Japan Trip Summary

I just returned from a 12 day trip to Japan with my sister who ran the Tokyo Marathon. Here is the summary. I plan to post day by day details in the coming weeks.


Even though we were away for 12 days, I have to note that flying from the US, we lost a day for travel each way. So we really had 10 full days to explore Japan. I was also dealing with a back / piriformis issue that hampered my walking so we didn't see as much as I had planned, but that's ok, it just means we have to return to see and experience more!

Here is the day by day summary:  

  • Friday, February 23 - travel day, flying to Haneda airport. 
  • Saturday, February 24 - continued travel day, arrival into Haneda airport. We stay overnight at the airport hotel, the Royal Park Hotel, conveniently located in Terminal 3 (International Terminal)
  • Sunday, February 25 - we travel to Kyoto via Shinkansen Bullet train. We have accommodations reserved at the Kyoto Miyako Westin. It is raining so we opt to explore the hotel with its numerous amenities including the relaxing Onsen Spa. 
  • Monday, February 26 - sightseeing at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. Explore the GION area including the Yasaka Shrine in Marurama park. Dinner at Teppan Tavern Tenamonya 
  • Tuesday, February 27 - sightseeing at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple. In addition to the unusual temple grounds, the site includes a quiet version of Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. No throngs of tourists. Back in GION area we enjoyed a 90 minute massage at Hiyoshi Massage. Dinner at Gion-SUI, a wonderful 10 course chef’s tasting menu. 
  • Wednesday, February 28 - we travel back to Tokyo via Shinkansen Bullet train, settle into our accommodation, the MONday Apart Premium Nihonbashi. Close to the Tokyo Metro, the room includes a kitchenette and laundry, perfect for our stay in Tokyo. 
  • Thursday, February 29 - We’re here for the Tokyo Marathon and the event Expo opens today. Located in the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, we take the scenic Yurikamome Line around the Tokyo Bay Waterfront. Dinner at Dante Teppanyaki 
  • Friday, March 1 - We make our way to the Tokyo Marathon start line, near Shinjuku Chuo Park. Then to Ginza shopping area to experience the flagship Muji and Uniqlo stores. 
  • Saturday, March 2 - Explored the Jinbocho bookstore area of Tokyo and came back with unique art prints from Hara Shobo, a wonderful print shop. 
  •  Sunday, March 3 - Tokyo Marathon day. My sister is running the marathon and we spectate. The course runs a block from the hotel so we are able to see the elites sprint by before catching the others. We walk to Ginza area to catch runners at the 32 km mark (around 20 miles in) and then again towards the finish line at 42km mark. 
  • Monday, March 4 - Knife shopping on Kappabashi street and the recommended Tsubaya store. Ramen counter lunch at Himuro Asakusa Shop (cash only). Then to Tokyo Sky Tree observatory. Dinner in Ginza at Sushi No Midori 
  • Tuesday, March 5 - TeamLabs Planets interactive Art exhibit. Didn’t know what to expect, but the experience was unique and enjoyable. Also visited Tsukiji temple in the Ginza area. Cat cafe MoCHA Akihabara visit. Dinner at a Shabu-Shabu (hot pot) restaurant near our hotel 
  • Wednesday March 6 - travel day back to the US

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