Travels to Japan: Tokyo and Kyoto

One week from today I will be headed to Japan to celebrate my two-year anniversary with my partner and we will be exploring Tokyo and Kyoto over a ten-day trip.  I have pulled together some beautiful photos as inspiration for our trip that can be viewed on my Japan Pinterest Board.

I was in Tokyo 12 years ago for a very short business trip and I took a quick side trip to Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji which was beautiful.  For some reason I can only locate about 4 photos from my trip and here is a shot that I took atop the cable car at Lake Ashi.

Lake Ashi Cable Car, Lake Ashi, Japan

After reading several books, chatting on travel forums and taking advice from fellow bloggers I have come up with a basic itinerary for our trip.  I like to research travel destinations to map out a path that optimizes our time and gives us room to enjoy your vacation while being able to take in the things we love: top sites, contemporary art, local culture, fashion, food, natural surroundings and architecture.  We certainly are flexible with what the day brings and if we love something that we are experiencing we may not worry about the rest of our plans for that particular day.  But, I like to have a plan of action in place as a starting point for our journey.

I want to give a particular call out to Yukari Sakamoto who is a chef, blogger and author of a book called, Food Sake Tokyo which has been an excellent resource for planning our culinary experiences.   I have more work to do on restaurant selections and reservations but in Japan I think that with all of the options we might play that by ear to some degree.  If you have a culinary suggestion, I would love to hear from you.

Have you been to Tokyo or Kyoto?  Take a look at the below itinerary and let me know your suggestions.  Are we missing something?  Would you tackle this differently?

Either way, please be on the lookout for upcoming check-ins, tweets and postsfrom this adventure.  Anzen’na Tabi or Bon Voyage!

9/3 – Travel
Our 2nd Anniversary, travel from LAX to NRT
9/4 – Travel
Arrive NRT late afternoon, Narita Express to Shinjuku Station
Hotel:  Hilton Tokyo, Shinjuku
9/5 – Tokyo
Shinjuku Gyoen
Isetan Department Store – explore food court and rooftop beer garden
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Shibuya Crossing – see the lights at night
 Dinner:  In Shibuya (TBD)
9/6 – Travel & Kyoto
Early morning Nozomi Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto Station
Hotel:  Hyatt Kyoto
Southern Higashiyama (on bicycle)
Kiyomizu-dera – buddhist temple with beautiful views
Chion-in – buddhist temple
Sanjusangen-do – buddhist temple
Shopping and exploring maiko district (geisha)
Pontocho Street in the evening
Dinner:  Giro Giro – traditional kaiseki dinner
9/7 – Kyoto
Downtown Kyoto
Nishiki Market
Northwest Kyoto
Kinkaku-ji – Golden Pavilion
Ryoan-ji – stone garden
Bamboo Forest
Dinner:  Tempura Yoshikawa
9/8 – Kyoto & Travel
Southern Kyoto
Fushimi-Inari-Taisha – Shinto Shrine Gates and hike to peak
Late afternoon Nozomi Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo
Hotel:  Hilton Tokyo, Shinjuku
Shunjuku Ni-Chome – Gay Village
Dinner:  Dinner in Shinjuku (TBD)
9/9 – Tokyo
Meiji Shrine
Takeshita Street – youth fashion alley
Yoyogi Park – Jingu Bridge for Cos-Play & Sunday flea market
Shopping & Architecture on Omote Sando – Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto
Dinner:  In Aoyama (TBD)
9/10 – Tokyo
Tokyo National Museum
Uneo Park
Sensoji Temple
Museum of Contemporary Art
Dinner:  TBD
9/11 – Tokyo
Imperial Palace 
Imperial Palace – guided tour at 10am
Higashi-Gyoen (East Garden)
Kokuritsu Kindai Bijutsukan (National Museum of Modern Art)
Takashimaya Specialty Store
Tokyo International Forum
Dinner:  TBD
9/12 – Tokyo & Travel
Free morning
Depart for LAX in late afternoon