, wealth or success. In the Maruyama Park, food stalls selling local delights and wide spread of green lawn for picnic or relaxing. This place is extremely rowdy, and tour groups used to visit here. Deep into the park, was Chionin Temple. Palpably, it was of larger scale compared to the other two. There is a flight of long stairs before you get to the main temple of Chionin. It seems to be a test to your sincerity. Each step was big and you almost have to clamber to the next. On the sides of the main hall, there are several small shrines for praying and meditations. Always remember to take off your shoes before entering each shrine or temple. It is an indication for respect and of course the prevalent custom here. Walking up to the back of the main temple, you find yourself in a trailhead, leading to the top of the mountain. I did not take the trail as the temple closed at 4:30pm daily, and it was 4pm when I reached there.
Shijo, where I had an authentic teppanyaki in one of the restaurants, is the downtown of Kyoto, where you can find branded boutiques, chain shopping malls like Takashimaya, fast-food restaurants, and streetside shops. It can be easily accessed by public buses or Kyoto subway. After dinner, I took Shinkansen back to Tokyo and ended the two-day trip in Kyoto.
Written by douglasrwong on 05 Apr, 2005
I flew from San Jose, CA, to Tokyo's Narita Airport and took a connecting flight from Narita to Osaka International Airport (also known as Itami). Itami is closer to Kyoto, the first destination of my Japan trip, than Kansai (the new international airport). Finally, I…Read More
I flew from San Jose, CA, to Tokyo's Narita Airport and took a connecting flight from Narita to Osaka International Airport (also known as Itami). Itami is closer to Kyoto, the first destination of my Japan trip, than Kansai (the new international airport). Finally, I took the airport limousine bus to Kyoto Station (and my hotel).
I have done this connection once before, and it was really a nail-biter trying to make the connection the first time. There is only a 2-hour window in which to make the connection from American Airlines (AA) to Japan Airlines (JAL) after clearing immigration and customs at Narita. With the change to Daylight Savings Time (DST), there is an extra hour, since Japan does not use DST. This time, I got to sit around for an hour between flights.
Here is some advice on the Immigration line at Narita (at least in Terminal 1, which American uses): The line really looks long, but it moves quickly. So even if you think you will never make it through the line, you will. After Immigration, you go downstairs to pick up your checked luggage and go through Customs. This is also a swift operation. My luggage has always been waiting for me (one time, I waited around for my luggage to come around on the carousel, and it was waiting on the other side all along!).
Unfortunately, the American in-flight Narita arrival announcement is wrong as to where to catch the interterminal bus to Terminal 2 from 1. You catch the bus at stop 6, not 5. It takes about 10 minutes to go from terminal to terminal. For domestic connections (in my case, JAL), you get off at stop 18. The check-in for domestic flights is on the first floor.
If you need to change money, do it at Narita. You can't do it at Itami. You can change money or get to an ATM as soon as you exit Customs.