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2 free days in Tokyo; 2 free days in Kyoto - what are critical highlights?

2 free days in Tokyo; 2 free days in Kyoto - what are critical highlights?

Old Nov 1st, 2011, 07:30 PM
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2 free days in Tokyo; 2 free days in Kyoto - what are critical highlights?

Hi everyone,

I am going to Japan on a 10 day business trip in mid-November with meetings in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. It looks as though I will have 2 full free days in Tokyo and 2 full free days in Kyoto at the beginning and the end of my trip. (In addition, I will have some morning and late/afternoon evening times as well to explore). There is a lot to see and I am having trouble prioritizing.

Given my constraints, I would be grateful for any advice you have on the 'must-see' destinations in Kyoto and Tokyo. I realize that it would be ideal to have more time but this is all I could spare at the moment given other obligations. I spent a few quick days in Japan years ago as a recent college grad but my memory is hazy at this point.

I consider myself to be an adventurous traveler eager to immerse myself in different cultures and experience as much as I can. I have traveled extensively and prefer to go independently vs. with a package/bus tour.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

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Old Nov 1st, 2011, 09:56 PM
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And you are leaving Kyoto on the 20th, right? So you will have the 18th and 19th in Kyoto or just the 19th?

Which days of the week in Tokyo?

I would put Kiyomizudera on the list for Kyoto. The Silver Pavillion. Getting around by taxi is a reaonable thing to do in Kyoto (or at least it was when the exchange rate was better). Gion Corner.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 06:34 AM
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Hi there,
I arrive at Narita at 3pm on Sat 11/12 (coming from East Coast US). I imagine that by the time I reach the hotel I will be pretty tired - perhaps just a quick dinner.
I will have full day Sun 11/13 in Tokyo and hopefully full day Mon 11/14. I may have a few hours Tues morning (TBD) and Tues evening.
I will have free days in Kyoto on Friday 11/18 and Sat 11/19. Need to leave Kyoto morning of Sun 11/20 via train to catch afternoon flight from Narita in Tokyo.
Thanks so much for your help. I realize that these choices are subjective -- but appreciate any advice!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 06:35 AM
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If you don't have reservations in Kyoto, you ought to get them soon as that is prime time for fall foliage....check out japan-guide.com for their Kyoto foliage locations.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 06:37 AM
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Thanks for the tips about Kyoto, mrwunrfl!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 08:05 AM
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Since there was a mention of the Japan Guide site you might want to check their top destinations in Tokyo and Kyoto. Lots of explanation and directions on how to get there in them. I personally like to go to Ueno Park when in Tokyo.....lots to do and see and while your in the neighborhood Ameyoko Market, Sensoji Temple and Asakusa come to mind. And of course there is Shinjuku.....so much to do here and so much to see.....maybe too much for your short stay.


In Kyoto Kiyomizudera is also a fave of ours......hate the hike up though. Sanjusangendo is near to Kiyomizudera and always wows me when I see it....no pictures allowed inside though....Kinkakuji is not to be missed but always underwhelms me. I love the gardens of Ginkakuji and the subsequent walk down the Philosopher's Path nearby but not as nice as would be in sakura season. So much to see in Kyoto and you have so little time. Look at the link below and you decide,lol


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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 09:11 AM
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Your timing is like my first trip to Japan. I arrived on a Saturday (or maybe Friday). On Sunday (or Saturday), I went to Meiji Jingu because I knew that there would be families there with their little kids dressed up for Shichi-Go-San. I saw a woman with her parents and her little girl posing for a picture at the entrance to the shrine park. I asked and was allowed to take a photo of the very cute 3 year-old girl in her beautiful kimono. It was a great choice for my first photo in Japan, especially considering that, now, when I am asked what I like most about visiting Japan my answer is "the Japanese (people)". That first photo was of a Nihonjin. Plus, my comment to grandpa about how beautiful she was elicited a "domo arrigato gozaimasu" from him - a good start to my visit.

I assume that 7-5-3 will be celebrated on the 13th, but the shrine and its grounds are well worth the visit. You might also see a Shinto wedding, like I did.

The leaves should be at about their peak fall color when you are in Kyoto. I liked Silver Pavilion because of its authenticity but also because of the view and grounds which included colorful trees.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 05:55 PM
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Wow - this is very helpful. Thanks to everyone for the great insights here! Much appreciated. Makes me want to ditch the business meetings!
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