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Japan itinerary 10 days – a Japan trip blog by Nomadic Boys

Japan itinerary 10 days – a Japan trip blog by Nomadic Boys

Japan is an incredible country. Everything is so advanced, done with such careful precision, immaculate attention to detail – and always with a smile. The Japanese culture itself is rich with tradition, dating back thousands of years and manifests itself in the way the people behave to each other, the many beautiful temples and even in the delicious Japanese food.

This is our Japan 10 days trip itinerary for first timers to discover the best the country has to offer.

We set out two different options: the first itinerary making the perfect combination between culture and beach holiday by hitting the big highlights with a few days of tropical paradise.

The second itinerary is more of a cultural journey through Japan, taking in the big bustling capital city, the Japanese countryside around Takayama, the rich culture of Kyoto and an important educational visit to Hiroshima.

OPTION 1: Tokyo, Kyoto and the Yaeyama islands

This itinerary is a journey through some of the country’s cultural highlights, taking you to Tokyo and Kyoto, before flying south to the Yaeyama islands to discover tropical Japan.

Day 1 : Tokyo

Tokyo is a crazy, chaotic, frenetic and crowded city that never sleeps. It is also the main transport hub in and out of the country.

You could easily spend 2 weeks in Tokyo and leave complaining it wasn’t enough. However, for our 10 days itinerary, we suggest staying here 2 days on arrival to get a feel of the city and rest off the jet lag. Then a final overnight visit on the way back from the Yaeyama islands before flying back home.

Japan itinerary blog izakaya Shinbashi Tokyo Seb

Sebastien lost in a maze of izakayas in Tokyo’s Shinbashi neighbourhood

ACTIVITIES TO DO IN TOKYO

  • Transform into a geisha: Learn about the elusive geisha by transforming into one! You can read more about our geisha transformation experience at the Studio Geisha Cafe.
  • Onsen: onsens are at the very core of Japanese culture. These are public baths sourced by natural hot springs and the perfect way to conquer jet lag. Our favourite is the Maenohara Onsen (1180 yen/$11 per person) – closest metro station is Shimura-sakaue.
  • Food tour: an innovative way to discover downtown Tokyo and dive straight into some of the unique food prizes. We recommend Arigato Food Tours ($120 per person) who will show you the best izakayas (Japanese gastro pubs) around Ginza, Yurakucho and Shinbashi.
Tokyo food tour Japan 10 days itinerary

Stefan going chicken crazy for his latest sashimi discovery

  • Tsukiji Fish Market: the world’s largest fish market is big fish business: in January 2012, a bluefin tuna sold for 56.4 million yen ($510,200)! If you miss the early morning 4am auctions, you can turn up before it shuts at midday for some of the tastiest and fresh sushi in the nearby restaurants.
  • Gourmet fine dining: the Nadaman restaurant at the Shangri-La is a perfect setting to experience Kaiseki: the Japanese traditional fine dining. It has incredible views of the city from up high and makes for a romantic special evening with your loved one.
Japan trip blog Kaiseki fine dining Tokyo

Our Kaiseki at the Nadaman restaurant included an appetiser work of art, the famous Wagyu beef and fresh heavenly sashimi

  • Cooking class: learn to make sushi, Bento boxes and more in a cooking class.
  • Authentic Dining with Locals: Taste Japanese dishes with warm-hearted hosts at their home. We highly recommend Tadaku- With Locals who offers very local dining experience totally different from eating at restaurants. Enjoy deep cultural communication and mom’s taste as if you homestay in Japan. You can claim 500 yen OFF your booking if you mention the code NOMADIC_TDK when contacting them.
  • Karaoke in Shinjuku bars: the Japanese love their karaoke and what better way to embrace Japanese culture than to belt out a few power ballads after a few sakes (Japanese rice wine). Most bars will have a juke box, especially the ones in Shinjuku.
  • Shibuya crossing: this famous pedestrian intersection outside Shibuya Station is notorious  for being the ideal spot to get a real feel of just how hectic Tokyo is. When the road signs turn red, an invasion of bodies take over the entire area.

For more information about the Tokyo nightlife, check out our LGBT guide to Tokyo.

 

Tadaku dining with locals in Tokyo Japan trip blog

Dining with locals with Tadaku. Photo source: http://locals.tadaku.com

WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO

  • The Shangri-La Hotel: Amazing luxury hotel in the heart of the city. From the moment you walk in, you are made to feel welcome and taken care of. It is located right next to Tokyo Station and also a handy base for the Shinkansen high speed bullet train. The rooms are high up so has some jaw dropping views of the bustling city below, along with a heated pool, spa and fitness centre. Rooms start from 71,200 yen ($650) a night.
  • The Hyatt Regency Tokyo: Located in Shinjuku, near the city’s busy night life, the Hyatt Regency is a great mid-budget option. They’ve got a blow-your-mind entrance, beautifully decorated and popular for wedding receptions. Rooms start from 27,000 yen ($247) a night.
  • Imano Hostel: convenient budget option in Shinjuku with dorm beds starting from 3,500 yen ($32) a night.
Japan trip blog Tokyo luxury hotel

Feeling like a Boss at the plush Shangri-La in Tokyo


Day 2-4: Kyoto

Kyoto is THE place to head to truly immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Remember all of those beautiful iconic scenes in Memoirs of a Geisha? They’re set right here.

Kyoto was the former capital city of Japan until it was moved to Tokyo in 1869. It has retained its regal charm and as a result is packed with incredible gardens, beautiful monuments and heaps of blow-me-away temples.

Japan 10 days itinerary Kyoto Golden Temple

The majestic and iconic Golden Temple of Kyoto standing proud

WHAT TO DO IN KYOTO

  • The Golden Temple (Kinkaku-Ji): is the mother of all temples and the most iconic image of Japan. As such it’s very popular, so come early in the day to avoid the crowds.
  • The Philosopher’s Path: a pedestrian stone path that’s just over a mile long, following a cherry-tree lined canal in East Kyoto and a popular spot to see the cherry blossom in the springtime.
  • The Silver Temple (the Ginkaku-Ji): located near the Philosopher’s Path and famous for the beautiful, immaculately preserved gardens surrounding it. This was where former Emperors would come for contemplation and meditation.
Kyoto itinerary Japan trip blog Silver Temple

The pristine gardens lining the Silver Temple

  • Fushimuri Inari Shrine: this is the shrine to Inari, the Japanese god of rice and patron of business. It contains thousands of “torri” red gates, lined against each other, creating numerous corridors. These corridors take you up the Sacred Anari Mountain, 733 feet high, with some incredible views across the city.
Japan trip blog Kyoto Fushimuri shrine

Stefan at the Fushimuri Inari Shrine in Kyoto

  • Geisha spotting in Gion: Gion is the geisha district area of Kyoto where Memoirs of a Geisha is set. People come here to try and get their money shot of one of the 2,000 elusive geisha.
  • The Sagano Bamboo Forest at Arashiyama: another iconic image of Japan you’ll fall in love with. The forest is famous for the rustling sound of the wind as it blows amongst the bamboo. The path through it is serene, peaceful and very romantic. Arashiyama is a district in Northwestern Kyoto, 30 minutes by train and definitely worth the journey.

Check out our what to do in Kyoto guide for more about this magnificent city’s cultural highlights.

Planning a trip to Japan Kyoto Arashiyama place to visit

The serene and peaceful bamboo forest at Arashiyama in Kyoto

 WHERE TO STAY IN KYOTO

  • Hotel Granvia Kyoto: is the place to come and feel like you’re royalty. The location is perfect, just above the JR Kyoto station. The architecture is modern and has a huge swimming pool. The buffet has a wide selection of fresh food, with both Japanese and Western options available. Prices start from 26,000 yen ($260) a night.
  • B&B Keiko: this guesthouse is set in a traditional old Japanese house, with a beautiful cosy garden. It is just 5 minutes walking distance to the Imperial Palace. We completely fell in love with Keiko, the owner. She ensures all her guests feel at home and will help you plan your stay in Kyoto thoroughly. Prices start from 10,000 yen ($100) for a double room and 7,500 yen ($75) for a single.
Japan itinerary Kyoto Golden Temple Stefan

Stefan admiring the iconic Golden Temple in Kyoto


Day 5-8: Yaeyama islands

The Yaeyama islands make up the southernmost inhabited archipelago of Japan, some 2,000 kilometres (1,242 miles) from Tokyo. This group of untouched islands offer a total change of scenery in a subtropical climate.

This is the ideal destination to unwind and experience the natural beauty of the Japanese jungle, unspoiled beaches and pristine reefs.

Map of yaeyama islands

Yaeyama islands are the southernmost archipelago of Japan

Ishigaki is the most populated island of the archipelago and the transport hub, with daily flights to/from Kyoto and Tokyo airports.

Iriomote is one of the largest islands, but least populated, with only 2,000 inhabitants. With 90% covered in dense jungle and mangrove swamps, Iriomote is an adventure sanctuary.

Taketomi is one of the smaller islands, just 1km long, with stunning white sandy beaches and at its centre, a village which has maintained its traditional charm from the Ryukyu kingdom.

In order to maximise your time in the Yaeyama islands, we advise spreading your stay between Ishigaki island for the first few days, then Iriomote for the remaining period so you can explore the surrounding rainforest.

Japan trip blog Japan 10 days itinerary Yaeyama islands

Tropical paradise in the Yaeyama islands

WHERE TO STAY IN THE YAEYAMA ISLANDS

Ishigaki is the main island most tourists base themselves on because it is the most developed and the main transport hub into and out of the Yaeyama islands. As a result it is more crowded, but will have greater variety of cultural activities, like the Yaima Cultural Village and of course more dining options.

Iriomote on the other hand is more remote, peaceful, with fewer tourists. Most come here as a day trip from Ishigaki and leave.

Where you choose to base yourself comes down to whether you prefer being close to all the action or away from it all, closer to nature. We chose to split our time between the 2 to get the most out of each island.

Where to stay on Ishigaki:

  • ANA Intercontinental Ishigaki Resort: popular with honeymooners and minutes walking distance to Maezato beach. ANA has a heated pool, public bath, fitness centre and spa for that all important holiday massage splurge. Note that if you are an IHG loyalty member, you get 20% off all food and drink. Rooms start from 24,000 yen ($230) a night.
  • Ishigaki Seaside Hotel: a more affordable option close to Kabira Bay and with beach access. The bungalows have Jacuzzis on their private terrace, making it ideal for couples and an all round winner for us! The rooms in the main building all have sea facing views – this is a massive highlight because they are West facing, so expect some stunning #sunsetporn. Our main highlights however from the Ishigaki Seaside Hotel were the tres chic matching pyjamas they offer all guests. Rooms start from 21,000 yen ($200) a night.
Japan trip blog 10 days itinerary Ishigaki hotel

Strike a pose at the Ishigaki Seaside Hotel

Where to stay on Iriomote:

  • Jungle Hotel Painu Maya: another hidden gem in the middle of the jungle. It’s remote, so don’t come expecting the fastest Wi-Fi, ATMs or variety of dining options. Just 1 place to eat…all part of the joy of being remote and away from everything. It’s close to the beach and also has its own indoor and outdoor onsen. Rooms start from 17,750 ($170) a night.
  • Hotel Nirakanai Iriomote: has pristine, rubbish free beach where they do morning yoga classes. This is where celebrities are more likely to stay if visiting the island and we did spot a film crew during our stay here. Great beach to hang out at after a day of jungle trekking. Rooms start from 16,750 yen ($160) a night.
Japan trip blog Iriomote hotel

Sebastien enjoying the swimming pool at Hotel Niraikanai Iriomote

WHAT TO DO IN THE YAEYAMA ISLANDS

1) Diving and snorkelling

The scuba diving in the Yaeyama islands is the best in the whole country and after our outstanding diving experience in the Komodo National Park, we were keen to get back into the underwater world. We recommend Prime Scuba Ishigaki Diving who have an established diving shop on Ishigaki island and speak English.

Some highlights from snorkelling and scuba diving in the Yaeyama islands include:

  • Manta Rays Scramble: this is a cleaning station near Kabira Beach on Ishigaki. You’re almost guaranteed to spot Manta Rays from Spring to Autumn, particularly June to September.
  • Baras Island: the coral around Baras island is ideal for diving and snorkelling. It’s worth spending at least a day just to explore the tropical world here. You can go on a day trip from either Ishigaki or Iriomote.
  • Yonaguni Monument: this is a submerged rock formation, off the coast of Yonaguni island and considered Japan’s underwater “Pyramid”. Since its discovery in 1980s, it’s caused so much controversy because experts can’t determine if it’s natural or man made. Recent research suggests it could be the remains of an underwater city called Mu, dating back at least 5,000 years.
  • Hammerhead sharks: Yonaguni also attracts its share of Hammerhead sharks, which can be spotted throughout the year, particularly between December to February.
japan trip blog 10 days itinerary Nomadic Boys diving

Diving around Baras Island

2) Things to do on Ishigaki island

  • Try awamori: the unique type of sake (Japanese rice wine) from Okinawa. Unlike traditional sake from mainland Japan awamori is distilled not brewed. You can get it in most restaurants in the Yaeyama islands, served neat with ice and a glass of water to mix.
  • Kabira Bay: attracts thousands of tourists every year who come to marvel at the turquoise waters promised by the guide books and (ahem!) blog posts you read online. Come here to hear cries of sugoi (amazing!) or kirei (beautiful!) by Japanese tourists also enjoying the views across the bay.
Japan trip blog Ishigaki itinerary Kabira Bay

A romantic moment at Kabira Bay

  • Yaima Cultural Village: you can spend half a day here experiencing the local Ryukyu culture, with dances and performances showcasing the music. The Yaima Cultural Village also houses a group of cute and playful squirrel monkeys, which are completely safe to interact with. Fancy a bit of dress up? Try on the beautiful and super colourful Ryukyu kimonos:

3) Things to do on Taketomi island

Taketomi is a tiny inhabited island, just a few miles southwest of Ishigaki. There’s frequent ferries from Ishigaki, which only take 10-15 minutes so perfect for a fun day trip. The village of Taketomi is crying out to be photographed, with traditional Ryukyu red-tiled one-story houses down the narrow lanes, each lined with white coral walls and the roofs decorated with traditional shiisaa good luck figurines.

Japan trip blog Taketomi itinerary

A shiisaa figurine on one of the houses on Taketomi island and a symbol of good luck

  • Cycling: Taketomi is small and flat, making it ideal for cycling. Bike rentals are widely available and it only takes a few hours to cycle around the entire island.
  • Beaches: Taketomi has some impressive beaches, in particular Kaiji Beach, famous its tiny star shaped sand. Also check out Kondoi Beach which is much larger and ideal for lounging (and playing) in the sun.
Japan trip blog Kondoi beach Taketomi island

Stefan enjoying some Vitamin Sea on Taketomi’s Kondoi beach

4) Things to do on Iriomote

Iriomote is Japan’s jungle island and THE place to come for those seeking adventure. There’s more nature than people spread across this large island as well as an abundance of wildlife ranging from wild boars to the elusive Iriomote cat.

Japan trip blog Iriomote cat museum

We spotted the elusive Iriomote cat…but only a statue at the informative Iriomote Wildlife Centre (IMC)

In order to get the most out of your time on Iriomote, we recommend doing a tour with a reputable company like Iriomote Kayak Tour Service who have friendly and attentive English speaking guides.

Some adventure highlights you need to include in your Iriomote itinerary include:

  • snorkelling and diving in the beautiful coral reef surrounding the island.
  • beach time in some of the many coves and inlets, each hiding a deserted beach.
  • kayaking in the tropical rivers, surrounded by mangroves.
  • jungle trekking through the thick, dense jungle.
  • cooling off at the base of a mighty waterfall with a picnic lunch and your lover to hand…

To read more about our experiences in the Yaeyama islands, read our article for Mr Hudson Explores.

Japan 10 days itinerary Iriomote Pinaisara waterfall

A romantic moment at the base of the mighty Pinaisara Waterfall on Iriomote island

GETTING AROUND THE YAEYAMA ISLANDS

To get into the Yaeyama islands, there are daily direct flights to Ishigaki from both Kyoto and Tokyo airports. For the best deals, we recommend checking on Skyscanner.

To travel between islands, there are daily scheduled ferries to/from each island. Tickets can be bought on the day at the port terminal.

Day 9-10: Tokyo

For your last two days in Toyko, see dropdown box above about what to do and where to stay.

OPTION 2: Tokyo, Takayama, Kyoto, Hiroshima

This is the classic and most popular 10 days Japan itinerary which includes Tokyo, the Japanese countryside of Takayama, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

Day 1: Tokyo

Tokyo is a crazy, chaotic, frenetic and crowded city that never sleeps. It is also the main transport hub in and out of the country.

You could easily spend 2 weeks in Tokyo and leave complaining it wasn’t enough! However, for our 10 days itinerary, we suggest staying here 2 days on arrival to get a feel of the city and rest off the jet lag! Then a final overnight visit on the way back from the Yaeyama islands before you fly back home.

Japan itinerary blog izakaya Shinbashi Tokyo Seb

Sebastien lost in a maze of izakayas in Tokyo’s Shinbashi neighbourhood

ACTIVITIES TO DO IN TOKYO

  • Transform into a geisha: Learn about the elusive geisha by transforming into one! You can read more about our geisha transformation experience at the Studio Geisha Cafe.
  • Onsen: onsens are at the very core of Japanese culture. These are public baths sourced by natural hot springs. They’re the perfect way to conquer jet lag. Our favourite is the Maenohara Onsen (1180 yen/$11 per person). The closest metro station is Shimura-sakaue.
  • Food tour: an innovative way to discover downtown Tokyo and dive straight into some of the unique food prizes. We recommend Arigato Food Tours ($120 per person) who will show you the best izakayas (Japanese gastro pubs) around Ginza, Yurakucho and Shinbashi.
Tokyo food tour Japan 10 days itinerary

Stefan going chicken crazy for his latest sashimi discovery

  • Tsukiji Fish Market: the world’s largest fish market is big fish business: in January 2012, a bluefin tuna sold for 56.4 million yen ($510,200)! If you miss the early morning 4am auctions, you can turn up before it shuts at midday for some of the tastiest and fresh sushi in the nearby restaurants.
  • Gourmet fine dining: the Nadaman restaurant at the Shangri-La is a perfect setting to experience Kaiseki: the Japanese traditional fine dining. It has incredible views of the city from up high and makes for a romantic special evening with your loved one.
Japan trip blog Kaiseki fine dining Tokyo

Our Kaiseki at the Nadaman restaurant included an appetiser work of art, the famous Wagyu beef and fresh heavenly sashimi

  • Cooking class: learn to make sushi, Bento boxes and more in a cooking class.
  • Authentic Dining with Locals: Taste Japanese dishes with warm-hearted hosts at their home. We highly recommend Tadaku- With Locals who offers very local dining experience totally different from eating at restaurants. Enjoy deep cultural communication and mom’s taste as if you homestay in Japan. You can claim 500 yen OFF your booking if you mention the code NOMADIC_TDK when contacting them.
  • Karaoke in Shinjuku bars: the Japanese love their karaoke and what better way to embrace Japanese culture than to belt out a few power ballads after a few sakes (Japanese rice wine). Most bars will have a juke box, especially the ones in Shinjuku.
  • Shibuya crossing: this famous pedestrian intersection outside Shibuya Station is notorious  for being the ideal spot to get a real feel of just how hectic Tokyo is. When the road signs turn red, an invasion of bodies take over the entire area.

For more information about the Tokyo nightlife, check out our LGBT guide to Tokyo.

 

Tadaku dining with locals in Tokyo Japan trip blog

Dining with locals with Tadaku. Photo source: http://locals.tadaku.com

WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO

  • The Shangri-La Hotel: Amazing luxury hotel in the heart of the city. From the moment you walk in, you are made to feel welcome and taken care of. It is located right next to Tokyo Station and also a handy base for the Shinkansen high speed bullet train. The rooms are high up so has some jaw dropping views of the bustling city below, along with a heated pool, spa and fitness centre. Rooms start from 71,200 yen ($650) a night.
  • The Hyatt Regency Tokyo: Located in Shinjuku, near the city’s busy night life, the Hyatt Regency is a great mid-budget option. They’ve got a blow-your-mind entrance, beautifully decorated and popular for wedding receptions. Rooms start from 27,000 yen ($247) a night.
  • Imano Hostel: convenient budget option in Shinjuku with dorm beds starting from 3,500 yen ($32) a night.
Japan trip blog Tokyo luxury hotel

Feeling like a Boss – with a kickass view at the plush Shangri-La in Tokyo


Day 2-3: Takayama

Hida-Takayama is also known as the Japanese Alps and where you come to experience traditional village life in the countryside. Takayama itself has a pretty old town worth exploring and some top rated ryokans to stay at.

ACTIVITIES TO DO IN TAKAYAMA

  • Takayama Old Town has been beautifully preserved with many buildings and whole streets of houses dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants. The southern half of the old town, especially along Sannomachi Street is famous for its old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, which have been in business for centuries.
Japan trip blog Takayama old town

Stefan at Takayama’s famous Sannomachi Street

  • Cycling in the Japanese countryside: we did a guided cycling tour with Satoyama Experience around the countryside with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, visiting local villages, waterfalls and learning about Japanese village life. Tours cost 7,300 yen ($67) per person.
Japan trip blog Takayama Japanese countryside

Traditional Japanese village life in Takayama

WHERE TO STAY IN TAKAYAMA

Takayama is a great place to truly experience a Japanese ryokan: a type of traditional Japanese inn which originated in the Edo period when they served travellers along the highways. The ryokans have tatami-matted rooms and usually have their own onsen for guests to use.

Japan 10 days itinerary Takayama ryokan onsen

Stefan about to go into the onsen at the Sumiyoshi Ryokan in Takayama

We loved the Sumiyoshi Ryokan, a truly unforgettable and one of our favourite romantic experiences in Japan:

  • The rooms are set up in traditional Japanese style with tatami woven straw mats laid on the floor, sliding doors and futon which you sleep on (and are surprisingly comfortable).
  • It has its own onsen, which is pure bliss.
  • They serve delicious Kaiseki – a traditional Japanese meal of a variety of small dishes, which are not only delicious, but each plate presented like a work of art.
  • Prices start from 160,000 yen ($145) a night.
Japan trip blog Takayama Sumiyoshi Ryokan Kaiseki

Delicious Kaiseki meal at the Sumiyoshi Ryokan in Takayama


Day 4-6: Kyoto

Kyoto is THE place to head to truly immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Remember all of those beautiful iconic scenes in Memoirs of a Geisha? They’re set right here.

Kyoto was the former capital city of Japan until it was moved to Tokyo in 1869. It has retained its regal charm and as a result is packed with incredible gardens, beautiful monuments and heaps of blow-me-away temples.

Japan 10 days itinerary Kyoto Golden Temple

The majestic and iconic Golden Temple of Kyoto standing proud

WHAT TO DO IN KYOTO

  • The Golden Temple (Kinkaku-Ji): is the mother of all temples and the most iconic image of Japan. As such it’s very popular, so come early in the day to avoid the crowds.
  • The Philosopher’s Path: a pedestrian stone path that’s just over a mile long, following a cherry-tree lined canal in East Kyoto and a popular spot to see the cherry blossom in the springtime.
  • The Silver Temple (the Ginkaku-Ji): located near the Philosopher’s Path and famous for the beautiful, immaculately preserved gardens surrounding it. This was where former Emperors would come for contemplation and meditation.
Kyoto itinerary Japan trip blog Silver Temple

The pristine gardens lining the Silver Temple

  • Fushimuri Inari Shrine: this is the shrine to Inari, the Japanese god of rice and patron of business. It contains thousands of “torri” red gates, lined against each other, creating numerous corridors. These corridors take you up the Sacred Anari Mountain, 733 feet high, with some incredible views across the city.
Japan trip blog Kyoto Fushimuri shrine

Stefan at the Fushimuri Inari Shrine in Kyoto

  • Geisha spotting in Gion: Gion is the geisha district area of Kyoto where Memoirs of a Geisha is set. People come here to try and get their money shot of one of the 2,000 elusive geisha.
  • The Sagano Bamboo Forest at Arashiyama: another iconic image of Japan you’ll fall in love with. The forest is famous for the rustling sound of the wind as it blows amongst the bamboo. The path through it is serene, peaceful and very romantic. Arashiyama is a district in Northwestern Kyoto, 30 minutes by train and definitely worth the journey.

Check out our what to do in Kyoto guide for more about this magnificent city’s cultural highlights.

Planning a trip to Japan Kyoto Arashiyama place to visit

The serene and peaceful bamboo forest at Arashiyama in Kyoto

 WHERE TO STAY IN KYOTO

  • Hotel Granvia Kyoto: is the place to come and feel like you’re royalty. The location is perfect, just above the JR Kyoto station. The architecture is modern and has a huge swimming pool. The buffet has a wide selection of fresh food, with both Japanese and Western options available. Prices start from 26,000 yen ($260) a night.
  • B&B Keiko: this guesthouse is set in a traditional old Japanese house, with a beautiful cosy garden. It is just 5 minutes walking distance to the Imperial Palace. We completely fell in love with Keiko, the owner. She ensures all her guests feel at home and will help you plan your stay in Kyoto thoroughly. Prices start from 10,000 yen ($100) for a double room and 7,500 yen ($75) for a single.
Japan itinerary Kyoto Golden Temple Stefan

Stefan admiring the iconic Golden Temple in Kyoto

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21 Comments

  1. I love that you included the Yaeyama Islands! I spent a month on Ishigaki in High School and have never met or heard of any non-Japanese travelers who have been before. I agree that Taketomi has some pretty fantastic beaches and that the islands should be included in a Japanese itinerary.

    Reply
    • Thanks Erika

      Reply
  2. I have been to Kyoto and Osaka. I absolutely loved Kyoto. I was only there for a few days, but I would love to go back. Like you wrote, the Japanese have such a rich culture. That’s why it’s one of the best countries that I’ve traveled to.

    Reply
    • Agreed!

      Reply
  3. I LOVED Japan when I visited! Only made it to Tokyo and Kyoto, so I’m definitely due for a return visit 🙂

    Reply
    • Yes yes totally agree 🙂

      Reply
  4. I read about the onsen in Tokyo that you linked to, and saw that people with tattoos can’t go in. Interesting, since so many travelers have a tattoo or 2. I wonder if they’re more lenient with foreigners. Great itinerary and love all the photos1

    Reply
    • Very good point!!

      Reply
  5. This is one to bookmark for my next trip to Japan. Oh, how I’d love to stay in the Shangri-La. I’ve stayed in a few and they do Asian luxury like no other. I remember your Geisha post – what a trip that would be. Great travel ideas.

    Reply
    • Thanks Carol ?

      Reply
  6. We’ve yet to make it to Japan and both itineraries look great! Our daughter really wants to visit very soon so I will definitely bookmark this post for our next holiday. Thanks for all the great tips!

    Reply
    • Pleasure 🙂

      Reply
  7. Seems like an amazing trip! I’ve never been to Japan, but always wanted to go. I have a 9 hour layover in Tokyo coming up, but that hardly counts. I’d love to have 10 full days.

    Reply
    • You’d love Tokyo anyway 🙂

      Reply
  8. I’ve been to Tokyo multiple times, but I’ve been wanting to visit the nearby countrysides in November. Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    • Our pleasure 🙂

      Reply
  9. I want to go to Japan so bad!! Thanks for the great itineraries and tips! Especially the suggestion to buy the 7 days JR Pass. It seems very practical.

    Reply
    • 🙂

      Reply
  10. Great tips! We were supposed to visit Japan last month but we could not get the Visa 🙁
    Actually we could not even apply for the Visa, since we hold Brazilian passport it must be done via the Japanese Embassy in Brazil!

    Reply
    • Thanks

      Reply
  11. Great travel plan and tips. I myself spent 15 days in Japan in last April. But I had to miss Miyajima Island. I totally loved Japan and would like to visit again some day.

    Reply

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