It’s been ages since my last trip to Japan. February 2013 to be precise. A lot has happened in the meantime. I studied dentistry, moved two times, and fell in love again. Going back was always on top of my wishlist but something was always in the way. Most of the time my funds were just not enough to make a worthwhile trip. Or at least that’s what I always thought.
You might have guessed it from reading this blog, but I enjoy buying and collecting things. Lately, I try to focus more on experiences instead. But a few years ago (and even a few months ago) my mindset was more focused on materialistic things. My grandparents with whom I spent a big part of my childhood are big collectors and that’s probably why I still can’t get rid of that completionist tick completely.
After my last attempt at a holiday in summer 19 my girlfriend and we just wanted to spend three weeks in Provence, we were longing for a real holiday without any accidents or turbulences. And now we finally took the plunge: Three weeks in Japan: From mid-September till early October.
So far we only booked a small, hopefully cozy, apartment for a week in Tokyo in Shinagawa. After that, we will visit Kyoto for six days where we found an awesome hotel right in the center of attention which just looks plain amazing. It’s called Good Nature Hotel, houses several restaurants and a pretty fancy-looking supermarket on the lower floors. I will make tons of pictures for you, that much is guaranteed.
After that, we’re looking for some quiet, relaxing days. I’m not much of a backpacker and because we’ll be traveling with two suitcases each I try to keep the actual traveling to a minimum. Or rather I want to keep the hotel/apartment changing to a minimum. Btw. I’m still looking for a new suitcase pair (cabin/check-in M). Always wanted a Rimowa set but since LVMH took over the brand I can’t justify the price anymore.
If you have any tips on what we should visit, and where to stay, all help is really really appreciated.
What really would be great after visiting all these cities would be some downtime in an onsen/spa city. If you have any suggestions about which town/city would make a great stay on our way back from Kyoto or Osaka, please let me know.
I’m still debating whether or not visiting Osaka for a few days after Kyoto makes sense. A friend of mine told me we should just visit for a day during our Kyoto stay. Decisions, decisions. You see, I need your help with this trip. Another 8 days in Japan are to be planned location-wise.
And of course, I need a bunch of suggestions about what to do, where to eat, and where to shop in Kyoto and Tokyo.
Like always, thanks for reading. My Japanese study routine is still at 3 new cards of JALUP (the fantastic app no got a new name) each day and I’m trying to get used to the abysmally small fonts of JUMP manga again. All that iPad reading spoiled me.
Definitely check out J-Trip Plan and Tokyo Eye, both NHK World tv shows. Plenty of suggestions there, including stuff to do, onsens, cultural sites and places to eat.
Never heard about both of them. Thanks a lot for the suggestions. Already added them on youtube.
Really cool that you’re going there for a second time. The second time I visited I had similar questions,where to go? Should i visit this or that a second time? what to leave out? so this is what I did:
– The first time I visited, I did not focus as much on the food as I wanted, so here is my suggestion to you: splurge a little, pick a good sushi place or spend some money on a good eel with rice dish. Try out french pastry restaurants (mont blanc), especially in that period they have a lot of chestnut type desserts and japanese are simply better at french desserts. Try anmitsu (traditional japanese dessert)
– Since I am a bit more materialistic I won’t bother you with action figures or other kits, so I would suggest to stay away from places like Akihabara or Nakano broadway
– If there is a place you really want to see a second time, then just do it!
– Visit the park hyatt hotel and drink a cocktail and enjoy the view
– Try to visit the hipster like town of Shimokitazawa, very relaxed atmosphere and very good coffee shops
– Go visit Lake tama and hire a bike at “pokito a poko”, (very nice guy btw) to cycle around this big lake. If you’re lucky you can see mount fuji
– Go visit Hakone if you want onsens and nature. 2 days if you can. At the big stations they sell the “2 day pass” for hakone so you can freely use the transportation system. Please check to see if operations are running normally (volcanic activity, or landslides) please see -> https://www.odakyu.jp/english/passes/hakone/ . With the hakone free pass you can also get a discount for the very excellent “Yuryo onsen” . a free shuttle bass departs every 15 minutes from hakone station and brings you to this onsen. Or if you can, book a good ryokan with private bath over there. It costs 200 a night, but it is worth it.
– Go to Yokohama & chinatown and it’s harbor.
– If you decide to go to Kyoto and Osaka, then definitely visit Himeji castle. It’s big, and you can visit the inside of the castle.
– Rent a bike at kamakura and visit enoshima. (miniature kyoto)
In the end I did not go to Kyoto for the second time, temples are nice and all but after you have seen the fifth temple you lose a bit of interest. Visit Osak
– Visit the T-site in daikanyama, just beautiful for its architecture alone (and books on architecture) and also visit the star bucks over there, it is huge and an experience on itself.
– I had loads of fun visiting Yanaka and the cemetery it has, there is a very nice place where you can eat mont blanc (but come early! opens up at 10, usually long waiting lines) there is also a very nice yakitori place
– Tsukiji is still fun and a good place to eat the best sushi, but without the fish market it has lost its appeal a bit.
I have more information if you want!
Lars, wow. So many ideas and great tips. Did you use a concierge service for booking at specific restaurants or did the hotel help you out with that? Splurging on food was already on top of my list. Of course I want to buy a couple of things (mainly clothing) but want to hold back on books this time :)
So far my trip is planned as followed:
– 7 days in Tokyo
– 6 days in Kyoto
– 5 days in Osaka
– 2 days in Yokohama because of the close proximity to the Haneda airport.
Everything is booked but I’m felxible with cancellations.
Will check out all your tips one by one. Really great stuff, thanks for taking the time.
Thank you for your shening. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your enticle that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me? https://accounts.binance.com/en/register-person?ref=P9L9FQKY