Two Weeks in Japan | Our Honeymoon Itinerary

Two Weeks in Japan | Our Honeymoon Itinerary

Hello, lovely people! Hi! I’m here this fine Spring day to share my latest travel guide with you: Two Weeks in Japan | Our Honeymoon Itinerary! In January of this year, two months after getting married, Husband and I set out for a country on essentially the other side of the world: Japan. Neither of us had ever been to Asia before – let alone Japan! – and what we discovered there was beyond anything we had ever dreamed of. It was amazing!! Without a doubt, our time in Japan was 100%, absolutely, THE best trip we’ve ever been on! Seriously, we’re worried nowhere else will live up to it – that’s how fantastic it was! The people, the cities, the shrines, the temples, the food! We loved every second of our time there, but before I can begin to get into all that, I figured I’d start with the basics: our itinerary.

Including flights and travel time, our trip lasted a blissful 14-days. During said 14-days, we explored three major Japanese cities: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. You might be thinking that we could’ve squeezed in another one or two cities while we were there, and you might be right. However! Rather than fussing over day trips here or there etc., we settled deeper into the cities we were already in, acting like locals, and adopting more of a ‘slow travel’ mentality. If I may be so biased, I really think that this slower route across Japan is ideal for other first-timers or honeymooners out there – we never felt rushed or like we were trying to cram too much in etc. Because really, who wants to feel rushed and stressed on their honeymoon?

A full breakdown of our itinerary can be found below, crammed, as usual, with every tidbit of information I felt might help you on your way. Enjoy, friends!

PS, in case you missed my first Japanese post, you can catch the link here: Japan Travel Tips | Notes From Our Honeymoon.

fly into Haneda
base ourselves in Shinjuku
spend a morning in Asakusa

take shinkansen from Tokyo Station – Kyoto

base ourselves in the Shimogyo Ward

take subway from Karasuma Station to Osaka-Umeda

base ourselves in the Chuo Ward

take shinkansen from Shin-Osaka – Tokyo Station

base ourselves in Shibuya
spend an afternoon exploring Harajuku & Omotesandō
fly out of Haneda

Tokyo, aka the world’s most populous metropolis(!), is truly unlike anywhere we’ve ever been. There’s people everywhere, the city is absolutely ginormous, and it’s easy to feel sensory overload from all the flashing/singing/glowing adverts everywhere. I feel like we arrived in Japan expecting all of the above, but actually experiencing it with our own eyes was so much more overwhelming than we’d prepared for! In short: it’s a lot!

When thinking of Tokyo, it’s more realistic to think of it not as one city, but as a whole load of cities all squished together. I mean, there are more than 40 million people that call Tokyo home; isn’t that just insane?! Each of the cities are so different, and are known for specific things. For example: Shinjuku, known for its nightlife, skyscrapers, and the world’s busiest train station, buzzes with young energy, while Asakusa, home of the Senso-ji Temple, gives a glimpse at the more traditional side of Japanese life. When we were researching our trip, we kept our list of ‘to-visit’ places separated by these little cities, which meant we weren’t traipsing back and forth across the city a whole bunch of times. I would absolutely recommend you to do the same or something similar.

The way our flights worked out, we decided to split our time in Tokyo in two: four days at the beginning of our trip, and two days at the end. We spent the initial four days based in Shinjuku, and the final two based in Shibuya. In keeping with what I just advised above, we very much kept our exploring over the first four days to the Shinjuku area. Thankfully, there is a lot – like, a lot! – to see in Shinjuku, so, other than a morning excursion to the district of Asakusa, we never felt the need to venture further afield!

THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku // we were extremely pleasantly surprised by this 3-star hotel! Well located in the Nishi-Shinjuku area, we were able to walk everywhere we wanted to visit in the vicinity. There are three eateries inside the building – MORETHAN TAPAS LOUNGE, MORETHAN GRILL, and MORETHAN BAKERY – and, although we only ate at two of the three mentioned, I have a feeling they’re all fantastic. The design of the hotel lobby is a gorgeous huge open space, with a large communal table and comfy seating areas. Admittedly, our “superior room” was a tad on the small side, and our bathroom was downright miniscule, but that didn’t really matter, you know? Would recommend. Address: 4 Chome-31-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023

RECOMMENDED STAY: 4-6 nights. We stayed 4 nights, but on reflection, we both much preferred staying in this area over Shibuya. A great base in Tokyo!

THREE HIGHLIGHTS: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings Viewpoint, Golden Gai, Meiji Shrine.

GETTING THERE FROM HANEDA: information in my Japan Travel Tips post, here.

READ MORE: Four Days in Shinjuku, Tokyo // A Morning in Asakusa, Tokyo

My memory of us arriving in Kyoto has taken on the most beautiful dream-like quality in my mind. It was ever-so-slightly snowing, the streets were calm – especially compared to the chaos of Tokyo! – and the ward we set up camp in, the charming Shimogyo Ward, was so peaceful. Wandering along to our hotel felt like letting out a sigh I didn’t know I was holding in; I hadn’t realised just how overwhelmed Tokyo had made me feel until we arrived in Kyoto. It was magical!

Unsurprisingly, we aren’t the only travelers to have fallen head-over-heels for the traditional heart of Japan. Kyoto is the highlight of many people’s itineraries, and for good reason: it’s stunning! Every single street corner is unbelievably photogenic, there are a plethora of beautiful temples and shrines to explore, and the city is a surprisingly fantastic foodie haven! We ate so well in Kyoto that I’ve actually written a food guide to the city, and I can’t wait to share it with you over the coming weeks!

THE GENERAL KYOTO Bukkoji Shinmachi // hands down, the best hotel of our trip! Well located on a quiet street, this 4-star hotel had such a special feeling about it. Our “superior room” actually felt it – especially in comparison with the one above! -; it was super spacious, and the bathroom was so beautiful that I almost had to bribe Husband away from the shower. There are free snacks/drinks on offer for guests in the lounge all day; tea & coffee etc. during the day, but alcoholic drinks & hot food in the evening, which we found to be the most wonderful extra touch! The staff were extremely helpful, supplying us with local recommendations for dinner, drinks, and so on. I honestly can’t say enough good things about the place. We will be back. A must visit. Address:〒600-8443 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Funebokocho, 385番地

RECOMMENDED STAY: 4-6 nights. We stayed 4 nights, and I’ve never felt so sad to leave a city behind.

THREE HIGHLIGHTS: Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Nijo Castle.

GETTING THERE FROM TOKYO: we took a bullet train. Click here to read a full breakdown of our journey, including costs etc.

READ MORE: A Food & Drink Guide to Kyoto, Japan // Four Days in Kyoto, Japan

Next up for us was the city of Osaka, the third largest in Japan! Pre-trip, when we were deep in the planning stage and had settled on spending 4-nights in Osaka, advice started to reach us that “Osaka might not have 4-nights in it”. I’m pleased to report, we absolutely did not find that to be the case – we loved our time in the city!

At first glance, Osaka is similar in some ways to Tokyo: modern, busy, and the flashing adverts are almost as overwhelming in Dotonbori as they are in Shinjuku. However, if you scratch just beneath the surface ever so slightly, you’ll see that the two cities are nothing alike! Osaka’s charm is a little more rugged and a little less polished than that of Tokyo’s, but we still found it to be welcoming and warm. The real highlight for us, aside from the actual tourist attractions, was the food. Osaka is often referred to as the food capital of Japan, and boy did it live up to its name! Again, a full food guide to the city will be hitting the blog shortly, and I don’t mean to give you a spoiler, but omg it’s gonna make you hungry!

MOXY Osaka Honmachi by Marriott // again, pleasantly surprised by this 3-star hotel! The vibe was a tad on the hipster/more youthful side of things, but that didn’t affect our stay. We were a little unsure about the location at first, in the Chuo Ward, but we ended up really loving the area – there are so many great restaurants and cocktail bars nearby! Our “queen room” was average in size, but the bed was huge and the bathroom was well equipped with a superb shower. Added bonus: our room price included a free drink at the bar! We sat on one of the lofty couches, each with a beer in hand, and unsuccessfully tried to blend in with the hipster crowd around us; what fun! Would recommend. Address: 2 Chome-2-9 Kawaramachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 541-0048

RECOMMENDED STAY: 3-4 nights. We stayed 4-nights and loved our time there, but Osaka is ideally based if you’re looking to visit other nearby cities.

3 OSAKA HIGHLIGHTS: Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, Tsutenkaku Tower.

GETTING THERE FROM KYOTO: we took the metro! From Karasuma Station in Kyoto to Osaka-Umeda Station, it only took 40-ish minutes and cost ¥410 each. Would recommend.

READ MORE: A Food & Drink Guide to Osaka, Japan // Exploring Osaka, Japan’s Third Largest City (coming soon!)

As previously mentioned, we spent our final night back in Tokyo, this time based in Shibuya. If you asked a group of people to picture Tokyo, or even Japan, I’d be willing to wager most of them would think of the same place: the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. The Scramble – the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, with highs of 3,000 people at peak times! – is such an incredible sight to see with your own two eyes! An absolute bucket list experience! However, as such, this little nook of Tokyo is very busy and chaotic. Once we’d ticked it off of our own bucket list, we spent the rest of our time in Shibuya trying to find the more relaxing nooks and crannies. I’m pleased to report, we found exactly what we were looking for in the hidden streets of Harajuku and Omotesandō, two districts within the Shibuya ward.

all day place shibuya // in one word: pretentious. BY FAR our most disappointing hotel, and the most expensive. Husband found it in the NYT 36 Hours in Tokyo article, and although our “styling room” was spacious, it was nothing special. Rather than a lobby, they instead have a small, cramped space filled with confused tourists trying to check-in. You can’t simply walk into the building, but rather, you have to wait for one(!) ridiculously slow elevator to cart everybody in and out. There is an attached restaurant and micro-bar, but the prices are so ludicrous we didn’t venture into either. The location is good – about 6-minutes to the Scramble Crossing! – but that’s the only plus. Ultimately, it felt like it was trying to be too trendy, and neither of us enjoyed our stay. A pity, for our last night. Address: 1 Chome-17-1 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002

RECOMMENDED STAY: 1-night. Although we preferred being based in Shinjuku, 1-night in Shibuya was a fun novelty. It was also well placed for getting back to Haneda airport; more details about that here.

3 SHIBUYA HIGHLIGHTS: Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Harajuku, Omotesandō.

GETTING THERE FROM OSAKA: again, we took the Shinkansen bullet train. For full details, including a cost breakdown, click here.

READ MORE: 36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo

Two Weeks in Japan | Our Honeymoon Itinerary

And there we have it: Two Weeks in Japan | Our Honeymoon Itinerary! My second Japanese travel guide in the bag – yahoo! I hope you loved it, I hope it’ll help you plan your own honeymoon/trip, and I hope it has you excited about all of the city guides coming to the blog in the near future! As always, drop any thoughts, comments, or questions in the comment box below – I love hearing from you!

Happy Japlanning!

Vicki xo

Japan Travel Tips | Notes From Our Honeymoon
Four Days in Shinjuku, Tokyo
36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo

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