This seems like a tuff job to do (and I have been procrastinating it for weeks now…) Its not that I don’t have have much to share, rather its too much and really difficult for a novice writer like me.
So, here it goes our kick-ass 10 day itinerary of Japan. Maximizing the Japan experience was our sole purpose and below I will also share a few things that (unfortunately) got left out from our trip, but would have definitely added to the Japan experience.
- Day 1 -3 : Tokyo : There are a lot of things to see and do in Tokyo, a careful selection is a must. Here’s what we did:On day 1, we headed out to Takeshita dori (street) near Harajuku station. Probably one of the busiest streets,it is packed with shops on either sides. Everything from funky clothes to candies and footwear was on offer. I was particularly interested in trying out crapes and the rainbow cotton candy. To sum up this street provided with exactly what we needed on a cloudy winter evening- a pop of vibrant colour. After Takeshita dori we headed to Shibuya crossing one of the craziest crossing ever and saw the Hachiko statue.
On day 2, we started from Meiji Shrine followed by Asakusa the Nakamise street and Senso-ji Shrine. Strolled through Akihabara. Odaiba was the last stop for the day.
Day 3, was for exploring the shopping streets of Ginza.
- Day 4: Hiroshima via Kanazawa: we decided to begin our journey from the farthest point (i.e. Hiroshima) on our list and work back towards Tokyo from there.
Starting early in the morning, headed towards Kanazawa. After spending the day there we reached Hiroshima at night.
- Day 5: Hiroshima: We began our day early (as usual) and decided to go to Miyajima shrine first. After this we headed towards the Hiroshima castle followed by the atomic bomb site and peace memorial. A good idea would be to take the tourist bus service, they cover all the tourist spots and is covered under the JR pass.A few pointer on visiting Miyajima :
(1)Tide timings: It’s more majestic during the high tide, although during low tide it is possible to walk upto the torii gate.
(2) Early morning/sunset would be a good setting for beautiful pictures.
(3) Exploring the island requires half a day at least.
- Day 6: Osaka: One can choose from the numerous options Osaka offers, we being nature lovers headed out on a trek to Minooh Falls. It was a beautiful walk and we were lucky enough to spot a few Maple trees with autumn leaves on them.
- Day 7: Kyoto: Started early, took a 24 hour pass for the Kyoto City bus and headed for a visual and cultural treat; Kyoto. Easy to navigate and well connected, we were able to check off all the major places we had on our list. All of these spots were beautiful and unique in some way, being fascinated with the art-culture and architecture for so long, visiting Kyoto was a delightful experience. I’ll quickly list the name of all places we went to here for more check this site.Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine : the one with the orange torii gates path, it is beautiful so do not miss this one.
Kinkakuji-michi : This is the temple with the gold pavilion and was a personal favourite.
Gion: This is a huge and happening area however, between all the modernization,there is a small pocket that still reflects the beauty of ancient Kyoto. Do visit the Shirakawa street just near the Hanamichi area. The street forks into Y-shape and has a small bridge which goes over a narrow canal of water. It was perhaps the most beautiful street there. It was not crowded or noisy was simple rustic and beautiful.
- Day 8: Osaka/Himeji: We headed out to the majestic Himeji castle on the 8th day. The beautiful white building has survived through the war and bombing and is a fine example of Japanese craftsmanship.
After half a day exploring the castle we headed back to explore Osaka city.
- Day 9: Matsumoto: Matsumoto was the last stop on our trip but we were in no hurry to get there. We decided to take a little detour and see the Japanese Alps region in its full winter glory. JR Hida Line became our choice of ride and we reached Matsumoto in the evening after making brief stops at Toyama and Takayama.
- Day 10: Matsumoto-Nagoya and back: Checked out the Matsumoto castle and headed out to Nagoya.
This was our last day and we wanted to make most of it, Nagoya is a beautiful city with several tourist spots but we decided to pause a little and enjoy playing in the snow.
My husband and I have never had the privilege to stay in a place which would receive snowfall, on the contrary we have lived in hot-humid places for most of our lives and are crazy about snow ! The Noritake Garden was an ideal spot for this and we also saw the Tokushoji shrine which was nearby.
These were very busy and really well spent 10 day. However we did miss out on a few things which we decided would be covered in out next trip 😉 .
- Sumo wrestling in Tokyo: Yes, one can go and see the Sumo wrestlers at practice however one need to reach there early in the morning (around 7). We came to know this at the end of our Tokyo haul and will be done in our next trip.
- Ogimachi village: It is World heritage site and visited by huge number of people. Needs booking of bus tickets well in advance.
- Day trips from Tokyo and/or Nagoya: There are many beautiful places to around Tokyo and Nagoya. Which I feel should be a part of the itinerary.
I have added a map below to give a visual idea of the places we covered. Hope this itinerary come handy when you plan a trip. Oh, and if you feel there’s more to be added, feel free to do so. Even we would add it to our next Japan trip. 😉