One Week in Tokyo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tokyo is one of our favorite cities in the world and a must-see while you are in Japan.  Tokyo offers the perfect combination of culture with the benefits of a large cosmopolitan city – great restaurants, shopping, outstanding public transportation, and nightlife.  Tokyo will not leave you disappointed and you will leave the city wanting to come back for more.

In order to be able to experience Tokyo at its fullest, you will need to spend at least one week in Tokyo.  Below is great one week itinerary of top places to visit while you are in Tokyo.  Please note you will also need some time at the beginning of your trip to get adjusted to the time difference depending on where you are coming from.

Day 1


Shibuya is known for its famous pedestrian scramble, which you will experience upon exiting the Shibuya Station.  This district is also known as one of Tokyo’s most popular fashion districts for the shopping places around Shibuya Station, as well as the nightclubs and restaurants in the area.

Meiji Shrine

A visit to Tokyo would not be complete without seeing the Meiji Shrine and the gardens surrounding it.  Meiji Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and is located beside the Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line.


Omotesando, which is often referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees, is a scenic tree lined avenue known for its stores, restaurants, and cafés. Be sure to walk around the small alleys for some amazing restaurants and cafés.

[Read more…]

Kyoto, Japan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kyoto is one of the most popular destinations in Japan because of its rich history and for being one of the oldest metropolises in Japan.  Kyoto is all about its beautiful temples and shrines; of which most are located in scenic mountainous locations.  You will need at least 3 days in Kyoto to explore everything the city has to offer.


Kiyomizudera temple

Kiyomizu-dera temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.  This temple has one of the most picturesque scenes you will experience while in Kyoto.  Kiyomizu-dera sits on top of a mountain and provides magnificent views of the city.  These views and the rich history of the temple make it one of the most visited temples in Kyoto.  On the way down from Kiyomizu-dera, you will find cobble-stone streets with vendors and tea shops for all your souvenir shopping.

Kinkaku-ji (“Temple of the Golden Pavilion“)

Kinkaku-ji is a picture perfect image of Kyoto.  The top two floors of the temple are covered in gold leaf, which is what makes this temple so impressive and worth seeing.

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and served as the residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns.  The castle itself is beautiful, as well as the very expansive gardens that surround the castle.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha is known for its thousand lacquered gates that travel from the base of a mountain to about 4 kilometers hillside.  This is the head shrine of Inari, the god of rice, sake, and prosperity.  Walking the mountain trails can take up to 3 hours but make sure you reach the lake that is nestled into the mountain side.  The lake and the mountains provide spectacular views.


Sanjusangen-do is a must-see while in Kyoto.  It is 120 meters in length making it Japan’s longest wooden structure.  Also, Sanjusangen-do is most famous for holding 1,000 statues of Kannon (the goddess of mercy) and 28 statues of guardian deities. In addition, Sanjusangen-do also houses a large wooden statue of a 1,000-armed Kannon.

Worth Noting

The above recommendations are for a 3 day in stay in Kyoto. For additional sites and places to visit, Fodor’s Japan guide is amazing and full of great recommendations. is also a great resource.

Walking tours are very popular in Kyoto and are a great way to get to know the city.  WaRaiDo Guide Networks Co., Ltd. offers a phenomenal 5 hour walking tour in English.  This tour will take you to the non touristy spots while you learn more about the history and culture of Japan.

Side Trip

You can take a side trip to Nara, a Unesco World Heritage site, which is only 45 minutes by train from Kyoto.  For more on Nara, visit our one day recommendations on this beautiful city.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto


Photo of the Day: Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan

Fushimi_Inari_Taisha Fushimi Inari Taisha is an important Shinto shrine in Kyoto dedicated to Inari, the god of rice.  Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for the thousands of red torii gates leading up to the mountain, making it a must-see destination in Kyoto.

Photo of the Day: Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan


Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Tsukiji Market in Tokyo is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world, making it a major tourist destination for visitors around the world.  Inside the market you will get a close look at the hundreds of varieties of seafood being sold to professional buyers, while experiencing an unforgettable sight and smell.  The inner market is only open until 9am.  If you will like to experience the tuna auction be sure to get to the market by 5am.  Please note only a certain number of people are admitted to the tuna auction and there are certain seasons when visitors are completely forbidden from watching the auction.

The Tsukiji Market also has an outer area, where you will be able to find anything from food to Japanese kitchen tools, including handmade knifes and serving utensils.  There are also a number of sushi restaurants in the outer market where you will get to eat the freshest sushi in the world.

You can access the market by taking the Toei Oedo subway line to Tsukiji Shijo Station, or the Hibiya subway line to Tsukiji Station.

Lastly, be sure to dress appropriately if you are visiting the inner market because the floors are filled with dirty water, as the fishermen try to clean their selling stations.

For more information on the Tsukiji Market, please visit

One Day in Nara, Japan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are looking for a side trip destination from Kyoto, Nara is the perfect place to go.  Nara Prefecture is a Unesco World Heritage site known for its sacred deer and breathtaking scenery.  Nara is a short train ride from Kyoto, about a 46 minutes on the JR rapid express service.  Most visitors go for a day trip from either Kyoto or Osaka to Nara.

Nara has many beautiful gardens, galleries and landmark temples and shrines to visit due to once being Japan’s capital.  Upon arriving at Nara, make sure to visit the tourist office located at the train terminal to obtain a map of the city and directions on how to get to the tourist destinations.  Most sites are within easily accessible distance by the city loop bus, which you can catch from the JR Nara Station.  [Read more…]

Photo of the Day: Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Top Attractions in Kamakura, Japan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Not too far away from Tokyo is Kamakura which is famous for the 37-foot bronze figure of the compassionate Amida Buddha.  Kamakura is located about 40km (25 mi) southwest of Tokyo and is easily accessible by train.  The easiest way to get to Kamakura is by taking the JR Yokosuka Line.  The journey takes 56 minutes from Tokyo station and trains run every 10 to 15 minutes.  Upon arrival at Kamakura, there is a local train you can take to visit the main attractions.

There is a Tourist Information Center at Kamakura Station that offers maps and other useful information for getting around Kamakura.

Top Attractions

Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

Cast in the 13th century, the Great Buddha of Kamakura is one the biggest attractions in Japan, where you will get a picture perfect post-card image of Japan.  The Daibutsu was originally housed in a wooden hall, which was washed away by a tsunami in 1495.  The Great Buddha statue now lives outdoors.

Hase-dera Temple

Not too far from the Great Buddha is Hase-dera Temple.  The temple is noticeable from the outside because of the beautiful trees surrounding the entrance.  Once inside, you will be immediately surrounded by beautiful gardens.  This temple faces the sea and on a sunny day, you will have a great view of Kamakura from the temple.

Hase-dera is best known for housing the largest wood statue of Juichimen Kannon, the goddess of mercy.  The statue stands about 9.18 meter (30 feet) tall and can be viewed in the temple’s main building.

For more information on Hase-dera temple and Kamakura, please visit

Photo of the Day: Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji_temple_JapanKinkaku-ji 金閣寺 (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto, Japan.