Flights to Japan – booked in the beginning of December – check! The countdown was on – we had 70 days before the trip! You would say that’s plenty of time, but think Asia, think Japan, Tokyo, cherry blossom season…
Next step was to make at least an outline of a plan. What did we want to see? We were flying into Tokyo, so we decided to stay 5 nights in the city, see the main sights, adjust and finish planning the little details of the trip.
I usually use Hostelworld when looking for accommodation. When it comes to Japan, I’d recommend any of the Khaosan chain hostels. We stayed at the one in Asakusa – Khaosan World Asakusa Hostel. The location is quite convenient. There are a number of public transport connections that you could use – 4 Metro Lines and Ueno Railway station.
Another advantage of staying in Asakusa district is that you have one of Tokyo’s main tourist attractions at about 5-minute walking distance. With its 1400-year old history, Senso-ji Temple is the oldest and most visited in Tokyo. The streets around it form a vivid, colorful and genuinely fun area to be especially in the afternoon. You could choose from a bunch of traditional souvenirs and snacks such as the typical Japanese sweet bread. I tried one filled with ice-cream –
A common believe is that if you haven’t seen Kyoto, you haven’t been to Japan at all. Therefore, we decided we would spend 6 days in the old capital. It would be the perfect base camp for our day trips to nearby destinations such as Nara, Inari, Arashiyama, Osaka and even Hiroshima. We wanted to stay in a Khaosan hostel in Kyoto as well. Unfortunately, by the time we were looking for accommodation, almost everything there was booked. We were lucky to find what turned out to be a pretty cozy hostel with the most helpful and friendly staff – in the heart of Gion, the Geisha district of Kyoto. Overall, I am a PRETTY LUCKY girl!
Our flight out of Tokyo was at half past midnight, so we needed to stay there that last night. After booking it, we had the second step of the trip planning covered!
The next challenge ahead would be to figure out how to get from place to place – within the cities and throughout the country.
Food for thought – the distance between Tokyo and Kyoto is 452 km, between Kyoto and Hiroshima – 361 km. How were we supposed to get there, drop bags, check-in and still have time to see anything at all???
To be continued…