Things to Do Between Tokyo and Kyoto

Are you planning a trip to Japan and wondering what to do between Tokyo and Kyoto? Look no further! There are plenty of exciting activities and attractions to explore on your journey between these two iconic cities.

From the bustling coastal city of Yokohama to the scenic beauty of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, there’s something for everyone. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and visit the peaceful Kenkonzan Nihon-ji Temple or explore the sprawling Shakujii Park. And don’t forget to indulge in the delicious cuisine, including the famous Yokohama Chinatown.

Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a mix of both, you won’t be disappointed on your journey between Tokyo and Kyoto. Read on for our top recommendations on things to do and see along the way.

Key Takeaways

  • There are plenty of exciting activities and attractions to explore between Tokyo and Kyoto.
  • Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and explore the peaceful temples and parks along the way.
  • Don’t forget to indulge in the delicious cuisine, including the famous Yokohama Chinatown.

Planning Your Itinerary

Planning-Your-Itinerary-in-Tokyo

Planning your itinerary for a trip between Tokyo and Kyoto can seem overwhelming, but with a little organization, it can be a breeze. The first step is to decide how many days you want to spend in each city. A good rule of thumb is to spend at least three days in Tokyo and three days in Kyoto, but this can vary depending on your interests and budget.

Once you have decided on the number of days, it’s time to start planning your itinerary. There are many resources available online, including pre-made itineraries that you can download and customize to fit your needs. You can also use travel guides to get an idea of the top attractions in each city.

When planning your itinerary, it’s important to consider the logistics of getting from Tokyo to Kyoto. The most popular mode of transportation is the shinkansen (bullet train), which takes around two and a half hours. You can purchase tickets in advance online or at the train station.

To make the most of your time, consider grouping attractions by location. For example, in Tokyo, you can visit the famous Shibuya Crossing, Meiji Shrine, and Harajuku all in one day since they are located close to each other. In Kyoto, you can visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and Gion District in one day since they are also located close to each other.

Don’t forget to leave some free time in your itinerary for unexpected discoveries and experiences. Sometimes the best memories are made when you least expect them.

Overall, planning your itinerary for a trip between Tokyo and Kyoto can be exciting and fun. With a little organization and research, you can create a memorable trip that fits your interests and budget.

Transportation Options

Transportation-Options-in-Tokyo

Travelling between Tokyo and Kyoto is an exciting experience. There are several transportation options available that offer convenience, comfort, and speed. Here are some of the best ways to get around:

Shinkansen Bullet Train

The Shinkansen Bullet Train is the fastest and most popular mode of transportation between Tokyo and Kyoto. The journey takes around 2.5 hours, and you can choose from three types of trains – Hikari, Nozomi, and Kodama. The Nozomi is the fastest, while the Kodama is the slowest. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can use it to ride on the Hikari and Kodama trains, but not on the Nozomi.

Air Travel

If you’re short on time, air travel is a great option. There are several flights daily from Narita and Haneda airports to Osaka, which is just a short train ride from Kyoto. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to factor in travel time to and from the airports and the time it takes to check-in and go through security.

Other Modes of Transport

If you’re on a budget or want to experience something different, there are other modes of transport available. You can take a highway bus, like Willer Express, which takes around 8 hours, or a cable car or ropeway to explore the scenic areas between Tokyo and Kyoto. You can even take a boat ride on Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan.

Navigating the Stations

Navigating the train stations in Japan can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t speak the language. However, most stations have English signage and staff who can assist you. Tokyo Station and Shinagawa Station are the main stations in Tokyo, while Kyoto Station and Gion Shijo Station are the main stations in Kyoto.

Travel Cards and Passes

To make your travels more convenient, consider purchasing a Suica card, which is a rechargeable smart card that you can use to pay for transportation and purchases at convenience stores. If you’re planning on taking multiple trips on the Shinkansen, consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass, which gives you unlimited access to JR trains, buses, and ferries for a set period.

Travel Insurance

It’s always a good idea to purchase travel insurance before your trip to Japan. World Nomads is a popular travel insurance provider that offers coverage for medical expenses, theft, and trip cancellations.

Packing for the Trip

When packing for your trip, keep in mind that Japan has a four-season climate, so make sure to bring appropriate clothing. It’s also a good idea to pack a pocket wifi router, which will give you access to the internet throughout your travels.

Internet and Communication

Japan has excellent internet and communication infrastructure, so you can stay connected throughout your trip. Most hotels and train stations offer free wifi, and you can also rent a pocket wifi router or purchase a local sim card. If you need to make calls, consider using a messaging app like Line or Whatsapp, which offer free voice and video calls.

Exploring Tokyo

Exploring-Tokyo

Tokyo is a vibrant city that offers a plethora of exciting activities for everyone. From iconic landmarks to culinary adventures, there is something for everyone in this bustling metropolis.

Iconic Landmarks

Tokyo Tower is a must-visit landmark that offers stunning views of the city. You can take the elevator to the observation deck and marvel at the breathtaking panoramic views. Another iconic landmark is the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, which is the oldest temple in Tokyo. The temple’s vibrant red gate and the bustling Nakamise shopping street leading up to it are a treat for the senses.

Culinary Adventures

Tokyo is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide variety of culinary experiences to choose from. Tsukiji Fish Market is the world’s largest fish market and is a must-visit for seafood lovers. You can sample fresh sushi and sashimi at one of the many restaurants in the market. For a unique dining experience, head to Odaiba, where you can dine in a robot-themed restaurant. The food is served by robots, and the atmosphere is out of this world.

Shopping and Entertainment

Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise, with something for everyone. Ginza is a high-end shopping district that is home to luxury brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton. For a more eclectic shopping experience, head to Harajuku, where you can find everything from vintage clothing to quirky accessories. Shinjuku is another popular shopping destination, with department stores and electronics shops.

If you’re looking for entertainment, Roppongi is the place to be. It is home to many nightclubs and bars and is a popular destination for party-goers. Shibuya is another popular entertainment district, with karaoke bars and arcades.

Overall, Tokyo is a city that offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity. With its iconic landmarks, culinary adventures, and shopping and entertainment options, you’re sure to have an exciting time exploring this vibrant city.

Stops Along the Way

Stops-Along-the-Way-in-Tokyo

Travelling between Tokyo and Kyoto can be an exciting adventure with plenty of stops to make along the way. Here are some of the top stops to make your journey more enjoyable.

Atami and Hakone

Atami and Hakone are two popular stops on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto. Atami is known for its hot springs, while Hakone offers stunning views of Mount Fuji and the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. You can take a mountain tram, cable car, and ropeway to see the beautiful landscapes of Hakone. You can also visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum with its 400-some sculptures.

Kanazawa and Nagoya

Kanazawa and Nagoya are two other stops that you can make on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto. Kanazawa is known for its beautiful gardens and traditional crafts. You can visit the Kenrokuen Garden, one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan, or the Kanazawa Castle Park. Nagoya, on the other hand, is known for its historical sites such as the Nagoya Castle. You can also visit the Lamplight Books Hotel, a modern and affordable hotel that sits above a cozy bookshop, and is a short walking distance from Nagoya Station.

Nara and Osaka

Nara and Osaka are two other popular stops on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto. Nara is known for its deer park and historical sites such as the Todai-ji Temple and the Kasuga-taisha Shrine. Osaka, on the other hand, is known for its food and nightlife. You can visit the Osaka Castle, the Umeda Sky Building, or the Dotonbori area for some delicious food and entertainment.

With these stops, your journey from Tokyo to Kyoto will be an exciting adventure full of beautiful landscapes, historical sites, and delicious food.

Discovering Kyoto

Discovering-Kyoto

When it comes to travelling to Japan, Kyoto is a must-visit destination. This city is steeped in history, culture and natural beauty. Here are some of the best things to do in Kyoto.

Historic Kyoto

Kyoto is home to a plethora of historic sites. The Imperial Palace, located in the heart of Kyoto, is a must-visit for history buffs. This palace was once the residence of the Emperor of Japan and is now open to the public. Another must-see is Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns.

Scenic Beauty

Kyoto is also known for its scenic beauty. One of the most popular places to visit is Arashiyama, a district located on the outskirts of Kyoto. Here, you can take a stroll through the bamboo forest or visit the Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another scenic spot is the Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, which is situated in northwest Kyoto.

Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage

Kyoto is famous for its cultural heritage, which can be seen in its many shrines and temples. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most popular shrines in Kyoto, known for its thousands of torii gates. The Kiyomizudera Temple, located in east Kyoto, is another must-visit. This temple offers stunning views of the city and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kyoto is also known for its traditional Japanese architecture, which can be seen in places like Ryoanji Temple. This temple features a beautiful rock garden and is a great place to experience traditional Japan.

Overall, Kyoto offers a unique blend of history, culture and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s historic sites, scenic spots or cultural heritage, Kyoto has something for everyone. So, make sure to add Kyoto to your Japan itinerary and discover all that this amazing city has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-visit places between Tokyo and Kyoto?

If you’re travelling between Tokyo and Kyoto, there are plenty of must-visit places to explore. One of the most popular spots is Shizuoka City, which offers colourful shrines, stunning views of Mount Fuji, and plenty of green tea cafes. Other great places to visit include Yokohama Chinatown, Lake Ashi, and Mount Fuji.

What are some fun free activities to do between Tokyo and Kyoto?

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of fun free activities to do between Tokyo and Kyoto. For example, you can explore the bamboo forests and Zen temples in northwest Kyoto, or take a stroll around the picturesque Hakone Open-Air Museum. You can also visit the Kotoku-in temple to see the iconic Great Buddha statue.

Are there any recommended onsens to visit between Tokyo and Kyoto?

Yes, there are several recommended onsens to visit between Tokyo and Kyoto. One of the most popular is Hakone Yuryo Onsen, which offers stunning views of Mount Fuji and a variety of relaxing hot springs. Another great option is Kusatsu Onsen, which is known for its high-quality hot spring water and charming traditional town.

What are some top stops recommended by Reddit users between Tokyo and Kyoto?

According to Reddit users, some of the top stops between Tokyo and Kyoto include the Hakone Open-Air Museum, the iconic Great Buddha statue at Kotoku-in, and the beautiful Lake Kawaguchi. Other popular spots include the stunning Shirakawa-go village and the historic city of Kanazawa.

What are some top places to visit between Tokyo and Osaka?

If you’re travelling between Tokyo and Osaka, there are plenty of top places to visit along the way. In addition to Kyoto, you can explore the charming city of Himeji, which is home to the stunning Himeji Castle. You can also visit the historic city of Nara, which is known for its ancient temples and friendly deer.

What are the best things to do in Tokyo and Kyoto and how many days should I spend in each city?

There are so many amazing things to do in Tokyo and Kyoto, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. In Tokyo, you can explore the bustling streets of Shibuya, visit the iconic Tokyo Tower, or indulge in some delicious street food in Harajuku. In Kyoto, you can visit the stunning Kiyomizu-dera temple, take a stroll through the beautiful Arashiyama bamboo forest, or attend a traditional tea ceremony. As for how many days to spend in each city, it really depends on your interests and travel style. Generally, most people spend at least 3-4 days in each city to get a good feel for the culture and attractions.


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