Japan Trip Questions-Help

Aug 15th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 5
Japan Trip Questions-Help


We'll be traveling to Japan Sept 16 to 23.... going to Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto-Tokyo (as per itinerary below). Was wondering if anyone has recommendations on restaurants in these cities near our hotels or close to places we are planning to visit? We hope to try some authentic Japanese cuisine (tofu, soba, sushi, tonkatsu, etc). Budget around $20 per person per meal (but flexible).

Thanks in advance for any advice. (Please comment on itinerary too if you guys detect any problems)

Day 1 Tokyo (hotel in Shibuya)- Tsukiji, Asakusa, Mitaka (Ghibli Museum), Ryogoku (Sumo)
Day 2 Tokyo (hotel in Shibuya)-Meiji Shrine, Ginza (Kabuki)----Depart to Hakone
Day 3 Hakone (hotel Kansuiro Ryokan), travel in Hakone, Owakudani, Lake Ashi----Depart for Kyoto
Day 4 Kyoto (hotel Hyatt Regency Kyoto)-Kiyomizu Temple, Philosopher's Walk---side trip to Nara, Gion
Day 5 Kyoto (hotel Hyatt Regency Kyoto)-Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji--depart to Tokyo
Day 6 Tokyo (hotel Century Hyatt)-Tokyo Met Govern Building--- Depart Japan
gelato2005 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 04:06 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,836
A few comments...
You might want to swap the slots for Meiji Shrine and Asakusa on Days 1/2. Mitaka is west of Tokyo, train via Shinjuku, which is closer to Meiji Shrine. Asakusa is on the eastern end closer to Ginza. Not sure if you booked sumo ticket (or if they have tournament duringyour stay). I enjoyed Edo Museum in Ryogoku.
Also I would skip Nara. You only have two days in Kyoto, and I think it's a stretch. There are other places in Kyoto you can go, eg Ginkakuji, Kyoto Imperial Palace (make sure you book in advance).

As for restaurant budget, $20 per person is doable for lunch, maybe limited for dinner. Try Izakaya for good but inexpensive dining. In general, even conveyer-belt sushi are of higher quality--there's a famous one in Shibuya. Soba noodles are also cheap though servings are not huge, good for lunches. There is a famous tempura-on-rice place next to the main gate in Asakusa.
W9London is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Comments on itinerary:

On day 1 you are going half way around the Y. loop in Tokyo to go to Tsukiji and Askusa, then going all the way back around and out further west than your hotel to go to Ghibli. Then you are going ALL THE WAY back across Tokyo to the east past Akihabara to the Ryogoku- are you going to the Sept. sumo tournament there or just visiting the area? You are doing a lot of traveling back and forth to areas on completely diff. sides of the city that day. Maybe better to do only Tsukiji, Asakusa, and Ryogoku that day (the best part of sumo tournament is from about 2-3 pm til 6 pm, so you can start early in Tsukiji, go to Asakusa, have lunch, and head to Ryogoku). Plus consider that this is day 1 for you, and you might be jet lagged- all that traveling back and forth is a lot for day 1.

I would change Ghibli to day 2 (it is west of your hotel), and do it first thing in morning before it gets crowded (I've been there twice). Then stop at Meiji shrine, and then proceed to around the loop to Ginza for kabuki (depending on what time the kabuki is).

I think you mean that you are actually departing for Hakone on day 3 in a.m., and you are actually departing for Kyoto on a.m. of day 4, right?

On day 4, I think you have too much down. I don't think you can travel from Hakone to Kyoto, go to Kiyomizudera, walk Philosopher's Path, then go to Nara and then Gion. From everything I have heard and seen on this board, Nara is a pretty full day trip. I think you can travel from hakone to Kyoto, and see Kiyomizu and walk Philosopher's path OR go to Nara. And if you did go to Nara, perhaps you could cut it short and come back to Kyoto to see Kiyomizu and walk bit in Higashiyama, but keep in mind that Kiyomizu area and Higashiyama close down at 6pm. Then you can go to Gion that night for dinner and walking around.

I think you might have time on day 5 to see Nijo castle in early a.m., then Kinkakuji (I would take a cab there rather than the bus if you are going to proceed as I suggest), and then take the bus or cab to stroll Philosopher's Path (walk without a lot of wandering off the path and seeing Nanzenji at the end, is about 1 1/2 hrs.) Then go to hotel, pick up bags, and head to station for a train to Tokyo.

What time is your departure on day 6? I hope it is later in the day if you are planning on going to the met. govt. bldg. that morning. At least your hotel is close to that bldg.
emd is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 5
Thank you for all the great advice...I will definitely try to make some changes to keep things more practical.

To answer emd's questions about my itinerary:
-In Tokyo, unfortunately I cannot change the day we do Sumo and Ghibli Museum because Day 1 is the only full day we have for Tokyo and the Ghibli museum is closed on Day 2 (Tuesday). Day 1 is also the only day we will be in Tokyo in the evening and I don't want to miss the Sumo tournament even if we have to cross town. Does anyone know how long it takes to go through the Ghibli Museum?
- In Hakone, we plan to leave Tokyo after 1 act in the kabuki theater in Ginza on Day 2. Leaving by 1PM should get us into Hakone by 4PM and plan to stay overnight in the Ryokan first then see the sights in Hakone the next day. After visiting Hakone on Day 3, we leave for Kyoto on the Shinkansen and arrive by 7PM.
-In Kyoto-perhaps we should cancel Nara as you and W9London suggested.
-Back in Tokyo on the last day, our flight leaves at 5PM...So I hope we can squeeze in a visit to the Tokyo Met Gov Building before leaving for Narita.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. Please email any other suggestions for restaurants........
gelato2005 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 06:00 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,342
And when you go to Nara be sure to take the express train and not the local. The local stops at every stop and takes about 90 minutes. The express takes about 40 minutes and makes 4 or 5 stops. That will save you a little precious time.

We stayed at the Hyatt Century in Shinjuku. Here is a snipet of my trip report for some recommendations for restaurants in Shinjuku

1. Restaurant Le Coup Chou Ė 1-15-7 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo Opened 5:30 to 12:00 am Ph# 3348-1610

A little French restaurant with French and Japanese Menus only. No English menus but with my limited French and the head waiter who spoke some English we got through with little problem. The food here was fantastic. So good in fact that we went here 2 out of 3 dinners we ate in Tokyo. The Japanese owner, chef had trained in France for a few years and came home to open his own place. Has a really nice French influenced wine list. Gets really crowded after 8 pm so try to get there early or call for a reservation. Has a another little room downstairs with 6 tables which they use for there overflow which seems to happen nightly (though we were only there on 2 occasions we walked past the place nightly).

2. New York Grill Ė On the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku Tel# 03/5322-1234

This is supposed to be the place to have dinner in Shinjuku. Reservations are required. Beautiful views from the 52 nd floor with prices to match. They have set dinners or you can order of the menu. The main entrees all started at over 40 US each (gulp). Set dinners were in the 150-225 US range (gulp/gulp). The food was excellent but not worth the splurge IMHO.

Ask for a view of Mt Fuji from the Hyatt when you check in. The club rooms are a bargain at this hotel with what they provide in breakfast, snacks, cocktails and canapes in the evening(almost no need for dinner).
Annnnd the views from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan building next door are the best in Tokyo and is free.

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 06:34 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,342
some Kyoto eating from my trip report

We shopped till we dropped on the Shoji, Kawaramachi Dori areasÖ.what a place. And ate at some of the best restaurants in the Gion area at nights. Here are some of the places we ate at.

1. Manyoken 48-Motoyoshi-cho, Yamato Ouiji Shinbashi, Kyoto Ph# 075/525-5101

This French restaurant is in the middle of the Gion district and all of the geisha houses. We had the hotel concierge make the reservations as when I called no one spoke English. They also wrote down the directions in Japanese for the taxi driver for me. The taxi driver got us to the right street but had to get out of the car in those small Gion streets to ask which address ours was, pretty funny but he got us right up to the front door. Reservations are a must here. Fantastic food, great ambiance as the building is a rebuilt 18th century home. A little pricey but we will return when we return to Kyoto.

2. Misono TSC Tower, 5th floor, Takoyakushi, Kawaramachi Ph# 075/255-2981

Teppanyaki style Kobe steak is what the specialty is here and the reasons we went here. Iíve never had real Kobe steak and all I can say is WOW. Itís like butter! Unreal, best steak I have ever had. The cooks cook in front of you ala Benihana or the Kobe steakhouses(actually Misono is the original that these two chains tried to copy) but without all of the theatrics. They donít need them the food speaks for itself.

3. Izusen Vegetarian/Kaieki Japanese
Surugaiya Building 2nd floor, Karasuma Shichijo Dori-sagaru Tel# 075/343-4211
We went here on the conciergeís recommendation and were glad we did. Although it is located in a non descript building this places food was great and cheap. I think the best ďJapaneseĒ food we had on this trip. Set meals, and they had an English menu along with a lot of pictures. Highly recommend this place. They donít take cc but it was pretty cheap anyway as we went for lunch.

4. La Fleur
15th floor of the Hotel Granvia Kyoto Tel# 075/344/8888

The French Restaurant of the hotel. Very good menu but only in French and Japanese. No English menu but our waiter spoke English and told us what everything was. Food was very good, the menu consisted of many fish, lobster and shellfish dishes along with lamb and chicken entrees. You can also order set dinners which is what we did. Itís the more expensive option but you get so much more food . They also have a million dollar view of Kyoto and the city lights at night. The atmosphere is romantically French and so are the prices. We really enjoyed this place.

5. A little Ramen shop located on Marutamachi Dori just west of Ogawa Dori on the south side of the street. Look for the line of people. The sign was in Japanese only so donít know the name.

We were walking this neighborhood for no particular reason when we happened upon a line of people waiting to get into this little noodle shop. Everyone outside was staring thru the front window at something so being the nosy tourist that I am I looked in too. What I saw was FIRE!
What was happening was that on the counter area only, they serve a special ramen which they put burning oil onto and start a huge fire in right your soup bowl. They cover everyone on the counter with body size napkins and the cash register with a cloth. There are only nine seats at the counter so thatís all they can onto it fit to do this dish. Youíve got to see thisÖitís a blast. The owner goes around the restaurant taking your picture eating your ramen with all the localsí cell phones as it seems every Japanese person has a cell phone with a camera. There are also six or seven tables which is where we sat. The owner is a character and speaks a little English. There is no English menu but they have picture menus. We had a blast here and the ramen was pretty good too.

Sorry, now see you've nixed Nara.....well forget the train


hawaiiantraveler is offline  

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