Planning My Japan Itinerary

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Planning My Japan Itinerary

I just started planning for a trip to Japan with friends so figured I could share an outline of my planned itinerary and can come back with actual trip reports once I start the trip. The general outline is 3 days in Kyoto, 2 days in Takayama and 5 days in Tokyo. I’m very excited, as I am with any travel opportunity. But should state that this does not appear to be a budget, under $50 a day, type of trip. Not to say that you can’t do an affordable trip to Japan, you very much can. Japan is known for having very affordable capsule hotels for under $20 a day, as well as several guesthouses and the standard hostels, all of which would allow for cheap accommodations. But this trip’s purpose is to enjoy time with dear friends (who prefer not to rough it), during a time in which I have been facing a lot of grief with the illness of my dad. Plus it’s my birthday and wedding anniversary so husband wants to splurge a little.

Day 1 in Kyoto: Northern Higashiyama area

Link To Kyoto Day 1 Map (Northern Higashiyama) – HERE
Day 1 Kyoto: Northern Higashiyama area
5:15am:Leave Apartment to Kiyomizu-Gojo Station
north 1 stop to Sanjo Station
ai Line 各停Rokujizo — 2 stops to Keage Station
6:00amBZazen meditation class called “Gyo-ten Zazen” (Xia Tian Zen meditation)
Location: 龍淵閣 [TEL: 075 (771) 0365]
Second and Fourth Sunday, 1 hour mediation session
7:00amCNanzen-ji Temple
Zen temple at the base of the Higashiyama Mountains
Surrounded by small subtemples:
DNanzen-in (Nanzenji Furoyamacho)
Nanzen Oku-no-in – a secret waterfall
200 meters up in the hills behind the temple
To get here, walk up to the red-brick aqueduct in front of Nanzen-in. Follow the road that runs parallel to the aqueduct up into the hills, and walk past (or through) Kōtoku-an, a small subtemple on your left. Continue up the steps into the woods until you reach a waterfall in a beautiful mountain glen.
E, F, GPath of Philosophy
Path begins around Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and ends in the neighborhood of Nanzenji.
HHonen-in Temple,
IGinkaku-ji Temple
AKA “Silver Pavilion”, has magnificent halls and gardens

Day 2 in Kyoto: Southern Higashiyama and Fushimi-Inari

Link To Kyoto Day 2 (Southern Higashiyama) Map – HERE
MAPDay 2: Southern Higashiyama, Downtown and Fushimi-Inari
A20 min walk to Kiyomizu-dera Temple
B9:00am:Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kyoto’s must-see attractions
The closest bus stop is Gojozaka
Also enter Tainai-Meguri subterranean
C – F10:00am:Sannen-zaka and Ninnen-zaka
Two well preserved streets,
to Maruyama-koen Park
E11:00am:Yasaka Shrine
Kyoto’s most important shrines, overlooks the Gion entertainment district
G11:30am:Chion-in Temple
Known as The Vatican of Pure Land Buddhism
H12:30am:Shoren-in Temple
Temple looks out over a tranquil pond.
Enjoy a cup of tea overlooking the garden.
1:00pm:Lunch & Rest
other3:00pm:Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine
single most impressive sight in all of Kyoto
AfternoonReturn to Hotel for Rest
7pm:Dinner Downtown
After dinner walk over to Shimbashi in Gion (geisha district)
 AStart from Shijo-Ohashi Bridge
walk north on the east side of Kawabata River to the end of Shirakawa-dori.
  BFollow it east and you’ll get to the Shimbashi District
Shimbashi District (also known as Shirakawa), which is the most beautiful street in Kyoto.
make your way through the alleys south to Shijo-dori
 Cwalk east to Shijo and cross over into Hanami-koji, another picturesque lane.

Day 3 in Kyoto: Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji and Daitoku-ji

Link To Kyoto Day 3 (Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji and Daitoku-ji) Map – HERE
Day 3: Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji and Daitoku-ji
ATenryu-ji Temple
Zen temple with one of the best gardens in Kyoto
BArashiyama Bamboo Grove
COkochi-Sanso Villa
Villa –  former home of a wealthy Japanese actor
Lunch in Arashiyama
Taxi to Kinkaku-ji Temple
DKinkaku-ji Temple
Iconic “Golden Pavilion”
Back to hotel to rest
Evening stroll down Pontocho Alley

Two Days in Takayama

Link To Takayama Map – HERE

Highlight of this trip is staying and relaxing in a traditional Japanese inn called a Ryokan. Ryokans (旅館) have existed since 7 A.D and were primarily located on the Tokaido Highway between the capital city of Edo (current day Tokyo) and the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. The traditional, Japanese-style accommodations usually include:

By 663highland – CC BY 2.5, Link
Link To Takayama Map – HERE
  • in-door and/or out-door “onsens” (therapeutic hot spring baths)
  • “tatami” mat flooring
  • low wooden tables
  • “zabuton” (sitting cushions)
  • futon (sleeping quilts)
  • an “oshiire” (a closet for futon sleeping quilts)
  • a “tokonoma” (an ornamental alcove built into the wall for flowers)
  • an “engawa” (a glass enclosed sitting area separated from the room by a shoji)
  • “shoji” (sliding paper doors) separates rooms

Top Must See Sites in Takayama

三町筋Sanmachi Suji District
Three beautifully preserved streets in the heart of old town
Nearest Transport: 12min walk from Takayama Station
東山遊歩道Higashiyama Walkway (Higashiyama Yuhodo)
Path goes through the grounds of several small shrines and temples.
Glimpse of the Japan Alps on top of the Hakusan-jinja Shrine steps
Nearest Transport: 20min walk from Takayama Station
吉島家住宅Yoshijima Heritage House
Admission: Y500
Famed for its superb carpentry traditions
See the high quality of the construction in this wealthy house built back in 1907.
Nearest Transport: 17min walk from Takayama Station

Top Attractions Around Takayama

新穂高ロープウェイShinhotaka Ropeway (Cable Car)
Phenomenal view of the entire northern Japan Alps
Nearest Transport: In front of Shinhotaka Ropeway Bus Stop, Nohi Bus from Takayama Station
Admission: Y2900 (roundtrip)
Located 35 kilometers northwest of Takayama,
Shirakawa-go is a village with over 100 traditional thatch-roof houses, known as gassho-zukuri in Japanese
Listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site
Nearest Transport: Bus from Takayama Station Nohi Bus Center

Other Attractions In Takayama

高山祭屋台会館Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall
Admission: Y820
Check out some of the festival floats as well as see videos of the annual festival
Near Sakayama Hachimangu Shrine.
Nearest Transport: 20min walk from Takayama Station
桜山八幡宮Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine
Lovely Shinto shrine is a nice place for a stroll
Near the Festival Floats Hall
Also near the start of the Higashiyama Walkway
Nearest Transport: 20min walk from Takayama Station
日下部民藝館Kusakabe Folk Crafts Museum
Admission: Y500
Small museum of local crafts located in a stunning historical building
Near the Yoshijima Heritage House
Nearest Transport: 17min walk from Takayama Station
飛騨民俗村・飛騨の里Hida no Sato (Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village)
Admission: Y700
Collection of thatch-roof houses from central Japan
A lovely park with a central pond surrounded by beautifully constructed homes. You can enter many of them
Too far from the station to walk so take a taxi or the “Sarubobo” bus

Five Days in Tokyo

Need a break from the hot summer heat? Here’s a few Public Pools Around TokyoHere
Travel Tokyo by Bike – I found this awesome biking map – Here
2018-01-27T15:57:53+00:00 Categories: Japan, Travel Planning|Tags: |

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