Japan is just not a country but an experience
Tokyo – Yamanashi – Kyoto – Osaka – Tokyo
Japan is known as the land of the rising sun. It is an island country that rose from its ashes. It is commendable how technologically advanced this country is despite the disasters it faced during the World War. As soon as you will land in Tokyo, sky scrapers and advanced technology will welcome you. At first glance you might think this country is modern and progressive but once you move out of Tokyo, you will also find that culture has still be preserved and the locals believe in their customs and art work.
I explored Japan over a week and had a chance to explore Tokyo, Yamanashi, Kyoto and Osaka. Below you will find a detailed itinerary for these places and what all you can see in one week.
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Before Your Trip to Japan
There is a 7 Day JR Pass available which will make up for the steep spendings between Tokyo to Kyoto. It is also valid on Shinkansen bullet trains and Narita Express trains. This provides a great value for money.
In fact you can also pre order it online for which you will receive an Exchange Order which you can swap for a JR Pass when you arrive in Japan.
You can buy it here – JR Pass
Pocket WiFi Device
You can also pre order your pocket WiFi device which is basically your hotspot and will give you access to the Internet wherever you go. This will make your travels very comfortable as you will be able to get directions, train schedules or restaurants in the area. We travelled without a SIM card as we had this and through this device you can connect upto 10 devices. Pretty cool, eh? 😉
You can buy it here – Pocket WiFi
7 Days in Japan – Japan Itinerary
Day 1 – Reach Tokyo
Japan is in another corner of the world. Since it is very far from India, the journey to this country is long and exhausting. My advice will be to plan ahead and book your flights in advance to find cheaper deals.
How to Reach Tokyo by Air from India
You will land in Narita or Haneda Airport in Tokyo, after a long flight of 12 to 14 hours. I will advice you to check the prices on websites like skyscanner.co.in or kiwi.in well in advance. This way you will be able to get best and cheaper deals.
From Narita Airport to the Main City
Tokyo is 80 and 22 km from Narita and Haneda Airport respectively. However, you get a host of options to reach the city from the airport. You can opt for express trains, shuttles, taxis or limousine buses that you can take to reach the heart of the city from the airport.
A very affordable option to travel from Narita Airport is using the shared Limousine Bus. You can book your tickets from Narita Airport itself.
- Cost – $US 30 per person each way
- Time – The first service starts at 6:55 AM and ends at 10:50 PM, running every 5 to 30 minutes
Train – Narita Express
Another option to reach the main city. You can book your tickets from Narita Airport itself.
- Cost – $US 30 per person each way
- Time – The first service starts at 7:45 AM and ends at 9:44 PM, running every 15 to 30 minutes
For detailed map of commute from Narita airport please check Narita’s Airport page.
Day 2 & 3 – Explore Tokyo
The historical capital of Tokyo in the best place to visit in Tokyo. You will find Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Street here.
Shunjuku Street at Night
There are number of markets to explore, try new food and shop. You can also go to Robot Restaurant and get lost in the neon lights of the market by strolling around. Some of the famous streets are – Golden Gai, Kabukicho and Omoide Yokocho.
TeamLAB Borderless Museum
This place is a sensory overload. You will find floating lanterns here that changes colors and reflect in all the directions. You will also find a room that will make you feel that crystals are raining down.
I will suggest you to buy tickets well in advance as this place is house full. You can also buy on the spot but chances are it might be sold out.
You can buy the tickets TeamLAB Borderless website
Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife. It is a must visit place when you are in Tokyo. From beautiful walks through the forest to sight seeing events like “Saki Barrels”. It is a perfect place to know the culture and history of Japan.
This will a very culturally rich experience as Japanese because baseball is the national sport of Japan. You can see a baseball match either in the Tokyo Dome or at Jingu Stadium. The season is between March to October, that happens on most days apart from Monday.
Japan Zebra Crossing
You might know Shibuya’s pedestrian crossing if you have watched movies that were shot in Tokyo. It is a sight to see. The place is so crowded with so many people and very lively because of all the fun shops and restaurants.
Day 4 – Tokyo to Yamanashi
There are buses that connects Tokyo to Yamanashi and would take about two hours to reach this place.
Mt Fuji is open to hikers from June to mid-September. If you have extra time in hand you can opt for this hike. If not, read below what all you can do in Yamanashi in half a day 🙂
Kachi Kachi Ropeway
The rope-way is located in Lake Kawaguchi offering a magnificent view of the lake, city and Mt.Fuji.
Yamanashi’s Houto is flat udon noodles stewed with vegetables in miso based soup. We experienced the cooking of it with the help of a local family.
This is the best place to be in Yamanashi as it offers superb views. The Pagoda is located in Arakura Sengen Shrine. And if you are visiting this place during cherry blossom season that will actually be a cherry on the cake.
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Guilty of being so hard on myself. Guilty of taking life too seriously in the past couple of days. Guilty of being petrified to love people too much. Conversation between me and Rach (@meanderandwander) yesterday shifted the energy to being more grateful of things. It is at times important to stop and go into deep reflection, realise that you are surrounded by good people, fall in love with the simple life. This little ball of innocence I have within me; I love her. She is always curious, has a big smile, enjoys sunshine and likes acting crazy. It is so important at times to take a step back to feed your heart. 🙂 . #SelfReminders . 📸 @sayujsuresh
Day 5 – Yamanashi to Kyoto
Take a bullet train or otherwise known as Shinkansen to reach Kyoto. If you have a JR Pass it will help you to travel even more comfortably. Also, if you want to experience Japanese culture in the truest sense in Kyoto, then you have to stay in a Ryokan in Kyoto.
After relaxing a little in your ryokan, you will have half a day to visit the nearby places. Some of the must-see places that can be easily covered in half a day are listed below –
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
The shrine is the head shrine with about 5000 red torii gates like a tunnel. The shrine is at the base of a mountain (233 m) which has a trail up the mountain and spans 4 KM.
After visiting the shrine go to Arashiyama area. The landscape of Arashiyama is simply amazing and you will find mountains, river and a beautiful bridge. However, the most iconic spot of this place is the Bamboo Groves which is also considered the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Rickshaw ride in Gion
Nishiki Market in the Gion is the best traditional food market in the city. You can enjoy the street food and take a rickshaw ride as well, wear a kimono here and experience the rich Japanese culture. There are many tourists and locals who roam around this street in Kimono. It is one of the most authentic cultural experience.
Day 6 – Kyoto to Osaka
The best way to travel to Osaka from Kyoto will be by rail. After reaching Osaka, you can either go for katana experience or visit the Universal studio, but Osaka’s best essence can be seen at night as the whole city is lit up with neon colours.
Go to energetic the famous Dotonbori area and eat delicious local food. Enjoy today, party as tomorrow you would have to head back.
Day 7 – Osaka to Tokyo and Back to Your Homeland
You can take a flight back directly from Osaka, or fly to Tokyo and take the return flight from Narita Airport, whichever is cheaper.
Eating in Japan as a Vegetarian Indian
As a vegetarian I did not have the freedom to try Japanese cuisine, as it is majorly non vegetarian oriented. However, you will find Indian restaurants in every city, at ever corner. So if you are like me, do not worry, food will not be one of your concerns as Vegetarian Indian food is available everywhere.