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)
- Daikoku-ji monastery. You have to pay to visit each temple in the monastery so keep it to 2 temples:
- Visit of Nijo-jo castle (nice but not super impressed)
Day 8: Kyoto during the Aoi Matsuri festival
- I was lucky to be in Kyoto for the Aoi Matsuri festival
- Art museum in the afternoon
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 !