|by PAN MILL|
|8 Days in Japan|
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Are you visiting Japan for just 8 Days? Here is a Trip Itinerary on what to do and see during your stay.
Day 1 - Tokyo
Arrive with an early hours flight to Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport
In the Morning go for a shopping spree!
In the Afternoon do visit the Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace.
When night starts to fall, board the Metro Ginza line to Shinbashi and change to the Yurikamome line to the artificial island of Odaiba. This futuristic all-automated train-bus-monorail is an attraction in itself, especially the approach to Odaiba via a 270-degree loop that propels the train onto the Rainbow Bridge. There's lots of futuristic architecture here, including the spectacularly bizarre Fuji TV building, and even a copy of the Statue of Liberty by the seaside.
If your quota of shopping still isn't full, detour from Odaiba-Kaihin-Koen station to the mind-boggling Venus Fort, a recreation of Venice inside a shopping mall, complete with artificial sky and Italian mayors giving speeches from balconies.
When you finish sightseeing Hop on the Yurikamome and ride back to Shiodome. Change here for the Toei Oedo line to Roppongi. If you haven't had dinner yet, take exit 4 and walk a few hundred meters to Roppongi Hills, where you will find countless eating and shopping options in superslick surroundings. Try the tonkatsu beef (deep-friend beef cutlet) at Katsukobo Wako or the curry udon at Konaya.
Wash down dinner with a drink in one of Roppongi's innumerable watering holes. These change with bewildering rapidity, but Gas Panic and Lexington Queen have been around forever. For a more upmarket clubby experience, check out Space Lab Yellow, another reliably quirky standby.
Stay in a Hotel in Tokyo
Day 2 - Tokyo
WARNING: There's a lot of travel involved, so a ¥2000 PASMO fare card (available at any train station) will let you zip around the city easily without needing to queue up for tickets at every stop.
Board the JR Sobu Line at Ryogoku.
If you're feeling geeky, you can stop just a few stations away at Akihabara and plunge into one of the world's largest electronics retail districts. You can also find oodles of software, games, comics and various mixes of the two here. Remember that most everything here is aimed squarely at the Japanese market, so voltage (for hardware) and operating systems (for software) may not be compatible, and the language in the manuals certainly won't be — check out the export retailers like “Laox” for international versions.
Ride all the way through central Tokyo to Yoyogi, then change to the Yamanote Line and ride one stop south to Harajuku. Immediately to the west side of the station is the majestic Meiji Shrine, one of the largest and most serene in Tokyo, located down a wide foot path into a forest of tall cedar trees. Once at the shrine entrance, rinse your hands and take a sip of cleansing water before entering.
Do not drink the water. Take the dipper in your right hand and pour water over your left hand. Change hands and pour water over your right hand. Change hands again and pour water into your cupped left hand, transfer the water to your mouth, rinse and spit---yes, spit--out the water into the trough at the foot of the fountain. Again, rinse your left hand, rinse the dipper to clean it, and then put the dipper back on the rack.
Here you can make a wish (remember to throw a coin; a five-yen coin is preferable) into the money box as an offering. Also, notice the other worshipers bow and clap twice to call the gods or buy a votive plaque to write a wish on. The odds of catching an elaborate Japanese wedding ceremony here are pretty good.
On Sundays, there's a ceremony of a different sort going on outside the shrine entrance and in nearby Yoyogi Park when the unofficial Tokyo freak show is held. Here you can catch punks, gothic lolitas, bloodspattered surgeons and other bizarre subcultures showing off to each other and the gaggle of photographers.
Backtrack to Harajuku station and cross to the east side, where an entirely different vista will present itself: right across the road is Takeshita-dori, the nexus of Tokyo's teens, home to the world's heaviest concentration of Hello Kitty goods and other forms of extreme cuteness.
Walk through the narrow winding street and take a right at its end onto Meiji-dori. The next intersection is Omote-sando, a tree-lined boulevard occasionally compared to Paris' Champs-Elysées, with trendy boutiques and snooty cafes priced almost as high as the original.
Cross Omote-sando and keep walking past the Condomania shop. A few blocks down, take a right to cross under the Yamanote train tracks, and after this you are now officially in Shibuya, Japan's capital of cool. The shops here change at a blistering pace nearly as fickle as Tokyo teen fashion, but a few long-termers along the road include the OIOI (say "marooee") fashion mall and the seven-story Tower Records music store.
At the end of the road you will find Shibuya station and Hachiko, the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. If you want to explore Shibuya a little more, make a sharp right here to stroll down the pedestrian street Center-gai. Along the street one shop that's worth a stop is Tokyu Hands, a DIY department store that retails absolutely everything imaginable (and some things that aren't), and otaku certainly won't want to miss out on manga/anime superstore Mandarake.
Stay in a Hotel in Tokyo
Day 3 - Tokyo
Start off your day bright and early with a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Tourists are no longer allowed into the tuna auction without special permission, but the rest of the market is still your oyster. If you want to get there early enough to see the tuna being offloaded from the boats, you'll have to cab it before 3 AM, but if you just want to see the market in action it's much cheaper to just take the first train (underground) in the morning a little past 5 AM to Oedo Line Tsukiji-seijo, or Hibiya Line Tsukiji, but this is a little further away. Be sure to eat a sushi breakfast at Sushidai or Daiwa Sushi for around ¥3000. If you just want to eat, you can show up a little later, but beware: queues can be long on weekends.
Tsukiji Honganji, near the Hibiya line station, is a rather atypical Japanese temple built not from wood, but from heavy stone and concrete. The interior, full of wafting incense and resplendent with gold, is still worth a quick peek.
Hop on the Toei Oedo Line to Ryogoku and the Edo-Tokyo Museum (exit A3/A4), one of the best in Tokyo, which will give you an excellent grounding in the history of this city from the Edo era of samurais and geishas to modern-day post-war Tokyo. Admission ¥600, open from 9 AM.
Right next door to the museum is the Kokugikan, Japan's most famous sumo wrestling arena, where tournaments are held three times yearly. A visit to one of the sumo stables nearby can be interesting.
Stay in a Hotel in Tokyo
Day 4 - Tokyo
Take the bus from the Shinjuku Station to visit Fuji-Q Highland Theme park, one of the most popular theme parks in Japan. You’ll see fantastic views of Mt Fuji from the “Fujiyama” rollercoaster – one of the tallest and fastest in the world.
Stay in a Hotel in Tokyo
Day 5 - Day trip to Nikkô
If you are not a Japanese national go to Japan Tourism Office with passport to purchase a 5 Days “Japan Rail Pass”. This pass gives you access in all “Shinksnsen” Bullet Train to move between cities.
Take train for a Day trip to Nikkô.
There see the Shinkyô, the red sacred bridge over the Daiya River. Legend has it that the Buddhist priest Shôdô Shônin was helped across the river here in the 8th century by two giant serpents that formed the bridge. It has been rebuilt many times since.
Visit the 1200 year old Rinnôji with the largest wooden buddhas in Japan, and the amazing Tôshogû Shrine, the resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun to unite all of Japan. Here you can see the original “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys”.
Take train back to Tokyo
Stay in a Hotel in Tokyo
Day 6 - Osaka
Take the JR Bullet train to Osaka
In Osaka see:
The Osaka Castle
The Osaka Science Museum
The Umeda Sky Building
Go for more shopping
If you have time visit Universal City Theme Park
Stay in a Hotel in Osaka
Day 7 - Day trip to Hiroshima
From Osaka take the train to Visit Hiroshima
In Hiroshima visit the “Peace Memorial Park”
Take night train back to Osaka
Stay in your Hotel in Osaka
Day 8 - Tokyo
Take Train back to Tokyo
Fly out from Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport
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