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Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/8 20:56
Hi al,

My wife and me will be visiting Japan soon, after taking in information from this forum i came out with the following itinerary. We prefer leisure to mid pace itinerary that allow us some time to explore instead of rushing by. We like to taste local food + scenery.

Please give us your opinion and suggestion, i am still looking for accommodation and places to taste some authentic japanese food.

A big thank you to all of u !

Day 1 Narita to Tokyo 6th SEP
Narita airport pick up JR pass
Asakusa & Sensoji temple – Sky tree– Yanaka ginza – Ameyoko- street food for breakfast
Ichiran ramen lunch, shinjuku +shibuya walk about

Leave early morning from Tokyo to Kanazawa. There is no restriction of Japan Rail Pass using fastest Kagayaki.
Kenrokuen + Seisonkakku villa – lunch-Higashi Chaya area - dinner

Bus to Shirakawago in the morning, explore and then bus to Takayama.
Ogimachi – lunch, Takayama old town - Dinner

Explore Takayama. Take around 3 pm train (Wideview Hida) to Nagoya (or Maibara) and then Shinkansen Hikari to Kyoto.
Hida Folk Village – Lunch (EkiBen?), Kyoto station walk about - dinner

Day trip to Nara from Kyoto. Tofukuji and Arashiyama
Fushimi inari shrine, tofukuji – lunch, Todaiji Temple and Horyuji Temple – dinner

Full day in Kyoto. Maybe Higashiyama district.
Nijo castle, nishiki market – brunch, kiyomizudera, ginkakuji higashiyama – dinner

Early morning Hikari Shinkansen to Hiroshima and then local train and ferry to Miyajima. Explore Miyajima and then go back to Hiroshima to stay.
Peace park, Itsukushima shrine (evening stroll?), explore miyajima

Early morning Shinkansen (Kodama or Hikari) to Himeji. You will arrive around 9 am. Explore Himeji and take 16:02 direct Hikari to Tokyo (19:40).
Himeji castle, garden – brunch, Tokyo walk about ginza area

Day 9 Tokyo 14TH SEP
Leave early for Fuji 5 lake area

Day 10 Fly home. 15TH SEP
Meiji Shrine
by J (guest)  

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/9 10:44
While each day isnt rushed. You are spending around 4 hours a day on transport over 8 days. Seems to be too many locations for 8 days. Multiple hotel chech in and outs will also cost you time.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/9 14:32
Thank yo for the advice, i certainly feel this itinerary might involve too many hotel and location too. Maybe i can rearrange it to be tokyo based + kyoto based with side trip ?
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/9 15:02
I admit being a slow traveler but at least your day 5 has a problem. Nara AND Arashiyama in the same day isnft going to happen. They are in opposite directions.

Day trip to Nara from Kyoto. Tofukuji and Arashiyama

Also the day in Tokyo seems to be really full. Also taking into consideration that itfs your arrival day.

For your other days, specially those with more than 3 destinations, Ifd make a priority choice. If after you managed to see your priority places you have time for the rest, great. If not, at least you saw what you wanted.

As you are zipping so much around make sure to travel super light.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/9 21:03
That first tokyo day is definitely too much, I couldn't do all those things in two days. I'd cut half the things you have planned, it's a trip not boot camp. Also commuting within Kyoto is hell, so be realistic about it and only pick and group the places you really want to visit.
by reprazent rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/13 17:35
Hi all,

I make some revision based on your feedback and this is how it looks -

Question 1 - Is it wise to remove the shirakawago - takayama section?

Question 2 - Spending too much time in Kyoto?

Question 3 - Nara vs Himeji which is a better option?

Question 4 - Hiroshima/Miyaji does it worth the trouble to make the trip?

Question 5 - Niko vs Kamakura, which is a better option?

Thank you in advance

Day 1 to 4 Tokyo (6th – 9th)
Day 1 – Narita Airport pick up JR pass, Tsukuji outer market (brunch), amekoyoko street
Day 2 – Asakusa and Odaiba Full Day
This itinerary combines a trip to the historic Asakusa district, including Sensoji Temple and its narrow shopping streets with a visit to the modern malls and museums on Odaiba. The plan utilizes the Tokyo Water Bus and Yurikamome elevated train to travel between the two districts and stops off at Hama Rikyu garden along the way, in addition Tokyo skytree.
Day 3 – Western Tokyo Full Day
This itinerary takes you on a full day walking tour of Tokyo's popular western districts. Starting at the tranquil, wooded grounds of Meiji Shrine, the plan moves on to explore urban Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku, some of the city's most popular shopping and entertainment districts and centers of Japan's youth culture and fashion.
Day 4 – Niko/Kamakura (?) + Yanaka Ginza (walk about in the evening?)

Day 5 to 8 Kyoto (10th – 13th)
Day 5 – Tokyo to Northern Kyoto Half Day
This is another of our recommended plans for first time visitors to Kyoto, as it covers some of the city's most iconic attractions including Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) and Ryoanji with its world famous Zen garden.
Day 6 – Eastern Kyoto Full Day
A full day exploration of Kyoto's eastern hills, this walking itinerary includes many of the city's most popular temples and shrines including Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji, Yasaka Shrine, Heian Shrine and Nanzenji. The route also leads through the narrow streets of the Higashiyama District and along the Philosopher's Path. Side tour to nishiki market.
Day 7 – Arashiyama Full Day
This full day itinerary includes the major sites in Arashiyama, such as Tenryuji Temple, the bamboo groves and the monkey park, in addition to the quiet streets and small temples in the quaint, rural district north of Arashiyama. Best done by rental bicycle
Day 8 – Nara/Himeji (?)

Day 9 Hiroshima/Miyajima (14th Sep)
Day 9 – Kyoto to Hiroshima/Miyajima

Day 10 Tokyo – Home (15th Sep)
Day 10th depart from Miyajima – Hiroshima - Tokyo
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/13 18:52
Question 1 - Yes, keep it for a future trip.

Question 2 - Never too much for Kyoto, i believe it is probably alot of people favourite city here .

Question 3 - Personally prefer Himeji, can drop by Kobe in the late afternoon on your way back.

Question 4 - Keep it for future trip.

Question 5 - Never been to Nikko, but Kamakura-Enoshima is decent.
by Delardino rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/13 23:14
Thank you Dino!

Based on the itinerary, any suggestion for hotel/location to stay in tokyo and kyoto? I am on a mid level budget....
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/13 23:33
Hi all

I don't mind staying in any type of accommodation, if you have a good experience in one of the more local hotel/ryokan please don't hesitate to let me know... but I highly doubt my mid level budget will be able to get a ryokan.
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/14 09:41
Was going to post a question, but quickly read your itinerary - sorry, didn't have time to read all the responses, but wanted to throw a suggestion to help cut your train travel time.... are you able to leave out of KIX instead of traveling all the way back to Narita, Tokyo and catch your return flight?

Going on my 6th trip in Oct. & am planning to fly into Narita, explore Tokyo 3 days, take Shinkansen to Kyoto, explore Nara, Osaka etc, but leave out of Kansai airport to avoid a long return trip to Tokyo/Narita.

Good luck & happy travels!
by Marynpaolo rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/14 11:40
HI 13JJ,

For Tokyo, any hotels near the Yamanote Line will be good, convenient to get to anywhere you want. Hotel rooms are generally small in Japan but doesn't matter much for me since i'm out all e time, only back at night to sleep. Can try take a look at the Tokyu Stay Shimbashi, personally feel the location not bad, 1 traffic light away and less then 5 mins walk to the station, quite valued for $ 2 yrs back, not sure about it now.

For Kyoto, i only stay in Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura.Urushitei before, it is about 10 mins walk to the main street, if you don't mind that bit of walking can consider too.

by Delardino rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/14 18:51
Thanks for the suggestion, let me try to search for it. Unfortunately my flight is a reward/redeem flight so my entrance and exit point is only Nrt, not able to go via Kix
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/20 15:51
Hi ,

Any suggestion for MUST EAT? we really like local food so appreciate if you can give me some food/restaurant suggestion
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/20 17:01

I did some research and this is my tentative list of must eat - Nigri Sushi, Ramen, Beef, Unagi, Izakaya (more to experience its ambience), Curry rice, Soba noodle, tofu ryori and if budget permit maybe a omakase experience...... Please let me know if i am missing out anything.


1. Brunch - Sushi Nigri at Tsukuji outer market a good choice? or anyother recommendation?

2. Dinner – Izakaya at ueno ameyoko street or yurakukucho at shimbashi a better option?

3. Lunch - Ichiran Ramen or Namara around Asakusa station, or any other suggestion?

4. A friend suggested yoshida curry rice but I am not certain how it will fit into my itinerary, any advice?

5. Where should I go for beef? is it worth while to make a short stop at Kobe on my way back from Himeji to Kyoto to experience the beef?

6. Any suggestion where to try Unagi/Soba noodle and anything I am missing?

7. any suggestion for omakase ? Is it better to have it in Kyoto?

Thank you!
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/20 21:19

If you're cutting out Hiroshima and Miyajima from your trip, you might be better off getting this JapanIcan ticket special.


While the shinkansen ticket is not reserved, you can get on in Tokyo Station and if you are a party of 2 shouldn't have a problem getting a non-reserved seat. And while Kyoto is not a starting station depending on your travel day you shouldn't have too much of an issue there either.

If you go to Nara you can take Kintetsu and if you go to Kamakura it's just not that expensive.

If you plan to walk around Ginza in the evening, you want to go to Kamakura over Nikko. If you want a longer day, then Nikko might make more sense. Nikko is going to run you a minimum of 100 minutes, but I think transfers are not always that good and it might end up being more like 110-120 vs. Kamkura is really just one hour from Tokyo Station.

If you decide on Nikko then I might think about a rail pass, but if you are doing Kamakura I probably would not.

I have liked the Mitsui chain in Tokyo. I thought the Otemachi Mitsui had a nicer bed than than the fancier Nihonbashi branch, but the staff, location and rooms were just lovely at the Nihonbashi branch and it was a bit more upscale than the Otemachi branch. I also liked the Royal Park in Shiodome. I've stayed at one of their branches in Kyoto as well and regret not staying there again my most recent trip. I got a super low rate at the Visicho near Kyoto Station (about $100 USD a night) and they have free hot beverages. The bed was hard though and the room was smaller than I would like. It does have an actual window though unlike the Intergate. I just did the Karasaka in Shinsaibashi on a super low rate, but my room was literally next to the expressway and again the bed was hard. The room itself was very pretty and large and they give you a cup of free wine each night per adult from 20:00-22:00. There are also free snacks. I probably wouldn't go back though. I am awful picky. For splurging I still love the Tokyo Station Hotel, though I've not stayed at other luxury chains in Japan.

I find Kyoto is much easier to find hotels in the $80-150 USD a night range that are somewhat upscale vs. Tokyo.

I can't make restaurant recommendations as we are picky and have dietary restrictions.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/20 22:56
You may want to try out Unagi Hirokawa at Arashiyama. I didn't try it before but reviews seem to be good.
Another 1 you may want to check out first at Pontocho, Kichi Kichi Omurice, i think need reservation for this, but could be abit overhype.
by Delardino rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on Tokyo - Kyoto Itinerary 2019/8/21 17:26
TQ! i read some review and it seems to be a Michelin star unagi restaurant! Reservation seems to be necessary but the website is offline......I guess I will get the hotel to help once I touch down in Tokyo...
by 13JJ rate this post as useful

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