A Perfect Japan Itinerary: Toyko - Kyoto - Takayama - Shirakawa-go
This itinerary can be comfortably completed in a week to ten
You can save money by
buying a rail
before you go to Japan. Although the passes cannot be used on the very
fastest trains, the Nozomi and Mizhuho, they are good on the other
high-speed Shinkansen trains.
Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
is a modern Western-style hotel, very inexpensive (get a double for
less than $150 a night), next to a major rail station and the amazing
Isetan department store. Be sure to vist the high-end food stores in
the lowest level of the Isetan. The Ghibli
Museum is a
wonderful homage to animation. It is quite small, but plan to spend
most of a day to experience it in full. You must purchase tickets far
in advance. In the US, you order tickets from the JTB travel
It is about a 20 minute train ride from Shinjuku station to Mitaka
station, and then another 20 minute walk from the station to the
Ryokan Shimizu is inexpensive and
There are thousands of historic sites in .
Kyoto. On your first visit, be sure to take in Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Nijo-jo
Castle, and Ryoanji Temple. You can spend any number of days in Kyoto
and not begin to exhaust its treasures.
Japan's ancient capital, a short train ride from Kyoto. Wander the Deer
Park and tour Todiaji Temple.
the train through the mountains to Takayama.
Wander the town's delightful streets of historic shops. Shop for all kinds of
goods, foods, and Sake. Stay at least one night.
Plan to spend one or two nights in this ancient
staying and taking your breakfast and evening meal in a traditional
gassho-zukuri style farmhouse. Make your reservations far in advance
Houses: Ryokan Styles. (This web site also lists guest houses
in dozens of other historic villages and cities across Japan.) You will
need to take a bus from Takayama to Shrakawa-go; note that there are
only a few buses a day.
Finally, take the
return bus to Takayama and the train back to