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Japan

mgm9128

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I go Tokyo and Kyoto in a few weeks. No plans really. Anything I should know beforehand?
 

mercury

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Have you been to Japan before? How long will you be spending each city?

There was a pretty good thread on Japan shopping/travel before, see if you can dig that up.

You'll probably be too early for the cherry blossoms, but might catch some plum blossoms, which usually blossom mid-Feb.

Some must-see sights in Kyoto would include:
- Arashiyama (the famous bamboo grove)
- Kinkaku-ji (Golden pavilion), both of which you would have no doubt seen photos of.
- Tons of temples, gardens, parks

I love Kyoto and would gladly retire there. However a friend who lives in Tokyo went there for two days and says he's "done everything" there. Just depends on what your interests are.

Food is consistently good in Japan, but especially so in Kyoto.
 

mgm9128

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First time. Was hoping I'd catch the start of the sakura, but realize I may be a bit early. Will have 3 weeks in total. Thanks for the Kyoto recs.
 

mgm9128

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Oh. Cool. According to Japan Meteorological Corporation they will begin to flower on my birthday in Kyoto, which I will be there for.

Similar to last year, cherry blossom season will start earlier than it has historically, with the first flowering occurring around March 18 in Kochi on the island of Shikoku. In Tokyo, flowering is expected to start around March 22, and the city will see full bloom date on March 29. In Kyoto, the blossoms will appear a few days later: the JMC predicts the trees will flower on March 25, and fully bloom on April 2. Toward the later end of the spectrum, trees in Sapporo, a city in Hokkaido, are expected to flower on May 4 and fully bloom on May 8.
 

mercury

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Looks like you're in luck then.

Just make sure you book your hotels now, if you have not done so already. Hanami is peak season and can be hard to book accommodation
 

mgm9128

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I will book this week. Do you recommend any other prefectures to visit during my stay? Would a week alone spent in Tokyo be adequate?
 

mercury

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I think 7-10 days in Tokyo is good.
It can vary a lot though, depending on what you want see and do.
From Tokyo you can do a day trip to Kamakura.
From Kyoto, a popular side trip is to Nara. Could also go to Osaka, which is a big city but has a different vibe to Tokyo.

Plenty to see in other parts of Japan, many people get the JR pass so they can get the bullet trains to different cities. It really depends on the individual and what they want to get out of the trip. Honestly I'd be happy just with Tokyo and Kyoto, but if you have 3 weeks you will be able to go to other places.
 

mgm9128

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Thanks a bunch. I'll probably do all of that. I look forward to the bullet trains.
 

mgm9128

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Fantastic. Thanks. I have a few restaurants I plan to visit thanks to recommendations by some other travelers: a tonkatsu place, a soba joint, few ramen shops, and unfortunately the best sushi places book a few months in advance and I didn't care to plan that far ahead, nor can I decipher the Japanese characters on any of the reservation forms, but I am staying first few nights within walking distance to the Toyuso fish market, so that should make for some good eating. Anyone that cares to share other recommendations, it is greatly appreciated!
 

mgm9128

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Well, just as I posted this I got email confirmation that I got a seat at Harutaka for next Friday, so that should be good.
 

mercury

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Nice one, would love to hear back on what the experience was like.
 

mgm9128

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I heard from someone who went that it is quite good. Will post back with some pics next week.
 

jcman311

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Damn, what was the rough average price per fish there? Looks amazing (and I'm not even a huge sushi fan).
 

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