Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Japan 2015, Week 2 - Itinerary

3 weeks of traveling = a ton of planning...especially when you only have just over a month to do all said planning!  We are not really, stressing out about it, though - once we got our plane tickets booked (easy) and found hotels (much more challenging), we were pretty much ready to go!  Planning helps make the waiting go by faster - and we'll be glad we did it in the end.  ☺ Here's the plan for week 2 of our Japanese Adventure!

You can see week 1 of this itinerary, including where we are staying, what we plan to eat for breakfast, and how we'll be making our way around Japan here.

You'll notice that our plans get increasingly "loose" and less detailed - that's because we don't want to hold ourselves to plans that just aren't what we end up wanting to do that day for whatever reason

Day 9: Tokyo
  • Iibadashi Station to Ueno Station
    • "Ueno" is kinda pronounced "way-no," if you were wondering.
  • Ueno Park
  • Ueno Zoo - I've heard this zoo is old and a bit depressing (similar to Como Zoo in St Paul, MN, perhaps?), but they have giant pandas and red pandas (which I tend to refer to as firefoxes for no good reason.)  I'm looking forward to it.

  • Tokyo National Museum
  • Shitamachi Museum
  • Fukagawa Edo Museum
  • Kappabashi street - this is where you can buy all the fake food restaurants in Japan have on display!  That's right - a whole street full of shops selling plastic food.
  • Drum (taiko) Museum
  • Asakusa
  • Senso-ji
  • Sumida Park
  • Edo-Tokyo Museum 

Day 10: Tokyo
  • Shibuya
    • Hachiko Statue
    • The crazy busy intersection
    • Tokyu Hands 
  • Harajuku
    • Takeshita Dori
    • Giant Daiso (ohhhhh, how we love Daiso...)
    • Kiddy Land
  • Yoyogi Park
  • Meiji Jingu
  • Asakusa: Sumida Park and Hanayashiki Beer Garden - another sakura festival!

Day 11: Tokyo
  • Sumo Event in Ichikawa - this is a brand new experience for us and we don't really know what to expect (the web site is almost completely in Japanese).  We are thinking it's a tour-type thing where we'll get to learn about Sumo and see some matches, but we know it's not Sumo season so we won't be seeing the big matches.  Pretty exciting!

Not sure what we'll spend the rest of the day doing - sooooooo grateful to have lots of extra time in Tokyo!  We didn't have many chances to just do nothing on our 2013 trip so I'm really looking forward to all the adventures we'll stumble upon!

Day 12:  Tokyo
  • Bunkyo Azalea Festival (Tsutsuji Matsuri) - Nedujinja Shrine
    • Another thing we don't know too much about, but it looks very pretty.

Day 13: Tokyo/Travel/Osaka
  • Shinkansen from Iibadashi Station to Shin-Osaka Station - we LOVE riding the Shinkansen!!
  • Check in at the Remm Shin-Osaka hotel ($130/night via Booking.com).  We really liked staying in Shin-Osaka when we visited Kyoto/Osaka/Nara in 2013 and tried to get a room in the same hotel (Shin Osaka Station), but it was completely booked so we found this one.  The location looks PERFECT (it's IN the JR Station!) and the hotel looks modern and new.
    • In 2013, we looked into staying in Kyoto since that is where we spent the majority of our time, but we didn't want the traditional Japanese experience at a ryokan and western-style hotels were too expensive.  Shin-Osaka is a GREAT alternative if you have a JR Pass (and you should).  The "commute" to Kyoto is less than 30 minutes via Shinkansen and, like I said, we LOVE any chance we get to ride the Shinkansen!  It's a similar distance to Osaka as well (we didn't spend much time there in 2013, though.)

Day 14: Kyoto
  • Eastern Kyoto
  • Philosopher's Path

Day 15: Kyoto
  • Western Kyoto
  • Arashiyama
  • Monkey Park!!!  This was a highlight of our 2013 trip and we are excited to visit again!

...and that's the plan for week 2 of our Japanese Adventure!  Up next:  Week 3 (and DISNEY!)

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