Our 10 day Trip to Japan! - Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yamanashi (Part 1)

Hi everyone!

I'm sharing our past itinerary from our trip last 2016 between April 19-28 to Japan. Me and my friends traveled for 10 days in different prefectures in Japan from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yamanashi (Kawaguchiko) and back to Tokyo. Although we know that if we actually went north in the Tohoku area instead of south in the Kanto-Kansai-Chugoku area we would have seen the Cherry blossoms but since most of my friends voted to go to Kyoto, that's what we did.

In order to understand the itinerary, we had some circumstances that we took into consideration. So please take note of these contexts when checking out the itinerary.

1. The group came from different areas, on different dates. Me and my sister arrived early in Tokyo from Manila. My friend later on came to join us in Tokyo from Canada. Then our other friend joined us when we came to Osaka.
2. We have the 7 days JR Pass to which we used from April 21-27, the day of our trip from Tokyo to Osaka and back to Tokyo.
    If you are thinking on whether to also purchase the JR pass, you may read my other article for some tips and help you decide:
     https://www.odigo.jp/articles/11315-to-buy-or-not-to-buy-jr-pass
3. Our entry and exit points are in Narita Airport. So for the 1st and last day going from and to the airport we did not use the JR pass, instead we purchased the NEX (Narita express) ticket (2 way ticket, just check the validity though I am not sure if it is within 10 days upon the first usage or 14 days). We got the airfare from a promo, so it is cheaper to get the round trip airfare than use Osaka as our exit point.
4. We planned to go back to Tokyo on the 28th and go straight to the airport from Kawaguchiko, but since one of my friend made a mistake on her booking going home we had to go back to Tokyo on the 27th instead. Well, it did worked well for one last day of shopping spree so we didn't mind, but that greatly limited our stay in kawaguchiko which was unfortunate.
5. We used airbnb since there were 4 of us, this is a lot cheaper than staying in hotels. But for our stay in kawaguchiko we opted to stay in a ryokan (traditional japanese hotel) to experience the onsen and experience sleeping in a futon on tatami mats.
6. We booked a pocket wi-fi so commuting was easy, we used the online google maps and japan rail applications (I will write more about this soon).

You might also want to check-out some of the Japanese food we tried while on this trip especially for first time travelers!
Click this link for my other Odigo article (Japanese Food recommendations for first time travelers)
https://www.odigo.jp/articles/11596-say-no-to-diet-food-you-might-consider-trying-for-beginners-traveling-to-japan

All photos used are original and were taken from the four (4) of us who took this trip. If you'll use any of the photos, please ask for permission.

Itinerary:

Day 1 - Manila - Tokyo (arrived at around 10 am to the airport, and around 12 pm to the accommodation) - Half-day tour
   Places visited: Shibuya (Shibuya crossing, tower records, Hachiko statue) * we were a bit tired so we decided to cut the trip short
                                    Shinjuku - we met with my Japanese friend for dinner. We went to Mo-mo Paradise (Izakaya) and just went around Shinjuku area

Crossing at Shibuya
A graffiti display next to Shin-Okubo station.


Day 2 - Tokyo Area
Places visited: Tsukiji Market (AM). We went there to really just sample the food especially the sushi since my sister is a big fan. There were so many people! But the food was amazing, we had some ichigo daifuku (strawberry mochi), Ichigo (strawberry on stick), tamagoyaki (sweet omelet), variety of fish cakes, dried fruits (we really love the crispy dried oranges), and sushi. I am not a big fan of seafood in general so we we didn't have the usual scallops and oyster dishes (we usually take our vacation in the hometown of our father, which is the Seafood capital of the Philippines, so... yeah it doesn't excite us that much anymore).
We went to Odaiba (PM) to which we met my friend who came from Canada (she's a Filipino who migrated there, my high school classmate). We went to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (MeSci) (Nihon Kagaku Miraikan) which is really inspiring, you can see the way the Japanese instills the importance of science and technology to the youth. Then we went to Diver City Tokyo Plaza, and yes the giant Gundam was still there. We went around some stores and had our dinner in the food court. Later that night we enjoyed walking going to the Odaiba Ferris Wheel and watch the shifting color of lights around the area. It was still spring so we love walking along the cold breeze. The highlight of our second day is the night view of Tokyo seen from the peak of the rotation of the Odaiba ferris wheel.

I forgot the name of the restaurant in Tsukiji, but this is a type of sushi set that they sell. I only had the unagi since I don't really eat raw fish.

The old gundam display in Odaiba. It was removed early this year (2017).

Night view of Tokyo from the Odaiba Ferris Wheel. And yes, that's Tokyo Tower (orange tower in the center)
..

Food collage from Harajuku and Tsukiji market


Day 3 - Tokyo Area going to Osaka
Places Visited: We first checked out from our airbnb accommodation and left our things in a coin locker in Tokyo Station since we will be spending the night in Osaka later on. We went to Harajuku then and did our girly girly shopping spree! Had lunch in the same area and then went to Akihabara. Well I am  a manga fan and I really love these Gacha machines. I went to visit animate and the Gachapon Kaikan store while my friends went to see the electronics and gadgets. Later on, we went back to Tokyo station and took our train to Osaka. We were so tired with too much walking so we ended up just eating dinner in the shinkansen, meaning yes, we bought some bento and ate it on the way. By this time my friend who also came from the Philippines arrived via the airport in Osaka, the group was completed!

Just look at that street full of people!

Entrance to Takeshita street in Harajuku.

A shop dedicated to Gachapon! - Gachapon Kaikan
Gacha-Gacha-Gacha!

Our dinner on the way to Osaka - Shinkansen Bento


Day 4 - Osaka
Places visited: Universal Studios Japan. Need I say more? Attack on Titan and Harry Potter (no words can appropriately describe this fantasy land lol) We spend the whole day until night time in the area. The only downfall here is that the lines for the attractions and rides are super long!

Harry Potter attraction inside USJ!

Beautiful sunset at the Universal Studios Japan, it was quite melancholic and our feet are killing us we can't help but be solemn (lol).

Attack on titan display at USJ.


Day 5 - Osaka-Kyoto
Places Visited: We always started a bit late in our trips to avoid the rush hour in the trains. So we had our quick brunch in Nanba (Osaka), then went to Kyoto at the Fushimi-Inari Shrine. We spent the whole day here since my friends rented a kimono and the day ended up being a whole day of photo shoot! *sheesh* But later that night, they went to Dotonburi which was a couple of blocks away from our accommodation (I wasn't able to join since my feet really hurts, I will save that story for another future article: What to wear and not to wear when traveling to Japan).

Fushimi-Inari Shrine.

My sister in her kimono at the loop of Torii gates in Fushimi-Inari.

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Food collage along USJ, Shinkansen bento, Fushimi-Inari, Dotonburi


Day 6 - Osaka-Kyoto
Places Visited: We went to Kyoto again in the morning in the Arashiyama area, and spent the day appreciating the beautiful scenery of Japan. We went to Tenryuji Temple, my friend and my sister rented a bike to go around. We ate some dried persimmons sold along the way, prayed to the gods (of which my wish came true, hehe), and bought some amulets (for good luck in my studies). Then we went to feel the Rurouni Kenshin inside of us through the bamboo groove. Took some late lunch and ate some Hayashi rice and japanese Kare (curry). Lastly, we went to watch the sun set in the riverside, at one end of the Togetsukyo bridge. My friends spend the night again in Dotonburi (without me again, because I hurt my foot since our 2nd day), okonomiyaki!

A panorama of the Tenruji Temple's garden.

Yours truly at the Arashiyama Bamboo Groove.

Sitting by the riverbank, watching people cross the Togetsukyo bridge.

All photos used are original and were taken from the four (4) of us who took this trip. If you'll use any of the photos, please ask for permission.

(To be continued - please see Part 2 (Hiroshima and Yamanashi) - there is also a short video compilation at the end of the Part 2 article, please check-it out!)
 
https://www.odigo.jp/articles/11342-our-10-days-trip-to-japan-tokyo-osaka-kyoto-hiroshima-yamanashi-part-2 )

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