Visited 4 cities: Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Tokyo on April 09 – 16, 2017.
We started browsing for our Japan trip as early as 4 months prior to our travel period. It was more of just bookmarking websites and clipping articles and blogs through OneNote. Then, it took us several weeks of serious researching to finally come up with the itinerary as detailed as below. You might think that it’s kinda overkill, but trust us it will be a great help especially if you’re in a country where people speak very little to no English at all. While quite a handful that we asked somehow understood us, we on the other hand, had a hard time understanding them. So even though they’re very much willing to help especially when giving directions, the language becomes a barrier, hence getting lost will certainly take up a portion of your time.
Since it was our first time in Japan, of course we wanted to see as many as we could. This jampacked itinerary is suitable for adventurous people who have the stamina to do long walks. By long we mean 25,000 – 30,000 steps on average per day. Actually, it wasn’t too exhausting as we initially thought maybe because we were enjoying the cool weather. In fact, our longest walk reached 33,000+ steps when we were in Tokyo (Day 7) which includes the many crosses we did in Shibuya Crossing 🙂 Therefore, make sure to wear your most comfortable shoes.
This itinerary not only helped us in budgeting our time, but also our money. As you can see, we noted down the fare for every ride so we can easily decide on which transportation pass to get. So based on our routes and estimated fares, we decided to get the Kyoto All-day City & Tourist Bus Pass and the Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass which we thought to be the most economical, efficient, and “sulit”. While for the rest we just bought ticket as we ride. Although some altercations happened along the way due to some spontaneous side trips, surprisingly we still managed to keep up with our budget and scheduled activities (except for our last day though, which we totally ditched because of time constraints). If ever we missed on something, we tried as much as possible to squeeze it in on the following day. And since it was Sakura season then, we had already anticipated the influx of tourists so we designed our daily schedule to visit one or two popular tourist destinations first thing in the morning. That way, we were able to capture nice shots of Fushimi Inari Taisha and Torii Gates, Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), and Arashiyama Bamboo forest without so many people concealing our view.
We were there during the peak week of cherry blossoms so we already expected the influx of a lot of tourists. Having that in mind, we designed our itinerary to visit the popular tourist destinations early in the morning. That way we were able to appreciate and capture their beauty without the tourists concealing our view. We have nice photos of Fushimi Inari Taisha and Torii gates, Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), and Arashiyama Bamboo forest
Furthermore, we also shaped our itinerary in such a way that could accommodate a few restaurants that we really wanted to try. For instance, the primary reason why we went to Kobe was to eat Beef Teppanyaki at Steak Land Kobe. While the cable car ride (ropeway) to Nunobiki Herb Garden was just secondary, it also turned out to be another remarkable experience. See… it helps to be a foodie because you discover fascinating places along the way! hehe. Anyway, we’ll write about it in a separate post.
Hyperdia and Google Maps Directions helped us big time in drawing up this itinerary and in navigating our way throughout the trip. Perhaps, without it we probably could have wasted more time getting lost. So here it goes…
If you’ve noticed, our itinerary has no theme parks. My partner and I agreed that theme parks can be done some other time, as our main purpose for our first visit to Japan was to see the cherry blossoms, visit the temples and shrines, ride the Shinkansen, and of course experience the authentic Japanese cuisine. In short, we wanted to maximize our time visiting many places and would not want to be stuck for an entire day in one place.
We hope this somehow helps you in making your own itinerary. If you want an editable file of our itinerary, let us know so we can send it to you through email. Or if you have any questions, just comment below and we’ll gladly reply to your queries.
Stay tuned for our next post: Food trip in Japan! 😀