Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka / 5.5 days, 5 nights
If you are in a rush to get to know Japan, a week or less could be enough to have a real Japanese experience. We travelled from Cebu City, Philippines to Narita, Japan in April (cherry blossom season in Japan) but I do intend to stay longer next time. Here’s a look at my travel plan. *Warning: Involves a lot of a walking with free body massages courtesy of BIC Camera massage chairs.
Day 1: Get around Ginza in Chūō, Tokyo and find a good ramen place. Try the strawberry or matcha mochi for dessert. I am a big fan of matcha and mochi (mochi ice cream is delicious). Japanese food is clearly a winner!
Day 2: Visit the Meiji Shrine for a few hours in the morning, walk to Shibuya shopping district, explore the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, and spend the night in the busy Shinjuku District. An efficient way to travel around Tokyo is, of course, the Tokyo subway. The best way to discover alleyways and hidden gems? WALKING.
Day 3: Travel to Kyoto via Osaka by the Shinkansen bullet train. Stroll around the Kyoto streets at night and have a tasty Japanese dinner. Tip: Kyoto restaurants usually require advanced bookings on Friday or Saturday nights.
Day 4: Explore the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the traditional Kyoto district of Higashiyama. Don’t miss the street food! In the afternoon, explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, Kyoto. You can do all these things in a kimono. Rent one for a day if you feel like being adventurous!
Day 5: Spend the morning in Fushimi Inari-taisha. After lunch, travel to Osaka by the high speed Shinkansen service or the Japan Rail Pass (cheaper). Discover the quiet streets of Osaka until you get to the downtown area of Dotonbori. Osaka is a foodie heaven. So enjoy the crowd, the food, and the lights!
Day 6: Visit the Osaka Castle and its grounds in Chūō-ku, Osaka. During the sakura season, walk through random parks filled with cherry blossoms. They are picturesque!
Japan has become my second favourite country in the world. It has interesting culture, food, and people. I can’t wait to experience more of it and its cool vending machines!