TRAVEL TO JAPAN, BETWEEN TRADITION AND MODERNITY
Travel to Japan offer you the opportunity to travel around the country and encounter many different landscapes as it is a land of beauty and mystery. No matter what season you travel in, you will always enjoy discovering Japan from a different perspective.
TRAVEL TO JAPAN - SEASONS
The whole country has 4 seasons which are Winter (November to February), Spring (February to March), Summer (May to August) and Autumn (August to November).
The climate in Osaka and Kyoto is quite similar. It is temperate and humid, with quite mild winters, and hot and rainy summers. Average temperatures vary drastically. Due to high humidity, temperatures feel nice some of the year, but often too hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Compared to Osaka, it is warmer in Tokyo.
TRAVEL TO JAPAN - HOW TO GET THERE?
Travel to Japan is quite easy. Indeed, the country has 6 international airports, of which the 3 main ones are: Narita, Tokyo-Haneda, and Kansai (Osaka-Kyoto). From Vietnam the flights are regular and affordable: about 250 dollars from Ho Chi Minh City to go and back with the airline operator: Vietjet Air.
TRAVEL TO JAPAN - FROM OSAKA TO TOKYO VIA KYOTO
The easiest and cheapest way to get around in Japan, and in particular between the three cities, is to subscribe to the Japan Rail Pass.
The high speed shinkansen service (also called the bullet train) will get you from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station in 15 minutes.
From Osaka to Tokyo, the best choice is the Hikari which takes just three hours to cover the distance. The Hikari is also the best way to travel from Kyoto to Tokyo, as it takes two hours and 40 minutes to cover the distance.
These three propositions are included in the Japan Rail Pass which costs about USD 270 to travel for 7 days. This pass also includes the majority of your trips to tourist locations within these three cities. We advise you to buy your JR Pass before travelling to Japan. In Ho Chi Minh City, the ticket office is located in Takashimaya Shopping Center (92-94 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Bến Nghé, Quận 1).
TRAVEL TO JAPAN - LET'S START WITH OSAKA
Travel to Japan - Day 1 in Osaka
We suggest that you start your day at the Luna Park, a former amusement park from the 1910s and 1920s, and then move on to Shinjuku, the district of the Yakuza. It is a very offbeat neighbourhood.
Take your time to eat some “okonomiyaki”, which are Japanese savory pancake containing a variety.
Then head to the Umeda Sky, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The 173-meter-tall building consists of two towers that are connected with each other by the “Floating Garden Observatory” on the 39th floor. The observatory offers great views of the city through its windows and from its open-air deck.
Finish you first day in the very popular district of Dotonbori. You will not be able to miss it: a giant crab on a storefront tells you that you have arrived safely! It is a must go-to-place when you visit Osaka. There are hundreds of stands for authentic Japanese street food like gyoza, fried skewers and rotating sushi.
We suggest you sleep at the Candeo Hotels, which provides large rooms with an onsen on the rooftop, and which is ideally located (100 meters from Dotonbori).
Travel to Japan - Day 2 in Osaka
For your second day, visit Osaka Castle. It is one of Japan's most famous landmarks which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
Street vendors sell in the gardens of the castle some “Takoyaki”. They are ball-shaped snack typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion.
Don't forget to visit the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living where you can stroll through the perfectly reconstructed streets of the Edo period (1600 - 1868) and finish your day by going shopping on Shinsaibashi-Suji Street.
TRAVEL TO JAPAN - LET'S DISCOVER KYOTO
Travel to Japan - Day 1 in Kyoto
After having taken possession of your charming house near Sannenzaka, in the south of Higashiyama, stroll through the streets around your house and those of Ninenzaka.
For your lunch, we suggest you the Restaurant Hisago. It is a traditional restaurant where rice, eggs, chicken, “Udon noodles” and matcha are proposed.
For the afternoon, visit the Kiyomisudera, which is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan and a must in Kyoto. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, and derives its name from the fall's pure waters, and it is since 1994 a world heritage site of UNESCO.
If you have the courage (and above all still have energy), end your day at the Nijo Castle. It is a former imperial palace, which is located in the heart of the ancient Japanese capital. It spreads over 66 acres and is home to beautiful Japanese gardens, and two large main buildings: Honmaru and Ninomaru.
Travel to Japan - Day 2 in Kyoto
Start your second day with Kinkaku Ji, also called Rokuon-ji or the Golden Pavilion. It is another staple of your sightseeing tours in Kyoto. Do not hesitate to continue your walk in the various monasteries present in the city where calm, history and zenitude call you. Don't forget to go to Fushimi Inari, which is the head shrine of the kami Inari, and a colourful temple.
Take the time to stop at the Nishiki market, a local street food market where you can try a wide range of food before you wander the shopping malls.
When the weather is pleasant, you can walk through Ponto Cho, located in the district of Gion. Renowned for its geishas, Gion is Kyoto's most emblematic historic district.
Travel to Japan - Day 3 in Kyoto
Dedicate this day to Arashiyama! Located in the mountains, northwest of Kyoto, Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons. It’s filled with temples and shrines, but the star attraction is the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Then, relax in the moss temple: Saiho-Ji!
Looking for some picturesque little villages in the Kitayama Mountains? Located 30 minutes by train from Kyoto, get ready to climb to an altitude of 1000 meters from Kurama to Kibune hike. Be ready, it is a two-mile hike! And most of all, enjoy an onsen (Japanese hot spring) at the end of your journey...
TRAVEL TO JAPAN - FINISH WITH TOKYO
Travel to Japan - Day 1 in Tokyo
After having taken the train from Kyoto to Tokyo and put your suitcases down at the hotel, spend the afternoon in Shibuya, one of the busiest crossroads in the world, Ginza, and Shinjuku! These are quite unmissable spots in Tokyo, for walks, shopping, and bathing in the Japanese crowd. Say hello to the famous dog Hachiko as you leave the station, then go shopping in Shibuya, continue to Ginza, finish with Shinjuku and watch the sunset from the city hall's free observatory, which offers a breath-taking view of Tokyo.
Spend the evening in Akihabara, Japan's brightest and busiest street located about 10 minutes from the Central Station. Flashing neon lights and sound advertisements announce the department stores specializing in electronics.
Travel to Japan - Day 2 in Tokyo
Dedicate your second day in Tokyo to culture. We advise you in particular:
Edo-Tokyo: located in the Ryogoku district, this museum will take you through the Japanese history, from the EDO period, in the 1600s, to the present day.
Hokusai Museum: Not far from the Edo-Tokyo, is the brand-new Hokusai Museum. Here you can see the landscapes characteristic of the work of this Japanese artist, born in 1760 in this district.
Ghibli: if you liked Spirited away and My Neighbor Totoro, go to Mitaka, in the western suburbs. This museum is dedicated to the director Miyazaki and his fairytale world.
Then go to the Tsukiji market, known to be one of the must-do's in Tokyo. A tasting of the fresh sushi is a must on the spot!
Want to indulge in Japanese hobbies? Go to Harajuku, where you can meet many locals dressed as your favourite characters. You will also have the opportunity to buy your own Cosplay outfit in this area!
Travel to Japan - Day 3 in Tokyo
This morning let’s visited two temples. Go first to the Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine: built in 1920, this shrine has become one of the most revered in Tokyo. Its portico (Tori) was carved out of 1,500 years old wood and is the largest in Japan. It stands in the middle of a vast wooded area. Then visit the Buddhist temple of Senso-Ji: located in the traditional district of Asakusa, it is the oldest temple in Tokyo. It dates from the year 645.
Take advantage of this afternoon to take a walk to Sumida Park, where you can find the cherry blossoms when it is in season.
Restaurants are so diverse and varied in Tokyo that you will not have any trouble to find the right match for your desire. Theme cafes are very popular in Tokyo. You can enjoy your coffee in the company of cats, owls, or tons of characters like maids.
Now that you have all the good addresses, all you have to do is book your plane tickets to Japan! Enjoy!
If you are looking for a private French guide, don't hesitate to contact David from Japon Prive! We have tested his services for you and have not been disappointed! David is very professional and knows Japan very well.