Japan, Tokyo (a bit) and Kyoto (a lot)

Duration: 13 days, May 2016, Budget : Medium budget. Solo traveller.

My friend Caroline, who lived in Japan, helped me with the organisation of this trip. Thank you again ! 

Day 0 : Arrival Tokyo Narita (have your visa authorisation beforehand, and you will do your JR pass at the airport)

Day 1 : Tokyo : Walks around Asakura

  • Visit Senso-ji temple and sanctuary
  • Walk with locals on the quays of the Sumida river and took a river boat to Hama Rikyu garden (not really a garden, more a beautiful romantic park… surrounded by skyscrapers 🙂
  • Walk to Tsukiji fish market (Some people go really early to see the tuna auctions). Find a small and local sushi restaurant – great sashimi !
  • Walk to Ginza area (luxurious stores … but it is so quiet in the streets!).

Day 2: Tokyo 

  • Visit and be overwhelmed in Shinjuku
  • Walk around the skyscrapers and go on the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to admire the view
  • Take lunch with the businessmen
  • Walk around Kabuki-dio, the “red light district”. Went (really quickly) inside the Humax.
  • Go to Shibuya – and take a coffee in the starbucks facing the crossing. Visit Udagawacho district.
  • Sumo tournament in the afternoon / evening.

Day 3 : Kyoto

  • Take the Shinkasen !
  • Stayed at Gojo guesthouse, really cute with dorms with tatami and bamboo rolling doors.
  • Walk to Kiyomizu-dera temple, not too far from the hostel. Walked in the streets behind the temple – really traditional wooden houses 🙂
  • Visit the Shimbashi area
  • Come back along the river by Pontocho   

Day 4 : Kyoto and surroundings (Arashiyama)

  • Get up early and visit Arashiyama, with the bamboo forest and small temples around
  • Visit the monkeys park – really touristic but I wanted to see the “snow-monkeys”
  • Visit Tenryu-ji temple with its sublime garden
  • Go to a local bar and drink sake 🙂

Day 5 : Kyoto and surroundings (Nara)

  • Visited Nara (1 hour train from Kyoto), city full of deers and temples

Day 6:  Kyoto and surroundings (Fushimi Inari)

  • Wake up really early and go to see Fushimi Inari – it’s beautiful, if you are the first one there 🙂
  • I loved the Philosophy Path and the temples along the way
  • Geisha show in the evening (super touristic, I probably wouldn’t do it again)

Day 7: Kyoto temples

  • Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion (I didn’t really like it even though it is the most famous one – it is really touristic,even if you arrive early)
  • Ryoan-ji
  • Daikoku-ji monastery. You have to pay to visit each temple in the monastery so keep it to 2 temples:
    • Daisen-in (my favorite – super japonese garden, buy the small guide explaining the significance of the stones)
    • Ryogen-in
  • Visit of Nijo-jo castle (nice but not super impressed)

Day 8: Kyoto during the Aoi Matsuri festival

Day 9 : Koyasan

Koyasan is a small village, on top of Koya Mt (2nd sacred mountain after Mt Fuji). It is a long way to get there, but I really wanted to see the cimetary and spend a night in a temple.

  • I stayed at Daien-in temple (you need to organise this part before your trip)
  • Visit of the cemetery (I found it amazing)
  • Traditional dinner at the temple and early night 🙂

Day 10: Kyoto

  • After a really early start and the mass with the monks, way back to Kyoto
  • Manga museum
  • Shopping in Nishiki Market

Day 11: Ballade in Mt Kurama, from Kibune to Kurama. Relaxing walk, beautiful trees and a few temples.

Day 12: Hiroshima and the museum (day return from Kyoto)

Day 13: Kyoto to Tokyo by fast train. Back home !



  1. Thanks a lot Marion!
    I will definitely look at your guide for Japan as I am planning to go there in April 🙂 🙂
    A big hug


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