10 days Japan, need help

Old Oct 28th, 2016, 03:37 PM
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10 days Japan, need help

We are a family of 5 (kids are 14, 17, 22) going to Japan for the first time.
We arrive Tokyo on June 14 (Wednesday) in the afternoon and leave from Tokyo in the afternoon on June 23rd (Friday). All we know is we want to spend time in Tokyo and Kyoto. We are active and adventuresome and are open to ideas of what to do! We all like the outdoors! The kids are also interested in... son (14) looking for vintage records (does this each place we travel), daughter (17) fashion and theater, daughter (22) museums & nightlife. Parents... just want to be somewhere interesting!
I am curious how many days/nights we need in Tokyo and Kyoto, and if we can throw in an "off the beaten path" side trip for a day or two, and if so, where??
Also, any recommendations on areas to stay, things to do, tours to take, etc, etc, etc are GREATLY welcomed.
Thank you,
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Old Oct 28th, 2016, 05:14 PM
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Spend lots of time with japan-guide.com -- an extremely good and easy-to-use guide to travel in Japan.

Look through this board for trip reports and planning threads.
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Old Oct 28th, 2016, 06:07 PM
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I suggest only spending a couple of days in Tokyo itself (more if you take day trips outside Tokyo), and spending most of your time in Kyoto. You could stop in the Hakone area on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto. There are some interesting day trips from Tokyo, including to Kamakura (could easily spend one full day there and not see it all). I was just in Tokyo and enjoyed going to the Tsukiji fish market (not sure when it will be moving from its present location). I also greatly enjoyed the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno Park. Personally, I prefer to spend more nights in a single place and maximize seeing sights I can do at that place or in day trips, and that would be my recommendation to you: just stay in Tokyo and Kyoto and take some day trips from each place. I would also like to mention that I used volunteer goodwill guides in Yokohama and Kamakura and both wildly exceeded my expectations. Would highly recommend. I am not sure, but I believe they are available in many cities in Japan. I know they are available in Tokyo.
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Old Oct 28th, 2016, 06:33 PM
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Thank you so much!! Do you have any favorite restaurants or anything else that you feel would be fun to do to capture the essence of the Japanese culture? We are excited about seeing many temples, etc, but we are hoping to do other things also. I do plan to spend 1/2 a day in the fashion district to shop and people watch, heard it was incredible and VERY different from the US. I would like to attempt to see Mt. Fuji....
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Old Oct 29th, 2016, 12:20 AM
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My impression is that younger generations tend to like modern aspects while the others historical sides. Teens loves Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya while adults like Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura more. Even in Tokyo, teens tend to go to Harajuku, Akihabara, and Odaiba, in contrast to a set of Tsukiji, Ginza and Asakusa. For theaters, National Theater and Kabukiza Theater for histrical sides, while Takarazuka and AKB48 for nowadays. Shinjuku, Shibuya, Kembu Theater and such could be for much wider generations.

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Old Oct 29th, 2016, 04:49 AM
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Tokyo is so large that recommending restaurants doesn't generally make sense until you know the location of your hotel. Even then, it's hard to go wrong in Japan - there will be thousands and thousands of places you'll just walk past and you can just pick one with a menu you can either understand, translate using a phone app or point to the plastic replicas outside that show what it serves. (These are hugely expensive by the way, so absolutely not the sign of a tourist ripoff that photos of food can often mean elsewhere in the world).

With kids, I don't know that you'd be planning the incredible expensive michelin star places anyway, and those are the ones it's probably worth getting recos for.

That said, for fresh, varied, delicious and very affordable sushi, look for a chain called Sushi Zanmai. For cook-it-yourself Yakiniku, there's a Korean-style yakiniku chain called Gyu-Kaku that we enjoy.

We love tonkatsu so we often pop into katsu restaurants. In Kyoto we love Katsukura. We also like Buta Gorilla and some other chains.

For burgers with a little Japanese twist, we like both Mos and Freshness.

For ramen we tend to just pop into whatever catches our eye from the outside.

Also love beef bowl and chicken bowl places.
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