A proposed itinerary for 12 days with the 7 day JR Pass

Day 1-3 Tokyo, 3 nights

Use these maps for JR Lines and subways in Tokyo. http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4... http://www.jrpass.com/images/map/map_... And this map for walking in Tokyo. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rt...

Day 1: Tokyo: Arrive at Narita

Take Narita Express to Tokyo. Rest.

Day 2: Tokyo Day 1: West Central Tokyo (Shinjuku, Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, Shibuya)

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3051_we...

1. Shibuya: 2 hours

Take JR Yamanote Line and exit the JR Shibuya station from its Hachiko Exit and see at first the bronze Hachiko statue(#58 spot) of the faithful dog “Hachiko” which waited his master everyday for 9 years there after his master past away in 1925. The story which then become famous in Japan because the Imperial Japan Government wished people to be faithful, but has recently become famous even among Westerners after a Hollywood movie, "Hachi: A Dog's Tale", was released in August 2009, starring actor Richard Gere, directed by Lasse Hallström. Then, watch the world famous Scramble Crossing of Shibuya(#18 spot in Tokyo among TA) and the Center Gai (alley; #86 spot). Young ladies love shopping at reknown 109 building, Tokyu Hands, Parco, or Hikarie buildings, etc.

2. Harajuku / Meiji Shrine: 3 hours

Walk or take JR Yamanote Line from Shibuya to Harajuku (just one stop). First, walk to the west over the bridge over the JR Yamanote Line and enter Meiji Jingu(Shrine), the largest Shrine in Tokyo(#2 spot in Tokyo among TA) enshrining Emperor Meiji who led the modernization of Japan in 19th century. Then, come back and walk further west to enter the Yoyogi Park(#26 spot), the largest park in Tokyo. Then, come back to the station and walk the famous Takeshita Dori (street; #42 spot), the center of teenage cultute in Japan, and enjoy the contrasting hustle and bustle there, eating famous crepes of Harajuku. Don’t forget to visit the famous 100 yen shop, “Daiso”, in the middle of the street which is very popular to foreigners: actually, I first learned this shop in a TV program introducing a british lady and her mother who now come to Japan every year to shop a lot in this 5 story shop. Recently, I visited there with my American friend and he was happy, too. Then, after Takeshita street, turn right and go to the Omotesando street. Consider visiting a popular Nezu Museum(#15 spot). Then, go to subway Meiji Jingu (Shrine) station and take subway Fukutoshin Line to Shinjuku Sanchome.

3. Shinjuku: 3 hours

From Shinjuku Sanchome, walk the main Shinjuku street Eastward toward Shinjuku Gyoen Park(the most(#1) popular spot among TA in Tokyo). Then go to Kabukicho area. If you are interested in go to Robot restaurant in Kabukicho for entertainment. Walk west to the Shinjuku station. If you are interested in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Free Observatory(#6 spot), then go to the west side of the station and walk 5 min west underground and then another 3 min and the building is on the left side. Then, come back to the station and visit Omoideyokocho (Nostalgic Alley; #76 spot), which was built just after WWII but is now popular among foreign visitors, for dinner. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WikmX...

Day 3: Tokyo Day 2: East Central Tokyo (Asakusa, Ueno, Ryogoku)

1. Asakusa: 3 hours

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3051_as... If you didn't go to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Free Observatory in Shinjuku and if it’s a weekday, then go to Tokyo Sky Tree or Oshiage stations by subway and visit Tokyo Sky Tree Observatory(#11 spot in Tokyo among TA), currently the tallest tower in the world. If it’s on weekend, it’s much crowded, so don’t go there. Then, take Tobu Railway Line to Asakusa(#3 spot in Tokyo among TA) and visit the famous Senso-ji Temple(#4 spot). Then, I recommend to go to a popular restaurant Kikko for lunch, where you can also enjoy Japanese traditional meal (2,700 yen) and free music played by Shamisen (a traditional guiter-like instrument). This time I took my friend and he was very happy, too. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaur... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CtUu... Then, take subway Ginza Line to Ueno.

2. Ueno: 3 hours

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3019.html Go to Ueno Park(#8 spot in Tokyo among TA). Go to Ameyoko market street for shopping. There are many museums in this area, including Tokyo National Museum. Take JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara. Take JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara and transfer to JR Chuo Line to Ryogoku.

3. Ryogoku. 1 hours

Visit Edo-Tokyo Museum(#9 spot in Tokyo among TA) which shows development of Tokyo from Edo (Tokyo in Edo period, 1600-1860) to post WWII modern Tokyo. The Sumo Wrestring Theater is also in Ryogoku.

Day 4-7 Kyoto, 4 nights

Use these maps for JR Lines and subways in Kyoto. http://www.jrpass.com/images/map/map_... https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/tr... And this map for walking in Kyoto. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rt...

Day 4: Kyoto Day 1 (Sanjusangendo, South Higashiyama, Gion Day).

Activate the JR Pass and leave Tokyo in the morning by Shinkansen Hikari to Kyoto. Go to the hotel by taxi, leave your luggage. Take Keihan Line to Shichijo, walk 5 min to Sanjusangendo Temple, the artistic highlight of Kyoto. Please read my review. Then, take a cab (to save time) to Kiyomizu-dera(Temple), walk the preserved areas of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka slopes (this way is downhill), see Yasaka Pagoda and Ishibe Alley, visit Kodaiji Temple and its nice garden, and then go to Heian Jingu (Shrine) and see its beautiful garden in the back. Finally, walk to Gion.

Day 5: Kyoto Day 2 (Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji, Arashiyama Day).

Go to Nijo Jo Mae (Castle front) by subway to visit Nijo Castle*. Then, take a cab (to save your time) to Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion)*. Then, take a cab again to Ninnaji Temple*, and see this Temple for a while, then walk to Omuro-Ninnaji station and take the tram-like Keifuku line (so-called Randen) to Arashiyama terminal. Visit Tenryuji Temple* to see its famous garden, exit from its north back exit and go leftward to the Bamboo Grove. Visit Togetsukyo bridge, and if you have time Iwatayama Monkey Park.

Day 6: Kyoto Day 3 (Fushimi Inari and Nara).

Take JR Nara Line from Kyoto to Nara, visit Todaiji Temple*. Please see this video of Todaiji. and my review here. Then, visit Isuien Park. In the afternoon, take JR Nara line to come back to Kyoto and get off at JR Inari station and visit Fushmi Inari.

Day 7: Kyoto Day 3 (Osaka Day).

Take JR Kyoto Line Special Rapid from Kyoto to JR Osaka station (@30 min) and visit the Floating Garden Observatory. Then, take JR Osaka Loop Line to Osakajokoen Mae(Osaka Castle Park Front) and visit Osaka Castle. Then go to Tsuruhashi and have a lunch at one of the popular grilled beaf (Yakiniku) restaurants there. Then, go to Tennouji to visit Abeno-Herukas Building. For dinner, go to Namba station by subway and go to Dotonbori area. To come back to Kyoto, take subway Midosuji Line from Namba to Umeda, walk a few min to JR Osaka and take JR Special Rapid to Kyoto.

Day 8: Himeji/Hiroshima/Miyajima Day.

Go to Himeji from Kyoto by Shinknsen Hikari and Sakura Superexpress and visit Himeji Castle*, then go to Hiroshima by Shinkansen Sakura again. Take a tram line 2 or 6 or a cab to Genbaku-Domu Mae (A-bomb Dome front) and visit Peace Memorial Museum/Park*. Then, move to Miyajima, visit Itsukushima Shirine*, and then take Miyajima Ropeway to the top of Mt. Misen to see the wonderful view of Setonaikai (Seto Inner Sea). http://miyajima-ropeway.info/en/mirac... Stay at Miyajima. (*: indicates World Heritage sites, 5 of 17 in Kyoto plus one in Shirakawago, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima = 9 in total)

Day 9: Hakone or Fuji 5 Lakes (Kawaguchi-ko)

Go back to Hiroshima, and take Shinkansen Sakura from Hiroshima to Shin Osaka and Shinkansen Hikari from Shin-Osaka. To go to Hakone, get off the Shinkansen Hikari at Odawara and buy Hakone Free Pass and take Hakone Tozan(Climbing) Railway to Gora, then Hakone Tozan Cable Car to Sounzan, then, transfer to a bus to Togendai to see Mt. Fuji. Stay at a Ryokan in Hakone. To go to Kawaguchi-Ko (Lake), get off the Shinkansen Hikari at Mishima and take a bus to Kawaguchi-ko. Stay at a Ryokan in Kawaguchi-ko.

Day 10,11: Tokyo Day 3, 4

Day 10: Tokyo Day 3:

From Hakone, take a Pirate ship cruise of Lake Ashi to Moto Hakone town and then take a bus to Odawara, and come back to Shinjuku by Odakyu Romance Car train again. From Kawaguchi-ko, take a Limo to Shinjuku or alternatively take Fujikyu Railway to Otsuki and transfer to JR Chuo Line Express to Shinjuku of Tokyo.

Day 11: Tokyo Day 4: East Central Tokyo (Asakusa, Odaiba)

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk3WF...

1. Odaiba: 4 hours

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk3WF... http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3008.ht... Take JR Yamanote Line or subway Ginza line to Shinbashi and then take Yurikamome no-man monorail to Daiba (seaside park). Odaiba(#12 spot) literally means a cannon base, which was constructed by the Shogun of Tokugawa in the late 19th century, after the US fleet of Admiral Perry came asking to open the country for trade. The cannons set there have never been used, and the rule by Shogun and Samurai ended and by the Emperor Meiji restored. Then, in 1980’s, Odaiba was renovated as a futuristic artificially made island for shopping, entertainment, reluxing, etc. At first, visit the Statue of Liberty in Odaiba where you can see the nice view of the Rainbow Bridge(#35 spot). Then, go to Acuacity Odaiba biuilding(#120 spot). Then, to the next building, Decks Tokyo Beach, and explore shops, restaurants and indoor theme parks such as Joypolis, Legoland and the Trick Art Museum. Then, from Decks, head south to Palette Town and take in the attractions such as the Venus Fort shopping mall and Toyota Mega Web. Then, go to National Museum of Emerging Science(#78 spot), if you are interested in emerging science, and Oedo Onsen Monogatari, if you are interested in this Onsen theme park. Then, come back to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza(#81 spot) and the Gundam statue in front. Then, from Daiba station take Yurikamome Line and come back to Shinbashi and transfer to JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara.

2. Akihabara: 2 hours

Akihabara(#22 spot) has been a town for shopping electronics, but now it’s popular for Manga lovers, and there are many interesting things such as Maid Cafes, etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hji3D...

Day 12:

Go to Narita Airport and return to your country.