I took some careful notes of our travel in Japan so we could remember everything, and also to share with you all! Below is our day by day itinerary. We tried to mix up adult things with kid things and ate as much gyoza and noodles as we could possible handle.
Day 1 TOKYO: Tsukiji fish market early for breakfast (not 5am like people recommended but 9am which meant that we missed the big ‘fish show’ in the warehouse). Henry ate shrimp and crab for his first breakfast. I had the freshest sashima ever tasted. Explored Hamarikyu park and took a boat to Asakusa for our first temple and shrine tour. Ate at Tiger gyoza for dinner and hit up the public bathhouse across the street in Hiroo for some nude public bathing!
Day 2 TOKYO: We took a long bike ride early, since we were jetlaged. We headed through Sakura trees at a graveyard and to the Imperial palace. Afterwareds we jumped on the train and visited the Meiji shrine, Harajuku shopping (crazy teen and Kawaii fashion!). My dad headed back with Henry and mom mother and I went to Naka Meguro river where there was a Sakura festival and blossoms in full bloom. Incredible! Perhaps my favorite part of the trip. At night we visited Shibuya crossing and had dinner (poor Henry fell asleep at the table he was so tired!).
Day 3 TOKYO: Slept in, Henry wasn’t feeling well. We took the Shinkansen bullet train up to Nikko (be sure to get a Japan rail pass before you go. It’s much cheaper and you can’t get it while you’re there!). We stay at Turtle annex, a little b&b in the mountains. Walked to Toshogu shrines, and had a delicious meal at a mom and pop dinner spot in the town of Nikko. Best curry ever had! Afterwards I went in the hotel onsen (bathhouse) with Henry.
Day 4 NIKKO: Walked to see Jizo statues in the forest behind the b&b. Took a train to Edo Mura park (kind of an amusement park of traditional Japanese culture). Ninja shows, traditional water show, crazy ninja house that. Henry loved it all! Then a train back to Tokyo that night. Checked into the second Airbnb and had sushi with my dad.
Day 5 TOKYO: Easter egg hunt with some friends at their church. My mom and I went vintage and fabric shopping in Shimokitazara, which was awesome! We then headed to the huge Muji (it’s like Ikea!) and Ueno park. We tried the conveyer belt sushi for dinner- called kaiten sushi. I went to public bathhouse later that evening solo.
Day 6 TOKYO: Easter. Church service and then we took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto. We ate delicious Tempura for dinner and went in the hotel bathhouse
Day 7 KYOTO: Kiyomizu temple and shops down pretty roads in Kyoto. Took a bus to the Arashiyama bamboo forest and also monkey mountain. Then a bus and train to the Kurama onsen up in the mountains. Henry ate 3 salmon onigiri that day (a little sushi snack in conveniences store). We had traditional Japanese dinner in room at hotel and enjoyed the outdoor bathhouse under the cherry blossom tree that night.
Day 8 KYOTO: Visited the Golden pavilion in the morning and then a bus to a samurai demonstration show. Walked though a food market and the Heian temple. Onsen and traditional Japanese dinner again that night at the hotel (shabu shabu).
Day 9 KYOTO: shopping at Kyoto handicraft store and mall in Kyoto station. Getting tired of Japanese food, found some donuts for Henry and I. Train back to Tokyo, Tiger gyoza again that night for dinner.
Day 10 TOKYO: sumo wrestling stable (call around to find their hours and availability to watch their practice) and then a bus to the airport. Layover in South Korea and then back home to San Francisco!