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  • Dalit Gliksman

Big in Japan

Updated: Mar 14

Welcome to the land of clean and smart toilets, ramen-every-day and barefoot dinners.

Japan is not as expensive as people think, food was actually kind of cheap in most places and if you book your stay in advance long enough, hotel prices can be pretty reasonable as well. We stayed at the KNOT Hotel in Shinjuku, which was great and in a very good location. We followed the Hungry Tourist for our food list.

Start your first day by exploring Shibuya and Shinjuku neighborhood, mainly for shopping and experiencing the modern Japanese lifestyle [feels like Times Square]. In the evening visit iconic Kabukicho area and grad a quick old-fashioned dinner at Omoide Yokocho (Also known as Piss Alley).

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto

The next day, visit Gyoen National Garden and eat lunch at Nakajima restaurant [probably the cheapest Michelin restaurant you'll ever be] get there early as 11:30. Spend the afternoon at beautiful Naka-Megro river neighborhood, full of cafe's and boutique shops.

My favorite experience in Tokyo was Tsukiji Fish Market, for traditional Japanese cuisine and one of the cleanest and pleasant markets you’ll visit. Try everything you can.

Get ramen for dinner at Fuunji - rated as the best ramen in Tokyo. Authentic and delicious dining.

Kabukicho Ichibangai, Tokyo

My favorite stores in Japan; Muji- Japanese clothing and essential cosmetics containers. Loft- for amazing paper products. BEAMS - Japanese hipster style clothing.

Old-Fashioned dinner at Piss Alley, Tokyo


Another fun and more authentic neighborhood is Asakusa. We stayed there for our last night at Wired Hotel, well designed with young vibes. We absolutely loved it. Visit Sendo-ji temple and enjoy the nice park nearby. Eat Lunch at Ippudo Ramen, our favorite ramen shop in Japathe beautiful Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine.


Outside of Tokyo

Mt. Fuji- Only if the weather is crystal clear it's worth the drive, it takes around 2h to get to Mt. Fuji and there is a shuttle bus that drop by sight seeing spots. Take the cable car to view the mountain. If you're into climbing Mt. Fuji start your trail from Fuji Subaru line 5th station. Don't miss beautiful Shurito Pagoda and and Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine.

Ippudo Ramen, Tokyo

Takayama

Take the train to Takayama to visit two beautiful Hirayu-Onsen and Kamikochi National Park.

From Takayama train station take a 1h bus to Hirayu-Onsen for a cool experience of Onsen Hopping. The Japanese culture is all about onsen baths. You will see many old and young people wearing a summer kimono (Yukata) and moving from onsen to onsen. You'll receive one in the hotel. Stay the night in town, We recommend Hirayu-no-mori onsen.

The next day take the bus to Kamikochi National Park [30 min] leave your luggage in the bus station lockers. The trail in Kamikochi is an easy round-trip and takes around 2h, no need for a map. Meet the local monkeys and enjoy the beautiful nature.

On the way back, pick up your luggage at Hirayu-Onsen and take the bus to Takayama. [you must change buses in Hirayu-Onsen anyways]. Another secret gem in onsen town region is Shin Hotaka no Yu, a beautiful outdoor onsen with outstanding view or the Japanese Alps, reachable also by ropeway. Don't miss it! If you got more time visit -


Shirakawa-go village or Magome and Tsumago historic village.

Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo

Takayama, an old beautiful city that preserved It's old structures. Explore the old town of Takayama and go on sake tasting in the shops in town. The region is well known for It's sake products. Visit the temples around the city, my favorite was Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine.

We stayed at a magical place, which is 10 min drive from the city center [the host runs a shuttle for the guests] wan Italian dinner made by the host which is Japanese- Italian chef and it was one of the best dishesmeals we’ve had. Breakfast was also fabulous.

Our next stop is Kyoto by train.

Sanmachi Suji, Takayama

Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine, Takayama

Kyoto

Kyoto was our favorite city in this trip, feels modern and authentic at the same time. Although it’s crowded with tourists I think it best described Japanese culture. Be a good tourist and rent or buy a Kimono to visit the touristic sites around Gion Neighborhood wearing Kimono. Walk the narrow streets of Gion, and walk the temples trail route; Kodaiji temple, Hokanji Temple, and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Sunset time was magical and recommended. Get dinner at Gion and try the local beef, it's the region's specialty.


From Kyoto catch a flight to Okinawa and the Southern Islands. If you've got more time that's a heaven spot in Japan.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto



Kinaku-ji Temple, Kyoto

Kamikochi National Park

Kamikochi National Park

JR Pass and subway tickets (Suica)- Before traveling to Japan, order in advance JR Pass. Can be purchased only outside of the country and by non-Japanese citizens. When arriving at the airport go to the JR office to validate the tickets. In addition purchase and charge a Suica card for the subway and buses in Japan.

Sending luggage services- many hotels but not all, offer a paid service of sending luggage directly to you next hotel and saves you commuting with the luggage.

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