Here was my basic plan for the three-odd days that I was there, updated a bit to show what I actually did. The last day was the hardest to plan for me, as I certainly wanted to make the most of it and there is so much to do and see. Specifically, I wanted to see more of Arashiyama, which I have always enjoyed so much and also see the Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku No Michi, where a famous Japanese philosopher liked to stroll), which is lined by beautiful cherry trees. All of this was to be done alongside my 'main' plan for the day, a trip to Ohara, which I knew would be great as it is a quiet and inspiring site. In the end, I thought a decent trip to Arashiyama would be too much alongside Ohara, especially since I had to be back in time for my train (well, I could have gotten a slightly later one, but then I'd lose my seat reservation and have to walk all the way to the non-reserved cars, which itself can take a while).
In the end, The Path of Philosophy won, as I hadn't been there on the trip and also have great memories of it, especially with the trees in blossom. I wasn't even going to go there until I met a young Japanese couple who had walked along it and had such a great time; not top mention the fact that I had already been to Arashiyama on the first day (see below!) and going twice on the same trip seemed too much; logically at least. If I could decide again, maybe I'd do Arashiyama- not because I didn't have a great experience on the Path; I did, but because it was what I really wanted to do for some reason, partly to see the temple gardens around there, which seemed to me to have a very Zen feeling about them. So, to make up for this, I'll be seeing more of both there on my next journey up there, whenever that is, and really get to know it well.
As far as weather goes, I was very fortunate (though, this being a photography trip in part, I made sure to check first). Each day was sunny, with a little cloud cover that at times, especially in the early part of the day, made it a bit overcast. I don't mind that much for photos, as it results in rich colours, but as a traveller, I just seem to have more energy and enthusiasm on a sunny day. Cloudiness and rain make me go more into myself- fine when you are seeing museums and the like, not so good for activity. So with the general sunniness, I'd say the weather looked after me well.
Kyoto Trip Plan
Day 1- Northern Kyoto
Drop off large bag at the hotel
Take a bus to North Kyoto
Go to Kinkakuji
Go to Ryoanji
Take a local train to Arashiyama for the evening.
Day Two- Nara and Kyomizu-dera
Get up really early
Go to Nara
See Todaiji temple, the shrine, Yoshikien garden and Kofukuji temple
See the deer park, relax there, take photos of the deer
Afterwards go back and then go to Kiyomizu-dera for the evening light up (6:30-9:30)
If time, also see something of Gion (there wasn't time, but the shops outside Kiyomizu were great).
Day 3- Ohara and Ginkakuji
Get up early
Go to wait at breakfast room by about 6:50
(the day before I'd got there at 7, the starting time, but found myself on a line for the wonderful 'Kyoto breakfast' I had tickets for).
Take bus number 17 bound for Ohara (1 hr), nap on the bus
See Jacko-in (didn't make it there, spent so long in Sanzen-in)
Head back to Kyoto
Go to see the Path of Philosophy and Ginkakuji
(the replacement plan to Arashiyama, in the end I made it to Ginkakuji just before last entry)
Head back to the hotel around 18:00
Pick up my bag and get the Shinkansen back