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Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

chicago
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Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

I have all my main itineraries planned for 2 weeks in Japan, so now is the time to plan the details. And I need your help again.

Tokyo (here we are mostly interested to see 'new' Japan - futuristic buildings, pop-culture, food, etc):

1. Arrive on Saturday (March,28) - the remaining part of the day walk around Ginza (we are staying in Shiodome area, so this should be relatively close).

2. Sunday - morning Akihabara (my son is interested) - then to Harajuku and Shibuya. Any other suggestions?

3. Monday - Fish market in the morning (how early would you suggest? It looks like we can not see the tuna action anyway) - then I am not sure - Hama Rikyu Garden? I would like to see Shinjuku area - east and west. Is east better at night? Or maybe Odaiba instead? What are your thoughts?

3. Tuesday - day trip to Nikko using JR pass.

Not sure if I have any room to fit Roppongi Hills.

After Tokyo, we go to Takayama, and then to Kyoto.

Kyoto.

1. Arrive on Friday (around noon) - staying in hotel Karasuma. - see Ninjo-jo if there is enough time, otherwise walk around Nishiki Market (unusual food is a big point of interest for my son), walk around Gion, Pontoncho (sp?)

2. Saturday - Eastern Kyoto - follow one of the walks from JNTO from Kiyomizudera to Heian Shrine, and then possibly from Nanzenji temple to Ginkakuji temple. Not sure how long this takes, and if should cover parts of it by taxi. Any thoughts?

2. Sunday - see Ninjo-jo if did not see on Friday, see Kinkakuji Temple and Ryoanji, and then to Arashyama. Not sure if this is doable. How to adjust it, so I see Arashyama? I really want to see the bamboo grove and the monkey park.

3. Monday - day trip to Nara and Fushimi-Inary. Actually, I am not sure if it is better to go to a day trip to Nara on Sunday, and spend Monday in Kyoto. Or maybe spend more time in Kyoto and not go to Nara?

Tuesday we go to Koya-san.

Also, any food places recommendations? For Kaiseki? Or any places for unusual Japanese food (this is for my son)?

As always, thank you in advance for your invaluable help!

Guildford, United...
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1. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

In my view, Ginza is pretty dull, expensive shops and not much else. If you can stay awake walk around Shinjuku on Saturday night. I have done it many times and never fail to enjoy wandering among the crowds.

If the weather is good Nara park is certainly worth a visit.

Merseyside
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2. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

2. Sunday is apparantly the right day to do Harajuku and Shibuya, we were underwhelmed by the Cosplay / bridge area but glad we had gone. Takeshita Dori should be great for your son. The Meiji shrine is very close too...

Sensoji Temple / Asakusa is close to Akihabara, we enjoyed it more than we expected, the covered shopping streets were good and it was the first place we managed to find a 100 yen shop (we didnt get there until day 6!). It was the first place we saw an easily accesible kaiten sushi bar (opposite Mcdonalds)

3. Monday - cant remember how early we went to the fish market, it wasn't terribly early, the tuna auctions were over but we still enjoyed seeing the remaining tuna by looking into the room and seeing the tuna lying around and being processed, Keep moving outwards as the live fish / seafood area is great. It is an easy walk around to Hama Rikyu garden BUT we arrived well before it opened so worth dawdling / eating at the fish market if you want to do both. We skipped the garden and walked on to the pokemon centre (also closed!) ate and then it had opened. We enjoyed the Tokyo Tower from there.....

Definately do bit of taxiing (everwhere!). We thought is was good value and really helped travelling times..

Nara and Fushimi-Inari work well together. If you are not too tired Uji could be visited on the way back?

New York
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3. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

>>> 3. Monday - Fish market in the morning (how early would you suggest? It looks like we can not see the tuna action anyway) - then I am not sure - Hama Rikyu Garden? I would like to see Shinjuku area - east and west. Is east better at night? Or maybe Odaiba instead? What are your thoughts? <<<

Have you though about visiting the Asakusa area after Tsukiji Fish Market? Though I understand that you are interested in seeing “new” Japan in Tokyo, Asakusa is very unique, in my opinion, and highly recommended. You can easily spend 1-2hrs in Asakusa (and eat lunch there if you want), and can take Sumida River Cruise from Asakusa to Odaiba. Please see

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3004.html

Another idea I can think of is to visit a cherry blossom spot after Tsukiji since you would hit the peak season. Sumida Park (near Asakusa), Ueno Park, or Shinjuku Gyoen would be a nice place to be if the weather is nice. Please see

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011_where.html

chicago
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4. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

LondonBob, we will not be in hotel until 5 or 6 pm after 14 (or so) hours flight, and then Shinjuku is not a short ride from where we are staying. We will be too tired for that. It is a good idea, but I don't think we will be up for that. We are staying in Shiodome area, which is close to Ginza, so I thought just walk around and eat before going to bed ...

Pilihp, Edokko, thank you for your recommendations!

Edokko, yes I consider Asakusa after visiting the fish market, but if we take a cruise to Odaiba, there will be no time for Shinjuku. Can I do Fish Market, Asakusa, and Sinjuku in one day?

Hong Kong, China
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5. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

1. Ginza: things do shut down at Ginza earlier than Shinjuku. Nevertheless, there are some good sized stores around Yurakucho Station just for browsing. For food, Korida-dori, a small street that runs parallel to the Expressway between Yurakucho and Shimbashi stations, has many restaurants. I always go to Midori Sushi as their 2,100 Yen sushi set is of great value and quality. To get a better idea of where the street is, go to Google maps, change the location to Ginza, Tokyo, Japan, and search for Midori Sushi.

2. At Akhihabara, go to Yodobashi Akiba (right at the station exit) first. It's a huge store that has all sorts of electronics and toys at better prices than other stores in Tokyo. Afterwards, walk around Akihabara for the smaller independent shops. After Harajuku and Shibuya, you should have enough time to go to Shinjuku. Shinjuku becomes much more alive later in the day to the evening. If you are interested in buildings, head to the Skyscraper District on the west side where many buildings have unique architecture. Also go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for the free view from the observation deck.

3. Check to be sure Tsukiji is open before going. Avoid the red days at the link below:

tsukiji-market.or.jp/etc/calendar/2009.html

From Tsukiji, you should then have enough time to go to Asakusa, which takes just a couple hours and then Odaiba, which can take anywhere from 1/2 day to full day.

For Kyoto, I think your plans look ok. A combination of the taxi and 500 Yen daily bus pass should work well in most cases except Arashiyama and Sagano, where the bus pass is not accepted. The bamboo grove is about 10 minutes by bus outside Arashiyama. Go to Kyoto's tourist office to be sure you have a good understanding of the bus route.

city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/access/transport.html

…kyoto.lg.jp/kotsu/…bus_navi_en200801.pdf

chicago
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6. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

SammyFloyd, thank you so much!!! The maps are very helpful! I am afraid I will loose my son in Akihabara, and will not have time for anything else on this day :):). He is so much into this stuff!

For Kyoto, do you think I should take a day trip to Nara on Sunday, instead of Monday, so I can go to Arashiyama on Monday? The guide books say that Arashiyama will be packed on Sunday.

Hong Kong, China
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7. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

Regarding when to visit Nara or Arashiyama, my gut feeling is Nara would be better on Sunday. I have to defer to Shot though to answer this question.

New York
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8. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

hxmtravel,

>>> Edokko, yes I consider Asakusa after visiting the fish market, but if we take a cruise to Odaiba, there will be no time for Shinjuku. Can I do Fish Market, Asakusa, and Sinjuku in one day? <<<

Yes, you can visit Tsukiji Fish Market, Asakusa, and Shinjuku in one day. If you go to Shinjuku, you may want to visit one of the Observatories at Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Please see

www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/TMG/observat.htm

Japan
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9. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

Eastern Kyoto:

The Philosopher's walk from Ginkakuji to Nanzenji is beautiful, but you don't need to do the entire walk. There are some nice shops along the way, but it might be very crowded because of sakura. Nanzenji is beautiful, but with the other temples you are seeing, you might not worry about getting to it.

Also note that Kiyomizudera will be having night time "light up" that week. They have huge spot lights on the trees, and no matter what stage of bloom the blossoms are, it is absolutely gorgeous. It's fun, festive, all the souvenir shops and street food vendors are open late, it's a lot of fun.

As you leave the vendor's stalls coming down from the temple, turn right and follow the narrow streets down the hill and toward Heian. Beautiful evening stroll! But it does get cold, so be sure to have an extra layer to wear that night, and an umbrella if it might rain.

Nara etc:

I think Fushimi-inari and Nara on Sunday would be fine. Any place will be crowded most of the week, and Fushimi-Inari isn't one of the places well known for blossoms, but it's still a great place to visit and you should make the stop there. In Fushimi, there are many small restaurants with great food for a lunch stop. The Daibutsu in Nara is one of my favorite places to visit. No matter how many times I've seen it, I still find it moving and inspirational. You don't need a lot of time there. If you get an early start, you can stop in Fushimi-Inari, climb to the top, then to Nara, and be back to Kyoto mid-afternoon.

Personally, I'd leave out Kinkakuji, yes the gold is pretty, but once you've seen it, the garden area is not as outstanding as others are. In Arashiyama, Tenryuji is worth a stop, beautiful bamboo forests, interesting strolling garden style, and a dragon on the ceiling! So if you did Ryoanji very early in the morning (a great time to go!), then head out to Arashiyama, you could be back after lunch and still go to Nijo if you have energy left.

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10. Re: Please help with some details on Tokyo and Kyoto

and I forgot to mention.....when you are on your night walk from Kiyomizu-dera, you might walk to Maruyama park. It has the most amazing sakura tree I've ever seen. It's lit up, too, and there are food vendors all over, and other events happening. Great evening atmosphere!