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Japan itinerary

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May 14th, 2014, 02:06 PM
  #1
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Japan itinerary

Hi everyone,

I'm off to Japan in a week and SUPER excited... I've bought a couple of guide books (Lonely Planet guide for Japan and Pocket Guide to Tokyo), checked out Japan Guide, Wikitravel, etc. I have a few ideas of things I definitely want to do, but I'd also like to know some of your suggestions about what you consider unmissable. The only really definite plan I have is meeting a Japanese friend the Saturday after I arrive. He's going to teach me how to make gyoza at his house and he also mentioned Harajuku and going to a karaoke bar. Otherwise, I can do anything.

FRIDAY: Arrive in Tokyo around midday
SATURDAY: Spending day with Japanese friend (meeting in Asakusa)
SUNDAY: Tokyo
MONDAY: Tokyo (overnight bus to Kyoto)
TUESDAY: Kyoto
WEDNESDAY: Kyoto
THURSDAY: Kyoto
FRIDAY: Shinkansen to Tokyo (probably around midday)
SATURDAY: Day trip to Hakone
SUNDAY: Tokyo
MONDAY: Leave for airport

What would you do if you were going again? I am especially interested in visiting temples and shrines and any type of eating, but open to pretty much anything!
ClementineLdn is offline  
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May 14th, 2014, 11:11 PM
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Depending what kind of shopping you like, the Daiso 100 Yen shop in Harajuku is a good place to stop for little trinkets, stocking filler presents of all kinds. (With tax, items are actually 105 Yen).

Also, if you're into good beer, there's a Baird Beers Taproom just behind the core teen fashion drag too.

And obviously, Meiji Jingu (one of Tokyo's main shrines) is just by this area too.

Oh and Omotesando Koffee, slow but great coffee but also love his little cube cakes that he sells.

That's right by a branch of Maisen, a well known and well respected tonkatsu restaurant. It's very good but I actually like KatsuKura better, they are a tiny Kyoto chain but think they are in Tokyo too now. In Kyoto the original branch is on Teramachi Dori (I think, or very near it), and there's another branch in Kyoto Station, on 11th floor, the restaurant floor. Both are good. For completeness, there's also a lot of love for Butagumi in Tokyo, which I've not tried.

I think I shared a few more restaurants on my blog (Kavey Eats) including a lovely tempura place in Shinjuku area of Tokyo.

In Tokyo, I did enjoy Kappabashi Dori but I actually found Nishiki food market (in Kyoto) more, though it's more food and less kitchen equipment.

In Kyoto, we loved visiting temples and gardens, wondering around shops and going to the flea market at Toji, and our cookery class was ace too.

Gotta go to work now but have a great trip!
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May 15th, 2014, 04:19 AM
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Thanks, Kavey!

I've been debating whether or not to visit the fish market in Tokyo. The reviews I've read range from 'disappointing' to 'amazing', especially regarding the fresh sushi. I'd be interested in hearing about whether people found it a bit underwhelming.
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May 15th, 2014, 09:39 AM
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I enjoyed going to Yoyogi Park. It's a nice park within the city.
Meiji Jingu is also nice to visit as well.

If you like ramen, definitely take the opportunity to try some ramen in Japan.
http://www.yoninja.com/resources/yon...-best-of-ramen
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May 17th, 2014, 12:14 AM
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I loved the fish market but mostly because I found the outer market area of stalls and little shops fascinating -- the actual market we arrived too late (knowingly) to see the auction itself, though we did have a late breakfast in one of the internal area sushi restaurants, not the famous two but one just by them, which was delicious.
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May 18th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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The market itself, where the auctions are and the fish are sold, might be disappointing. I don't know, because the idea of getting up extremely early to go watch Japanese men work just does not appeal to me. The sushi in the restaurants nearby is amazing. I went to Sushizanmai and one or two other places. At one place, I got there at around noon and the line to enter the restaurant was very long. My advice is to avoid going at lunchtime. Better would be to go for a late lunch after the rush clears out.
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May 20th, 2014, 11:38 PM
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For Tokyo, I liked a few of the 'hipster' areas for a different atmosphere with interesting cafes and second hand shops. Kichijoji is really nice and I also enjoyed my evening in Nakameguro - so many tasty restaurants with a canal and so on.

On the weekends, it might be fun to check out a flea market for a change of pace http://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/fl...n-2013-update/

Also, every Saturday and Sunday there's a farmer's market nearish to Shibuya http://archive.unu.edu/access/ at the UNU (united nations university) with tasty food trucks and produce and so on right in the city. I had a really fantastic pumpkin and chicken salad from one of the vendors there.
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May 22nd, 2014, 06:59 PM
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I'm glad to see you have Hakone in your itinerary. Mt. Fuji is an ABSOLUTE MUST and one of the highlights of my travel life! In Tokyo, I skipped the tuna auctions but did get up ungodly early twice to have breakfast sushi at Sushidai. Totally worth it--ruined me for life for other sushi restaurants. If you are a sushi lover, GO! I know it sound terrible but be in line by 5:00 a.m. and you'll be eating the most outstanding sushi of your life before 7:00 a.m. If you are at all interested in cooking, also visit Kappabashi. I bought a beautiful little 5" santoku knife at Kamata knives and it has become one of my go-to knives and a favorite souvenir from Japan. In Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari and The Golden Pavillion are also terrific stops.

Be sure to post a trip review when you are back.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 01:27 PM
  #9
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I didn't go to Hakone in the end. I got sick and I just didn't feel like it, but I hope to visit next time. I skipped the tuna auction but had a sushi lunch at the fish market...super disappointing...I'll be back with a full trip report next week, as soon as I have some free time to write it up!
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Jun 4th, 2014, 11:18 PM
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Clementine, can't wait to hear back about your trip!
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Jun 5th, 2014, 12:00 AM
  #11
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I wish I had time to post about it right now because I know I'm forgetting lots of details as each day passes! I'll do my best to get it up asap!
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