March 3, 2018 at 3:53 pm #741532
I’m headed to Japan at the end of April for two weeks (The first week with a friend, the second week on my own) Current plans involve time in Tokyo, Hakone (hot springs!) and Kyoto.
Does anyone have any recommendations for things to check out? Shopping spots? Interesting Temples? Places to eat?
Thanks!March 4, 2018 at 12:07 pm #741618
I lived in Japan as a tween and teen, and haven’t been back since, so it’s been a pretty long while — but if I were planning a trip to Japan, I’d cut the Tokyo portion short to see other cities. Kyoto is amazing! You could easily spend two weeks there and not run out of stuff to do, see, or eat! My family spent time living in a couple different cities, and one of those was Hiroshima. There’s a small island nearby called Miyajima, and I freakin’ loved visiting it. I also really loved visiting smaller, more traditional cities (the names of specific cities escape me, but recall liking a mountain town called Matsumoto a lot).
As far as food goes, I have no specific places to recommend because it’s been over a decade, but I LOVE Japanese curry and tonkatsu. And I tell everyone to eat okonomiyaki (and to get it Hiroshima style). I loved robatayaki places — basically just grilled meat, veggies, and seafood cooked up in front of you and served to you on a wooden paddle. Oh, and if you just need on-the-go snacks, I miss onirigi (rice balls that typically have a filling and are wrapped in seaweed) as a quick, convenient, you-can-get-them-anywhere option.
If you plan to be riding the trains a lot, look into getting a rail pass (should they still offer them).
April is a beautiful time to visit — have a great time!March 5, 2018 at 3:53 pm #741873
I’ve got a Tokyo hotel recommendation for ya…Hotel Gracery! It’s in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, has a massive Godzilla head on the 8th floor and it roars once an hour everyday from noon til 10pm.
If you’ve ever seen Anthony Bourdain’s “Places Unknown” show, he visited a bar located in the Shinjuku ward called Albatross bar…..awesome little place!
Also, beware of any guys who come up to you speaking perfect English asking if you need directions…this is a tactic used on tourists as that person’s way of directly leading you to their establishment and charging an exorbitant amount of money for giving you directions. Simply say, “thanks, I’m good” and be on your merry way.
If you head out to Nagano at all, there’s a bus tour that takes off from the train station that heads to a snow monkey park. Hands down one of the coolest experiences of my life.March 5, 2018 at 7:03 pm #741890
Thanks @copa! Im hoping to try and make it to Hiroshima, still trying to figure out logistics and train schedules right now. I’m definitely planning on getting a rail pass. Its such a great deal.
@bondgirl that hotel sounds awesome and I do still need a hotel for my last night in Tokyo! I’ll for sure check it out. The snow monkey park sounds cool. We had considered going out to Cat Island but there’s not much to do there other than look at cat’s so we decided it was a bit far just for that. But I think monkeys might persuade my friend to make the trek!
Thanks again both of you 🙂